|WCHS quarterback picks up yards Friday night in Montgomery.|
Wilcox Central High School football fans got a rare treat on Friday night when they got the opportunity to watch the Jaguars play their spring football game inside a large college football stadium.
This past Friday night, the Jaguars squared off against Hillcrest High School of Evergreen in a spring football game at the New ASU Stadium in Montgomery, the home field for the Alabama State University Hornets. The game kicked off at 7 p.m., and I got there in plenty of time to check out the stadium before the game got underway.
The stadium itself is relatively new, as its official name implies. It opened in 2012 and has a seating capacity of around 26,500. The playing surface is also AstroTurf, which very few high school teams get the chance to play on any more. (Prior to 2012, Alabama State played its home football games at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.)
A sizeable group of diehard Wilcox Central fans made the trip to Montgomery for the game, even though it may not have looked that way because of the size of the stadium. Also in attendance, down on the sidelines, was former ASU offensive lineman Jylan Ware, who now plays offensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders. Many will remember that Ware played prep football at Valley High School in Chambers County before moving on to ASU and the NFL.
I was more than a little impressed by Wilcox Central’s football team, which is led by head coach Frederick Newton. Wilcox Central has a lot of big, athletic kids, and they looked to be in excellent condition for a spring game. This coming fall, the Jaguars will compete in 5A Region 1 against Vigor, Jackson, Satsuma, Faith Academy, LeFlore and Citronelle, and based on what I saw Friday night in Montgomery, I think they’ve got the potential to make the playoffs next season.
Watching the Jaguars on Friday night, it was hard for me not to think about the great teams and players Wilcox Central has had in the past. As many of you will remember, Wilcox Central High School officially opened in the fall of 1989 when the old Wilcox County High School, Pine Hill High School and W.J. Jones High School at Pine Apple consolidated into one central high school for the entire county. Taking that into account, the 1989 season was the first season in the history of Wilcox Central’s football program.
I think that few would argue the fact that the best team at Wilcox Central since the 1989 season was the 2001 team, which went 12-1 under head coach John Moton. That year, I remember watching Wilcox Central destroy Monroe County High School, 50-0, at Tiger Stadium in Monroeville on their way to a perfect 10-0 regular season, the first in school history. The only game they lost that year was in the third round of the playoffs, where they fell, 10-0, in Birmingham to Briarwood Christian, who was led by future Alabama star Tim Castille, the son of Alabama grid legend Jeremiah Castille.
Of course, Wilcox Central had its own share of outstanding players that season, including Henry Blackmon, Charles Moody, Reggie Moorer, Eric Packer, Michael Powell, Steven Reeves and Christopher Browder, who went on to play defensive end at Auburn. With that said, I think you can make a strong case that Browder is probably the best football player to ever come out of Wilcox Central. Many of you will also remember Jeremiah Moton, who I would also put in that same conversation.
In the end, based on what I saw Friday night, I think Wilcox Central has the potential to have a good team next season, and, who knows, maybe a future Christopher Browder-type player is on the team right now. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, Wilcox Central football fans have a lot to look forward to next season.