LaFayette’s Whitlow named first-team all-state in football

The Alabama Sports Writers Association released its list of All-State football players for the 2014 season last week. There were several area players selected, but only one LaFayette team was represented on the rosters.

LaFayette High School’s Jatarvious Whitlow was selected to the All-State first-team as an athlete in Class 2A. Whitlow was the Bulldogs’ most dangerous weapon this past season, scoring in nearly every way possible.

Whitlow, a sophomore, led LHS in rushing yards, receiving yards, return yards and interceptions. He finished the season with 1,840 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 539 yards and three touchdowns, had 597 receiving yards and three scores, threw for two touchdowns and had three return touchdowns this season. He also had four interceptions and recovered a fumble on defense.

December 23, 2014 | Posted in: College, Sports | Comments Closed

Lemon, Tinsley to play basketball at Jefferson Davis Community College

Chambers Academy seniors Demetrius Lemon and Quadarius Tinsley have chosen to continue their basketball careers at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton this Fall. The school held a signing ceremony for the two on Tuesday in recognition of their accomplishment. Pictured at the ceremony, in front, from left, are Lemon’s mother Lavonne Strickland, Lemon, Tinsley and Tinsley’s mother Patricia Morgan. In back, from left, are CA head coach and athletic director Jason Allen, assistant basketball coach Chris Strength and Tinsley’s father Melvin Morgan.

Chambers Academy seniors Demetrius Lemon and Quadarius Tinsley have chosen to continue their basketball careers at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton this Fall. The school held a signing ceremony for the two on Tuesday in recognition of their accomplishment. Pictured at the ceremony, in front, from left, are Lemon’s mother Lavonne Strickland, Lemon, Tinsley and Tinsley’s mother Patricia Morgan. In back, from left, are CA head coach and athletic director Jason Allen, assistant basketball coach Chris Strength and Tinsley’s father Melvin Morgan.

Two members of Chambers Academy’s state championship boys basketball team have decided to attend college together to continue their educational and basketball careers. Demetrius Lemon and Quadarius Tinsley will attend Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, AL on scholarship and will be a part of the Warhawks’ basketball squad next season.

Lemon and Tinsley both had outstanding senior season’s as they led the Rebels to the Class 1A state title. It was the first title in the sport in school history.

Along with the championship, both athletes racked up numerous post-season honors. Tinsley earned second team all-state and first team all-area honors. He was named the AISA Class 1A Final Four MVP and was selected as an AISA all-star. Tinsley averaged 18.6 points per game, along with 7.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists this past season, and his buzzer beating three-pointer gave CA the win over Marengo in the state title game.

Lemon was named as an all-state honorable mention and was second team all-area. He was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team, even though he played the state championship game with a separated shoulder. He was named to the AISA All-Star team as well. Lemon averaged 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game his senior year.

Still to attend Huntingdon for basketball

Chambers Academy senior Deven Still has chosen to continue her basketball career at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Still lettered for the Rebels in basketball, softball, volleyball and cheerleading, and has earned numerous honors in her time at CA. She will join Coach Buzz Phillips and the Lady Hawks basketball program this fall. A ceremony was held at Chambers last week in honor of Still. Pictured in front, from left, are grandmother Jan Still, Deven, mother Jenny Dukes. In back, from left, are grandfather Jerry Still, CA Athletic Director Jason Allen, former CA headmaster and basketball coach Jim Childers and former CA athletic director and basketball coach Don McGinty.

Chambers Academy senior Deven Still has chosen to continue her basketball career at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Still lettered for the Rebels in basketball, softball, volleyball and cheerleading, and has earned numerous honors in her time at CA. She will join Coach Buzz Phillips and the Lady Hawks basketball program this fall. A ceremony was held at Chambers last week in honor of Still. Pictured in front, from left, are grandmother Jan Still, Deven and mother Jenny Dukes. In back, from left, are grandfather Jerry Still, CA Athletic Director Jason Allen, former CA headmaster and basketball coach Jim Childers and former CA athletic director and basketball coach Don McGinty.

Whitlow signs with Tennessee State

LaFayette High football standout Tequarri Whitlow has signed to play for the Tennessee State University Tigers starting in the fall. LaFayette High School held a signing day ceremony for Whitlow on Wednesday. In front, from left, mom Pamela Whitlow, Tequarri and dad Terrance Holloway. In back, from left, are LHS Asst. Principal and asst. football coach Don Turner, LHS head coach and athletic director Dialleo Burks, brother Quentavious Whitlow and LHS Principal Montray Thompson.

