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Author: Marvin Chou

Marvin Chou's Article

Carroll’s Adams Records 5 Assists as 13 Eagles Score 1 Goal Each in Soccer Win

    MONTGOMERY – Freshman Julia Adams scored one goal and had a five assists as the Lady Eagles beat Charles Henderson 13-0 last week. Her performance would be enough to shine the AHSAA spotlight on Coach Dana Langford’s strong program.
   However, the Lady Eagles had 13 different players score a goal in the contest with no player scoring more than one to set an AHSAA State girls’ single-match soccer record has thrust the program into this week’s AHSAA Soccer Spotlight.
    The ability of Julia Adams and teammate Samantha Adams, who had one goal and three assists, to find open teammates was a key as Joanna Paris, Alexus Long, Emily Hayes, Audrey Mecklenburg, Makayla Johnson, Lilly Vasquez, Kailey Owen, Jamey McDonald, Emilee Pedroza, Alayna Yarbrough and Victoria Jester scored one goal each.
   
The five assists by Julia Adams ranks second all-time in the AHSAA Soccer Record Book, found online at www.ahsaa.com. The record (7) was set by Amy Bayles of Mars Hill Bible in a match versus West Morgan in 2005. Carly Sims of Guntersville set the season record (38) for assists in 2018, and Natalie Mooney of Arab holds the AHSAA girls’ career record for assists (106), set from 2008-13.
     The AHSAA boys’ single-game record for assists (6) was set by Desmond Ibie of Murphy in 2013 versus Baldwin County and equaled by Dothah’s Ahkaim Walden in a 9-1 win over Charles Henderson in 2014.
      Coaches are encouraged to report top team or individual performances each week by Monday morning, 9 a.m., by emailing ringram@ahsaa.com

MILESTONE
COACH ADAM TOMLINSON, RANDOLPH:
Captured the 100th victory of his boys’ soccer coaching career when the Raiders beat Huntsville rival Westminster Christian 2-0 last week. Tomlinson, in his seventh season, is now 100-37-15 with six trips to the AHSAA Final Four, five appearances in the state finals and two state titles.
     Other top performances reported last week included:

MALLORY SEARS, FAIRHOPE: Scored four goals in the second half to force a 4-4 tie into overtime and then scored the winning goal, her fifth of the match, in the extra period to give the Pirates a 5-4 win over Foley.
SAMANTHA KING, MARS HILL BIBLE: Had three goals and had an assist in the Panthers’ 4-0 win over Clements.
CLAIRE BORDEN, FLORENCE: Borden scored two goals in the Falcons’ 4-0 victory over Russellville.
LIZZIE HILL, VESTAVIA HILLS: Got free on a break-a-way in the second half to deliver the go-ahead goal in the Rebels’ 4-2 win over Oak Mountain. Senior Taylor Korn, who scored two goals, added a late goal to provide the final cushion.
SARA BURGREEN & TERESA MIGUEL, DECATUR: Each scored three goals in a 10-0 win over Columbia.
HELENA JANKOWSKI, WEST MORGAN: Posted three goals in a 5-2 win over Mars Hill Bible.
KYLEE BERNDT, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Had two goals and two assists and teammate Mary Reid Goodwin also had two goals and two assists as Westbrook Christian downed Susan Moore 10-0.

BOYS SOCCER
ANGEL DELGADO, WEST MORGAN: Finished with four goals in a 10-0 win against Athens Bible.
NICK IBANEZ, HOOVER: Had a key second-half goal to spark a four-goal rally in a 4-0 win over John Carroll Catholic, and he followed with a game-winning goal at the 49th minute versus Vestavia Hills in a 2-1 victory.
COLE LITTLE, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Had four goals in a 6-0 win over UMS-Wright to give him 27 goals scored already this season.

GOLF
EMMETT LEE, HOUSTON ACADEMY:
Struggling with his putting this season, Lee grabbed his dad’s old putter and saw marked improvement shooting even-par 72 to lead the Raiders to a 312-338 win over Providence Christian at Highland Oaks Golf Course last week.
 He recorded two birdies on the front side and made the turn at 2-under. He sank a 20-foot putt on a par 5 for a birdie to earn medalist honors.
Emmett Lee’s father probably won’t be getting his old putter back. Teammate Hal Dove shot 1-over 73, and PCA’s Thomas Ponder also shot a 73.

TENNIS
MARGARET LUCAS, DECATUR:
Was undefeated in three matches at the Weinacker Invitational tourney at Birmingham-Southern. She posted wins over Mountain Brook, UMS-Wright and Vestavia Hills and teamed with Katherine Scott to win at No. 1 doubles over UMS-Wright.


Obadiah Threadgill Legacy Stretches Four Generations with Sumter County family

                          By Bill Plott
                                          AHSAA Historian

        

        Retired Notasulga High School basketball coach Obadiah Threadgill III was born into a family of educators. Both of his parents were teachers, and his father, Obadiah Threadgill II, coached and officiated in the Sumter County area.
         In addition, his brother Kenneth Threadgill taught and coached basketball at Livingston High School, winning a state championship in 2003.  Another brother, Reginald Threadgill, is a longtime basketball official in the Jefferson County area.

          That legacy has now extended into a fourth generation. Obadiah’s wife Joyce is a career elementary school teacher. Their son, Obadiah Threadgill IV, the head boys’ basketball coach at LaFayette High School, has already coached a state championship team at LaFayette, and his wife Shernika is cheerleader coach.
          It all started with Obadiah Threadgill I, said Obadiah III, who has been selected to be enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. “He was the son of slaves,” he said, “and a God-fearing man who knew the importance of getting an education.”

          Pam Langford, Dadeville High School administrator and a former Notasulga teacher, in her letter nominating Threadgill for the Hall of Fame, said there is still another legacy.

“Athletics serve an important role in the lives of many young people,” Langford said. “Coach Threadgill has used his love of basketball and his coaching ability to give many student-athletes an opportunity to be successful. However, as a school principal, parent and friend, it is his character that I admire and appreciate the most! Not only did Coach Threadgill teach kids to be winners on the court, he taught them to be winners in life.
            “His examples of integrity, work ethic, perseverance and compassion were so important for our students. Now, thousands of his students and athletes are adults. It warms my heart to know that those characteristics have helped them be successful in life.”
           Langford said Threadgill’s influence didn’t top there.
           “I see [them] instilling those winning characteristics in their own children,” she said. “Coach Threadgill’s positive impact will go on forever.”
           Threadgill attend Sumter County Training School, graduating in 1965. He attended Tuskegee University, graduating in 1970. He later earned a master’s degree from Auburn University in 1980.

