2012 Year in Review: Teams win titles

JANUARY

TROTTER STARS IN TIGERS’ VICTORY

Barrett Trotter, former Briarwood Christian School quarterback, energized his Auburn teammates and coaches in the Tigers’ 43-24 win over the Virginia Cavaliers after being called into action following an injury to starter Clint Moseley.
Trotter capped his junior season by passing for 175 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 32 yards on five carries, as he picked up where he left off after being benched in favor of Moseley midway through the season.

HORNETS TOP LIONS IN THRILLER

Chelsea senior Jake Ganus eclipsed the 1,000 career point scoring mark while leading the Hornets with 11 points in a long-awaited win over Briarwood Christian following a 40-38 win over the Lions in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A, Area 7 contest Jan. 6.

CHANDLER HOFFMAN PICKED IN MLS DRAFT

Former Oak Mountain High School soccer star Chandler Hoffman saw his boyhood dream come true Jan. 12.
Hoffman was selected by the Philadelphia Union with the 13th pick in the 2012 Major League Soccer Draft, which was televised live nationally Jan. 12 on ESPN2 from the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo.

FORMER JAG SETS MILESTONE

Former Spain Park High School basketball standout Josh Magette, a senior at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, recently became the first player in Gulf South Conference history to compile 1,000 career points, 700 career assists and 500 career rebounds.

FEBRUARY

BELL HIRED TO LEAD EAGLES

The Shelby County Board of Education approved Cris Bell as a teacher during the 2012-2013 school year at Oak Mountain High School during a regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 26 in Columbiana.
Bell was named the school’s head football coach. Bell spent the past season as the special teams coordinator and linebacker coach at Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga.

LAATSCH NEW LIONS’ SCORING LEADER

Briarwood Christian School senior Jason Laatsch felt uneasy when the school’s student section rushed the floor and lifted him off his feet Feb. 3 following the Lions’ 39-38 win over Vincent.
Laatsch wasn’t comfortable being in the spotlight, with all eyes inside the gymnasium fixated on him after his school-record 1,399th career point sealed the Briarwood Christian victory in the final minute of the game.

SENIOR LEADS CHARGERS TO TITLE

Cornerstone Christian’s Kendall Moore and his teammates rushed to midcourt to seize the championship trophy he’d been waiting for following the Chargers’ 46-38 win over Crenshaw Christian Academy in the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A championship game Feb. 16 at Catherine Dixon Roland Arena on the Huntingdon College campus in Montgomery.
The championship was the school’s second AISA Class 1A title, which came seven years after the Chargers claimed their first championship in school history on the same court.

WARRIORS STRING TOGETHER BACK-TO-BACK TITLES

Thompson High School wrestling coach Shawn Weltzin needed a shower after being peppered with Silly String by his wrestlers inside the lobby of the Thompson High School gymnasium Feb. 18, but he didn’t mind.
Weltzin would take all the punishment in the world as long as his Warriors continue to rack up Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A state championships, which led to a crowd of more than 100 Thompson faithful waiting for the defending state champions to return from the Von Braun Center in Huntsville at an impromptu pizza party at the school.

RIVALS SHARE BASKETBALL TITLES

Rivals Hope Christian School and Evangel Christian School shared a pair of championships at the Alabama Christian Sports Conference tournament Feb. 17-18 at Samford University.
Hope Christian girls’ basketball coach Mark Machen and his squad took down Evangel Family Christian 36-31 in its semifinal contest Feb. 17 before dispatching rival Evangel Christian 48-30 in the championship game Feb. 18.
The Evangel Christian School boys’ basketball team defeated Evangel Family Christian 78-64 to cap an undefeated season with an ACSC championship Feb. 18.

YELLOW JACKETS IN FINAL FOUR

Vincent High School senior Dontravious Moon’s heart was telling him one thing, but his mind left him with a disbelieving image in the final seconds ticking off the clock in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A Northeast Region tournament championship game at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the Jacksonville State University campus Feb. 23.
After multiple gut-wrenching endings in the Yellow Jackets’ previous four trips to Jacksonville, including a heart-stopping, last-second loss at the buzzer a year ago, Moon couldn’t believe his eyes were watching teammates erupt in celebration of an impending trip to the AHSAA Class 2A Final Four following a 55-47 win over Holy Family Catholic in the region tournament title game.

