The year in local sports

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two-thousand eight was a historic year for Chilton County and the rest of our coverage area.

There was a visit from one of the greatest boxers of all time, perhaps a record number of local football players signing letters of intent to play college football and a number of first-ever or first-in-a-long time occasions.

In chronological order, let’s go down the list of the year’s most important happenings:

Jan. 5

Tournament Most Valuable Player Carlos Gomez scored 26 points to lead host Chilton Christian Academy to a 59-43 win over Florence Christian in the championship game of the Patriot Invitational.

Jan. 7

Chilton County High hosted its first wrestling meet as the first-year program, which had to forfeit three weight classes because it had no one to compete in them, fell to Stanhope Elmore, 48-28.

Feb. 2

Chilton County High wrestler Jamedius Peake advanced to the Class 5A state tournament in Peake’s and his program’s first campaign.

Feb. 6

During the spectacle that has come to be known as National Signing Day, nine local players – Chilton County High’s Derrick Lykes (Auburn) and Ryan Williams (Faulkner); Maplesville’s Nick Andrews (Alabama State), Regis Laister (Alabama A&M) and Marcus Wilson (North Alabama); and Marbury’s Phil Browder (Tuskegee), Chris Ingram (Army), Ronnie Johnson (Arkansas State) and Josh Tatum (Ole Miss) – signed letters of intent to play college football.

Feb. 26

Chilton County High’s soccer program, with a match at Marbury, began its fourth year of existence with some testaments to its growth: two female players and a junior varsity squad.

Feb. 27

Chilton County High football coach Steve McCord announced his resignation after winning 26 games in five seasons.

March 15

Chilton County High won its fourth consecutive county baseball tournament championship with a 15-10 decision over Maplesville.

March 29

Thorsby outscored its opponents 33-3 en route to a county softball tournament championship.

April 29

Former Auburn back Carl Stewart was given the Chilton Auburn Club’s Unsung Hero award at the club’s annual banquet.

April 30

Billingsley graduate Brian Carter was named Chilton County High’s football coach.

May 3

Maplesville’s Brad Pike (javelin throw), Billingsley’s Jay Tyus (110 meter hurdles) and Maplesville’s 4X100 meter relay team of Nick Andrews, Brian Frith, Drek Gardner and Marcus Wilson all turned in second-place finishes in state track and field meets.

May 9

Billingsley’s softball team made its first ever appearance in the sub-state round of the playoffs, losing to Hubbertville 10-2 and 11-2.

June 8

The Red Bull KTM won its fifth out of seven 24-Hour Challenge enduro races at Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club.

June 21

E.M. Henry/West End Park hosted its first Dizzy Dean district playoff round, signaling the park’s return to prominence in the West End community after having been shut down for a 12-15 year period.

July 12

Former boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. spoke at a Red Cross benefit at the Chilton County High School auditorium.

July 19

Clanton Dixie Youth Baseball’s 9- and 10-year-old all-stars hosted the state tournament, a first for the city since 1990.

August 28

Jemison broke its four-year football losing streak to rival Chilton County High when quarterback Eric Argo found running back Merell Morrow for a 33-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with less than one minute left to play.

Sept. 11

Isabella volleyball coach Glen Graham recorded his 250th win at the school when the Mustangs defeated Indian Springs, 25-22, 25-11, 25-19.

Sept. 13

The Isabella volleyball team improved its record to 11-0, its best start ever, with wins over LAMP, Thorsby and Marbury.

Oct. 9

Led by tournament Most Valuable Player Jessica Maciel, Isabella won the first ever junior varsity county volleyball tournament with a 25-7, 25-14 decision over Jemison.

Oct. 11

Isabella won the county volleyball tournament, denying Jemison the championship for only the second time in the modern tournament’s six years of existence.

Nov. 9

In Billingsley’s first playoff win since 1997, the Bears defeated Wadley 18-10.

Dec. 21

Maplesville lineman Daniel Davenport and Marbury all-purpose player Wesley Warren were named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s football all-state teams. Four other local players were honorably mentioned.