Playoffs for two tigers and an eagle

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2001

As if there were any doubt, my predictions came true, and we now have three teams playoff-bound.

The real Cinderella story of the year is those Tigers in southern Butler County.

The McKenzie High School Tigers, led by new Head Coach Shane Smothers, had not earned more than three wins in three years, prior to the onset of the "Smothers Era."

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But just as Shane predicted in the early summer, if the team wanted the wins, and the parents got behind them, then he would lead them to victory.

And lead he did n not only did they overcome forfeiture of their first two games for a technicality, one of which was a regional win for them, but they persevered, and successfully unseated the number one team in the region to win the championship last Friday night in Marengo.

And that, my friends, is quite an accomplishment for the little schoolhouse in the southernmost community in Butler County!

With that distinction, McKenzie has earned the home-field advantage for round one of the playoffs, which will take place in two weeks.

Equally as astonishing are the accomplishments made this year by the Greenville High School Tigers.

Also coming into the season with a new head coach, the Greenville Tigers have become increasingly stronger with each game played.

But although he is extremely modest, kudos must go to Head Coach Alvin Briggs, who, a legend in his own time, has instilled in the Tigers the desire and ability to get progressively stronger with each meeting on the gridiron.

Briggs, a Greenville native and legendary player for the Greenville Tigers, followed by five tremendous years lettering as an Auburn University Tiger, before topping-off his playing career under the direction of Head Coach Tom Landry for the Dallas Cowboys. He credits his team with the heart, soul, and minds to do whatever it is they set out to accomplish n and in their case, the goal has been constant improvement, both physically and mentally, eliminating mistakes with every play.

Then there are the Ft. Dale Academy Eagles, who once again have risen to the top like sweet cream, under the direction of seasoned Head Coach James "Speed" Sampley.

The Eagles too, have earned the distinction of home-field advantage, by surfacing as number one for their region in the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Class AAA bracket.

Ft. Dale this week will face for the second time at home Mobile Christian Academy, who at their first face-off together early in the season, produced a secret weapon with a new running back, who wore the number 20 on his jersey.

But this time, they will be prepared for the team, and I feel certain that only good things will come to the Eagles this time around.

Let's show these great athletes from all three teams how much they have accomplished by coming out to the games and supporting them, as they "Go for the Gold."

On another note, it is with mixed-emotions, a little nervousness, and much eager anticipation that I am moving upward in my career in journalism with Greenville Newspapers.

Beginning at the end of the week, I will be assuming the position of editor of both The Luverne Journal and The Lowndes Signal, from the office in Luverne.

Although I will be covering the news in those papers, I will also continue to keep an active role in the sports of Butler County, both in The Greenville Advocate and The Butler County News.

Please welcome aboard Amy Fuller, who comes to us straight from Troy State University, where some of the world's greatest journalists have gotten their start.

Amy will be taking my position here as Staff Writer, and I am confident she will do well in her new capacity.

Welcome her with open arms, and an open heart, and show her exactly why Greenville was named the "Greatest Small Town" in America, by e-Podunk.

I will continue to speak my diatribe (I promised myself I would someday use Buster's word) from way out here in Deep Left Field, and am looking forward to the football playoffs, and the soon-to-come basketball season.