E.A. Sports Today

A coach’s coach

UPDATED: Ohatchee coach Scott Martin named Class 3A Coach of the Year by the state’s football coaches; Alexandria’s Shaw top 5A assistant

(Updated with complete winners list)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

There is no stronger recognition for a job well done than when it comes from one’s peers.

Scott Martin has transformed Ohatchee’s football program from a team thirsting for success to one on the verge of a state championship in just three years. The Indians enjoyed their best season in nearly 40 years this fall and for that Martin is being recognized by the Alabama Football Coaches Association as the Class 3A Coach of the Year.

The organization recognizes the top head coaches and assistants in each of the state’s seven classifications. They all will be recognized at the group’s convention and awards banquet Jan. 28 in Montgomery.

“I’m humbled to be in this position,” Martin said. “There were a lot of good coaches who have done a lot of good things this year.

“It’s a very humbling award because it’s a coaches’ award, given to a coach by coaches, and the highest award you can receive is by your peers. That being said, I can’t think of a more gratifying award, but it’s a shared award with the players and assistant coaches because I wouldn’t get this without their efforts.”

Martin is one of two Calhoun County coaches being recognized this year. Alexandria defensive coordinator Gerald Shaw is the winner of the Class 5A assistant coach of the year.

Ohatchee went 12-2 this season, finished second in a region that was recognized as the strongest in the state and in the 3A North championship game. Their only two losses came to two-time state champion and region rival Piedmont.

Their 12 wins were three times more than the Indians had won the year before and more than the program had won in the previous five seasons combined. It was their first winning season since 2003, which also was the last time they made the playoffs before this year.

With all-state prospects Austin Tucker and Taylor Eubanks running behind a massive offensive line, the Indians scored 40 points or more nine times and set a school record for points in a season (589). Defensively, they gave up an average of 19 points a game,
14 in the games they won.

“It was a perfect storm,” Martin said. “We had basically zero injuries all year; none of my good players were hurt in a season-ending way.”

Tucker and Eubanks are among 16 seniors the Indians are losing off this year’s team, but Martin remains “excited” about the prospects going forward. They still plan on having the same type offense and defense; they just won’t be as big.

“I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good,” he said. “It’s going to be a total different look because there were so many guys who started so long for us and it’s going to be a lot of new faces, but I think we’ve got a lot of experience because a lot of kids got to play a lot.”

He already knows where the key stretch of the season will be – the stretch that runs Randolph County, Pleasant Valley and Weaver. Next year, they will have Randolph County and Weaver – the region’s Nos. 3 and 4 playoff teams– at home.

“If we get through there 2-1, we’ll be OK for the playoffs,” he said. “If we go 1-2 we’ll be fighting for it and if we get through 3-0 we’ll be playing Piedmont for the region championship in Week 8.”

Shaw has been an assistant at Alexandria for nearly 35 years and the defensive coordinator the last 10. He started the Valley Cubs’ strength program in 1982 and has done just about every job imaginable in the program.

“He’s just a loyal soldier; whatever you tell him to do he’ll do it,” Cubs head coach Frank Tucker said. “He’s got a great love for the kids and a strong interest in how they turn out as men.”

Martin is the second Calhoun County head coach to be so recognized since 2009. Piedmont’s Steve Smith won the 3A award last year. Pleasant Valley’s Jonathan Nix was the 1A assistant coach of the year in 2011 when he was at Ragland.

Here is the complete list of Coach of the Year winners:

Class 1A
Head coach: David Smothers, Addison
Assistant coach: Jared Day, Isabella

Class 2A
Head coach: Scott Horn, GW Long
Assistant coach: Jermaine Watson, Aliceville

Class 3A
Head coach: Scott Martin, Ohatchee

Assistant coach: Derek Blagburn, West Morgan

Class 4A
Head coach: Jimmy Perry, St. James
Assistant coach: Adam Helms, Andalusia

Class 5A
Head coach: Ronald Cheatham, Wenonah
Assistant coach: Gerald Shaw, Alexandria

Class 6A
Head coach: Reuben Nelson, Ramsay
Assistant coach: Tony Stonicher, Spanish Fort

Class 7A
Head coach: David Faulkner, Enterprise
Assistant coach: PJ Wright, Davidson

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