Looking back at 2009: Football
Each football season is unique in its own way.
The 2009 season was no different for the teams in Pike County.
Of the four teams, three of them made it to the post season with one being crowned a champion, again.
The Charles Henderson Trojans came into the year looking to compete for a region title, however thanks to a slow start, those dreams came crashing down quickly.
The Trojans finished the 2009 campaign with a 5-5 overall record.
The team began the year 1-5, but ended the season on a positive note, winning four-in-a-row thanks to the quarterback play of senior K.D. Edenfield.
Another positive for the Trojans was the selection of senior Jawara White to the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic.
White was just the eighth Trojans to participate in the annual Mobile game.
“Obviously, at the end of the season it’s sad no matter how you look at it,” CHHS head coach Hugh Fountain said after the Trojans’ final victory over Northview back in October.
“But for our younger players and for our seniors, it’s been an incredible season . They fought back and got it done.”
The Pike County Bulldogs rebounded from a 5-4 record in 2008 by making it all the way through the regular season with an unblemished record, 9-0, and a Class 3A Region 2 championship under the leadership of first-year head coach Eddie Stephenson.
Thanks to a punishing defense that held its opponents to 10 points or fewer six times, including three shutouts and a hybrid wing-T offense that allowed seniors Josh Parker and Marquavous Knox to run wild, PCHS cruised to its first undefeated season in several years.
The Bulldogs’ run ended however in the first round of the playoffs to the hands of Luverne.
“I’m very happy with what our players did this season – I couldn’t be happier,” Bulldogs head coach Eddie Stephenson said at the end of the season.
“I thought the kids really played their guts out all season long and even though it didn’t end the way we would have liked, there are a lot of positives to look at.”
Like PCHS, Goshen came into the season with a new head coach and like the Bulldogs, the Eagles found themselves in the playoffs.
After starting the season 2-3, the GHS got back on track with a blowout win over Hatch and then went on a tier the rest of the regular season thanks to the running back duo of Marcus Jackson and Reginald Foster.
The Eagles would go on a five game winning streak to close out the regular season with a 7-3 record, and for the first time since 2001, play host to a playoff game.
The home cooking paid off for the team as it improved its winning streak to six games with a 50-32 win over Fultondale.
Eagles however were dropped in the next round of the playoffs by Pickens County, losing on the road, 48-14.
“Our seniors stepped up this year, and nobody [us] to be where we are this season,” head coach Bart Snyder said following the playoff lose.
“That’s because of [the seniors] leadership and the fact that our underclassmen came together under their leadership.
“Our fan support really made a difference. We couldn’t have come this far without them,” he added.
Last but not least, there was the Pike Liberal Arts School Patriots, and as it turns out, they were the last team standing in both the county and their league.
Patriots finished off the 2009 season with a 11-1 record and more importantly, its second-straight AISA state championship.
After dropping a heartbreaker to Fort Dale at home, PLAS would never lose again, rolling off nine consecutive wins, capped off with a 36-20 win over Bessemer Academy in Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.
Seniors Taylor Stephens and Trey Walters both played huge roles in the championship season, leading the way for the Patriots.
“This [was] a really special group of kids – this win means a lot to me,” Patriots’ head coach Steven Kilcrease said following the championship win.
“I thought we had a chance to win [the state championship] earlier in the season, but to actually do it again is an absolute amazing experience.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team right now,” he added.