E.A. Sports Today

Takeaways: Week 1

Alexandria's Austin Wells (11) tries to get away from Jacksonville's Trey Harris. In the main photo, Alexandria coach Frank Tucker talks to his charges during a timeout. (Photos by Greg McWilliams)

Alexandria’s Austin Wells (11) tries to get away from Jacksonville’s Trey Harris. In the main photo, Alexandria coach Frank Tucker talks to his charges during a timeout. (Photos by Greg McWilliams)

By Chad Barnett
East Alabama Sports Today

Valley Cubs Continue Early Struggles

Ever since the 2008 season, the second year of head coach Frank Tucker’s tenure, Alexandria has struggled to get out of the gate. Here are the Valley Cubs’ starts since 2008 — 1-3 (2009), 0-3 (2010), 1-2 (2011), 2-3 (2012) and 0-2 (2013).

This season started out with another loss as Jacksonville came from behind to knock off the visiting favored Cubs 27-19.

Alexandria had hoped this season would be different. On the heels of going 3-7 and making the move up to Class 5A for the first time in school history, the Valley Cubs were installed at No. 9 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association preseason poll.

Good news for the Valley Cubs is they have a bye week in Week Two. This will be a chance to correct the mistakes before opening their Class 5A schedule.

Oxford “O” Just Fine

A lot of eyes were tuned into Oxford’s season opener at Southside. More than 5,000 fans packed Barney Hood Stadium to get a glimpse of the Yellow Jackets’ “Post Roc” offense. The result? An overwhelming performance by a balanced attack.

Senior quarterback Ty Webber looked like a true field general. He ran when he had to and threw with great effectiveness (287 yards passing, 40 yards rushing and three total scores).

His weapons were spread out thanks to the team’s “A” player, Tredarian Gamble, staying at wide receiver. Gamble’s position — and Southside’s concentration on him — left a lot of open space for Jacob Cook (nine catches, 223 yards, two touchdowns). The line and running game was impressive enough to keep the Panthers on their heels.

The Yellow Jackets could make another run this year, but they’ll need to solidify a defense that gave up a number of big plays in Week One. They’re hoping it’s just typical first-week miscommunication.

So Far So Good on the Creekbank

The Ohatchee Indians started off the Scott Martin era with a bang, dropping Southeastern 37-0.

Even though the Mustangs have only one win in their program’s history (1-17), Ohatchee’s victory matched its win total from 2013 and the Indians now are only three wins away from their best season since 2007.

Munford Back at the Drawing Board

When Munford head coach Will Wagnon took over the program, it was due to his offensive mind.

The Lions’ head man made a name for himself as offensive coordinator for Tripp Curry at Cherokee County, leading the Warriors to a state title in 2009. His offensive prowess followed him at Munford where the Lions set school records for points in each of the last two seasons earning four playoff victories along the way.

But the season opener in 2014 proved a struggle. Replacing quarterback Monteo Garrett, arguably the most valuable offensive player at the school the last two decades, the Lions struggled against Central of Clay County.

New quarterback Brett Haynie looked solid once he got comfortable, but the Lions couldn’t get anything going on the ground or through the air in the first half. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter things started coming together.

Given time, the Lions will probably find their way. But they’ve got a lot to improve between Weeks One and Two.

Read Chad Barnett’s impressions of the high school football week that was every week at East Alabama Sports Today.

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