News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Priceville stars missed sweet tea but enjoyed Australia
Stevens, Long shined in Down Under Bowl

By Ashley Hargrove · 340-2460

PRICEVILLE — After their senior season ended last fall, recent Priceville High graduates Will Stevens and Wes Long never thought they would have a chance to play competitive football again, especially in Australia.

But after sending in numerous game films to the International Sports Specialists in North Logan, Utah, they received letters eight weeks later stating they would be the first-ever Priceville football players to participate in the Down Under Bowl.

“We were hoping that we would get picked,” Stevens said.

“The whole experience was great. It something that was worth all of the time, money and working out that we put into it.”

Stevens said it was a bit of a culture shock when they arrived in Australia.

“Things are a bit different there than they are here,” Stevens

“They had no sweet tea or lemonade. When we asked for it, they had no idea what we were talking about. It may have been different, but it was definitely more exciting than Priceville.”

The Down Under Bowl program began in 1988 and is on the eastern seaboard of Australia near Brisbane in Queensland. It includes hundreds of high school football players and coaches.

Teams are divided into four-team brackets and play two games each in June and July.

Professional indoor football coach Tom Posey, a Kentucky resident and a 1987 Danville High graduate, has coached in the event since 1998 and recruits players for his East Coast team.

Stevens and Long spent two weeks in Australia and Hawaii with Posey’s team.

While in Australia, they played in two games, winning both and bringing home gold medals for taking the championship in their four-team bracket.

Stevens got the start at quarterback, while Long started at guard and linebacker.

As for the week in Hawaii, they did nothing more than relax.

“Being in Hawaii was more like being on vacation,” Long said.

“We walked around at night in Australia with the Aussies, but mainly, we either practiced or had games.”

Stevens and Long were two of three players from Alabama who were picked to participate. The other members of their team came from Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland and three from Australia.

With both Bulldogs earning a spot in the games, Long said he hopes they have started something that other Priceville High football players can continue.

“Hopefully, with us being picked and getting to participate in something like this says a lot about our football program,” Long said. “I hope that more players will get the chance to participate next year.”

Long, who made The Daily’s all-area honorable mention football team last fall, is set to attend Wallace State-Hanceville in the fall to major in flight technology, while Stevens will continue his baseball career as a pitcher for Stillman Collegein Tuscaloosa. Stevens, a Daily all-area selection in baseball this spring, plans to major in broadcasting.

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