Community excited about Red Devils’ latest title game appearance

Published 7:25 pm Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Windows at the Maplesville Pharmacy are decorated to celebrate the Maplesville football team's success.

Windows at the Maplesville Pharmacy are decorated to celebrate the Maplesville football team’s success.


MAPLESVILLE — While there’s no doubt that the members of the Maplesville Red Devils football team are more than ready to play in the AHSAA Class 1A state championship game, it’s also safe to say they aren’t the only ones.

The entire town of Maplesville is ready. One stroll along downtown shows that, with homes and storefronts decorated in red and white. Signs of encouragement for the team are posted along Highway 139, leading from the school along the route the team will take out of town on the way to Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn.

Needless to say, when the squad takes to the field on Dec. 4, they’ll have an entire town behind them.

Town clerk and Red Devil fan Dawn Smitherman said the bond between the town and the team is special.

“Maplesville football brings our community together like nothing I have ever seen anywhere else, and I can’t begin to describe it,” she said. “Since we are a small community, everyone knows everyone or their parents or grandparents.  People know first hand how hard these kids work all year long to condition themselves for these games.  There are traditions here that go back for generations and everyone has stories to tell from their younger days.”

With the football team taking such a special place within the culture of the town, it’s not uncommon for feats on the gridiron to follow players for the rest of their lives, Smitherman said.
“Our guys have heard stories about the crowds at the games back in the middle 90’s, of the Victory Line stretching all the way to the sidelines,” she said. “After the game against Billingsley our guys experienced that themselves.  They will have their own stories to tell. From the team driving up to devil horns —headbands with horns on each side that light up— blinking (on) cheering fans lining up both sides of the road, to a Victory Line that stretched beyond the sideline, to no standing room at the game…The Maplesville community loves these kids and this school.”

Town resident Adrienne Carter, whose daughter attends MHS and is a cheerleader for the Red Devils, agreed about the closeness between the program and the town.

“The pride in these boys that have come up, ever since they were pee wee, (the town) has just been rooting them on,” she said. “It is small, close-knit. It’s wonderful. Their idols have gone on and won that championship in ’96, and now they have the chance to relive that.”
For Smitherman, though, there will be a little more at stake than just the pride of a fan and resident. Her son, Troy Harrison, is a senior on the squad.

“As a fan and a parent I am so excited and proud for these kids,” she said. “I’ve have always told the guys that I am always proud of them, but now I am proud for them.  They have worked so hard conditioning themselves and working together as a team.  This is the very last game for the seniors and I can’t imagine what they are feeling knowing that it will be in the championship game.  Having a son on this team makes it that much more personal. I want him and the rest of the team to enjoy every minute because this is what dreams and memories are made of.”