Top sports stories of 2011Published 4:29pm Monday, January 2, 2012
The year in sports for Selma-Dallas County has had its ups and downs. Champions have been crowned and hopes have been dashed from the gridiron to diamond and from the track to the hardwood.
These 10 stories offer only a glimpse of an exciting year in Dallas County sports:
No. 1: Dallas County captures 4A State softball title, Daniels named All-American
The Dallas County High School Lady Hornets’ softball team made school history, winning its first ever class 4A State Championship.
On a team that held eight seniors, it was an eighth-grader who dealt the final blow.
With two outs and a 3-1 count in the top of the eighth inning, Kendall Veach launched a ball over the left-centerfield wall to lift Dallas County 5-3 over Cherokee County High School in route to the first state title in school history.
“I was just wanting a hit,” Veach said. “God gave me that hit and put that ball over the wall, so all praise goes to him. It feels really good, we worked hard all season for this. We prayed four times before the game. We never gave up and fought the whole time.”
The launch gave the Lady Hornets the breathing room it needed and when the ball hit Veach’s mitt after yet another strikeout victim for Cassie Daniels, the celebration was on.
“There is no words to describe it,” Lady Hornet senior and tournament MVP Ciera Ingram said. “We busted our butts this year. God was just so good to us, we couldn’t have done it without him. We had a great group of seniors and such a great team.”
The 4A state champion’s pitcher Daniels was named to the MaxPreps Small Schools All-American Softball team.
Miller said Daniels is more than deserving of the honor.
“Cassie has fantastic work ethic and she’s a terrific ball player,” Miller said. “She really helped us a lot. To have a small, country team get somebody on an All-American team really means something.”
The senior pitcher was named the Alabama 4A State Player of the Year this past season after going 34-5 with 426 strikeouts in 223 innings pitched, including 20 shutouts and six no-hitters.
No. 2: Ellwood wins AISA
Class 1A State Title
It was the match-up Ellwood had been looking forward to.
Despite losing twice to Crenshaw Christian Academy in the regular season, the Eagles felt they were the better team and, in the most important game of the year, they were.
Ellwood took down the Cougars 37-25 to claim their first AISA Class 1A state basketball championship.
“You know, when a team beats you it makes you feel like they have something better than you,” senior point guard and tournament MVP Glentravious Olds said. “But the third time is the charm. We got here and showed up in the first quarter and did our thing. We just kept our heads up and knocked shots down when they came to us and that was it. We just wanted it more than them.”
No. 3: Meadowview JV
volleyball takes state title
The Meadowview Christian School junior varsity volleyball team made school history as they achieved perfection and captured a state championship.
The Lady Trojans completed a perfect 18-0 season on the way to the school’s first ever volleyball state championship of any kind at the state tournament at Edgewood Academy in Elmore.
Meadowview volleyball coach Robby Redd said the key to the perfect season was that his team kept pushing forward.
“The key was just perseverance,” Redd said. “I mean, they just worked really hard all year and they didn’t lose their cool at any point.”
No. 4: Keith boy’s basketball make Class 1A State Final Four
The Keith High School boys team avanaced all the way to the final four in Birmingham, but fell to Pickens County at the BJCC.
The Tornadoes’ (29-1) Jematic Curry scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to push Pickens over Keith (19-11) 65-57 in the AHSAA class A semifinal.
“Right now I’m just real proud of our seniors,” Bears coach Tommy Tisdale said following the game. “Those guys have been with me for three years and the second best thing other than the championship game was tonight.”
No. 5: Morgan’s Rachel Gomes sets state records
Rachel Gomes’ 300-meter hurdles state record was in danger.
But, luckily for the Morgan Academy junior, she’s the one who was able to break it.
Gomes topped her own state record in April with a time of 47.03 seconds, won the 100-meter hurdles and took second in the long jump behind teammate Catherine Armstrong in helping lead the Senators to a state runner-up finish.
“I broke it before and I thought it was too good to break it again,” Gomes said. “I want to improve on all my hurdles and hopefully get some college recognition in the 300-meter because this will be the year to do that.”
No. 6: Concordia football
receives national honors
The Concordia College-Selma football program just completed it’s sixth seaon, but it’s already risen to national recognition.
After a 6-4 season, which saw the Hornets finish ranked No. 7 in the Dr. Cavil’s HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Black College Mid-Major Division Football Final Top 10 Rankings, Concordia was named the Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Independent Co-Program of the Year.
Hornets’ head football coach Shepherd Skanes was also named the HBCU Independent Program Division Coach of the Year.
“First of all, God be the glory,” Skanes said. “I’m glad to see it (the program) growing. I’m glad to see Concordia College-Selma getting the notoriety. We’re trying to put Concordia College on the map.”
Hornets’ senior offensive lineman Steven Welch was also honored, as he was named a First-Team All-American on the Dr. Cavil’s 2011 HBCU Black College Football All-American Team (Mid-Major Division).
No. 7: Jennifer Moore captures 100th victory at school
Morgan Academy volleyball coach Jennifer Moore crossed a milestone in 2011, and added another accomplishment to her resume.
With a victory over Sumter Academy, Moore won her 100th match as head volleyball coach at Morgan Academy.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Moore said. “It’s a great accomplishment for anybody who’s played volleyball at Morgan the last four years. It’s a nice accomplishment.”
The milestone is another accomplishment in Moore’s four-year tenure.
Moore also coached the Senators to state titles in 2009 and 2010.
No. 8: Southside, Dallas County welcome new football coaches
Both Southside High School and Dallas County High School welcomed new football coaches for the 2011 season, but neither experienced the successs they had hoped for.
Willie Moore, was named the new coach for Dallas County, while Bertrum Crum took over the reigns at Southside High School.
Both coaches were named to their new posts late in the summer and had little time to install their systems before the season started, which might have led to extremely disappointing debuts for both coaches.
No. 9: Glasscock out as
In the midst of a 1-7 season on the gridiron, Meadowview Christian School decided to relinquish John Glasscock of his head coaching duties.
Glasscock was removed from his post prior to the rojan’s gameagainst Cornerstone Christian Academy.
Meadowview Christian headmaster Miriam Anderson said football coach and athletic director hiring decisions are made by the school’s board of directors.
Glasscock said he was asked to step down, and his coaching style did not fit Meadowview.
“I was asked to step down and my coaching philosophy and my coaching style did not fit the Meadowview family,” Glasscock said. “They asked me to step down and I did.”
No. 10: Morgan head football coach Brian King resigns
Morgan Academy head coach Brian King told school officials in late November of his plans to leave at the end of the school year and told his players just days later.
“It was tough to tell them [players] I was leaving,” King said. “Some of them took it hard, but they understood why I made this decision.”
King became engaged late last year and plans to move to Jackson, Miss. and hopes to continue coaching as he completes his teaching certification and start a family.
The Senators advanced to the AISA Class 3A state semifinal game, before losing to Glenwood.