Shelby County Youth League 7-8 Wildcats win title
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The 2013 football season for the Shelby County Youth Football League was a special one. For the first time since rejoining the Chilton County Football League four years ago, the league had three teams make the playoffs and had an overall winning record as a league. This includes two teams that played in the championship game in their respective divisions and one team that brought home a championship title. Every age group had more wins this year than they had in the same age group last year.
“That kind of improvement across the board is what we would like to see on a yearly basis,” league president and head coach Toby Wilson said. “These kids are the future of our (high) school’s football teams. Teaching the game correctly and creating a solid foundation for our schools to build on is a priority for our league. We were very pleased with all of the coaches that we had leading our respective teams.”
The 7-8 year old team started the season with four straight wins followed by four straight loses to limp their way into the playoffs as a No. 4 seed with a 4-4 record. They faced the No. 1 seeded Bibb County Choctaws, who finished the season with a 7-1 mark, losing their only game to the Wildcats earlier in the season. With Shelby County up 14-8 with a little over a minute left in regulation, the Choctaws scored on a reverse pass to tie the game.
“You normally don’t see that from 7 and 8 year olds,” Wilson said. “I was actually surprised they had that play in their playbook.”
Shelby County won a thriller in overtime where the ‘Cats recovered a fumble and scored on their first offensive play. That win led them to the championship game and a rematch with the No. 2 seeded Calera Eagles, who won the regular season matchup 30-20. The Wildcats jumped out to a 12-0 lead, but with less than a minute left in the first half the Eagles had a quick offensive score followed by a defensive strip and score to tie the game, 12-12 as time expired at the half.
“That took the winds out of our sails and had us on the ropes,” Wilson said. “We felt like we dominated 15 out of the 16 minutes, but the scoreboard said otherwise.”
After the surge by the Eagles, the Wildcats regained momentum pulling away in the second half to cruise to a 26-12 victory. The Shelby County defense forced four turnovers in the game, including two interceptions in the second half.
“I give a lot of credit to the players, several of which won a championship two years prior in 2011 as the 5-6 year old squad,” Wilson said. “Our coaches did an outstanding job by making adjustments. The thing that I’ll remember about this group of kids is their resiliency. We went from what seemed like an average team entering the playoffs to a team that never trailed in the postseason. They just knew when to turn the switch on.”
The 2013 Division 1 7-8 Year Old Champions include: Football Players: Austin Wilson , Brodie Tolleson, Keith Castleberry, Guya Long, Jordon Knox, Bennett Berens, Jeremy Doster, Blake Eddings, A.J. Green, Walker Kellis, Montana Wages, Cole Sykes, Chase Noe, Zander Tyus, Jaxon Griffith, Bradley Horton, Gabe King, Conner Rogers, C.J. Richardson, Lane Pate, Jacob McGaha, Milo Pasquini and Braydon Tyus. The head coach is Toby Wilson and assistant coaches are Randy Tolleson and Austin Castleberry, Ferrell Noe, Pete Dupree, Brandon Sykes, Robin Berens, Wayne Horton
Cheerleaders: Natlie Tolleson, Rebecca Weaver, Jacklyn Burnette, Lily Gallups, Morgan Dupree, Victoria Farish, Jolie Frisinger, Lily Horton, Campbell Kellis, Angelea Taylor, Gabrielle Taylor, Audrey Rogers, Emalee Nolen, Ava Nettles, Avril Mondragon and Cortlyn Lamb. The head coach is Carolyn Dupree and assistant coach is Kiyra Gallups.