          A Vietnam veteran, Threadgill went into military service after his graduation from Tuskegee. He served from 1970-72. Out of the Army, he returned home to Sumter County and accepted the position of director of the Sumter County Head Start Center.

In 1973 he moved to Macon County, first as teacher and coach at Tuskegee Public Middle School from 1973-74, and then at Deborah C. Wolfe High School from 1974-77. From 1977-81 he held a similar position at Tuskegee Institute High School.

In 1981 he accepted the position of teacher and head basketball coach at Notasulga High School where he served through 2002.

Notasulga in the 1960s and 1970s was a town with difficult integration issues. Those issues were overcome by a community that came together. Macon County Board of Education member Karey Thompson recalled that situation in his letter.

“Dwight Sanderson and Buddy Knapp, along with Principal Robert Anderson, became legendary leaders at Notasulga, having navigated an uncharted journey of school desegregation in the early 1970s not only in the athletic program but also in academic achievement and positive community relations. In 1974 a television crew (BBC/England) visited the campus of NHS, recording the school’s story and later aired to a national and international audience, a documentary of Notasulga’s success.

“In Notasulga, Coach Threadgill is viewed much the same as Sanderson-Knapp-Anderson. If the Blue Devils had a Mt. Rushmore, the four mentioned would receive priority placement. In 2014, in a combined project, by act of the Macon County Commission, Macon County Board of Education and Town of Notasulga, Notasulga High School honored the legendary coaches by naming the football stadium Sanderson-Knapp Football Stadium and the gym Obadiah Threadgill Gymnasium. NHS Principal Robert Anderson (deceased) will receive special recognition at a later date.”
            When he retired after a 30-year teaching and coaching career, Threadgill’s coaching legacy included:

·         More than 900 wins coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball at varsity and JV levels.

·         Two boys’ state championships in 1987 and 1992; one girls’ state championship in 2001; two state tournament runners-up.

·         Nine Final 48 appearances, including three in a row in girls’ basketball.

·         Nine consecutive Southeast Region appearances.

·         State Coach of the Year for boys in 1987 and 1992 and for girls in 2001,  and six Region Coach of the Year awards in boys’ basketball and six in girls’ basketball.

·         Coached both boys’ and girls’ teams in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.

·         Notasulga High School Gymnasium was named in his honor.

 

Dr. Lenda Jo Connell, wife of principal Anderson, said Threadgill’s strong character was the key.
         “Character can be formed in many ways,” she said. “Coach Threadgill’s unshakeable character came from a rock-solid family who valued faith, family and education leveled with a good dose of humor! This is a dedicated, strong family that has left their mark and continues to leave their mark on high school athletics in the state of Alabama.

“Coach Threadgill is the type of gentleman whom you want influencing young people. A humble man, I never heard him say ‘I’. It was always ‘We’ when referring to his many successful endeavors. Because of his commitment, dedication, and willingness to work together, Notasulga High School stands today as a testament to men like Coach Threadgill, who believed that (education-based) athletics could build young men and women and community.”  
SATURDAY: Edward Wood’s impact still strong after four decades.


Piedmont Coach Tommy Lewis Steps Down After 602 Victories – and Many More Memories

                     By JOE MEDLEY
                                       The Anniston Star
                                      (Published Thursday, March 15)

    ANNISTON – Tommy Lewis has a real simple philosophy about philosophy about winning in high school basketball. Area championships matter.
     “I always told people, you’ve got to learn how to win close to your house first,” Lewis said.
     Lewis — who has won 602 games and 22 area titles over 31 seasons at Gaylesville, Spring Garden, Cherokee County and Piedmont — has resigned at Piedmont. The Piedmont Board of Education approved his resignation Wednesday.
     The 57-year-old Lewis stopped short of calling it retirement, saying his possible return to coaching is “50-50.” He said he’s starting to repeat his stories at Piedmont, and he hopes that his stepping aside creates opportunities for long-time assistants Jonathan Odam (17 years) and Matt Glover (12 years).
    “It’s been a great experience, and plus, Coach Odam’s son (Alex) is coming on,” Lewis said. “Coach Odam has been helping me for so long, and it’s time he got a chance.
    “JoJo works there, and his wife works there, and he’s got two sons in the system. Matt works there, and he’s got a wife. For them to find a job, it’s going to take a whole lot of picking up and moving. For me, it’s not.”
    Lewis’ resume speaks volumes.
   His career record stands at 602-342. Records from the mid-1900s can be sketchy, but he’s believed to be one of only 25 coaches in the history of Alabama high school boys basketball to reach the 600-win mark. He recorded his 600th on Feb. 9, against Glencoe.
    Lewis’ teams have won at least one area title at each of the four schools where he coached. He’s taken 15 teams to regionals tournament with five advancing to the state tournament — Spring Garden in 1989, Cherokee County in 2006 and Piedmont in 2010, 2011, and 2015.
    Lewis coached 12 seasons at Piedmont, winning nine area titles and reaching the Northeast Regional nine times. The 2015 team finished as Class 3A runner-up.
    His 226 wins at Piedmont mark the most in the school’s near-100-year history.
    “When you come into our gym, we try to have banners that reflect the success of all of our athletic teams, male and female,” said Steve Smith, Piedmont’s football coach and athletics director, who lured Lewis to the school. “You look at our boys basketball banner, and it’s just littered with a ton of success over the last 12 years.”
     Piedmont hired Smith in 2006, and Lewis was among his first hiring targets. At the time, Lewis was coaching Cherokee County’s Final Four team.
     “There weren’t a lot of people that even wanted to talk to me about the job,” said Smith, who came to Piedmont from Cedar Bluff, also in Cherokee County. “He was somebody that I kind of zeroed in. I was just thinking maybe a shot in the dark, because he’d done so well there.”
     Smith lauded Lewis as “a team player,” always understanding of the school’s frequent deep playoff runs in football and the late starts several multisport players get in basketball.
     Lewis saved one of his best coaching jobs at Piedmont for last. His final Piedmont team had five new starters and six new players among the top seven yet finished 21-12, reaching the Northeast Regional final before losing to eventual state champion Plainview.
    “Having some sort of either loss or altered version of your top seven players in your rotation from last year and getting to the ‘Elite Eight’ again, it speaks wonders to his ability to be able to adapt, to play with the hand that he’s dealt and get the most out of the guys,” Smith said.
     Part of the reason Lewis came back for this past season was because he didn’t want to leave his potential replacement with a young team.
     “When we were looking at the schedule, Coach Glover and I, and we were having a tough time finding eight or 10 wins,” Lewis said. “That was if we caught some breaks.
      “As far as expectations, this may be the team that exceeded what we thought they’d do, farther than any team we’ve had.”
    

