1.  Bears Make History

March 7, 2018

By: Will Jacobs

Last Friday, the Plainview Bears faced off against the Hillcrest of Evergreen Jaguars in the Class 3A Boys State Championship game. This would be the fourth time that the Bears played in the State Finals in school history. The Bears played in the State Finals in 1978, 1979, and 2017 finishing in second place all three times. A win for Plainview would be the first state championship trophy in school history.
The first quarter for Plainview was a great offensive quarter. They jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but the Jaguars quickly tied things up. A 12-4 run by Plainview would give them the edge in the quarter. By the end of the first quarter, Plainview led 19-11.
Plainview continued to stay hot in the second quarter. The Bears would extend their lead to 13 points two times in the quarter, but the Jaguars would quickly cut into the lead. At the end of the second quarter, Plainview lead 35-25.
The third quarter was when Plainview really started to struggle on offense. They would only score nine points this quarter, and the Jaguars would take advantage of Plainview’s lack of scoring. At the end of the third quarter, Hillcrest of Evergreen led 47-44.
The fourth quarter was an offensive battle for both teams. Neither team held on to the lead for long, and the game stayed tied up for a majority of the quarter. With 38 seconds left, the game was still tied up, and Plainview had the ball waiting for the last shot. Jeffery Armstrong would drive into the lane and pass the ball to Bailey Dukes for the last shot. Dukes’ layup attempt was no good, and the game was sent into overtime tied at 66.
Overtime was another offensive battle for both teams. Again, neither team could hold the lead for long, and the game was tied at 75 with time running out. Plainview had the ball again as time was winding down, and with 8 seconds left, Armstrong began to drive into the lane. His successful drive would draw the defense in, and then he kicked the ball out to Millican who was wide open in the corner for a three-point shot. The ball went through the net as time ran out, and Plainview, after official review, was declared the 3A State Champions for the first time in school history by defeating Hillcrest of Evergreen 78-75.
Caden Millican and Jeffery Armstrong were the key players for the Bears. Millican led the team in scoring with 37 points. Armstrong scored 18 points and led the team with 8 rebounds. Armstrong, Cade Willingham, and Millican made the all-tournament team with Millican winning the Most Valuable Player Award.

 

2.  Lady Eagles State Champs

March 7, 2018

By: Will Jacobs

Last Friday, the Pisgah Lady Eagles faced off against the Lauderdale County Lady Tigers in the Class 3A Girls State Championship game. The Lady Eagles were looking to bring home another Championship trophy.
The first quarter for Pisgah was somewhat of an offensive struggle. They only managed to score ten points in the quarter, but their defense held the Lady Tigers from getting a large lead. At the end of the first quarter, Pisgah trailed 14-10.
The second quarter was when Pisgah’s offense really got going. They would outscore the Lady Tigers this quarter and would take a three-point lead at the end of the quarter. At halftime, Pisgah led 30-27.
The third quarter was an offensive battle for both teams. Neither team was able to hold on to the lead for very long. The Lady Tigers would outscore Pisgah this quarter but only by two points. At the end of the third quarter, Pisgah led 48-47.
The fourth quarter was a nail-biter. Both teams continued to score effectively, but Pisgah got down early on and had to cut into the lead throughout most of the quarter. Pisgah would finally take back, and hold on to, the lead when Kaylee Vaught nailed a three-pointer with just under a minute left in the game. Lauderdale County had a few players foul out, and this would allow Pisgah to control the remainder of the clock. Pisgah would hold on to defeat the Lady Tigers by a score of 62-59.
Annie Hughes and Kaylee Vaught were the two key players for the Lady Eagles. Hughes led the team in scoring with 28 points, while Vaught followed with 15 points. Hughes also led the team in total rebounds with 15, and Vaught followed her with 9 rebounds.

