Sports Year in Review, Part 2

Published 10:30 am Friday, December 30, 2011

Thrown into the fire: Jemison’s Merritt Bowden, left, and Chilton County’s Donnie Hand coached against each other in their first games on the sidelines of their respective squads. JHS won the annual rivalry game, 29-13, on Aug. 25, 2011.

Editor’s note: In the next several days, The Clanton Advertiser will revisit some of the top sports stories of 2011. Below are memorable stories from May through August.


JHS athletes help tornado victims

The Jemison softball team planned a trip to watch the sixth-ranked University of Alabama softball squad host Kentucky, but the April tornadoes forced the cancellation of the game and thus the trip.

Instead, the Panthers decided to help tornado victims by collecting needed supplies and then dropping them off in Tuscaloosa.

Jemison boys tennis team finishes third in state

Jemison’s boys tennis team finished third in the Class 4A state tournament, matching the program’s best performance in Coach Benton Morton’s 10 years. JHS also finished third in the 2007 state tournament.

Jake Long was the state runner up in the No. 6 singles position, and teammate Andrew Morton made it to the semifinals. Long and Morton also reached the semifinals as the No. 2 doubles team. Thompson and Nick Long reached the semifinals in the No. 3 doubles position.

Three local athletes bring home state championships

Local athletes won three championships at their respective state track meets on May 7.

Thorsby’s Sade’ Archie won her fifth state championship, this one coming in the 100-meter dash.

She ran the distance in 12.96 seconds.

Archie has won the 100 three consecutive years; she also has won two titles in the 200-meter dash.

Archie finished fourth in the 200-meter dash this year.

Marqueska Deramus, meanwhile, won what is believed to be Verbena’s first track and field state championship.

Deramus recorded a distance of 32’4” in the shot put.

Maplesville’s Cameron Morrow also won a state championship, running the 100-meter dash in 11.38 seconds.

Thorsby’s historic season comes to end

Thorsby baseball’s historic season ended May 14 with a 14-3, five-inning loss against Leroy in the Class 2A state semifinals.

The Rebels lost both games of the best-of-three series but were unashamed of the effort they gave in their first-ever semifinal appearance.

Host Thorsby fought back from a 12-run deficit in Game 1 on May 13 to force an extra inning before Leroy won, 19-14. And THS trailed just 6-3 in the bottom of the third inning of Game 2 before it was suspended because of weather and impending darkness.

Red Devils out at state tournament

Maplesville dropped two straight games in the Class 1A state softball tournament on May 20 — the team’s third consecutive appearance — and had its season ended with a record of 26-15.

The Red Devils first lost to South Lamar, 12-1, as the opponents scored in every inning. Maplesville’s second game of the day ended in a 9-3 loss to Waterloo.


Thorsby pair receives top baseball honors

Jason Price enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, the result of a year of experience and an offseason spent in his personal batting cage.

And Price’s emergence was perhaps the most significant reason behind the Thorsby baseball team advancing to the semifinal round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history.

Price was The Clanton Advertiser’s Baseball Player of the Year, and his coach, Ab Argent, was the Coach of the Year.

Argent was also named the Class 2A Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, while Price and senior pitcher Cody Carroll were both named to the All-State Baseball Team.

Familiar figure tapped to lead Chilton County football

A former staple of the Chilton County High School basketball program was chosen as the next man to lead the football team.

Donnie Hand was named the new CCHS football coach and athletic director on June 21, the same day former coach and AD Brian Carter resigned.

Hand coached the school’s basketball team for 12 seasons before retiring in March 2010. Now, he’ll hope to duplicate the success on the gridiron enjoyed by his father, Don Hand, the most recognized coach in program history.

Bowden named new Jemison football coach

Merritt Bowden has made many coaching stops. But his next one is to lead the school he graduated from.

Bowden was named Jemison’s next football coach, replacing Brad Abbott, who gave up the position after seven seasons.

Bowden, a 1987 JHS graduate, came to Jemison from Oak Mountain, where he coached the previous two years, most recently serving as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach.

Bowden led the Panthers to a 6-4 record, including a season opening win over rival Chilton County, in his first year as coach.


Three local players selected as all-stars

Chilton County was well represented at the Alabama All-Stars Sports Week. Three local players and two coaches were chosen to participate in the July event in Montgomery.

Thorsby’s Erick Camarillo and Maplesville’s Hunter McCay competed in the all-star football game for the South team, which was coached by Maplesville’s Brent Hubbert, while Chilton County’s Kipp Moore played in the baseball game for the South squad, which was coached by Moore’s varsity coach, Josey Shannon.

North Chilton youth baseball team wins state title

The North Chilton Orioles 11-and-under youth baseball team did what no other team in its league has done: win the Dizzy Dean Baseball State Championship.

The Orioles—made up of players from Jemison, Thorsby and West End—entered the state tournament in Cullman on July 6 as a No. 1 seed after defeating Chelsea 7-6 in the District 12 regional tournament. They went through the state tournament undefeated, besting Walker County, 18-0; Huffman, 9-6; East Walker, 12-10; and Albertville, 13-10, on their way to winning a rematch in the finals with Chelsea.

Campers show up to work with UA players

For a city where football and baseball reign as the unquestioned most popular sports, Clanton sure seemed a basketball hotspot on July 9.

More than 100 school age players showed up at the Chilton County High School gymnasium for the Sarrell Dental Basketball Camp, featuring several University of Alabama stars.

Clanton residents proved eager for the opportunity, as the crowd of 113 participants was the largest for a Sarrell camp.


Panthers win rivalry game

Every time Chilton County thought it had a chance, Jemison’s Javae Swindle showed the capacity crowd at Panther Stadium otherwise.

Swindle ran for 268 yards and two touchdowns—and set up two other scores—as JHS topped rival CCHS, 29-13, in both teams’ season openers on Aug. 25.