Tommy Lewis Collected Many Memories thru the Years

                      (Published in The Anniston Star, Friday, March 16)

      ANNISTON – It’s not every day that a 600-win coach steps down, but Tommy Lewis is not every 600-win coach.
      He put Piedmont boys’ basketball on the map in his 12 years there — winning nine area titles and taking the Bulldogs to three Final Fours — but stands out for perspective.
      As Piedmont football coach and athletics director Steve Smith quickly points out, Lewis never complained about the Bulldogs’ regular deep playoff runs in football. It meant late and slow starts for Lewis’ basketball teams, which rostered several football players, but there was a bigger picture.
      Lewis always had athletes and kids who got winning.
     The 57-year-old Lewis, a 31-year head coach, is a loyal guy who talks fondly about people one “collects” over a long coaching career. That includes 17-year assistant Jonathan Odam, whom Lewis collected at Cherokee County, and 12-year assistant Matt Glover.
     That doesn’t begin to cover how Lewis feels about former players he collected, but then he showed that in an all-too-Tommy moment at the 2010 Final Four. The Bulldogs were down eight points to Greene County inside the final minute, likely too far down to come back but not beyond a miracle, yet he gave reserves Chase Childers, Coltin Allison, Jalen Johnson, Derrick Jackson and Jamie Major floor time on the big stage.
     According to box score on AHSAA.com, they played “0+” minutes.
     Final score: Greene County 46, Piedmont 41 and a memory for kids who didn’t play much, even if one trip up and down the floor.
     Lewis believes in that. From the time he coached Spring Garden in the first boys Northeast Regional game in 1994, he believes in it.
     A coach who will do that, yet wins 600 games at four schools, is special.

Alabama Boys Add Cordova Senior Jayce Willingham to All-Star Roster

CLINTON (MS) – Alabama All-Star’s All-Star boys’ team added Cordova High School senior Jayce Willingham Wednesday to replace Ashford’s  LaDarius Knight, who withdrew from the team for personal reasons.
       Willingham participated in all three Alabama all-star practices Wednesday, said Alabama All-Star Coach Robi Coker. The 6-foot-5 Willingham helped Cordova win the Class 4A state championship this season, averaging 22.8 points per game, 10.7 rebounds and shooting 79.2 percent at the foul line. He joins teammate Isaac Chatman and Cordova head coach Heath Burns, who is also coaching the Alabama All-Stars.  Willingham, who earned a spot on the Class 4A State Tourney team, had a career high 56 points in a 102-93 overtime win over South Lamar in the regular season. He sank 17-of-18 free throws in that game.
       The Alabama All-Stars had two workouts Thursday and a 7 p.m., shoot-around with one walk through practice scheduled for Friday morning. The 28th annual Alabama-Mississippi All Star Basketball Games, which are co-sponsored by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) and the AHSAA’s Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA),   will tip off on Friday at the A. E. Wood Coliseum, Mike Jones Court, on the campus of Mississippi College here at 5 p.m., with the girls’  game. The boys’ game will follow at 7 p.m.
      “We have a great bunch of guys who are enjoyable to be around,” Coker said. “You can tell they like each other. They have been a very cohesive group.”
       Alabama holds a 14-13 edge in the boys’ series and Mississippi holds a 14-13 edge in the girls’ series. Mississippi is riding a two-game winning streak in both camps.
       Coker, who coached Plainview to a Class 3A state title this past season while setting the AHSAA single-season marks for 3-point shots attempted and made, said the coaches like the leadership they have seen – especially at the guard position. He said Huffman’s Travarus Carroll, Mountain Brook’s Sean Elmore and Hoover’s Jamari Blackmon have all stood out along with his own point guard from Plainview, Jeffery Armstrong.
      “We are trying to find the right combinations, and it looks like we probably use a lot of combinations,” Coker said. Big men inside, 6-9 Xavier Williams of Parker, 6-9 Dylan Robertson of Paul Bryant and 6-9 Logan Dye of Haleyville, have a nice touch around the goal but may be out-beefed by Mississippi’s inside players, Coker said.  “That’s why we will be depending on our guards to set the tempo.”
      Mississippi’s top big man appears to be 6-9 Javarian Fleming of Canton, who is heading to Alabama.
      Austin said the Alabama girls are also close-knit.  “They really have bonded quickly,” said Austin, who is coaching the team along with Tim Miller of Hazel Green. Austin guided Spring Garden to the 1A state title this past season and Miller directed the Trojans to the 6A crown.
      “It is amazing just how close these girls have gotten,” said Austin. “They sing together in the bus wherever we go. And they sing pretty good I might say, even though they are singing songs I don’t really know.”
      Alabama’s girls are anchored by SEC signees guards Hannah Barber of Homewood (Alabama), Caitlin Hose of Hazel Green (Georgia) and forward Allie Craig Cruce of Lauderdale County (Alabama).
    Mississippi won both games in Montgomery in Montgomery last year with the girls taking a 93-86 decision and the boys, winning 96-91.
     The games will be produced and televised via live-streaming on the FNUTL network (fnutl.com) and the MAC Network.  The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the contests over their network of radio stations and internet outlets. Go to www.ahsaa.com for links.


MISSISSIPPI ALABAMA BASKETBALL CLASSIC

2018 ROSTERS

 

MISSISSIPPI BOYS TEAM

 

 

NO.      NAME                                       POS     HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE

                       

  2         DeANTHONY TIPLER               PG       5-11      ASHLAND                     undecided

  3         DaQUAN SMITH                       G          6-2        HOLLY SPRINGS         MURRAY STATE

  4         DEWAYNE STEWART              F          6-6        RIVERSIDE                  MISS. STATE

10         GABE WATSON                       G          6-3        ST. JOSEPH (Madison)   SOUTHERN MISS

11         GARRISON WADE                   F          6-6        ST. ANDREW’S            undecided

12         MILES MILLER                         G          6-3        MERIDIAN                    undecided

15         TYRON BREWER                     F          6-6        MERIDIAN                    undecided

22         LADARIUS MARSHALL            F          6-7        FOREST HILL              undecided

23         TYLER STEVENSON                F          6-7        NEW HOPE                  undecided

25         ROBERT WOODARD               F          6-6        COLUMBUS                  MISS. STATE

30         JAVIAN FLEMING                    C          6-9        CANTON                       ALABAMA

33         KAMARIAN WILLIAMS             C          6-8        CLEVELAND CENTRAL   MURRAY STATE

 

