E.A. Sports Today

Changing the mindset

PV takes first season opener since 2007, giving Nix his first win in the program; update on Anniston’s QB

This week’s Calhoun County games
Alexandria at Jacksonville
Donoho at Horseshoe Bend
Gaston at Pleasant Valley
Oxford at Gadsden City
Piedmont at Cherokee County
Sylacauga at Anniston
Weaver at B.B. Comer
Wellborn at Saks
White Plains at Ohatchee
Whitesburg Christian at JCA

This week’s area games
Ashville at Ragland
Barbour County at Randolph County
Benjamin Russell at Clay Central
Beulah at Spring Garden
Callaway (Ga.) at Handley
Hokes Bluff at Southside
Leeds at Cleburne County
Lincoln at St. Clair County
Madison County at Etowah
Mt. Zion (Ga.) at Ranburne
Talladega at Talladega County Central
Woodland at Wadley
Westbrook Christian at Glance

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — The Pleasant Valley football team made a whole lot of history Friday night and the Raiders are hoping this is just the beginning of a historic year.

The Raiders opened their season with a 42-0 rout of Vincent.

Here’s what it did:

It snapped a 12-game losing streak and was their first win under second-year coach Jonathan Nix. They hadn’t won a season opener since 2007, when they started the season 3-0, and hadn’t beaten the Yellow Jackets in four previous meetings. The 42 points were the most they had scored in a game since beating Gaston 43-14 in 2012.

They host Gaston this week.

“That was big just to start the season off,” Nix said. “There were a lot of firsts in that. People came up to us and said that’s the first opening win since 2007. We knew we hadn’t beaten Vincent.”

What it can do is be a springboard to a special year. The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2008 and only five in their history.

“We tell them try to be a different breed,” Nix said. “We know the last 34 seasons, let’s be different. I think some times when you come into a program and start saying we’re going to beat ‘this team’ and then look and nobody in school history has beaten ‘this team’ and it scares them. If you get them to believe in themselves, they can be ‘the first;’ flip it from a negative to a positive.

“You pull up anybody on the schedule, we don’t have a winning record (against anyone but Spring Garden). You have a chance each week to rewrite history. That’s kind of our war call. Each week this is the biggest game you’ll ever play in. You’re not just changing this year, but the future mindset.”

The future does look bright when one considers the youth that led the team Friday night. Junior Nick Smith caused a fumble on special teams and had returned an interception for a touchdown. Leading solo tackler Ashton King and leading rusher Colton East are both ninth-graders.

“So many kids did good,” Nix said. “It wasn’t one stat that just jumps out. These were big playmakers, so much like a team and what you want it to be.

“The kids had a strong mindset. It was neat to coach football and not coach ‘pick you head up, stay in the game;’ it’s what it’s supposed to be in coaching. They dealt with some adversity early, had a positive mindset, then started having success.”

ANNISTON UPDATE: Bulldogs quarterback Savion Bethune underwent surgery Saturday morning on the broken femur he suffered in Friday’s jamboree game against Holt.

Bethune sustained the injury in the final minute of the first half when he fell awkwardly after being tackled while unloading the ball.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login