Prep teams get to work
Mon. August 06, 2012 at 11:00 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Central quarterback Vincent Davis works on a passing drill during the Falcons’ first day of practice on Monday. (Photo by Kelly Lambert)
TUSCALOOSA | Vincent Davis believes hard work is the key to revitalizing the Central High School football program.
Davis and his teammates went to work Monday afternoon as AHSAA teams were allowed to start practicing.
Central coach Dennis Conner had his team working in one session Monday, but he plans for two practices today. The Falcons and all the other AHSAA teams can put on the pads Thursday.
Davis, a junior, has been the starting quarterback for the past two seasons. Central went 2-8 last year and missed out on the Class 5A playoffs.
"I just want everybody to work hard and show dedication," Davis said. "Just come out here and work hard every day with the shorts on. Then when we get in pads, everybody needs to still work hard and do everything right."
The Falcons caught a break from the normally blistering August heat. They practiced under a cloud cover with a cool breeze blowing.
"Actually, they really need to work in some heat," Conner said. "I saw that giving them a couple of days off didn’t benefit them any. They came back today a little bit winded. Some of them didn’t eat today, so they did not prepare themselves for today’s practice. I wanted to find out whether a kid knows where he’s supposed to go and how fast he’s getting there and also if he’s enthused about today’s practice.
"Today they came in a little bit flat, so we started off with some running. That probably put a damper on it from the beginning, but you kind of have to get their attention back. By the time we’re done here today, their attention definitely will be back on football."
Conner said that more than 50 prospects showed up for the first session.
"The ones who showed up are definitely the ones who have been coming this summer," he said. "Our quarterback, Vincent Davis, is a big standout and our middle linebacker, Ron Rice. One of our captains who will be on defense is (defensive back) Clarence Sutton. He had to leave early today to go to an engineering program that is taking place this summer at Stillman (College)."
Conner said he noticed the potential in offensive tackle Lester Cotton and wide receiver DeMarcus Pippen.
Chris Hilliker, a former head coach at Hale County and at Paul W. Bryant, conducted his first official practice with the Northside Rams. He said 51 players in grades 9 through 12 showed up for a morning session.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the conditioning," said Hilliker, who was approved for the Northside job in June. "They seemed to be in good shape. I was pleased with the number of kids."
Hilliker praised his assistant coaches for running the offseason weight program at least twice per week. Hilliker said he added a day of workouts when he came on board.
"The kids have been very receptive to me as a new coach," he said. "They’re very eager, and they want to get better. They want to win."
The Berry Wildcats worked twice Monday as coach Danny Raines greeted 39 players in grades 7 through 12.
"That’s about what we usually have," said Raines, who led Berry to a 10-2 record last season. "I thought we got a lot accomplished. We have a great group of young men. They worked hard today, and we had two really good practices.
"We did some individual drills and some team stuff offensively and defensively. We did a lot of that in the spring, so today was kind of a refresher course. Our kids pretty much know what to expect."
Maken Potter, described by Raines as "a great leader," has already won the job of starting quarterback.
"He’ll play anything for us," Raines said. "He started at defensive end and played some at tight end. He’s been a quarterback, but he was a center for us last year in the playoffs."
Junior Terrance "Tank" Hollingsworth will see action as a running back and defensive back. Hollingsworth, an All-State tailback last season, joined the varsity as a seventh-grader. Senior Clancy Brown is a returning starter at fullback and linebacker. Other key players for the Wildcats are senior J.C. Finch, tight end and defensive back; senior Zac Pasley, offensive and defensive lineman; and junior Jeremiah Chaney, an offensive and defensive lineman.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.