HEAD COACH:                        KIM WINDOM, PORT GIBSON

ASSISTANT COACH:                DARRIN CHANCELLOR, FLORENCE

ADMINISTRATIVE COACH:      ERNIE WATSON, HATTIESBURG

ATHLETIC TRAINER:               FRED ROBINSON, MS SPORTS MEDICINE

 

 

 

ALABAMA BOYS TEAM

 

 

NO.      NAME                                        POS    HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE

                                   

3          TRAVARUS CARROLL             G          6-2        HUFFMAN                    ITAWAMBA CC

4          JAMARI BLACKMON                G          6-0        HOOVER                      undecided

10         DIANTE WOOD                         G          6-5        SACRED HEART          ALABAMA

11         JARED SHERFIELD                 G          6-5        PAUL W. BRYANT        TENNESSEE TECH

12         ANQUAEVIOUS POLLARD       F          6-7        LANETT                       INDEPENDENCE CC

15         JAYCE WILLINGHAM               G          6-5        CORDOVA                    undecided

20         JEFFERY ARMSTRONG           PG       5-11      PLAINVIEW                  undecided

21         DYLAN ROBERTSON               C          6-9        PAUL W. BRYANT        WINGATE

23         LOGAN DYE                            G          6-9        HALEYVILLE                SAMFORD

24         ISAAC CHATMAN                     F          6-6        CORDOVA                    undecided

25         SEAN ELMORE                        G          6-1        MOUNTAIN BROOK     NORTH ALABAMA

34         XAVIER WILLIAMS                   C          6-9        A. H. PARKER              undecided

 

HEAD COACH:                         ROBI COKER, PLAINVIEW

ASSISTANT COACH:                HEATH BURNS, CORDOVA

ADMINISTRATIVE COACH:      LUTHER TIGGS, BOB JONES

ADMINISTRATIVE COACH:      DAVID GOOD, MOUNTAIN BROOK

ATHLETIC TRAINER:               MEG IKEDA, ENCORE

 


MISSISSIPPI ALABAMA BASKETBALL CLASSIC

2018 ROSTERS

 

MISSISSIPPI GIRLS TEAM

 

 

NO.      NAME                                       POS     HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE

 

00         JARIYAH COVINGTON             PG       5-3        STARKVILLE                undecided

2          KYANNAH GRANT                   G          5-7        CHOCTAW CENTRAL   undecided

3          TABREEA GANDY                    PG       5-3        STARKVILLE                ITAWAMBA CC

4          KYARRAH GRANT                   G          5-7        CHOCTAW CENTRAL   undecided

10         CHYNA LEIGH ALLEN             G          5-6        HARRISON CENTRAL  JONES JC       

11         MAHOGANY VAUGHT              G          5-7        OLIVE BRANCH            SOUTH ALABAMA

12         KEALY WILSON                       G          5-9        HORN LAKE                 undecided

20         JATYJIA JONES                      G          5-9        INGOMAR                     undecided

23         DESTINY SMITH                       G          6-0        McCOMB                      SOUTHERN MISS

25         AMBER GASTON                     F          6-3        WARREN CENTRAL     FLORIDA ATLANTIC

33         DAPHANE WHITE                    C          6-5        ST. MARTIN                 MISS. STATE

34         KAYLA SIMMONS                    F          6-0        BRANDON                    undecided

INJ       KAVACI-A JOHNSON               PG       5-4        BYHALIA                      CENTRAL ARKANSAS

 

 

HEAD COACH:                         JANNA THOMPSON, HORN LAKE

ASSISTANT COACH:                SHAYNE LINZY, LAFAYETTE

ADMINISTRATIVE COACH:      DONNY FULLER, GULFPORT

ATHLETIC TRAINER:               STEVEN BUSH, MS SPORTS MEDICINE

                       

 

 

ALABAMA GIRLS TEAM

 

 

NO.      NAME                                       POS     HGT     SCHOOL                      COLLEGE                   

 

3          HANNAH BARBER                   PG       5-6        HOMEWOOD                ALABAMA

4          EBONI WILLIAMS                    F          6-0        HOOVER                      UT CHATTANOOGA

10         CAITLIN HOSE                         G          5-10      HAZEL GREEN             GEORGIA

11         CLAIRE HOLT                          PG       5-8        SPAIN PARK                RICHMOND

12         ALLIE CRUCE                          G/F       6-1        LAUDERDALE CTY      ALABAMA

15         AJAH WAYNE                          G/F       5-10      RAMSAY                      OLD DOMINION

20         DAISHA BRADFORD                PG       5-8        LEFLORE                     undecided

21         KARLEIGH SLEDGE                F          6-0        DESHLER                     JACKSONVILLE ST.

24         JERMECYA HARRIS                F          6-0        MATTIE T. BLOUNT      LOUISIANA TECH

25         ZIPPORAH BROUGHTON         PG       5-9        R. E. LEE                     RUTGERS

34         BROOKE HAMPEL                   G/F       5-10      HAZEL GREEN             MISSOURI (K.C.)

40         MAYA BUCKHANON                 C          6-2        TALLADEGA                MEMPHIS

 

 

