E.A. Sports Today

A look back – Donoho

EDITOR’S NOTE: The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down these past few months and the absence of sports has been tough on avid sports fans. We can only hope the football seasons can go off as scheduled this fall. As we wait, there has been plenty of time to reflect on high school football in Calhoun County.
The following is part of a 14-part series compiled by East Alabama Sports Today contributor Brant Locklier that looks back on the past decade of football for each of the 13 county football-playing schools. The 2020 season that may or may not be will be center stage for the first time at the Calhoun County QB Club Media Day July 24.
Special thanks goes to Ashleigh Jackson, who keyed in all the scores and the website, “The History of Alabama High School Football,” for their information. 

Donoho – Falcons Flying High

Summary: One of the best kept secrets in Calhoun County is the Donoho Falcons. They started the last decade strong and finished strong. There were three lean years, which saw the Falcons post a 7-22 record, but the other seven seasons produced a 55-12 regular season record with seven play-off appearances and five play-off wins. Defense has been one of their strong points throughout the decade with six seasons of allowing less than 20 points a game.
Current coach, Mark Sanders, entering his fourth season as the head coach, has seen his team allow only nine points a game in 2019 and 15 points a game in 2018. The Falcons were 18-5 the last two seasons, with opening round play-off wins each year.
They had an impressive Region record of 42-24 and if you take out a 3-15 stretch in the middle of the decade, the Falcons were 39-9. They were a perfect 7-0 in Region play in 2014 and only allowed four points a game, while averaging 37 points a game. 
High Point: The Falcons knocked off Shoals Christian in 2011 in the second round of the play-offs to advance to the third round for the only time in the decade. They were 11-1 at that point in the season, before falling 42-21 to Marion County the next week. Their only other loss was to Ragland in the second week of the season. Marion County went on to win the 1A state championship.
Low Point: There were only three losing seasons in the decade and they were all in consecutive years. Wadley was an opponent that just buried the Falcons during those three years (2015-17). Wadley won by scores of 46-0, 61-16 and 58-0.
Home Record:Lentz Field was a good place for Donoho in the decade. The Falcons were 35-19 at home and 10-2 the last two years. They averaged 32 points a game during the decade and allowed only 16 points a game at home. The Falcons protect their turf. They were a perfect 6-0 at home in 2014 and only allowed a combined 14 points in those six games.
Away Record: Donoho was a good road team during the decade, too, with 30-22 mark overall and 29 17 in the regular season. They have a current six-game regular season road win streak going as they enter the 2020 season
Play-Offs: The Falcons made seven play-off appearances during the decade, winning five games and losing seven. Their most impressive play-off win was a 65-0 win over Decatur Heritage in 2014 on the road.
Streaks: The Falcons won 14 straight regular season games, anchored by a 10-0 record in 2014, in the 2013-2015 seasons. They have won 16 of their last 18 regular season games entering 2020.
Coaches: Shannon Felder coached the Falcons from 2004 to 2014 and was 42-14 in the last decade. Andy McWilliams followed him and was 5-14 in two seasons. Mark Sanders took over the helm in 2017 and is 20-13 in those last three seasons of the decade.
Players: Justin Foster (2014) was a first team all-state defensive lineman, an absolute beast on offense and defense and may be their best player of the decade. Mitchell Baker made first team as a kicker in 2016. Wide receiver Aaron Smedly (2019), defensive back Rod Elston (2018, 2019), athlete Chris Carr (2013), linebacker Samuel Garner (2013) and quarterback Teddre Williams (2011) are some of the greats that have received state-wide recognition over the last decade.
Toughest Opponent: Wadley has been one of the toughest opponents during the decade, beating the Falcons three out of four times. Ragland held a 4-3 lead in series, while Spring Garden and Donoho have split six games. Marion County defeated the Falcons twice in the play-offs.
Easiest Opponent: Donoho had its way with Coosa Christian in the decade winning all eight times they played. The Falcons were 5-0 against Jacksonville Christian before the Thunder shut their program down.
Best Offense: The 2014 team was a dominant offensive team as they piled up an average of 41 points per game. The Falcons blasted Victory Christian 79-6, Coosa Christian 62-0, Decatur Heritage 65-0 and Appalachian 49-0 in some of their more impressive outings.
Best Defense: The best defense has to go to the 2014 team that posted eight shutouts in 12 games. They allowed more points (29) in their play-off loss to Marion County than they did in their previous 11 games that season; they only allowed 28 regular-season points. They posted shut-outs in their first five games.
Best Team: That honor has to go to the 2014 team which had the best defensive and offensive teams of the decade. They averaged 41 points a game and only allowed five points a game.
2020 Donoho Schedule
(Pre-pandemic, opponent 2019 record in parenthesis)
Aug. 21 – at Pleasant Valley (5-5)
Aug. 28 – vs. White Plains (3-7)
Sept. 4 – at Victory Christian (6-5)
Sept. 11 – at Winterboro (6-3)
Sept. 18 – vs. Woodland (1-9)
Sept. 25 – Open
Oct. 02 – vs. Ragland (2-8)
Oct. 09 – Open
Oct. 16 – at Wadley (5-5)
Oct. 23 – vs. Talladega Central (0-10)
Oct. 30 – at Westbrook Christian (8-4)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login