 

3.  Fyffe Wins State Trophy

December 13, 2018

By: Nick Hall

The Fyffe Red Devils defeated the Luverne Tigers 21-19 on Friday, December 7th at Jordan-Hare Stadium to claim the Red Devils’ third AHSAA Super 7 Class 2A state football championship since 2014. Senior running back Payton Anderson racked up 177 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries on his way to earning Class 2A championship game MVP honors. However, defense wins championships and that was never truer than in Jordan-Hare Stadium Friday. After playing second fiddle to the prolific Red Devil offense all year long, the Fyffe Defense stood tall – turning back a strong Luverne offense early by forcing two field goals in the red zone.
The Red Devils jumped out front with 8:56 remaining in the first half on a 7-yard run by Anderson to cap a 15-play, 99-yard drive. Brody Dalton’s PAT gave the Red Devils a 7-0 lead. Luverne then went 57 yards in 12 plays to cut the lead to 7-3 when Chase White nailed a 31-yard field goal. Four minutes later, Luverne appeared to take the lead on a 17-yard pass play that was ruled a touchdown. The scoring play, which was automatically reviewed, was also challenged by Fyffe and upon review, was ruled an incomplete pass and Luverne had to settle for another field goal by White—this time from 28 yards. This is the first year the DVSport Instant Replay Protocol has been used in state championship games. The reversal was only the third successful challenge in the Super 7 state finals and the first in AHSAA history to erase a touchdown in a state championship game.
Fyffe took a 7-6 lead to the locker room at halftime and stretched it to 14-6 when Anderson raced 33 yards to the end zone to cap an eight-play, 77-yard drive late in the third quarter. However, the Tigers answered quickly with a 10-play, 73-yard drive of their own to shrink the red Devils’ lead back to 14-12 after the two-point conversion attempt failed. Payton Stoner put Fyffe back up 21-12 when he reeled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Zach Pyron with 4:18 left in the ballgame. Once again, the Tigers answered with a touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Dionte Brantley to come back within two with 2:34 left to play. Luverne got the ball back one more time with 1:25 left on the clock but it wasn’t enough. Luverne mounted their last-chance drive from their own 13-yard line and ended when Brantley’s pass to Edward Thomas fell short of the end zone at the Fyffe 28 with no time remaining.
The Red Devils accumulated 14 first downs, 192 yards rushing and 72 yards passing for 264 yards. The Red Devils held the ball for 20:20 and ran 44 plays. Contrast that with Luverne’s 26 first downs, 202 yards rushing and 237 passing for 439 yards of total offense. Add to that the fact that the Tigers held the ball for 27:20 and ran 81 plays and you begin to understand how crucial the Red Devils’ red zone defense was in securing the win.
Pyron finished 3-of-4 passing for Fyffe for 72 yards. Stoner had two catches for 43 yards. Tyler Kinard and Kyle Dukes led the Fyffe defense. Kinard finished with 10 tackles and Dukes had nine.
“I’m a blessed man and this is a blessed team,” said head coach Paul Benefield. “Our kids fought through a lot of adversity to get to this point. Most people don’t know that due to multiple injuries, we started five sophomores and two freshman the last three games, and they rose to the occasion. I’m as proud of this team as any I’ve ever coached. The last few years have just been beyond my wildest dreams.”

 

4.  Jeremy Pruitt Defends Himself

July 26, 2018

By Jordan Wilks

Rainsville native, Jeremy Pruitt has taken backlash upon acceptance of his first collegiate head coaching job for the Tennessee Volunteers. CBS Sports Network analyst, Aaron Murray criticized Pruitt’s capability to be a head coach by saying, “I don’t know if his personality is fit to be a head coach…It’s not just going in there and dealing with the kids and scheming up. There’s a lot that goes into it.” “He’s really good managing just a defense and being a defensive coordinator. He needs to prove to me that he can handle the whole ship. For right now, I don’t think he can.”
Pruitt responded on SEC Media Days by quoting his father, Dale Pruitt, who is also a Rainsville native saying, “As long as they pay their money, son, they can say whatever they want to.” Jeremy Pruitt also said, “I’m going to worry about the things that I can control, and I know who I am and I’m comfortable with that…I could probably name you a hundred high school coaches that are far more deserving than I am. I was just at the right place at the right time…and I’m going to try to do the best I possibly can just like I have with every other job.”
Former Alabama defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt stated that he had been greatly welcomed by Tennessee fans in Knoxville and he hopes to reward them with a team they can be proud of. Jeremy Pruitt will lead the Tennessee Volunteers on the field for their first game against West Virginia on September 1st.