SIMMONS’ NO-HITTER LEADS LIONS PAST JAGS

Briarwood Christian School sophomore Ethan Simmons didn’t take any time to celebrate a crowning achievement in his career following his first ever start for the Lions in a 11-0 win over Spain Park in the Jay D. Kynerd Memorial tournament championship game Feb. 23.
After pitching a no-hitter and only allowing three Spain Park baserunners in a five-inning complete-game shutout in the title game, Simmons shook hands with opposing players and quickly picked up a rake and headed to smooth the dirt at first base.

CHELSEA COACH REACHES CAREER MILESTONE

Chelsea High School boys’ soccer coach Lee Miller reached a coaching milestone Feb. 21 against Pelham as his Hornets defeated the Panthers 3-1, which gave the coach his 100th career victory.

MARCH

JOURNEY ENDS SHORT OF TITLE

Vincent High School senior Dontravious Moon and junior Tyler Williams had few emotions left after playing nearly every minute in the Yellow Jackets’ 55-38 loss to Barbour County in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A championship game March 1 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
The few words the pair managed to put together were painful recollections of the final game of the season, which featured a double-digit lead by Vincent turning into a second-half comeback by Barbour County to keep its undefeated season alive.
Vincent coach John Hadder understood their hurt, but he felt the sting from the Yellow Jackets’ defeat overshadowed his team’s phenomenal run to the school’s second appearance in the Class 2A title game in school history.

HERRING LEAVING SHELBY COUNTY WILDCATS

Shelby County High School head football coach Ryan Herring was approved as a new teacher and head football coach at Lincoln High School during a regularly scheduled Talladega County Board of Education meeting Feb. 28, ending his six-year tenure as the Wildcats’ head football coach.

FALCONS IN TITLE GAME

University of Montevallo students are well known for their creativity.
Antoine Davis, a senior on the Falcons’ men’s basketball team, needed a little ingenuity in the final seconds with the Falcons trailing Lincoln Memorial University by one point in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region tournament semifinals March 11 at Bank Trust Arena. With the ball unexpectedly in his hands and the clock winding down, Davis drove down the lane and banked in a runner with 6.7 seconds remaining to lift the Falcons to a 61-60 win over Lincoln Memorial in the semifinals.

STARS TAKE PART IN PRO DAY

A pair of former Shelby County high school football standouts participated in the Auburn University Pro Day on March 6 to give professional football scouts an up close look at their physical ability on the gridiron.
Former Briarwood Christian School quarterback Barrett Trotter, who recently wrapped up his career with the Tigers after foregoing his final season of eligibility, and former Pelham High School running back Wes Holland, who just completed his collegiate playing career at the University of North Alabama, worked out with several Auburn seniors in front of National Football League scouts.

FALCONS ADVANCE TO ELITE EIGHT

University of Montevallo senior guard D.J. Rivera isn’t lacking confidence and plays with a chip on his shoulder.
The combination of those two character traits paid off for the Falcons this season, with the NCAA Division I transfer from Binghamton University dominating his adversaries in Division II.
Rivera capped his final season of collegiate eligibility by becoming the school’s single-season scoring leader and leading Montevallo to its third berth in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight following the Falcons’ 86-73 win over Anderson University in the Southeast Region championship game March 13 at Bank Trust Arena.

FALCONS’ FLIGHT ENDS SHORT OF TITLE

University of Montevallo senior D.J. Rivera waited patiently for several individual honors that never came during his collegiate basketball playing career. The 6-foot-4 Philadelphia, Pa. native would gladly trade in the final awards he received for a much more important achievement.
Rivera, two days after being named an All-American, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Division II national championship game March 24 at The Bank of Kentucky Center, but the recognition felt meaningless with the prize Rivera and his teammates left on the floor after struggling to put the ball in the basket in a 72-65 loss to Western Washington University.