HEAD COACH:                         TIM MILLER, HAZEL GREEN

ASSISTANT COACH:                RICKY AUSTIN, SPRING GARDEN

ADMINISTRATIVE COACH:      TAMMY WEST, COLD SPRINGS

ATHLETIC TRAINER:               DeSHENA THOMAS, ENCORE





Spain Park Delivers 800th Career Coaching Win to Coach C.J. Hawkins

MONTGOMERY -- Spain Park High School freshman pitcher Annabelle Widra hurled a two-hitter, Lexi Thompson and Maddie Majors slugged home runs as the Jaguars softball team beat Alabama Christian 5-0 in a softball game in late February.
    The victory over the strong Eagles was the 800th career win for Jaguars head softball coach C.J. Hawkins.  That milestone win headlines the first AHSAA Softball Spotlight of the 2018 season.
    “Where did the years go,” said Hawkins in retrospect. “This is my 11th year at Spain Park after spending 11 years at Clay-Chalkville. Throw in three years at the middle school level and it is truly amazing.”
    Hawkins, currently 809-351 in 22 seasons, built Clay-Chalkville into one of the premier teams in the AHSAA. When she moved to Spain Park for the 2008 season, the program had never had a winning season. It took three years before finishing above .500 at 26-24. Since then, the Jags have been among the top teams in the state as well.
      A standout shortstop and multi-sport athlete in high school at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, she attended Ohio State University where she was an Academic All-Big 10 selection.
     Her first job in Alabama was at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School. She then started the softball program at Clay. Three players off her 1999 Clay team signed college scholarships. Since then, the total number is approaching 60.
    Spain Park finished 48-9 last season and is off to a 14-2 start in 2018. The Jags went 6-0 to win the Sidney Cooper Invitational for the second straight year.
    The milestone win edged out a 21-srtrikeout performance by pitcher Lauren Quigley Guntersville. The senior hurled a 3-hitter and struck out 21 in a seven-inning 7-1 win over Crossville.
     The 21 strikeouts was one shy of the AHSAA 7-inning record (22) set by Eufaula’s India Kornegay versus G.W. Long in 2009. Only three other pitchers have been reported as striking out 21 in a 7-inning game: Kornegay versus Charles Henderson in 2010; Bree Blevins of Spring Garden vs Lynn in the 2009 Class 1A state tournament; and Lauren Webster of Alabama Christian in 2008.

     Other highlights reported include:

ALEA JOHNSON, FAIRHOPE: Slugged two home runs and a single to drive in seven runs as the Pirates beat Lebanon (TN) 11-1.
JORDAN HOLCOMB, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Hurled 4-2 win over Bayside Academy, allowing six hits and striking out 11. She also had three hits and three RBIs.
SAVANNAH CREEL, ALMA BRYANT: Collected a single, two doubles and six RBIs in a 23-4 win over Murphy.
LORI TERRY, EAST LAWRENCE: Slugged two home runs and had three RBIs in a 10-0 win over Tharptown. The Eagles slugged four homers with Briley Pitt and Anna Kate Segars with one each. Pitt finished with four RBIs and also had four RBIs versus West Morgan.
JOHNNA STAGGS, WILSON: Staggs hit four home runs – two in each game – as the Warriors routed Colbert County and Russellville.
JABBY TERRELL, NORTHVIEW: Slugged a grand-slam home run to highlight an eight-run third inning as the Cougars beat Geneva 9-4 at the Geneva Invitational tourney. She finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
OLIVIA WILBORN, DECATUR: Had three hits and five RBIs in a 15-8 win over Brewer.
HANNAH MYNARD, ENTERPRISE: Hurled three shutouts at the Wetumpka Invitational to help the Wildcats reach the semifinals of the tourney. She blanked Central-Phenix City 2-0 on one hit with six strikeouts, whiffed six in a 2-0 shutout over Holtville and also hurled a 3-0 win over Vestavia Hills.
ANNIE LAURA CLAYTON, EUFAULA: Hurled a five-inning no-hitter to bet Lee-Montgomery 5-0 in the Wetumpka Invitational. She had 10 strikeouts and one walk in the win.
LEANNA JOHNSON, BRANTLEY: Was 4-1 in the Wetumpka Invitational with 43 strikeouts and two shutouts. The Class 1A Bulldogs reached the championship game. Brantley improved to 15-1 on the season.
KAITLYN CLARK, GARDENDALE: Pitched 39 innings and posted five wins in the Calhoun CC Invitational. Among the victories was a 1-hit shutout over defending Class 6A state champion Hazel Green.
ALLIE BOUTWELL, DALE COUNTY: Collected four hits, including two home runs, in the second inning, and had two RBIs in a 21-3 win over Abbeville.
HANNAH POPWELL, HEADLAND: Slugged a double, triple and home run to account for three RBIs as the Rams beat Daleville 13-1.
CHLOE NANCE, GENEVA: Had two singles in the first inning to highlight a seven-run rally and the Panthers held on for an 8-0 win over Providence Christian.
EMILY SHIRLEY, PELHAM: 
Was 7-of-14 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, three walks and five RBIs last week. She also had a triple and homer in an 11-1 win over John Carroll.


Josh Hall Swipes 165th Stolen Base To Set New AHSAA Career Record

MONTGOMERY – Homewood High School senior Josh Hall set the AHSAA single-season stolen base record as a sophomore in 2016 with 81 in 45 games. He added another notch to his records chase earlier this week when he swiped the 165th stolen base of his prep career in an 11-1 Patriots win over John Carroll Catholic.
    Hall grabs the first AHSAA Baseball Spotlight of the 2018 season for his efforts.
    The senior outfielder spent the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons at Randolph in Huntsville where his dad Lee Hall served as head coach. Homewood hired Hall as its new head coach replacing Doug Gann, who moved to athletic director. Son Josh hasn’t missed a beat at his new school.
     Josh, who batted .485 last season, has signed with Ole Miss. He started the season ranked fourth on the AHSAA career stolen bases chart behind previous leader Scottie Burdeshaw of Slocomb, who had 164 steals from 2005-10 for the Red Tops. Lance Taylor of Athens Bible finished his prep career with 151 (1998-2002) and Tranon Frederick of Hackleburg was third with 146 from 2002-06. Hall started the season with 142 and has 27 in the first 14 games in 2018, including five in the win over John Carroll.
     "Just to have the opportunity to coach him the last four years and to watch him set this record has been very rewarding as coach," Coach Hall told Daniel Boyette of Al.com. "(It is) doubly rewarding when you're in the third-base coaches’ box as dad. To be able to watch 165 is a feeling that is really indescribable.
     “Years ago, I walked away from being a college coach so I could be part of my kids' dreams and today was one of those special moments that confirms to me that I made the right decision to get into high school coaching."
     The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Hall now has his sights on the NFHS National Record (210), which was set by Tim Dressler of Waltonville (IL) from 1981-84. Dressler went on to earn All-America honors at the University of Missouri in the late 1980s. Hall needs 46 more this season to surpass that mark.
    Hall’s brother Carson, who graduated from Randolph last spring, set the AHSAA career saves record as a pitcher (20). He is now a college freshman hurler at Memphis.
    The stolen-base performance edged out a clutch effort by Providence Christian’s Dylan Hasty, who drove in teammate Jon Lewis for the winning run with a single in the top of the 10th inning as the Eagles beat defending 2A state champion G.W. Long 5-4 at the Southeast Invitational tourney last week. The victory was the fourth for Providence in the last five games at Skipperville, which included a 13-12 thriller that went eight innings in the same tourney last year.
     Hasty also plated a go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly, but the Rebels tied the game again in the bottom of the eighth when Keigan Munn executed a perfect bases-loaded, suicide squeeze bunt to the right side of the mound to drive in the tying run.
   Reliever Grayson Stewart hurled 5 2/3 innings in relief allowing three hits, one run and striking out seven to get the win. He struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning.

