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This year’s honorees deserving

Thursday’s and Friday’s sports pages mark what is one of the most rewarding times of the year.

Not Christmas—though the holiday is enjoyable also—but our annual football honors. The player and coach of the year grace the page to the right of this column, and both are deserving.

Though many were probably aware of his ability, Jemison’s Javae Swindle burst onto the county football scene as a sophomore, leading the area in rushing yards and receptions. Swindle also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and intercepted three passes on defense.

Swindle was often focused on by opposing defense, and he found a way to get his yards anyway. More than a little bit of that had to do with his supporting cast.

If Swindle was contained early in a game, several other Panthers could be turned to, and the offensive line contintued trying to open up holes.

Swindle, the fresh face, provides an interesting contrast to our coach of the year, Maplesville’s Brent Hubbert, who has been around Chilton County football for most of his life.

Hubbert was also honored as the county’s top coach in 2004, his first season at Maplesville, and 2005.

Hubbert has found a way to achieve the kind of relationships with his players that most coaches dream of. The Red Devils like him and can have fun with him, but there also exists an obvious level of discipline.

Another development in county football that deserves special recognition is the progress made by Thorsby under first-year coach Billy Jackson. Sure, the Rebels only won two games, but that’s two more than they won in 2008.

The significance of the season is best measured in attitude instead of wins and losses, though. Jackson convinced his players that if they gave it their all, success would follow.

The success was limited, but it was there. And with a core group of juniors that should be stronger and more experiened next season, Thorsby should be able to build on that success.