Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tripp Henderson To BB Comer Memorial high school

A good sports story is easy to find out
Will Heath

Hold on to 16 as long as you can,
Changes come around real soon,
Make us women and men.

So many storylines are going on around East Central Alabama, and there’s barely any time to cover them all.

Normally, we here at The Desk like to turn Wednesday’s column into a “notes” package, a sort of glance at some of the stories that might otherwise slip past our radar. Trouble is, this week, everything seems like a huge, huge story.

Without further adieu, and in no way ranking in order of importance, here’s a look at some of the storylines around East Central Alabama this week:

• You can start off — where else? — on the football field, where spring practice gets underway this week and next around the area. Notably, brand-new B.B. Comer head coach Tripp Henderson opened practice on Tuesday — his Tigers will conclude spring drills on May 15 in Howell’s Cove against Talladega County Central, less than a year removed from its trip to Birmingham for the 1A state finals.

It’s tough to know, obviously, exactly where Comer is headed with its new head coach, the fifth since the retirement of Bobby Overton in 2000. Henderson has a track record of success at Glenwood, a winning personality and even an enjoyable trademark (his teams at Glenwood ran a version of the single-wing). But Comer’s a different situation, obviously, and the Tigers need to replace some skill position guys lost from the 2007 team.

Still, if there’s an opponent out there that will let you know exactly where you are as a football team, it’s probably TCC. Spring practice will begin next week nearly everywhere else, with spring games around the area.

• Of course, for games that count for something, there’s softball, and Pell City turned in one of the more memorable games in recent memory Monday night.

Do you realize, for example, that freshman Alli Hall’s 25 strikeouts were only three short of the state record? I didn’t. That the Lady Panthers have now won 24 games and still somehow can’t crack the state’s top 10 (along with B.B. Comer, and yeah, I don’t like it)?

Area tournaments are going on all over the area, with Childersburg and Munford hosting. Childersburg’s starts today.

“We have been looking forward to this time of the season since we had tryouts back in the fall,” CHS head coach Brian Nelson said. “This is what all the blood, sweat, and tears have been about. Now it is ‘Win or Go Home’ time and that is what it is all about.

“The entire rest of the season is great, but if you don’t win in this tournament then it is all for naught.”

Meanwhile, at Munford, there’s a probability of two more meetings between Munford and Lincoln, both with the area title on the line — the two teams split during the regular season, both games decided by one run.

Too close to call? I’d say ... yeah.

• If you’re talking Lincoln, you have to talk about the state track meet, which gets underway Friday in Troy for 1A, 2A and 3A schools, and in Gulf Shores for the big boys. The Golden Bears are trying to re-claim their spot at the top of 3A in track, something they haven’t done since 2001. The Alabama School for the Deaf is also in pursuit of another 1A title, having finished runner-up in ’07 after winning it in ’06 and ’05.

Beyond that, a number of other storylines are also in play. Talladega County Central’s Kiara Calhoun is defending her title in the 200 meters, and going after a similar crown in the 100. Talladega qualified more for the ’08 meet than they have in recent memory. And Winterboro’s Bacardy McClendon took the high-point championship at sectionals, as well.

• And, of course, let us not forget Childersburg baseball, the team that continues to prove the old wrestling analogy that the hardest thing to do in sport is to take the belt off a champion.

It’s funny: right after last season’s title run ended, I was sitting at John Cox Stadium in Childersburg at a spring football jamboree, talking baseball with some supporters in the press box.

“And the thing about it is,” one told me, “in a couple years, we’re gonna be really good again.”

Turns out, they didn’t have to wait so long. Childersburg, on the road and reeling in a decisive game 3 on Saturday, just kept doing what Childersburg does ... and, naturally, left with the season still intact.

On Friday, they’ll get second-ranked Jackson, a team still smarting from 2007 – they thought they should’ve been the team piled up in the middle of Paterson Field to end the season, and would’ve been, if not for some bad luck against Trinity.

It should be a packed house, and an emotional series.

Just one of a number of great storylines from around East Central Alabama.

About Will Heath Will Heath is sports editor for The Daily Home.


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