MILESTONE:
SMITH NOTCHES 100TH CAREER WIN:
 Dylan Ray of Bob Jones poked a pair of three-run homers to finish with six RBIs in a 10-6 win over Austin. The victory was No. 100 in for Patriots Coach Jared Smith.  Cam Hill added a homer and double and winning pitcher John-Michael Riley also homered for Bob Jones.
Other top performances from the last week include:

CARSON SKIPPER, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Allowed just one hit and struck out 13 in a five-inning win over Southside-Gadsden. He also batted .583 with four doubles, a triple, scored five runs and had seven RBIs as the Huskies went 4-0 for the week.
SONNY DiCHIARA, HOOVER: Had a big week for the defending 7A state champion Bucs going 7-of-8 with one home run and seven RBIs. He also drew three walks and was hit by a pitch and reached base 11 times in 12 plate appearances.
VRAE MURPHY, THEODORE: Had a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Bobcats a 4-3 win over West Harrison (MS).
JACK SMALLWOOD, AUSTIN: Drove in the winning run in the top of the eighth inning as the Black Bears downed defending Class 5A state champion Russellville 7-6. The Tigers rebounded to win the second game of the doubleheader 11-4.
LANDON GREEN, HELENA: Fired s 2-hitter over five innings and struck out 14 to notch a 6-3 win over Thompson.
DALTON ADKISON, NEW BROCKTON: Slugged a bases-loaded triple in the third inning and scored on a throwing error to account for all his team’s runs in the Gamecocks’ 4-2 victory over Geneva.
TRISTAN WOODHAM, DALE COUNTY: Executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in the eighth inning to plate teammate Cole Deloney as the Warriors edged Geneva County 9-8.
TRENTON GREEN, WATERLOO: Hurled a no-hitter as Waterloo beat Tharptown 9-1. Green allowed only one walk, struck out 14 and one unearned run.
BRENDON CASE, CHELSEA: Hurled a no-hitter and struck out nine in a shutout win over Briarwood Christian. He threw just 86 pitches in the 2-0 triumph for the Hornets (12-3).
CHANDLER BEST, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Tossed a no-hitter and struck out 10 in a 3-0 win over Smiths Station. He walked three.
COLE HENRY, FLORENCE: Pitched a 1-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts as Florence cruised to a 7-0 victory over Buford (GA).
MADDUX HERRING, ARITON: Pitched a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the Crenshaw County Invitational tourney before yielding a one-out single to settle for a one-hitter in the 13-0 win over Highland Home. He struck out five and walked none.  Ariton led 6-0 heading into the top of the seventh but exploded for seven unearned runs. Herring finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a solo homer in the fifth inning.
TUCKER RHODES, WILSON: Led the Warriors to 10-2 win over Montgomery Academy with a 3-run triple and two-run single for five RBIs. He also pitched a 5-hitter and struck out six to get the win.
LUKE WHITAKER, VESTAVIA HILLS: Was 6-of-9 with three homers and five RBIs in three games for the Rebels.
ETHAN WELLS, WICKSBURG: Slugged two doubles, a single and drove in three runs as the Panthers beat Headland 8-3 to snap the Rams’ 10-game season-opening winning streak. He followed with a double and single and two RBIs in a 13-6 win over Bayside Academy.
TANNER JACKSON, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Had four hits, including two singles, a triple and double, and drove in four runs in the Raiders’ 17-0 win over Daleville.
MACK WISE, BRANTLEY: Slugged a grand slam to pace a 16-6 Bulldogs’ win over Straughn.
GARRETT WADE, HARTSELLE: Went 5-for-7 in a 10-7, 10-6 sweep of Grissom. He had one double and five RBIs. The left-hander hurled a one-hitter and struck out nine in a 3-1 win over Muscle Shoals.
CHRISTIAN MACLEOD, HUNTSVILLE:  Hurled a four-hitter and struck out 10 over five innings to post the win as the Panthers beat Florence 9-3. He also had three hits with a double and one RBI.
MIKE EVANS, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Was 4-for-4 with five RBIs in a 14-0 win over Goshen.

Loachapoka Coach Jerome Tate Taught Players to be Physically and Mentally Tough

                          By Bill Plott
                                          AHSAA Historian

          When Jerome Tate came out of college, he was a big man with big plans. And he would take that plan to the small Lee County community of Loachapoka where he spent more than two decades instilling big dreams in the student-athletes he taught.
          A native of Selma, Tate is being inducted into Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. He graduated from Selma High School in 1977 as an All-State offensive and defensive lineman and was selected to play in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game.  He attended Alabama A&M University, where he continued his on-the-field success and graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation.

          His first job out of college was at Keith High in Orrville where he served as head football and assistant basketball coach. He taught physical education and health, subjects that he taught at each stop in his career.

          For the next two years he coached at the college level, first at Alabama A&M and then at Tuskegee University.  He was defensive line coach at A&M. At Tuskegee he served as an assistant football coach, and head strength and conditioning coach. However, he knew in his heart that he belonged back in high school.
          In 1990 he moved to Lanett High School where he spent 10 years as defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and offensive line coach. He also was head track coach from 1990-95 at Lanett.

          When Tate left Lanett to accept the athletic director and head football coach position at Loachapoka High School, sportswriter Todd Brooks wrote of his impact at Lanett.

“Perhaps the thing I noticed most about Jerome in the past four years I’ve known him is not how well he coached, but how well he got along with the students,” Brooks said. “Anyone who has seen the man in a school setting can tell that he cares. When (coach) Billy Kinnard left (Lanett) in 1993, it was Tate who led the team until a new coach was found. He, along with the other coaches, took them through spring training and kept them together until Lee Gilliland was hired.

“I have never seen players respond to a coach the way the Panthers have responded to Tate. When I interviewed Cliff Jackson about being selected to the state’s Super 12 team, I asked him about who he credits for his success. Jackson immediately spoke the name of Jerome Tate. ‘He’s my biggest fan, my biggest buddy.’ That’s pretty impressive to hear a 17-year-old kid speaking so highly of an adult these days.”

Tate went to Loachapoka in 1995. Over the next 22 years he compiled a record of 152-98 and won four region titles and become the school’s all-time wins leader. The Indians were in the state playoffs 17 times in 22 years, including a string of 14 straight appearances.

          His coaching accomplishments and honors include:

·         15 winning football seasons in 22 years at Loachapoka. Seventeen of his 22 teams made the state playoffs.

