SUNSHINE: Jones trying to make football a priority
Wed. August 22, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. | By Reed Robinson
Sunshine players run a play during football practice at Sunshine High School, Aug. 16, 2012. (Photo by Natalie Nichols)
NEWBERN | The Sunshine Tigers face could use a boost after an unsuccessful 2011 season.
"The main issue is getting the guys to have self-confidence despite the record last year. It's a tough region and we have a young team," coach Walter Jones said.
This season will be Jones' first as head football coach. The boys basketball coach at Sunshine, Jones took the football job to try to give the players a chance for a successful season.
"Football was being overlooked," he said. "I wanted to put more effort into the sport."
One of Jones' three assistant coaches, Anthony Bryant, is also new to the Sunshine football program.
Bryant, who played football at the University of Alabama, will be the defensive coordinator as well as the offensive and defensive line coach.
Jones is confident his team will perform better than in 2011.
"You always have to be optimistic," he said. "The energy is so positive and we will be very competitive. The communication between coaches and players is fair."
The Tigers are adjusting to a new offense.
"Timing is the biggest thing. Understanding the execution of a simple play is vital," Jones said.
Senior running back Paul Erwin will be the offense's focus.
"He is a hard worker," Jones said. "First one at practice, last one to leave. He is a track guy also. The only problem is his durability. He hasn't played a full season due to health."
On the defensive side, Jones hopes to limit big plays.
"We want to try and be in the games to the end," he said. "Last season we were getting beat by a large margin. It is going to be a tough road. We are going to make an effort, though."
Defensive tackles Tevin Hambright and Jermaine Parker will be charged with keeping the Tigers in games. Hambright started as a junior.
"This will be his breakout season," Jones said. "He is a run-stopper. He has great lateral movement.
"Parker could be one of the better tackles in this area. He isn't as fast as others, but he makes up for it in his strength."
School: Sunshine High School
Classification: AHSAA Class 1A, Region 3
2011 record: 1-9
2011 playoffs: none
Head coach: Walter Jones (first year at Sunshine)
Assistant coaches: Stanley Davis, special teams; Anthony Bryant, defensive coordinator/offensive line/defensive line; Dexter Thornton, secondary
Returning Starters: 5
Keep an eye on: RB Paul Erwin (5-9, 170, Sr.), DT/OT Tevin Hambright (6-1,260, Sr.), DT/OT Jermaine Parker (6-3, 340, So.)
Key games: Aug. 31 at John Essex, Sept. 7 at Keith, Oct. 12 Holy Spirit
Aug. 31 at John Essex
Sept. 7 at Keith*
Sept 14 at Maplesville*
Sept. 21 Billingsley*
Sept. 28 at Hatch
Oct. 5 at Akron*
Oct. 12 Holy Spirit*
Oct. 19 at Ellwood*
Oct. 26 Autaugaville*
Nov. 2 at Johnson
* Denotes region game