Football suddenly not the only focus

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2009

High school homecoming week is a lot of fun for those involved, what with the dress up days, hall decorations and parades.

But nothing spoils the fun faster than a loss on Friday night. Therein lies the dilemma for football players: they are supposed to be regular students and enjoy the homecoming hoopla but also remained focused enough to pull out a win in the homecoming game.

According to local coaches, that is easier said than done.

Chilton County High coach Brian Carter said the homecoming parade, which begins Friday after school, takes his team out its normal routine.

“To me, that’s the biggest distraction because usually we’re eating pregame at that time and instead we’re riding floats through the city,” Carter said.

So, the Tigers have less time to spend preparing for the game.

At Thorsby, each class elects homecoming officers during the first week of school and is then responsible for building floats, designing T-shirts and decorating walls in the school. Football players, of course, participate just like everyone else, including spending time outside school working on the projects.

Friday, the school will hold a dodgeball game to raise money for the baseball program. It all adds up to an atmosphere not conducive to focusing on football. Also with homecoming comes an added expectation to win.

In addition to CCHS and Thorsby, local teams Billingsley and Verbena will also have their homecoming games on Friday.

Local teams are 2-1 so far in homecoming games.

But coaches don’t restrict their players from participating in any of the extra activities because they want them to enjoy themselves as students—even if it means a little extra work for the coaching staff during the week to try to keep everyone focused.

The first priority, though, is clear.

“We tell our kids, ‘We want you to enjoy homecoming, but enjoying homecoming is winning on Friday,’” Thorsby coach Billy Jackson said.