LaFayette High football standout Tequarri Whitlow has signed to play for the Tennessee State University Tigers starting in the fall. LaFayette High School held a signing day ceremony for Whitlow on Wednesday. In front, from left, mom Pamela Whitlow, Tequarri and dad Terrance Holloway. In back, from left, are LHS Asst. Principal and asst. football coach Don Turner, LHS head coach and athletic director Dialleo Burks, brother Quentavious Whitlow and LHS Principal Montray Thompson.

LaFayette High School athlete Tequarri Whitlow has signed a football scholarship to play for the Tennessee State University Tigers this fall. Whitlow was a standout on offense and defense for LHS and will be working out as H-back for the Tigers under head coach Ron Reed.

While at LaFayette, Whitlow started at middle linebacker and running back. Last season he rushed for 483 yard on 62 carries and scored six touchdowns. He is also plays on the basketball team and is a four-year honor student.

During his recruitment Whitlow drew interest from Central Missouri, Georgia Southern and Fayetteville State. He was originally leaning toward Fayetteville but decided on Tennessee State after an on-campus visit in Nashville last month.

“They treated me right and it’s a really good school,” Whitlow said. “I like the environment that they have and it felt good. I got a chance to hang out with some of the (current) players and I like the team, they are like a family.”

As for his first season on the squad, Whitlow expects to be in the hunt for playing time immediately. “They told me that they have three backs and that I’m the most athletic out of all of them, so I can get out there and make a name for myself, work hard and I’ll get to play,” he said. “It’s not just about talent, though, it’s about how you carry yourself on and off the field.”

The chance to play for Tennessee State will also pit Whitlow against one of his former teammates at LaFayette. The Tigers biggest rival is Tennessee Tech, and former LHS standout Joe Vines is a member of their secondary. So the two could actually run into each other, literally, when the teams meet on Sept. 21.

The Tigers are members of the Ohio Valley Conference and finished the 2013 season with an 8-3 record.

Whitlow will report to Nashville in June to begin working out with the TSU team. He plans to study Business Management.

After three years, BCS Trophy may finally leave state of Alabama

For the past three seasons the BCS National Championship trophy has resided in the great state of Alabama, but after Saturday it appears that trend just might be over. No. 1 Alabama was upset by No. 15 Texas A&M seemingly ending the Tide’s chances of repeating as national champions. Because there are three undefeated teams ahead of Alabama in the rankings, UA could win the SEC Championship and still not make the title game. Auburn University, whose title run in 2010 came sandwiched between Bama’s two championships, is hardly having a title-worthy season. After their loss to Georgia on Saturday, the Tigers now sit at 2-8 and 0-7 in the SEC, their worst season since 1952. For now it appears the SEC’s and the state of Alabama’s dominance in college football has come to an end, at least for this year. Above, Alabama’s Eddie Lacey (42) tries to gain yards against the Aggies defense Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

November 14, 2012 | Posted in: College, Sports | Comments Closed

Media’s pre-season All-SEC Team revealed

Alabama center Barrett Jones was selected to the pre-season All-SEC team by the media, receiving 183 of the 222 votes cast.

The attending press at SEC Media Days selected the SEC all-conference teams and made their pre-season predictions for the finishing orders of each team. Defending SEC Champion LSU was selected to win the Western Division and to defeat Georgia for the SEC title. The Tigers (139 first place votes) were picked ahead of Alabama (72), Arkansas (6), Auburn (4), Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss (1) in the West. Georgia (132 first place votes) was the media’s pick to win the East over South Carolina (72), Florida (12), Missouri (2), Tennessee (4), Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Mississippi State were the only teams not receiving first place votes.

Alabama had 12 players named to the All-SEC team with five earning first team honors. Ten Auburn Tigers were selected to the All-SEC team, with two first teamers.

LSU led all teams with 13 total All-SEC players, including seven on the first team list.

Below are the first team selections, along with notable second and third team members:

OFFENSE:

QB-Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

RB-Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

RB-Knile Davis, Arkansas

WR-Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee

WR-Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas

TE-Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn

OL-D.J. Fluker, Alabama

OL-Alex Hurst, LSU

OL-Chance Warmack, Alabama

OL-Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

C-Barrett Jones, Alabama

Notable second-team: RB-Eddie Lacy, Alabama; C-Reese Dismukes, Auburn.

Notable third-team: QB-A.J. McCarron, Alabama; RB-Onterio McCallebb, Auburn; WR-Emory Blake, Auburn; TE-Michael Williams, Alabama.