 

5.  Plainview’s Season Ends

May 24, 2018

By: Will Jacobs

Last Thursday and Friday, the Plainview Lady Bears’ Varsity Softball team made it to the Class 3A State Tournament. The Lady Bears came into this tournament as the North Regional Champions and were looking to bring home a State Championship trophy.
The first game for Plainview came on Thursday, May 17, against the Pleasant Valley Lady Raiders. Plainview led 1-0 at the bottom of the first inning. Pleasant Valley tie the game up at 1-1 in the second inning, but Plainview added to their lead in the third for a 2-1 score.
Pleasant Valley scored one more run in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game up at 2-2. However, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Plainview took the lead for good by scoring four runs to take a 6-2 lead. This rally came off of an RBI single from Crimson Wells, an RBI single from Kenzi Traylor, a walk from Tobi Trotter that scored one run, and an RBI single from Bailey Smart.
Plainview came away with a 6-2 victory over the Lady Raiders. Kenzi Traylor was credited the win and she finished the game with four and one-third innings pitched with three strike-outs. Ava Jacobs finished the game with two and two-thirds innings pitched with two strike-outs.
Bailey Smart finished the game going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Kenzi Traylor finished 2-for-4 with one RBI. Crimson Wells and Jacey Crowell both finished the game going 1-for-2 from the plate.
The next game for Plainview came later on Thursday night against the Prattville Christian Academy Lady Panthers.
Prattville took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Plainview answered back with two. Prattville reclaimed the lead in the top of the second inning off of a two-run homerun. Plainview again captured a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Prattville took the lead back in the top of the third inning when they scored three runs to take a 6-4 lead. Plainview would rally to get twelve hits in the game, but they were unsuccessful in reclaiming the lead throughout the rest of the game and Prattville held on to win 6-4.
Kenzi Traylor led Plainview at the plate by going 4-for-4. Ava Jacobs and Krimson Kidd both followed by going 2-for-4, while Jacey Crowell went 2-for-3 from the plate. Kenzi Traylor finished the game with two and one-third innings pitched, and Ava Jacobs finished the game with four and two-thirds innings pitched and three strikeouts.
This loss put Plainview in the loser’s bracket.
Their next game came on Friday, May 18, against the Lauderdale County Lady Tigers. Plainview took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Lauderdale County answered back with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
After a scoreless second inning for both teams, Plainview added one run to their lead in the top of the third inning and added three more runs the fourth inning to make the score 7-2.
Neither team scoree again until the top of the sixth inning when Plainview again added three more runs to bring their lead to 10-2, but allowed Lauderdale County to score six runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to just 10-8.
Plainview failed to score in the top of the seventh inning, and Lauderdale County had a chance to take the lead and put Plainview out of the tournament. However, the Lady Tigers were unsuccessful in their attempts at the plate and failed to score any runs. Plainview held on to defeat the Lady Tigers 10-8.
Tobi Trotter led the Lady Bears at the plate by going 4-for-5. Ava Jacobs followed by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Bailey Smart went 3-for-5 from the plate with three RBIs and Crimson Wells went 2-for-3 from the plate with one RBI. Ava Jacobs was credited with the win, and she finished the game with seven innings pitched and five strikeouts.
The next game for Plainview came on Friday afternoon where they faced off against the Locust Fork Lady Hornets. Both teams failed to score until the bottom of the third inning when Plainview took a 3-0 lead. The Bears added twelve more runs in the fourth inning to take it to a 15-0 lead. The Lady Hornets failed to score in the top of the fifth inning, and due to the mercy rule, Plainview defeated Locust Fork 15-0 in four innings.
Bailey Smart led the Bears at the plate by going 2-for-2 with five RBIs. Kenzi Traylor and Crimson Wells followed by both going 2-for-3 from the plate and Wells had two RBIs. Elaine Puckett went 1-for-1 with two RBIs. Ava Jacobs was credited with the win and finished the game with four innings pitched and five strikeouts and gave up only one hit.
Plainview’s final game came Friday afternoon against the Geneva Lady Panthers.
Geneva took a 3-0 lead top of the first inning. Plainview failed to score until the second inning, but brought the score to 3-1.
Neither team scored until the fourth inning when Geneva put three more runs on the board, but Plainview never gave up. They scored seven runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 8-6 lead over the Lady Panthers.
Geneva reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth inning by scoring six runs, however, Plainview added one run in the bottom of the inning cutting the lead to 12-9.
After preventing Geneva from scoring in the top of the seventh inning, Plainview came into the dugout one last time to try to reclaim the lead, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
Krimson Kidd led the Lady Bears at the plate by going 3-for-4. Ava Jacobs and Kenzi Traylor both went 2-for-4 from the plate with Traylor having two RBIs and Jacobs having one RBI. Ava Jacobs finished the game with seven innings pitched and one strikeout.
The Lady Bears made program history last season by finishing fifth in the state. This year’s team, however, went even farther and finished third in the state. The Lady Bears finished the 2018 season with a 42-11 record and an Area Championship trophy and a North Regional Championship trophy.

