Patriots’ title one of year’s top sports stories

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Editor’s note: Below is a compilation of the top North Chilton sports stories of 2011.


Thorsby girls win county tournament title

Thorsby’s girls basketball team has established a dynasty in the Chilton County Basketball Tournament.

The Rebels’ 40-27 win over Verbena gave them their second county title in the past four seasons, and THS made the championship game in both of the other seasons.

THS shows support for breast cancer awareness

Thorsby’s girls basketball team defeated Maplesville, 45-33, but the focus on Jan. 31 seemed to be an opponent common to not just players from both teams but to people across the world: the fight against breast cancer.

A portion of the proceeds from the game was to be donated to the Bruno Cancer Center at St. Vincent’s hospital in Birmingham.

Also, several Thorsby students walked the perimeter of the court with boxes for donations.

The idea for the school’s first Breast Cancer Awareness Night came from these girls, a group of fourth and third graders, calling themselves the “Sweet Girls,” who decided they wanted to do something to promote a cause that has touched them already in their young lives.


McGehee leads Jemison basketball turnarounds

Turning around a basketball program in one season is remarkable.

Stacy McGehee turned around two basketball programs in two years.

The Clanton Advertiser’s basketball coach of the year led Jemison’s boys basketball team from a winless season in 2008-09 to seven wins in McGehee’s first year, in 2009-10, and a winning record, 14-13, in 2010-11.

McGehee said he has been told by people close to the program that it was Jemison’s boys first winning season since the mid-1980s.

McGehee took control of the girls team this season, leading that set of Panthers to an 11-13 record one year after posting only four wins.


Rebels boys, girls win weightlifting titles

Thorsby’s boys weightlifting team won the Class 2A state championship for the second consecutive year on April 2, and their girls counterparts won the 1A-2A championship.

THS had four male athletes win individual state titles: Kalup Nunn, Jonathan Spivey, Kip Cleckley and Colton Castleberry.

The Rebels boys and girls combined to finish second as a team in the 1A-6A competition, behind only a 5A school.

Thorsby’s Carroll tosses perfect game

Thorsby’s Cody Carroll is one of the best pitchers in the state’s 2A classification, and he had extra motivation during an April 8 game against Isabella.

The result: Carroll pitched the first perfect game—no hits or walks allowed—of his varsity career as the fourth-ranked Rebels clinched their third consecutive area championship with a 16-0, five-inning win.

Carroll struck out nine of the 15 batters he faced. Only two Isabella hitters, Andrew Smith and Trey Calfee, got the ball out of the infield. Both lifted fly balls to right fielder Jace Maddox in the third inning.

JHS archery team makes Nationals

In only its first year of existence, the Jemison High School archery team will compete on the National Archery in the Schools Program’s biggest stage.

The JHS archers—ranked in the top 5 in the state—qualified in the high school division for NASP Nationals on May 13-14 in Louisville, Ky., by posting their best score of the season at a state competition.


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.

Archie wins fifth state track championship

Thorsby’s Sade’ Archie won her fifth state track and field championship, on May 7.

Archie won in the 100-meter dash, which she ran 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 in 2011

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.


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

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 will be Jemison’s next football coach, replacing Brad Abbott, who gave up the position after seven seasons.

Bowden, a 1987 JHS graduate, comes to Jemison from Oak Mountain, where he has coached the past 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.


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 teams 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 a rematch in the finals with Chelsea.


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.


CCA Patriots pick up first-ever win

Chilton Christian Academy’s 6-man football team christened its field with a win against Faith Christian in the Patriots’ first-ever home game on Sept. 2.

The Patriots, a first-year program, lost their season opener to Trinity in Oxford on Aug. 19, but they bounced back to defeat the Faith Christian Lions 58-12 in their second game of the season.


Patriots win first-ever six-man state championship

On Nov. 4, the Chilton Christian Academy Patriots walked off R. Jerry Morris Memorial Ball Field in Hueytown as state champions.

Chilton Christian beat Marion Academy, 58-50, in the inaugural Christian Football Association championship game—in a thrilling contest that set the bar high for future title games.


Swindle named football player of year

Jemison senior running back Javae Swindle was named The Clanton Advertiser’s Football Player of the Year after a season in which he rushed for 1,443 yards and 19 touchdowns in nine games, bringing his three-year total to 4,503 yards and 57 touchdowns.

The Panthers finished with a 6-4 record in coach Merritt Bowden’s first season but failed to qualify for the playoffs.