Commentary: What we learned from jamborees

Published 10:52 pm Friday, August 20, 2010

After a three-month wait (or, for some fans, a nine-month wait) for high school football to begin, it’s easy to put too much importance on the preseason exhibition games that local teams played Thursday and Friday.

These games should be taken with a grain of salt because they don’t count in the standings. Sure, it’s interesting to see how Class 2A Billingsley stacks up against Class 5A Chilton County—especially when the Bears are being coached by Joe Nettles, who in 1996 led CCHS to its best-ever season—but remember that coaches in these games are looking to get everyone some action while also keeping everyone healthy.

The jamborees can’t be taken as indicators of how a team’s season will go, but there are some things to be learned from the game anyway.

For starters, Chilton County, Jemison and Maplesville all have the opportunity to have successful seasons. CCHS returns almost its entire team from last year except the quarterback. If either Cameron Cummings or Forrest Knight, or a combination of the two, can replace Taylor Hughes’ production, the Tigers will compete with every team on the schedule—and beat its fair share of those teams.

Jemison has all the pieces in place for its best season under coach Brad Abbott. The Panthers return most of their key players, but another important consideration is a couple of additions Abbott made to his staff in the offseason: Jeremy Carter to coach the defensive line, and Jon Clements to help with quarterbacks.

Carter has head coaching experience at Billingsley and Autauga Academy, and Clements is a former Jemison quarterback who also coached the position at CCHS. Fans are familiar with the importance of the head coaching position, but the value of the head coach’s assistants is underestimated. Jemison this season will have as good a staff as any other in Class 4A.

Everyone knows about the success Maplesville has enjoyed under coach Brent Hubbert, and this season has the chance to be the best one yet. Maplesville’s biggest concern will be avoiding injuries as the Red Devils roll through the season.

Also, there will be some growing pains for Billingsley and Isabella. As would be expected, coaches don’t often come into a new job and transform the program immediately. It takes a while for a coach to implement his system and impress his attitude upon the players.
The key will be how these two teams improve as the season progresses.

–Dawkins is the assistant managing editor for The Clanton Advertiser.