 

6.  A New Stage In Life

March 22, 2018

By Bonita Wilborn

Coach Paul Ellis

Human beings face a plethora of new things throughout their lives. We’re born, and before too long we learn to talk and then walk. As time goes on we learn new things from day to day and year to year. Starting school is one of the huge milestones in a child’s life as they are going to a strange place that is big and scary, where their mother or baby sitter will no longer be with them all day. That’s where they first begin to learn how to live in society. Each grade completed brings on new challenges, new circumstances, and yet another stage in life to become accustomed to. Each stage in life carries us to new heights we’ve never achieved and presents us with opportunities we’ve never had.
Paul Ellis, current Head Football Coach at Fort Payne High School is soon to step into a new stage in his life as he will be stepping out of the comfort zone where he’s spent a large majority of his adult life and moving into a new coaching position. On Tuesday, March 13th Paul Ellis was officially hired as Head Football Coach at LaFayette High School in LaFayette, Georgia. “I’ve spent 23 years here at Fort Payne, with the last 14 being Head Coach,” Paul Ellis said. “It took a lot of soul searching to be sure this was the right decision. My time at Fort Payne has just been terrific. I’ve had great cooperation from the faculty, the students, and the administration. I’m thankful for that and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But, just like the seniors that will be graduating this year and moving on to the next stage in their lives, I felt that it was time for a new stage in my life as well. I hope it will go well.”
Coach Ellis is a 1985 graduate of Fyffe High School. After graduation he attended Northeast Alabama Community College where he worked toward an Associates of Science Degree in Pre Pharmacy. After completing his time at Northeast Paul then went on to Auburn University’s Pharmacy School to continue his Pharmacy Degree. However, after a year he seceded that he preferred to teach and coach, so he transferred to Jacksonville State University to complete his education. He received a Composite Science Degree there and then received his Masters Degree from the University of Alabama in Gadsden. Over the years he has taught just about every kind of science that is available. Coach Ellis was hired for his first coaching position at Valley Head High School, where he stayed three years before moving on to Fort Payne High School. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said, “and I’ve never worked a day in my life.”
With many years of coaching experience under his belt, Coach Paul Ellis will be retiring in Alabama to take the position in Georgia, which will begin on April 9th. “My hope is that the players I’ve worked over the years can say ‘I know coach cared about me and tried to help me in every way he could.’ You can’t have success without good players and good assistant coaches,” Ellis said. “We’ve been blessed with coaches that are men of character.”
Under the tutelage of Paul Ellis, the Fort Payne Wildcats have made the playoffs every season except two. They won six region championships and in 2011 Ellis served as the Head Coach for the North-South All-Star game.
“LaFayette’s program is about like it was here when I first took over, but when I do anything I’m all in. I hope to be able to take some of the positive attitude and success we’ve had here, with me to LaFayette.”