·         Led his 2004 team to an undefeated regular season and finished 12-1 overall. The 12 wins is a single season is a school record.

·          Finished 11-2 in 2009, tied a school record for wins and advanced to the playoff semifinals.

·         All-time winningest coach in Lee County.

·         Coach of the Year awards in 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2009.

·         Played in the North South All-Star Game and later coached in both the  North-South and the Alabama-Mississippi all-star games.

 

          Eleven of his players at Lanett and 16 at Loachapoka went on to play at the collegiate level. Three of them played professionally: Josh Evans with the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets; Kenny Sander with the New York Giants; and Tracy Brooks with the Salina Liberty of the Championship Indoor Football League.
           Long-time coaching rival and friend Jackie O’Neal, a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, admired Coach Tate’s work ethic.

“He was focused and driven to develop his teams to be tough mentally and physically on the football field,” O’Neal said. “Through his mentorship and life of integrity, Coach Tate has positively impacted student athletes for over three decades…. He is a true professional, along with being one of the most honest and upstanding people I know. I truly call him a friend.”

Former AHSAA Executive Director Dan Washburn mentored Tate at Lanett and wrote the following:

“I have been associated with Jerome for 35 years. I hired Coach Tate as an assistant coach at Lanett High School during my tenure as superintendent of Lanett City schools. I have witnessed first-hand his love and passion for the game of football. Jerome demonstrates professional integrity, outstanding character and is a true professional in everything he undertakes.
          “Being a former coach, I have experienced how difficult it is to maintain a quality program over a period of many years. Jerome is the winningest coach in Lee County…. Every year we have numerous coaches who have qualifications to be part of this most prestigious hall of fame, but there are some outstanding individuals who simply stand above and beyond other nominees. Jerome Tate is definitely one of these.”

Coach Jim Hubbert, a 2006 Hall of Fame inductee, also wrote a letter endorsing Tate’s nomination. Hhe said, “I have known Coach Jerome Tate for over 30 years – as a college recruiting coach, as one of my assistant coaches, as a head coach and opponent, and mostly as a colleague and a friend. Jerome is the type of coach any father would love his son and grandson to have lead them. I was fortunate enough to have Coach Tate as one of my son’s coaches, and for that I am extremely thankful.

 “His teams always have been respected as hard-nosed, disciplined and respectful of opponents. Those positive attributes are the results of Coach Tate leading his teams to exhibit good moral and ethical standards, to demonstrate leadership qualities, and to display good sportsmanship. Because of Coach Tate’s leadership, his teams have always brought a source of pride and respect to his school and community.”

Tate was inducted into the Alabama A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Friday: Obadiah Threadgill Legacy stretches over four generations.


Perseverance and Passion Has Highlighted Ann Schilling’s Journey to Hall of Fame

                                                       By Bill Plott

                                                   AHSAA Historian
         Ann Schilling’s journey to the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame started at the hands of a master. The Class of 2018 inductee played under the renowned Coach Becky Dickinson at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. Coach Dickinson was in the very first class of inductees in 1991.

          In a letter nominating Schilling to the Hall of Fame, Coach Dickinson wrote:

“Before her high school tenure with me even began, Ann fell during summer team camp and broke her right arm. Other athletes might have let that discourage them, but not Ann. She stayed at summer camp and continued to work out. She came to every volleyball practice and game, taking statistics and stepping in wherever she could. She even taught herself to shoot a basketball left-handed.

“She had her silly moments, too. When she was still a freshman, our basketball team played an area championship, and I watched as my starting players fouled out one by one, clearing my bench until I was left with Ann. When I put her in the game, I called a time-out and shared the game plan with my players. We were ahead and time was running out. They were to maintain possession of the ball. We didn’t need any baskets, so they weren’t to shoot.
           “Ann Stepped out onto the court and received the ball out in Timbuctoo. She didn’t’ dribble. She didn’t pass. She didn’t’ fake her opponent.  No, that 14-year-old kid launched the ball toward our goal, and – swoosh! – made it. After the game, I told her had her ill-advised shot missed, she would never have seen playing time on one of my teams again.

“But she hadn’t missed. And perhaps she had learned something about strategy, something that came in handy for her as she played at Auburn or as she began her own coaching career at Bayside Academy.”

A native of Mobile, Schilling went from McGill-Toolen to Auburn University where she played basketball for four years, walking on and earning a scholarship by her sophomore year. She stayed a fifth year at Auburn to play volleyball when the program was reinstated.

With college-level varsity experience in basketball and volleyball under her belt, she accepted the position of physical education teacher, basketball and volleyball coach at Bayside Academy in 1987. It was a perfect union. Schilling is now in her 31st season of teaching and coaching at Bayside.

That career, by the numbers, includes the following:

·         23 state volleyball championships, four runners-up

·         16 consecutive state champions 2002-2017, an Alabama record and second in the nation, and 19 in 20 years since 1998

·         More than 1,400 wins, first among state active coaches and second in the state all-time

·         6 Mobile Press Register Super 12 Coach of the Year awards

·         5 Birmingham News Coach of the Year awards

·         7 selections as AHSAA all-star coach

·         National Federation of High Schools Volleyball Coach of the Year award in 2010

Additionally, Schilling has received two John L. Finley Awards for Superb Achievement as a coach and an R. L. Lindsay Service Award for club volleyball. She is founder and director of the Eastern Shore Volleyball Club.

She was elected to the Bayside Academy Hall of Fame in 2004 and to the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

Nancy Shoquist, varsity volleyball coach at Mary G. Montgomery High School and a Hall of Fame inductee in 2014, wrote of her long association and friendship with Schilling:

“I truly feel Ann is the smartest high school volleyball coach in Alabama,” she said. “She studies the game, wanting always to learn new ideas and strategies which will give her an advantage. Her career record, state championships and state tournament appearances speak loads of her success.

“She will continue to be successful in volleyball because of the work ethic, love of her teams and lover of the game.”

Bayside Head of School Michael Papa spoke to the intangibles in Schilling’s career.

“Ann plays a huge role in the character development of the young ladies she coaches,” he said. “She instills good sportsmanship and the importance of teamwork in her players, regardless of the outcome of the game. Ann’s players respect her, and they want to work hard to win under her direction.”

Coach Dickinson said she saw Schilling develop and grow into a superb leader.

