Many high schools across the state will kick off their 2015 seasons either tonight (Thursday) or tomorrow (Friday) night, and those that don’t will begin their seasons next week.
Sparta will open their regular season schedule tomorrow night when they play Hooper Academy in Evergreen. That same night, Hillcrest will travel to Grove Hill for a preseason game against Clarke County High School, a week before the Jags open their regular season against Monroe County High School in Evergreen on Aug. 28.
Everyone here at The Courant is hoping that both of our local schools have great, injury-free seasons. Ideally, they’ll both post better records than last season, return to the playoffs and represent the county well on the playing field. Good luck to both teams as they get their seasons going.
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Just to show how much things have changed, I was looking through my notes earlier today and saw where in 1951, Evergreen High School didn’t even start preseason practice until Aug. 20. Wendell Hart was Evergreen’s coach back in those days, and he asked all prospective players to meet that afternoon at 2 p.m. in Memorial Gym, which most folks nowadays call the Old Evergreen Junior High School Gym. That season, the Aggies didn’t open their regular season schedule until Sept. 14, when they were scheduled to play Millry in Evergreen.
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From an historical standpoint, Aug. 20, is a big day in the history of football because it was on that day in 1920 that professional football was “born” when seven men met to organize a professional football league at the Jordan and Hupmobile Auto Showroom in Canton, Ohio. The meeting led to the creation of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC), the forerunner of the National Football League.
The men at that meeting represented the Akron Pros, the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Indians and the Dayton Triangles, and this league went on to hire football legend Jim Thorpe to serve as their first president. The APFC originally included 14 teams, and only two of those teams, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals still exist today in altered forms. Football fans today will know the Staleys as the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cardinals as the present day Arizona Cardinals.
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If you’re still interested in signing up to compete in our local ESPN College Football Pick ‘Em contest, you still have plenty of time to do so. To sign up, visit http://games.espn.go.com/college-football-pickem/2015/en/ and register. Our local group is called the “South Alabama FB Experts,” and the password to get into the group is “football.”
As of this writing (Monday), only seven people, including me, have signed up, so I hope more of you will join the fun before the contest begins on Sept. 5. For the record, Glennis Curry is the reigning local contest champion, but he has yet to sign up for this year’s contest. In other words, at this point, there’s plenty of room for someone who thinks they can take top honors this year.