Numbers game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

ASWA rewards Senators’ 2005 championship with top preseason ranking

By Erika D. Goodman

The Selma Times-Journal

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The Alabama Sportswriters Association ranked defending AAA champions Morgan Academy No. 1 in AISA football for the 2006 season.

As has been the case in many years, the Senators have been a contender for the top ranks.

With a previous season record of 12-1, the team at Morgan has a lot of weight on it this year.

“We are going to play on a weekly basis with a big “X” on our back,” said coach Robert Gartman. “With that comes the tremendous expectations.”

Morgan has had the same coaches since 2003, and this year Gartman wants to try a new strategy with his team, which has been a more defensive leader in past years. “People may laugh at me, but we are going to throw the ball more,” Gartman said. “We want to have command of the ball more, and we are looking for an offensive power.”

The upcoming season holds high hopes for the Senator fans. Even with all of the publicity of his team, Gartman must take into consideration that the Senators lost 17 of its 22 starters from last season, which is a huge blow for the entire team.

He wants the first game to be a victory so that the players will have a good level of confidence for the remainder of the season.

Some important names to look out for this year on the Morgan team are Rhett Rhyne and Murry Keasler for the offense and on the defense Donnie Hogg and Pitt Hughes, who, along with the rest of their team, started practice Monday. The Senators have high hopes, and the upcoming players have big shoes to fill.

As for pushing his team to work harder because of the No. 1 ranking, Gartman said there is no way he can do it.

“I can’t push myself or the players any harder than I already do.”