 

7.  New Coaches At The Helm

July 5, 2018

By Bonita Wilborn

The DeKalb County Board of Education approved Dust Darnell as head football coach for the Crossville Lions. Darnell is a 1997 graduate of Crossville. He has served as an assistant coach since 2002 first at Crossville and then Sardis High School. Coach Darnell is replacing Coach Miles Holcomb took a position at Hoover High School.
The Fort Payne Board of Education named Chris Elmore as head football coach for the Wildcats. Elmore is a graduate of Fort Payne High School and has coached at Chelsea High School, Hueytown High School, Fort Payne, and LaFayette High School.
The DeKalb County Board of Education named Heath Vincent as head football coach for the Valley Head Tigers. Vincent has twenty years of coaching experience under his belt filling positions at Section, Ashville, Fort Payne, Dade County, Oak Mountain, and Buckhorn.
On, May 8th, Luke Pruitt began his job as head football coach for the Pisgah Eagles. Pruitt, a graduate of Plainview High School, began his coaching career there as the offensive coordinator under his dad, Dale Pruett. He has also served as defensive coordinator for the Albertville Aggies. Since Luke has been around football for most of his life, his experience should come in handy as he begins his first season as head coach.

 

8.  Local Kicker To Join Gators

August 8, 2018

By Jordan Wilks

Evan McPherson

Fort Payne High School graduate, Evan McPherson committed to the Florida Gators back in December. AHSAA record holder, McPherson originally committed to play football at Mississippi State after receiving offers from a few other schools. McPherson committed to Mississippi State in April of last year before receiving an offer from Florida in November. He visited Florida and committed soon after.
McPherson enrolled with the Florida Gators at the end of June and will be replacing Florida’s most recent kicker, Eddy Pineiro. Pineiro didn’t return for his senior year and went on to play for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. McPherson was named the No. 2 prospect in the nation for his position so its no wonder that Florida jumped to give him an offer as soon as Pineiro decided to join the NFL.
McPherson played soccer growing up and began his high school football career in 7th grade as a receiver. After his 7th grade season, the Fort Payne High School football coaching staff placed him on special teams as the kicker and he has improved ever since. McPherson broke an Alabama state record on a 60-yard field goal against Brewer last October. It tied for the second longest field goal in AHSAA history but first in the longest snap-and-hold field goal.
McPherson originally wasn’t sure he would be the starting kicker for the Florida Gators when he first committed to them. No one was positive whether Eddy Pineiro would go on to join the NFL or not, but McPherson was prepared to be red shirted his freshman year of college. After Pineiro left for the Oakland Raiders, McPherson was sealed in as Florida’s  starting kicker.

