This past Monday, high school football teams across St. Clair County got down to business. It was the first official day of practice for teams in the Alabama High School Athletic Association as they prepare for the upcoming season.
High school football teams in our coverage include Ashville, Moody, Ragland, St. Clair County High, Springville, Leeds, Pell City and Victory Christian.
Three of these teams start the season with new head coaches.
Ashville is led by Mark O’Bryant, Ragland is led by Jonathan Nix, and Victory Christian is led by Raymond Farmer.
Nix will take over for Brian Mintz, who retired after leading the Purple Devils to a 13-1 record last year. Nix was last a head football coach at Ashville for three years from 2006-08, where he was 7-23.
O’Bryant comes to Ashville after being as assistant coach for John Grass at Oxford. He was a head football coach at Cleveland for two years in 2009-10. They went 5-6 in 2009 and 9-3 in 2010. They made the playoffs both years.
Farmer, 69, is coming out of retirement to coach the Lions. His Etowah teams played for three consecutive state championships from 1997-99. It was that 1999 season that Etowah won its state championship.
His coaching career started in 1966 as an assistant coach at Hewitt-Trussville, and ended in 2008 at Coosa Christian. It was a 42-year coaching career.
In 28 seasons as a head coach, Farmer has an overall record of 173-130-2.
Now, Farmer will start his 43rd year on the sideline with Victory Christian.
Keith Maple has been Springville’s head coach for the past 11 years. He has an overall record of 79-45, and has led the Tigers to the state playoffs seven of the 11 years he has been there. In 14 playoff games under Maple, the Tigers are 7-7.
Alan Lee has spent a total of 10 years at SCCHS. The first two were in 1992-93. It was the 1993 season that Lee led the Saints to a perfect 15-0 record and the Class 2A state title.
After coaching stints at Shelby County and Emma Sansom, Lee returned to St. Clair in 1999, and coached for seven years.
Away for five years, Lee returned to the Saint sideline last year.
In his 10 years at SCCHS, Lee has an overall record of 71-41. Overall, at three different schools, Lee is 93-69.
Jay Brown starts his sophomore season at Moody. Last year, the Blue Devils were 1-9.
Before coming to Moody, Brown was head coach at Pell City for nine years, from 2002-10, where he was 56-42. His first head-coaching job was at Guntersville where he was for three years from 1996-98, and had a record of 12-19. Overall, Brown is 69-70.
Keith Etheredge has seen a lot of success at Leeds. He has led the Green Wave to two state championships in the past four seasons. He has a seven-year record of 67-16. His playoff record is 19-4.