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franklin county times

'Going out on a limb'

By Staff
Kim West
Franklin County Times
Next season will be a very interesting one for Franklin County football thanks to a coaching change, region re-alignment and the personnel losses to last year's two playoff teams, Red Bay and Russellville.
Vina and Tharptown, which will make its Class 1A, Region 8 debut this fall, will play perennial powers R.A. Hubbard and Hazlewood, newcomers Waterloo and Mt. Hope and returning schools Phillips, Shoals Christian and Speake.
The biggest change in Class 5A, Region 8 was Decatur's expected move to 6A. With the defending region champion Red Raiders out of the picture, the Region 8 race should be wide open this fall.
Instead of playing former Region 8 weaklings Brewer and West Point, Russellville will now face off against athletic Lee and Butler, two former Region 7 teams from Huntsville. The Golden Tigers will also play former 4A power East Limestone and familiar region rivals Athens, Hartselle, Muscle Shoals and J.O. Johnson.
Russellville lost speedy all-purpose player Caleb Mitchell, a Tennessee Tech signee, and its star starting backfield of Cory Trapp, Kory Suggs and Mike Abernathy, but the Golden Tigers should still be considered a front-runner to win the region, along with Hartselle, Johnson and Athens.
In Class 2A, Region 8, Phil Campbell and defending champion Red Bay will again play Tanner, Cherokee and Hatton. West Morgan, Winston County and region runner-up Addison are no longer in Region 8, which now includes Clements, Lexington and Westminster Christian.
Red Bay also must replace several key starters, including quarterback Anthony Horton, running back Josh Senkbeil and kicker/receiver Pablo Makepeace, but the Tigers seem to always find a way to make playoff runs and will be among the top teams again in the region.
The biggest story this spring was the hiring of Michael Parker in early March to help turn around a proud Phil Campbell program with only one victory in its last 20 games after three playoff appearances from 2000-05.
Parker officially introduced his assistant coaches at the Phil Campbell Booster Club meeting Monday night. His coaching staff will include kicking coach Bart Moss, volunteer assistants Nathan Berryman and Randy Cochran, junior varsity coach Ryan Swinney and defensive coordinator John Johnson from Lawrence County.
"I wanted a complete change in the football program," Parker said. "I know I'm going out on a limb with the way I'm doing things, but I feel like it's the right thing to do."
"We're developing winning attitudes, and we want the players, the school and community to believe we're going to win on Friday nights – when we do that, we're going to be dangerous."
Kim West is sports editor for The Franklin County Times. She can be reached at kim.west@fct.wpengine.com or (256) 332-1881, ext. 30.