DEFENSE:

DL-Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

DL-Barkevious Mingo, LSU

DL-Sam Montgomery, LSU

DL-Corey Lemonier, Auburn

ILB-Nico Johnson, Alabama

OLB-Jarvis Jones, Georgia

OLB-Sean Porter, Texas A&M

DB-Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

DB-Eric Reid, LSU

DB-Robert Lester, Alabama

DB-Bacarri Rambo, Georgia

Notable second-team: DL-Jesse Williams, Alabama; DL-Damion Square, Alabama; ILB-C.J. Mosley, Alabama; DB-Dee Milliner, Alabama.

Notable third-team: DL-Nosa Equae, Auburn; DB-T’Sharvan Bell, Auburn.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

PK-Caleb Sturgis, Florida

P-Brad Wing, LSU

RS-Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

AP-Dennis Johnson, Arkansas

Notable second-team: P-Steven Clark, Auburn; RS-Onterrio McCalebb, Auburn.

Notable third-team: PK-Cody Parkey, Auburn.

 

Alabama’s Saban looks to avoid complacency

Alabama Coach Nick Saban speaks with the media at SEC Media Days

HOOVER-When Alabama Coach Nick Saban took the stage on Friday morning to kick off the final day of SEC Media Days, the eyes of college football all turned toward the leader of the defending national champions. And people seemed as much interested in Saban’s take on the state of college football as they did about his assessment of the Crimson Tide. Saban did talk about the challenges his team faces this year of becoming complacent after winning their second title in three seasons, but the coach also fielded questions that ranged from what the future of college football is and the treatment of UAB and UAH by the University of Alabama system to the scandal at Penn State. And like he usually does, Saban answered the questions he wanted and wasn’t shy about voicing his opinion on certain issues.

In his opening statement, it was clear that Saban’s emphasis to this year’s team has been to stay motivated and hungry. “Having success in a football program can have two effects,” he said. “You can demand more success or you can get a little complacent and be relaxed about what you have accomplished, really think more about what you did rather than what you’re going to do.”

Saban and the Alabama football team have been in this situation before. Coming off the 2009 national title, the Tide was an odds-on favorite to repeat the following year. But Alabama didn’t realize their full potential until their final game of the season in the bowl game against Michigan State and finished the season with a 10-3 record. That team was loaded with talent but had an inexperienced defense. This year’s edition is also a talented bunch but they are short on defensive experience. From Saban’s comments and from the players he brought to Media Days, it’s apparent this team won’t be like the 2010 version. “This team seems to be less affected by the previous year,” Saban said. “They’re not really the 2010 team, they’re not really the 2011 team. There’re a lot of players on this team that this is the opportunity for them and their season. This team seems to be very much committed to creating an identity for themselves.”

“Some of us older guys have experience with that because of what happened before,” said senior defensive end Damion Square. “We saw what can happen, the things that should’ve been stopped and the good things that happened because there were good things that we did that year. We just have to make sure that we do the good things and look out for everything else and that’s why we’re going to be better prepared this year.”

Senior center and Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones echoed those statements. “The message is the same,” he said. “I think the difference was the first time, Coach Saban said ‘No Complacency’ and we talked about it and said to each other but for some reason, we just didn’t buy into it. This year, it’s starting with the older guys talking to the younger guys. It’s not going to sneak up on us this year.”

Alabama can’t afford the complacently, they return just 10 starters, six on offense and four on defense, and face one of the toughest road schedules in the SEC, with games at LSU, Arkansas, Tennessee and SEC newcomer Missouri, along with the season opener against Michigan in Dallas.

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Auburn’s Chizik happy with state of program

Auburn’s Gene Chizik addresses the media at SEC Media Days.

HOOVER-Auburn Coach Gene Chizik came to SEC Media Days last week with a different mindset and approach than he had shown over his first three seasons on the Plains. The usually stoic coach, known for his tendency to use coach-speak almost to a fault, was more emotional and expressive this year, raising his voice at times to make points. Perhaps it was because Chizik and the Tigers have been through yet another rollercoaster of an off-season or maybe the coach felt more comfortable and confident with the state of his team than he had in past seasons. Whatever the case may be it was clear that Chizik and the player representatives were ready to find solace on the football field.

Last summer, on the heels of their first national title in 52 years, Chizik and the Tigers dealt with controversy as the NCAA investigated the recruitment of Cam Newton. This summer was far worse for the Tigers. The June 9 shooting at the University Heights apartment complex took the lives to three individuals, including two former Auburn players, Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian, and shook the town of Auburn and the college team that resides there to the core. Much like last year, football may be the thing that finally brings closure to many of those involved.

