Speake program on rise
Oh, what a difference a year makes.
One year ago, Speake's football team was reeling from a 21-0 shutout loss to Hazlewood. It was in the midst of a four-game losing streak for Speake, and the Bobcats went on to finish the season 4-6, while Hazlewood advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
Fast forward to Friday night. Speake beat Hazlewood 27-7, the first time the Bobcats have beaten the Golden Bears since the teams began playing regularly in 2000, and they did it in front of a home crowd.
Speake head coach Heath Grimes must have seen good things ahead when he told THE DAILY in the preseason, "We do think this is a year where we can rise above expectations."
So far so good. Two weeks in, the Bobcats are 2-0 and already making steps toward a milestone year. Only a handful remain perfect: The season is still young, true, but already only six of the 23 teams in THE DAILY's coverage area of Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties and Addison can claim to be undefeated. Unbeaten at 2-0 are Hartselle, Athens, Ardmore, Lawrence County, Speake and Tanner. Hartselle-Decatur draws a crowd: Hartselle High registered what administration believes to be the program's third biggest admission ever when the Tigers hosted Decatur on Friday night. The paid attendance in individual tickets was 3,075, which doesn't include season tickets and pass-gate entrants.
Hartselle athletics director Bob Young said the two games that totaled higher were previous meetings with Austin.
An overflow crowd saw home-team Hartselle beat Decatur 17-7 Friday night, with both sides full and the crowd five deep at some places on the track. Addison's new running man: After losing running sensation and 2005 Class 1A-3A DAILY player of the year Caleb Parker to graduation, it's time for another running back to take center stage in Addison. And the Bulldogs may have found their man: Blake Turner.
The senior running back scored all seven of Addison's touchdowns in a 49-15 win over Hatton on Friday night. Turner was a key ingredient to the Bulldogs success during last season's 1A state championship run, but last year was a supporting role — this year may be spotlight time. No. 5 Athens poised to climb in polls: Ranked No. 5 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, the Athens Golden Eagles may have given pollsters a little something to think about before casting their next vote. While No. 2 Decatur fell 17-7 to unranked Hartselle, Athens was putting on an offensive show.
Athens is known as a passing team, but if a team is only as strong as its weakest link, then the Golden Eagles must be pretty good.
In a 42-14 win over Muscle Shoals in Class 5A, Region 8 play Friday night, Athens rang up 432 rushing yards to go along with 104 yards passing, scoring all of its touchdowns on the ground.
Pass-proficient senior quarterback Rob Ezell even had a 43-yard touchdown run, while senior Ferrell Williams scored three times on the run. Jacquez Pride and Karlos Jones each had one touchdown run.