 

9.  Dominance Runs Deep

June 21, 2018

By Bonita Wilborn

Nick Ledbetter

Plainview’s new head football coach, Nick Ledbetter, and his strength and conditioning/ coach/offensive line, Josh Clements both have dominance in their blood. Nick Ledbetter played football at Plainview during the famed “Decade of Dominance” in the 1990s under the guidance of Coach Dale Pruitt and Josh played football at Fyffe during the years when Fyffe was ascending the domination ladder under the tutelage of Coach Paul Benefield.
Ledbetter, age 36, is a 2000 graduate of Plainview High School where he was an all-state linebacker in 1999, his senior season. While attending Plainview Ledbetter participated in football as well as baseball throughout his high school years. He received offers to continue his athletic career in both football and baseball but chose instead to attend Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) and then transfer to the University of Alabama.
Although he is still a young man, Ledbetter has already logged a lot of time on the sideline in a coaching capacity. His first stint as a coach came as a volunteer assistant on Plainview’s coaching staff during the years when Coach Clay McCall was at the helm. That stint lasted for the two years that Ledbetter attended NACC. After that, Ledbetter spent time on the coaching staff at the University of Alabama, first as a student assistant and then after graduating he received a graduate assistant position. Ledbetter left Alabama when he received a position at D.A.R., where he was instrumental in starting their first ever football program. His time at D.A.R. lasted for only one season.
Dale Pruitt returned to Plainview after a few years away and upon his return he contacted Ledbetter about becoming his defensive coordinator. So it was back home to Plainview for his second time coaching on the Bears’ sideline. He remained in that position from the 2006 season through the 2013 seasons (8 years).
After that, Ledbetter switched sports when he received the head baseball coaching position at Scottsboro High School where he stayed for two seasons (2013–2015) before returning to his first love, (on the sports scene of course) football. Ledbetter then came back to the DeKalb County School System as a member of Coach Matt Putnam’s Ram defense. His three-year stint there rounds out a total of 16 years for his coaching career.
Ledbetter commented, “Sylvania, Coach Putnam, and Mr. King gave me the opportunity to come back into DeKalb County to coach football there. Because we had success there and the players worked hard it gave me the opportunity to come here [Plainview]. The board, Mr. Richards, and Dr. Barnett trusted me to come here and it’s exciting to be back home and come back to the place where I learned how to play the game. The kids here already have a pretty good work ethic. There are a few things we have to pick up on, but everything’s going to work out. I named Chase Parker the defensive coordinator, today. I’m in the process of finding an offensive coordinator.
So far as positions, we’ve really not set down with the staff, we’ve just been working them out, running them outside, and instilling a little bit of offense and defense. I’ve not broken down who’s coaching what yet. We have a tough first half of the season, that’s for sure. We’ll go first thing and play Collinsville; a really good team, then we’ll turn right around and play North Jackson and then Geraldine and Sylvania back to back, which are two of the better teams in our region. Then we’ll have Susan Moore, which I don’t know anything about, followed by Fyffe.”
Coach Ledbetter concluded, “Melissa and I have prayed about where God wants us to be and for him to lead us. When he closed doors he opens other doors so everything works out for a reason. That’s why I’m here, cause that’s where I’m supposed to be right now.”
Josh Clements is a 2009 graduate of Fyffe High School. After graduating there, he attended Shorter University in Rome, Georgia where he played football. After graduating in the spring of 2013 he began his coaching career at Hazel Green that summer under the guidance of Coach Matt Putnam. He remained there for two years.
“When Coach Putnam left and went to Sylvania,” Clements said, “I took a teaching/football coaching position at Cullman High School under Coach Mark Britton. I spent one year at Cullman.”
Then a teaching position opened at Sylvania and Clements accepted the opportunity to work with Coach Putnam again. During his two years at Sylvania Coach Clements has helped coach football both years, coached junior high baseball the first year (Nick Ledbetter was the varsity coach), and during his second year he took on the strength program for the girls programs and filled the boys head coaching position for the first ever Rams soccer team.
Coach Clements has been hired to fill the vacancy left in the faculty by Steve Bowman’s retirement; sixth grade teacher. He stated, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue working with Coach Ledbetter. He has a wealth of both knowledge and experience. He also has a passion for not only the game, but also for the students he works with. I hope to learn as much as I can under Ledbetter and with our staff at Plainview.”

