Year in review: The 2019 football season offers plenty of exciting games and finishes

Published 8:04 pm Friday, December 27, 2019

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The football year saw plenty of wins, firsts and streaks extended in 2019. Five of the six teams advanced to the postseason, Zion Chapel made the postseason for the first time in years and teams learned about a recent region shakeup. All of that and more was just a part of what made 2019 a fun football season.

The Charles Henderson Trojans finished one win away from winning their first region championship since 2013. The Trojans entered the region finale against Valley tied for first in Region 2. The Trojans fell to Valley 40-21, dropping them all the way down to the fourth seed. The Trojans finished the regular season 4-5 and advanced to the postseason for the 10th straight season.

Like in years past, The Trojans played their fair share of larger teams. They took on 7A Enterprise and Oxford and Baldwin County, who compete in Class 6A.

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The Trojans matched up with Faith Academy in the opening round and fell 31-0 to end the season.

Defensive back Tyrelle Jones finished the season Second Team All-State.

The Pike County Bulldogs have had plenty of success in region play the last three seasons. The Bulldogs entered the season with an 11-game winning streak in region play. The streak was extended to 18 games when they went 7-0 in Region 2, giving them the championship for the second consecutive season.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 10-0 and advanced to the postseason for the seventh-straight season.

The Bulldogs matched up with T.R. Miller and fell 32-13, failing to advance to the second round for the first time since 2017.

“I’m proud of the kids,” head coach Fred Holland said. “I’m proud of the kids.  We had a lot of players make great contributions. They have nothing to be ashamed of.”

At the end of the season, senior running back Rayshawn Reynolds was named First-Team All-State, while linebacker Hernando Wheeler was named Second-Team All-State.

The end of the Class 2A football season was rocked due to an ineligible player participating at Highland Home High School. The infraction occurred just prior to Goshen taking on the Flying Squadron with first place on the line. Instead, Highland Home was forced to forfeit many of their games. Because of the forfeits, Highland Home didn’t make the postseason. In their place, the Zion Chapel Rebels found their way into the postseason or the first time since the 2011 season.

The Rebels also finished above .500 for the first time since 2011 with a record of 6-5. The Rebels went 4-1 at home, while going 2-4 on the road. They matched up with Reeltown in the opening round of the playoffs. The Rebels fell to Reeltown 56-0.

After losing to Highland Home in the region finale, the Goshen Eagles finished region play 5-2 and were 7-3 overall.

The Eagles advanced past the opening round of the playoffs for the second time in three years. After beating Thorsby 36-0 in round one, the Eagles had their season come to a close the following week when they were defeated by Leroy 34-25.

“We did have a great season,” head coach Bart Snyder said. “It was not the way we wanted to end the year, and we felt like we had a good team. We are so proud of all of our guys form Goshen.”

The Ariton Purple Cats advanced to the semifinals in 2018 before falling to Highland Home. In 2019, they advanced to the quarterfinals after an 8-2 regular season. They finished their season in the third round of the playoffs when they fell to Leroy 35-24.

The Purple Cats were represented on the all-state team by Blake Carroll , who was named to the second team as an athlete, and offensive lineman Chase Hughes, who was named as an honorable mention.

The Pike Liberal Arts Patriots finished the season 3-8 and failed to make the postseason. At season’s end, the Patriots parted ways with seven-year head coach Gene Allen.

Scott Taylor Renfroe was named First-Team All-State, while Davis Allen and Nick O’Brien were named as honorable mentions.

Following the end of the season, the Alabama High School Athletic Association announced conference and region realignment. Goshen will see the most significant change. They move from Class 2A up to 3A and will compete in Region 4.

Charles Henderson will remain in Class 5A Region along with Andalusia, Carroll, Greenville, Headland, Pike Road and Rehobeth.

Pike County will make up Class 3A Region 4 with the Goshen Eagles. Zion Chapel and Ariton will both be part of Class 2A Region 3.