BIBB COUNTY: Choctaws aiming for deeper run
Wed. August 22, 2012 at 11:00 p.m. | By Reed Robinson
Bibb County special teams players practice an extra point kick during football practice at Bibb County High School on Tuesday. (Photo by Natalie Nichols)
CENTREVILLE | Bibb County High School is coming off a successful season that saw the Choctaws finish 12-1 and make it to the third round of the Class 4A playoffs. New coach Mike McCombs is hoping for an even deeper run in the playoffs this season.
McCombs, who became head coach in July, recognizes that the biggest issue is getting over the hump.
"We are used to getting put out in the semi- or quarterfinals," he said. "We had a lot of success, but we want to get in the playoffs and finish."
Another challenge for the players is the constant transition of coaches. The Choctaws have gone through three coaches since the end of last season. Mike Battles, who coached the Choctaws last season, left for Tallassee. Shawn Sutton conducted spring drills but left for a job in Georgia.
Offensively, the Choctaws' main goal will be controlling the tempo.
"We are a hurry-up offense," McCombs said. "We would like to keep our fast tempo. Our tempo will help us keep a balance between rushing and passing.
"Last year we ran a lot and threw few."
Adam Gaddis, a senior running back, is a first-year starter. As a backup last year, he rushed for more than 800 yards.
Watson Fondren, a sophomore, and T.J. Lockett, a junior, are competing for the starting position as quarterback.
Fondren was the backup last season. Lockett, a baseball and basketball player, did not play football last season.
"Lockett is very run-oriented and has an arm," McCombs said. "Fondrin has the experience as backup and has been working hard through the offseason to improve his game. It is going to be a tough decision."
Defensively, McCombs hopes to have a more complex strategy.
"We are a 3-4 defense," he said. "Our defense has been vanilla, though. We are working on having the ability to get in a four-man front. We want to broaden the game plan and have a more complex blitz and secondary."
The Choctaws' secondary will be led by senior safety Ervin Heard.
"He has tremendous coverage ability," McCombs said. "He covers more space than any player I have ever coached.
"We plan on having a lot of movement in the secondary so he can be used in run support."
School: Bibb County High School
Classification: AHSAA Class 4A, Region 4
2011 Record: 12-1
Head coach: Mike McCombs (first year at Bibb County)
Assistant coaches: David Norwood, defensive coordinator; Thomas Patterson, offensive coordinator; Russell Wallace, linebackers; Heath Levert, defensive line; Ryan Kivlin, receivers
Returning Starters: 12
Keep an eye on: Adam Gabbis (5-8, 175, Sr.), DE J.J Geoed (6-3, 260, Sr.), S Ervin Heard (6-0, 185, Sr.)
Key games: Aug. 31 at Greensboro, Sept. 21 at Jemison, Oct. 19 West Blocton
Aug. 31 at Greensboro
Sept. 7 at Carbon Hill*
Sept 14 Oak Grove*
Sept. 21 at Jemison*
Oct. 5 Dora*
Oct. 12 at Calera*
Oct. 19 West Blocton*
Oct. 26 Corner*
Nov. 2 at Pleasant Grove
*Denotes region game