In short, last football season was magical, capped off by the Piedmont Bulldogs and Cherokee County Warriors hoisting that big blue trophy in their respective classes.
But there was more to 2009 than just having two state champions 16 miles apart from each other.
Five of our seven teams made the playoffs, four of which went to the second round or beyond.
Sand Rock and Collinsville fell just short of the playoffs, but both had 6-4 records and joined Cherokee County and Piedmont by winning their last game of the season.
Cherokee County had its first Mr. Football winner in Coty Blanchard, the award given to the state’s best football player. Piedmont’s Chase Childers earned the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship award. Sand Rock coach Russell Jacoway won his 200th game.
It was also a special season in college football, where the University of Alabama won its 13th national championship with a 37-21 victory over Texas in the BCS National Championship game. The Crimson Tide also had its first Heisman Trophy winner in running back Mark Ingram.
The list of last year’s superlatives could go on, but the page has now turned to the 2010 season.
The season has changed.
The slate has been wiped clean, and we’re on the eve of beginning it all again. With that new beginning, a new set of questions arise.
Will Cherokee County and Piedmont be able to defend their state titles?
How will Spring Garden do under the leadership of new coach John McKay?
Can Gaylesville and Cedar Bluff build off promising 2009 seasons?
How well will Sand Rock and Collinsville rebound from tough 2009 seasons?
Will new region alignments play a factor?
Which players will emerge as leaders?
Which teams could play the role of dark horses?
Can Alabama repeat as college football national champions?
Can 2010 be as good – or even better – than 2009?
Get ready, because we’re all about to find out.
I hope you enjoy the theme to this year’s Pigskin Preview, “Seasons Change.” The left side of our cover highlights the high school football headliners of 2009, turning over to the potential playmakers of 2010 on the right.
Thanks to Laure Clemons for her cover design work. Another big thank you goes out to photographers Trent Penny, Steve Gross and Bill Wilson of The Anniston Star, The Fort Payne Times-Journal, Anita Kilgore of The Piedmont Journal, Tony Russell, Lisa Burt and Stanley Carlton for the use of several action shots. A special thanks to Herald Advertising Director Vickie Robinson for selling ads to many of our local businesses.
We hope you enjoy!