More best and worst in sports

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Sports fans in Shelby County weren’t disappointed with what turned out to be another banner year in 2004.

From January through December, we watched as athletes from Shelby County excelled in various competitions and the even tougher game of life.

Last week’s edition featured the first half of the year.

Here’s a look back at some of the best and worst in Shelby County sports from the second half of 2004.

Best way to start a football program – Win a national championship: Evangel Christian School, a home-school team based in Helena, won the eight-man national championship in the National Association of Christian Athletes, Division II.

Best catch – Montez Billings: Auburn University landed a catch as impressive as the ones reeled in by the Pelham receiver when Billings committed to play for the Tigers this fall. The fleet-footed, sure-handed prospect was ranked as one of the top receiver prospects in the nation by several recruiting services.

Worst birthday present – 40-14: Geoff Walters returned to Wildcats Stadium in October to face his former Shelby County players for the first time since leaving them to become head coach at Sylacauga. Behind new coach Bruce Breland, the kids gave Walters one to grow on. The 40-14 spanking happened to fall on his birthday.

Best excuse for skipping the summer reading list – Participate in the Olympic Games: Oak Mountain High School student Collyn Loper spent the summer in Athens, Greece, where she finished one point shy of a bronze medal in women’s trap shooting. Loper, a 17-year-old from Indian Springs, is blind in her right eye.

Best thing about going 1-21 – the 1: The Kingwood Lions were happy to see one painful streak come to end when they traveled to Sparta Academy this fall and won their first football game in more than two years. The Lions went on to win two more games before the end of the season.

The year’s worst storm – Ivan: Storms from the hurricane ripped through Shelby County in September, knocking down trees and cutting power. Friday night football games were cancelled across the state by the AHSAA and AISA, forcing 14 teams in Shelby County to reschedule contests for later in the season.

The year’s best hurricane – Hurricane: The Australian Shepherd with the stormy name landed Pelham’s Darron Barrus on ESPN. Hurricane caught a frisbee tossed some 180 feet by Barrus, a local podiatrist. The feat earned the pair a silver medal in the Great Outdoor Games and an appearance on television’s premier sports network.

Ashley Vansant is the sports editor at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at