APRIL

HOFFMAN EARNS STARTING NOD IN PRO DEBUT

Chandler Hoffman would have been satisfied with seeing mop-up duty in his first professional soccer match with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.
Hoffman, a former Oak Mountain High School standout who was drafted with the 13th overall pick by the Union in the 2012 MLS Draft following a spectacular career at UCLA, didn’t expect to be on the field for the opening whistle.
Hoffman, a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist following his junior year at UCLA and a former Gatorade Player of the Year in Alabama during his career at Oak Mountain, helped the Union earn their first point in MLS standings March 31 with a scoreless draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps at PPL Park.

HORNETS SWEEP SECTION SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Chelsea High School girls’ soccer team claimed the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A, Section 3 championship April 19 following a 4-0 win over Sylacauga.
The Hornets’ victory set a new school record for wins. Chelsea posted its 18th victory of the season, surpassing last season’s school record.

SMITH EXCITED TO LEAD WILDCATS

Brent Smith didn’t hesitate in firing off an application and resume when he learned about an opening at Shelby County High School, which included an opportunity to lead the Wildcats’ football program.
Smith has followed the success Shelby County had the past few years under Ryan Herring as an admirer.
Smith, who spent the past three years at Corner High School, was approved by the Shelby County Board of Education during a meeting April 19.

MONTGOMERY NAMED THS COACH

Mike Montgomery has been named the head coach of the Thompson High School football team. The move came a few weeks after he was named the interim head coach following the resignation of former head coach Caleb Ross.

MAY

CHARGERS WRAP UP SIXTH TITLE

Cornerstone Christian School senior Jana Kelbie Armstrong promised herself she wouldn’t let her emotions get the best of her leading up to her final trip to Lagoon Park for the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A state tournament where the Chargers wrapped up the season May 5 with an unprecedented sixth consecutive AISA Class 1A championship following an 8-0 win over rival Coosa Valley Academy in the title game.

KNIGHTS FINISH RUNNER-UP

The Westminster School boys’ and girls’ track and field teams each finished runner-up in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 3A-1A state championship meet May 5.

EAGLES CAPTURE FIRST GIRLS’ TITLE

Oak Mountain High School has featured its share of state championship caliber girls’ soccer teams throughout its short history.
Oak Mountain dusted off a place in its trophy case for a girls’ championship memento next to its four boys’ soccer titles after a 1-0 win over Auburn in the Class 6A championship match May 12 at John Hunt Park.

CHELSEA HORNETS TAKE HOME FIRST TITLE

Chelsea High School sophomore midfielder Britne Holderby had chance after chance to break a tie with Athens in the final minutes of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A championship match May 12 at John Hunt Park.
Holderby’s final shot on goal in the Hornets’ second-consecutive Class 5A title match appearance, clinched her school’s first state championship in any team sport in the Hornets’ 3-2 win over Athens.

CHARGERS CROWNED BASEBALL CHAMPIONS

Cornerstone Christian School sophomore pitcher Tim Warren had trouble keeping his feet on the ground following the Chargers’ 6-1 victory over Jackson Academy in the deciding third game of the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A championship series, which clinched the school’s first state baseball title May 9 at Paterson Field.

HORNETS CAPTURE FIRST TITLE

The Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A championship game May 18 at Lagoon Park was severely lacking in dramatic moments.
Chelsea High School had such a commanding lead in the Hornets’ 11-1 win over defending champion Mortimer Jordan and captured its first softball title in school history.

JAGUARS CLAIM FOURTH BOYS’ GOLF TITLE

The Spain Park High School boys’ golf team captured its fourth Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A championship in five years May 15 after collectively carding a 3-over par 579 in the two-day tournament at the Robert Trent Jones’ Grand National course in Auburn.

HOFFMAN’S FIRST GOAL A GAME-WINNER

Chandler Hoffman’s first goal in a Philadelphia Union uniform may not have helped his team in its chase for a Major League Soccer championship, but it featured its share of drama nonetheless.
The former Oak Mountain High School soccer standout netted the match-clinching goal in the 88th minute to lead the Union to a 2-1 win over German club Schalke 04 in an International friendly match May 9 at PPL Park.