“Looking back at her outstanding career, it may come as a surprise that Ann was not a born leader,” Dickinson said. “During her senior year, the captain of the volleyball team missed one of our tournaments, and I watched as my team floundered, leaderless.   A few timeouts later, when I asked Ann and her fellow senior to take charge, I watched her step onto the court and step into her own. After that, nothing Ann did surprised me.
           “I was not surprised when she started and didn’t stop winning state championships. I was not surprised when Ann’s peers repeatedly recognized her coaching ability by voting her Coach of the Year. I was not surprised that she learned to take relatively unskilled young women and teach them game skills while building their confidence and leadership skills.”
         And it is no surprise that Ann Schilling is now being inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018.
THURSDAY: Jerome Tate taught his players to be mentally tough.


Alvin Rauls Is Aptly Described as a Trailblazer in AHSAA Athletic Circles

                          By Bill Plott
                                          AHSAA Historian

         When Alvin Rauls was presented an AHSAA Making a Difference Award in 2017, he was aptly described as a “trailblazer.”

          In 1992 this 2018 Alabama Sports Hall of Fame selection became the first black head coach to win a state baseball championship. Last year he became the first black coach to win a girls fast-pitch softball state championship. He is just the second coach in AHSA history to win titles in both of those sports.

          A strong advocate of sportsmanship, Rauls was described as “an outstanding role model for students and is well respected by his peers.” Additionally, his service to the AHSAA has included serving on the Central Board of Control, Legislative Council and District Board of Officers.

A native of Albany (GA), he attended Monroe High School in Albany, graduating in 1972. Rauls then attended Florida A&M University on a baseball scholarship. At FAMU he played second base and was teammates with future baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. He received his bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation and Driver’s Education in 1977.

After graduation he moved to Huntsville where he became Director of Parks and Recreation for the town of Triana, a small town that was incorporated in Madison County in 1919 – which officially became just the second city incorporated in the county’s history. With this job he became the first black recreation director for a city or township in the state. He also was responsible for implementing the Summer Youth Program.

His coaching career had begun back in Albany with an American Legion team. He continued at Triana where he coached the city women’s softball team and the men’s After Dark slow-pitch softball team, which won a state championship. He also became certified as an AHSAA basketball official during this time, calling games regularly from 1979-98.

In 1981 he became head baseball coach at Alabama A&M University, serving in that position for three years.

In 1988 he went to New Hope High School as baseball coach. He was named Madison County Coach of the Year in 1990 and 1993. He won the state Class 2A championship in 1992 and his 1990 team was Class 3A runner-up. At New Hope he also served as assistant football coach as well as driver’s education and physical education teacher. He took on head football coaching duties in 1993 and 1994, compiling a 10-10 record.

In 1995 he went to Sparkman High School as head baseball coach, assistant football coach and driver’s education teacher. He held the same positions at S.R. Butler from 1997-2002 and at Bob Jones from 2002-06.

          During his tenure as a baseball coach he has won more than 350 games and has received Coach of the Year honors at the county and state level numerous times.

In 2007 he went to Buckhorn High School as softball coach compiling a 256-141 record through the 2017 season. In addition to the 2017 state championship, the 2015 team won the Area 7 championship and made it to the semifinals in the state playoffs.
         In nominating Rauls for the Hall of Fame, Buckhorn Principal Todd Markham wrote: “I have known Coach Rauls for many years. We have worked together as coaches, and I now serve as his principal. He is a man of great character, and he has devoted his life to coaching and teaching young people.”

He also has coached American Legion baseball for Post 237, winning state championships in 1990 and 1993.

           Another letter of nomination came from Buckhorn Athletic Director David Carroll. “I have known him since around 1984,” Carroll said. “He was just ‘Al’ to me as an eight-year-old boy signing up to play basketball, soccer or baseball. He worked for the Madison Recreation Center and always had a big smile and that trademark deep voice. I would see him at the gym, all gyms it seemed, for he was also a basketball official. I waved at him as I rode my bicycle on the walkway up and down Hughes Road.

          “As luck would have it, Coach Rauls took over the head baseball and assistant football jobs at New Hope High School as I entered the 9th grade. I would see him plenty over the next four years as the New Hope/Bob Jones rivalry in football and baseball had championship implications every year. Coach Rauls had a deep impact on the players he coached at BJHS, and they became my mentors.
          “A vivid memory I have of my first day of baseball practice involves a drill run by senior Paul Fulda. We were working on ‘crow-hops’ in the outfield, and I was not familiar with it. As I struggled to catch on, I questioned, ‘Why are we doing this?’ Fulda’s reply was simply, ‘Coach Rauls taught us to do it this way.’ I had pride that I was at least indirectly coached by Al Rauls.

“As years passed and I got into coaching, our paths crossed several times. Any time I could pick his brain or ask advice he would never hesitate to talk ball with me. I had had countless conversations with those who either played for or coached with him. He is revered. I am now fortunate to be his athletic director as he has coached softball at Buckhorn. Although he is now coaching girls, the winning and the reverence is still the same.”  
WEDNESDAY: Ann Schilling – Perseverance and Passion Has Been her Trademark.


Carver-Montgomery Director of Bands Selected as Section 3 Recipient of NFHS National High School Heart of the Arts Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             Contact: John Gillis

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 12, 2018) —LaFrancis Davis, the director of bands at Montgomery’s Carver High School, has been selected as the 2018 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Cecelia Egan of Riverside (Rhode Island) St. Mary Academy-Bay View has been selected the 2018 national recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
          Davis will be recognized at the AHSAA Summer Conference Championship Coaches banquet on Friday night, July 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
         The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fifth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered. Eight

Ever since he was a student at Slocomb High School, Davis has had a passion for music. However, he was also a tremendous athlete who excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. As such, he often faced schedule conflicts between athletics and performing arts.

By the time he was a junior, Davis had developed into a very talented all-around athlete who emerged as one of the state’s best football running backs. Band director Debra Lynn Long encouraged Davis to keep playing football and to keep playing the trumpet. He would often gain several yards in the first half of a football game and then march in his football uniform in the Marching Red Top Band before returning to the backfield in the second half.

When Davis prepared to graduate, several college football programs vied for his services. While Davis really wanted to play college football, he also wanted to major in music. He chose to attend Alabama A&M University, which had an outstanding music program.

After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for 10 years. After that, he was persuaded to become band director at Coffee Springs High School. After resurrecting a struggling program there, he moved to Geneva County High School. He had two more stops along the way before landing at Carver, where he encourages his students to not just “… love all music, but to love playing the music and singing the songs even more.”
           He rejuvenated Carver’s struggling band program from less than 60 members to now more than 150. He also started a band program at its feeder middle school that now nearly 100 students involved as well.