Prep Football Spring football practice ends; teams await start of 2017 season | The Cullman Tribune

Prep Football

Spring football practice ends; teams await start of 2017 season

Johnny Thornton

Cold Springs coach Rod Elliot talks to his team during the Nicholas Johnson intersquad game on May 23.

CULLMAN COUNTY - Spring football practice is officially over.

Five of the eight high school football teams inside Cullman County participated in a spring jamboree while two others had to change plans and another team decided not to get involved in a spring assignment.

Under Alabama High School Athletic Association rules, all football teams get 10 days to conduct workouts during the spring. It is the option of the school to take part in a jamboree game or not.

Cullman was the first local school to get on to the field for workouts. The Bearcats spent the final two weeks of April on the artificial surface at Oliver Woodard Stadium going through drills and contact work.

Like all teams, the Bearcats will have to fill vacancies due to graduation. Cullman will have to replace one quarterback with Ross Crocker gone, but Fletcher Jennings, who rotated with him, is returning for his senior season in the fall.

All-State lineman Hunter Brannon departs for Alabama, but Tyler Nunnelley is a key member back on the line with Mark Britton's team looking to maintain their attack mode from offense, spreading the ball throughout the field.

West Point will have to replace its running tandem of Cameron Moore and Alex Hernandez. Moore ran for more than 1,800 yards with Hernandez strong at fullback and deadly when playing linebacker. The Warriors have depth at quarterback, featuring Kolton Easterwood, a healthy Rylan Jones and Noah Allison.

Ten seniors are gone who played in the line of scrimmage. The Warriors will look to get experience right away and move forward in the quest to field another playoff team under the command of Don Farley.

Fairview faces the process of replacing Ragan Ashley from the quarterback slot. Logan Brooks is also gone from the running game and Sambo Woods at wide receiver.

Coach George Redding had the Aggies work hard in the spring, culminating with a 31-20 victory over Hanceville on May 19.

Something that will inspire the Aggies in 2017 is playing their entire home schedule at Dafford Smith Stadium. The bleachers on the home and visitor side have been replaced with the Aggies optimistic to be very competitive in Region 6 of Class 5A.

Despite the spring loss, Hanceville has its sights on more wins than just three in the second year of the Craig Flanigan era.

The Bulldogs have a leader with Alex Campbell at quarterback. A young team with plenty of opportunities is what Hanceville looks for when the new season starts in three months.

Good Hope is a ball club that knows it has one way to go: up. The Raiders went 0-10 in 2016, but a more mature group for coach Alan Scott's third season will lead the team that competes in Class 4A.

QB Preston Bagwell, RB Matt Dixon, WR Matt Hancock and FB Austin Knight got valuable experience playing regularly while only sophomores. Their maturity and maturity on the line sets the Raiders up with good chances to turn losses into victories.

Good Hope scored a 21-12 win at Addison May 19 with the varsity playing three quarters. Changes have been made to the coaching staff as Alan Scott will now be the defensive coordinator, Mitch Witcher takes over duties as offensive coordinator and former DC Taft Dillashaw deals with the linemen.

An unfortunate incident prevented Holly Pond and Cold Springs from playing each other May 19. Cold Springs senior Nicholas Johnson passed away on May 18 from injuries he sustained in a car wreck. The two schools decided not to play a spring contest.

Instead, both conducted controlled scrimmages. Holly Pond is coming off a 6-4 season, the Broncos' first taste of success after three years of frustration.

Now the key for Mike Bates' squad is to fill places they lost to graduation. The most vital will be quarterback Michael Lambert, who was the top signal-caller in the county system last year. Lambert has signed a scholarship with Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

The Broncos said good-bye to 13 seniors, but will try to maintain the winning formula they enjoyed last fall as they began the 2016 campaign claiming victory in four of their first five games.

Cold Springs also sees a change in its backfield, with Cayde Elliott, Nic Rollo and Fisher Willoughby graduating. Kevin Brakefield will be one the Eagles will rely on to run the ball, along with Ayden Alexander, Austin Lively and Brayden Williams who ran hard in the Nicholas Johnson intersquad game earlier this week at Cranford Stricklin Stadium.

Coach Rod Elliott divided reps between Brodie Williams and Jordan Lacey at quarterback while Mason Harris was a primary target catching the football.

A change has taken place at Vinemont. The contract of head coach Matt Norris was not extended this week. Morris leaves after coaching the Eagles for two seasons.

Vinemont is working on getting the vacancy filled by the middle of next month. The Eagles will have to replace graduated QB Garrett Boland, RBs Seth Campbell and Deke Wright and WR Colby Nicholas in regards of the skilled positions.

The assistant coaches are currently working with the team in off-season conditioning until the new coach comes soon to the Vinemont campus.

The teams will spend plenty of time in the weight room once summer arrives for conditioning with possible 7-on-7 camps for the backs, receivers and defensive backs.

Teams will begin fall workouts on Aug. 7 with the season to open the weekend of Aug. 25.

Fairview, Good Hope and Vinemont will be involved in jamboree games. Their regular seasons will not begin until the first Friday in September.

But on the final Friday of August, the Cullman Bearcats continue their longtime rivalry with Hartselle. This year it will be at Woodard Stadium.

Cold Springs will head to Hanceville, West Point plays at Hamilton and Holly Pond gets Coosa Christian from Gadsden for opening weekend in 2017 prep football.

A complete preview of area football will be provided by The Tribune prior to the start of the new regular season.

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