Chizik opened his press conference by addressing the shooting. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank so many people for their outpouring of love and prayers and emails and phone calls to the Auburn family since that tragic night, June 9th, when three young men were shot and killed. I do want to say thank you,” he said. “I’m very proud of our football team. I think in the midst of some very difficult times they’ve really bonded together and done a great job of trying to move forward. They, without question, are still dealing with some of those issues. We got to still plow through some of those tough days and we know that.”

And while that emotional cloud hangs over his team, Chizik still seemed very confident about the product the Tigers will be putting on the field this year. According to the coach, he has the program heading in the right direction. “I think we’re in a much stronger position as a football team than we were a year ago. I really believe that,” Chizik said. “I think one of the reasons that we are there is that, you know, we finally, in my opinion, after so many years, have developed some depth and we’ve got a little bit of experience.

“If you look on paper right now, we have 16 returning starters. But the truth of the matter is we have guys, in many cases, right behind those guys that are considered one of the starters pushing them for starting job.”

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Former LHS star Drake to coach Meridian basketball

Meridian Community College President Dr. Scott Elliott (left) announced last week that former LaFayette High standout Cedric Drake will be the Eagles next men’s basketball coach. (Photo: courtesy of Meridian Community College)

Former LaFayette High School multi-sport standout Cedric Drake has been named the next head coach of the Meridian Community College Eagles. Drake also starred for the Eagles, helping lead them to an NJCAA Region 23 championship during his playing days. Dr. Scott Elliott, MCC President, announced the hire on Thursday.

“Cedric has been a winner all his life, on and off the court, and I expect him to have that kind of positive influence in building a solid program at MCC,” Elliott said. “He is a young man of great character, and he’ll be an excellent role model for our student-athletes.”

Drake was a standout football and basketball player at LHS from 1994-98, and was actually recruited to play football in college. However, he elected to continue his athletic career on the hardwood, starring for the Eagles. He continued his playing career at Auburn University-Montgomery, helping lead the team to a national tournament berth in both his junior and senior seasons.

After departing from AUM, he embarked on a highly successful coaching career in the high school ranks.

Drake served as head coach and athletic director at Taylor Road Academy in Montgomery, leading his teams to area championships from 2006-08 and a regional championship and state runner-up finish in 2009. His teams qualified for the state Final Four three times in his career at Taylor Road.

He coached at Prattville Christian Academy during the 2009-10 season, helping the team to a regional title, and has also served at the head coach of the Montgomery Job Corps, helping the team qualify for the national tournament.

“I am really excited about returning to MCC and doing all that I can to build a consistently competitive program,” Drake said. “My first goal is for my players to earn a degree. MCC has a strong academic reputation, so any player I recruit is going to benefit form a first-class college education.”

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Higgins signs with Concordia

LaFayette High track star Emmanuel Higgins has decided to continue his athletic career at Concordia College in Selma. Pictured above, from left, are LHS track Coach Don Turner, Higgins and LHS Principal Montray Thompson.

One of the most successful track athletes in LaFayette High history has chosen to extend his career at Concordia College in Selma. Emmanuel Higgins has accepted a grant-in-aid scholarship and will join Coach Timeka Ross’ Hornets team in the fall, hoping to make an immediate impact.

Higgins’ accolades at LaFayette are numerous, including four state titles. His running and jumping skills have helped lead the Bulldogs to a school best third place finish in the state over the past two years. Higgins won individual titles in the long jump and triple jump in 2011 and earned a bronze in the long jump and silver in the triple jump in 2012. He also ran the anchor leg for the record breaking 4x100m relay team that captured the state title in 2011 and 2012 and earned the bronze in 2010. The team set a new state record at this year’s state meet.

Higgins has qualified for state in the long jump in each year of his eligibility and has won the long jump sectional title for three straight years. The 4x100m team has also dominated sectionals throughout Higgins’ career and he has multiple triple jump and 100m dash sectional titles.

His career bests are 11.30 seconds in the 100m dash, 24.96 seconds in the 200m dash, 21’8.5” in the long jump and 42’4” in the triple jump.

According to Higgins, Ross will give him the opportunity to compete in both running and jumping events. “If I have to pick one or the other,” Higgins says, “it’s going to be jumping. It’s what I’m the best at and what I like doing the most.”

Higgins will report to campus in Selma in August and begin training for the upcoming season which begins in March of 2013.

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