FALKVILLE — New coach. New classification. New offense. New uniforms.
There’s a lot to look forward to at Falkville High this season. And optimism is a powerful thing for a program coming off consecutive 1-9 campaigns.
“We’re sold-out,” junior quarterback Aaron Estes said. “That’s been our motto this year. I’ve never experienced a team that really did that, that said, ‘We’re sold out to our team, our families, our school and to football.’ That’s what we’re trying to do and we’re getting there. I think that’s going to be the difference.”
Joel Schrenk inherits a program seeking its first playoff berth since 2006, first winning season since 2000 and first postseason victory since 1999. He arrived in the spring after coaching in Tennessee for five years and began putting in plans for his spread offense.
“I think they know what our expectations are, what we demand and expect a lot,” said Schrenk, who was also previously a longtime assistant at Austin. “And in return, we think the hard work will pay off for them. They’ve bought in pretty well.”
Estes and freshman Ryan Sullivan have spent the offseason battling to be the one who gets the keys to drive the Blue Devils’ new playbook.
“They’ve both been doing a good job,” Schrenk said. “Aaron has a better grasp of the offense. Ryan probably throws a better ball. We feel like we could win with either one of them.”
If Estes isn’t under center, he’ll be catching passes at wideout. Sullivan will play running back if he doesn’t win the job. Twins Tyler and Hunter Woodall join Cade Wilemon, Clay Austill and Lucas Johnson as part of a deep receiving corps. Big tight end Canaan Smith (6-3, 240), who Schrenk described as having “phenomenal hands,” tweaked a previously injured knee on the first day of practice and his status is uncertain.
Freshman Devin Reed is expected to start at running back, where he’ll work behind an inexperienced line that will likely consist of two freshmen, two sophomores and a lone senior in right tackle Jared Rowe.
“He’s gotten stronger and went to some camps,” Schrenk said of Rowe. “He’s starting to lead by example and we’re looking for big things from him. He can be as good of a 1A lineman as we’ll see.”
Defensively, the Woodall brothers, Estes, Austill and Tanner Evans will be in the secondary. Shawn Mears, Zack Garrison, Johnson and Wilemon will be at linebacker.
“I think our skill kids are as good as most we’ll see,” Schrenk said. “It’s going to be, can we block and tackle up front?”
The Blue Devils, who have 35 players on the roster, move from Class 2A to Class 1A this season.
where they are grouped in Region 6 alongside teams like Ragland (13-1 last year), Donoho (11-2) and Addison (9-2).
“We’re excited about it. We were in a really tough 2A region last year,” said Schrenk, who has 35 players on his roster. “We’re still in a tough region, Addison and Ragland are always good. The region’s still going to be tough, but I think when our kids get off the bus, we’ll see teams that are similar to us in size, stature and number. I think that’s important.”
2011 results: 1-9 overall, 1-7 in Class 2A, Region 7; did not make the playoffs
Season opener: Aug. 31 at Southeastern
Coach: Joel Schrenk (first season at Falkville)
Returning starters: Four on offense, four on defense
Big games: Oct. 5 at Donoho; Oct. 19 at Addison, Oct. 26 vs. Ragland
Aug. 31 at Southeastern*
Sept. 7 vs. Shades Mountain Chr.*
Sept. 14 at Appalachian*
Sept. 21 vs. Meek*
Sept. 28 at Sumiton Christian*
Oct. 5 at Donoho
Oct. 12 OPEN DATE
Oct. 19 at Addison*
Oct. 26 vs. Ragland*
Nov. 2 vs. Danville
*Class 1A, Region 8 game
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