 

10.  Sylvania’s Inaugural Soccer Season

September 26, 2018

By Bonita Wilborn

Coach Josh Clements

Josh Clements, Sylvania High School’s Assistant Football Coach, High School Algebra Teacher, and strength and conditioning coach for girls athletics, will don yet another hat when the spring sports seasons get underway, as he will become the school’s first ever Varsity Boys Soccer Coach. Traci Roper, Sylvania’s EL Teacher will be coaching the Varsity Girls Team.
According to Sylvania’s Booster Club President, Tammy Andrade, students from Sylvania have been participating in recreational league soccer for approximately seven years, and are very excited that their school will finally have a team. “Coach Clements is good hearted and he’s a good coach,” Andrade began. “We works very well with the football players and the students really respond well to him. We’re excited that Coach Clements was willing to take on the task of coaching the soccer team.”
“We started fund raising in January of 2017,” Coach Clements explained. “I set a goal of $30,000 so that we could buy the necessities; uniforms, goals, balls, training equipment, and etc. We put the boys and girls both through a summer workout program. The boys had been doing that for a couple of years and we started it with the girls and tied it all in with every female sport at Sylvania. So for the students it’s been fundraising and preparing to play.”
Josh Clements is a 2009 graduate of Fyffe High School where he played football for the legendary Coach Paul Benefield. After graduating high school, he attended Shorter College in Rome, Georgia where he was a student athlete and played football. After graduating from Shorter, Josh got a job in the education field. He taught and helped coach football at Hazel Green High School from 2013-2015. The next stop in Coach Clements’ career was at Cullman High School for the 2015-2016 school year where he taught and coached football. Then he came back to DeKalb County at Sylvania High School to teach and coach football with the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. Having football in the bloodstream, it might seem strange that Coach Clements would be willing to take on a sport that he has no experience in as a player. “The students at Sylvania are really excited about us starting a soccer team. They’ve wanted to have a team there for a while, even before I came to Sylvania,” Coach Clements said. “There’s just not been a county employee that was willing to start a program with the kids, until now.” But what Coach Clements lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm. “I’ve met with Fort Payne’s coaching staff and watched lots of videos,” he said. “I’m not an expert in soccer by no means, but I have Delfino Meza, a Fort Payne graduate on staff at Sylvania and he is going to be the Varsity Boys Assistant Coach. There are some local parents that are willing to help with the Varsity Girls Team.”
Soccer is a spring sport that runs parallel with baseball, so Sylvania’s inaugural season will be beginning very soon. The other schools within DeKalb County that already have established soccer teams are Fort Payne High School, Crossville High School, and Collinsville High School. According to Coach Clements, “For this season Sylvania’s girls are scheduled to compete against Fort Payne, both the girls and boys are scheduled to compete against Crossville, but Collinsville’s schedule was already full, so Sylvania will not get to compete against them this year, but hopefully that will change next year.”
So Sylvania’s soccer teams will be doing a lot of traveling. Sylvania is in a region that includes Tanner High School located in Limestone County, Saint Bernard High School located in Cullman, Decatur Heritage Christian Academy located in Decatur, New Hope located near Gurley, and Whitesburg Christian Academy located in Huntsville.
“Coach Putnam has been instrumental and supportive in getting the soccer team going at Sylvania,” Coach Clements said. “So far as conditioning is concerned, lung capacity must be greater for soccer than with football and basketball. The amount of running in football comes in short bursts; normally 8-10 seconds, them the players will huddle, set up for the next play, and run for another 8-10 seconds. Soccer is more of a continual running sport. It has 2/40minute halves where the players are continually running. So the conditioning is totally different.”
Sylvania’s Soccer team will play on the school’s football field, a good way to make use of the stadium during the dormant months when there is no football being played there. With teams of sixteen varsity boys and twenty-two varsity girls at Sylvania who needed someone that would be willing to be in charge, perhaps enthusiasm will be enough to get them started, after that it will depend on the players’ willingness to learn and work hard to be successful. While this is a building year, we wish them great success.

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