Maplesville celebrates football title

Published 5:27 pm Friday, December 5, 2014

CUTLINE: Banners marking the football team’s success hang in the halls of Maplesville High School one day after winning the AHSAA Class 1A state championship. (Advertiser/Drew Granthum)

CUTLINE: Banners marking the football team’s success hang in the halls of Maplesville High School one day after winning the AHSAA Class 1A state championship. (Advertiser/Drew Granthum)


Judging by the signs, banners and general buzz about the town, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to wonder if Christmas came early to Maplesville.

The Maplesville Red Devils brought a big present to the town in the form of a AHSAA Class 1A state football championship on Thursday, as the squad knocked off Hubbertsville, 49-0 in Auburn.

Steven Hunter, principal for MHS, said the atmosphere at the school had students “walking on air.”

Hunter said the school held a pep rally of sorts to honor the team early Friday morning.
“They’re all excited,” he said. “It was more of just a celebration. We visually presented (the team) with the trophy again, we gave everybody a chance to say something if they wanted to.”

At the celebration, Hunter said the emotions of capturing the title caught up with a few players.

“We had one of the players talk about how he had learned a lot over the season, but not just on the field,” he said. “He had learned some life lessons, and learned to take responsibility.”

Hunter said the success of the team had a positive effect on the morale of the school as well.

“When you’re winning like this, it makes everything go better,” he said. “It’s such a family atmosphere. Everybody is pulling for each other, working with each other.”

Hunter was also quick to praise the tight bond between the community and the school.

“Words really can’t describe the support we got from the community,” he said. “The community is incredibly behind the school. Any program we get going, they’re behind.”

The feeling of elation wasn’t just limited to the school and students; elsewhere in the town, residents of Maplesville were still taking in the win.

Former MHS principal George Walker Jr., the namesake of the stadium where the Red Devils play, said the relationship between town and team was evident in his 41 years as head of the school.

Walker said part of the town’s appreciation of the team stems from the opportunity to see someone within the community rise up and represent it on a bigger stage.

“We’ve had a lot of good athletes,” he said. “We had (Joe Latham) back in the 1940s that played here and ended up in the hall of fame at Southern Mississippi and played some professional ball then we had John McAfee…Tommie Agee (and) Clarence Morgan who played at Auburn. Harold Morrow (also) played at Auburn. Harold and Tommie both played professional ball.”

Maplesville resident Ellen Jones said the closeness of the small community created a sense of family with the players.

“I have two players,” she said. “The one that kicks field goals (John Schoener) is my grandson, and I have a senior cheerleader. We’re just so proud of our boys.  We had people there from Jemison. They said they couldn’t make it, so they’d support us.”

Walker said the combination of the community, the athletes and coaches helped make Maplesville football special through the years. He also pointed out the family-like atmosphere of the program, noting that current coach Brent Hubbert’s father Jim, was the head coach for the only other state football title for the Devils in 1996.

“This community takes a lot of pride in the athletic program,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good athletes come through here (and) you can’t have a good program without good athletics. We’ve had excellent coaches.”