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Smothers a finalist for head football job at Muscle Shoals

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Shane Smothers is waiting for a call that could change not only his future, but that of the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles football program.
The Blue Eagles head coach is one of three finalists for the head coaching post at Muscle Shoals High School, which is a Class 5A school located just south of Florence.
Muscle Shoals superintendent Jeff Wooten told the Florence Times Daily Smothers was a finalist for the job along with former LSU and Southern Mississippi head coach Curley Hallman and Mary Montgomery head coach Scott Lesley.
"All three of them are winners," Wooten said. "Each one of them has an impressive track record and we feel like any of the three can do the job well. Now, the trick is to find out which one is the best fit."
The Muscle Shoals position beame open last month when Toby Greene tendered his resignation. Greene had a 5-15 record at the school.
The Muscle Shoals job would give both Smothers and wife Amy an opportunity to be much closer to their families. Both attended high school at nearby Curry.
Smothers came to W.S. Neal in 2003 and led the Blue Eagles to a 10-3 record and a Class 3A quarterfinal berth.
The Muscle Shoals position originally drew more than 50 applicants. That list was reduced to three early last week.
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Mother Nature was probably the biggest winner during the first week of spring football practice for the T.R. Miller Tigers.
Steady rain fell throughout Tuesday's and Wednesday's practice sessions. While rain subsided for Thursday's workout, the previous precipitation left soggy conditions.
"We usually get pretty good weather for our spring practices, but not this year," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said. "I guess the good thing about practicing in conditions like this is you find out who wants to play."
Alabama high school football teams are allowed up to 15 days of practice in the second semester.
"This is probably the best time for us. It's right before spring sports start although we probably have four to five players still involved in basketball. The other thing is the weather is ususally not hot yet at this time," Riggs said.
Riggs said about 80 players are taking part in spring practice, which includes 21 eighth graders.
"For the most part, we've kept the current freshmen and the eighth graders together because those players will most likely be our B team next year," Riggs said. "One of the biggest things we try to do with our eighth graders during this time is just get them acclimated to our system and let them know what we expect of them."
Riggs said these two weeks are a good time to experiment with the lineup, especially considering the heavy hits the Tigers will suffer due to graduation.
"We may try somebody out in one spot one day and then move them to another spot the next. A big area of concern is our offensive line. We're taking a long, hard look at a lot of kids for those spots these two weeks. Next week we'll expand on the things we do this week," Riggs said.
Spring practice will conclude with the Tigers' annual intrasquad scrimmage Friday at 4 p.m. That scrimmage is open to the public and there is no admission charge.
"Everybody will get to play. We'll probably start out with a varsity group and then give our younger kids a chance to play. Then the varsity will play again to conclude things," Riggs said.
Feedback is starting to come in on the three recent area Division I football signings.
West Virginia football coach Rich Rodridguez had these comments about W.S. Neal running back Alphonso Gross.
"Alphonso had a very productive high school career. He reminds of Avon Cobourne. When coach Magee watched him on film, he runs like Avon. He is great
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at cutting. He has done a lot of similar things offensively that we do. We're really excited about him," Rodriguez said.
The University of Alabama athletic department web site had no direct comments from head coach Mike Shula, but it did post these tidbits about T.R. Miller's Trent Davidson.
"Davidson is one of two tight ends to sign with the Tide (along with Pike County's Nick Walker.) Davidson is considered an all-around outstanding tight end, an excellent blocker and receiver," the Alabama athletic department said.
Louisville also did not have any direct quotes from head coach Bobby Petrino on its athletic department web site, but it posted these items about W.S. Neal's Marcus Folmar.
"Folmar played wide receiver and defensive back. He is an all-purpose player who can return punts and kickoffs. This season he had 79 tackles and caught 21 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns," the Louisville athletic department said.
Either W.S. Neal or T.R. Miller will make its first regional tournament appearance in volleyball next year.
T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal had been in the Class 3A Area 1 Tournament along with Sumter County and Clarke County, but Sumter County was reassigned to Area 5, which also includes Northside and Midfield.
That leaves W.S. Neal, T.R. Miller and Clarke County to battle for the two regional spots from Area 1.
Jefferson Davis Community College Lady Warhawks volleyball coach Misti Nims has completed her 2004 recruiting class with the signing of Tiffany Anderson, a 5-11 middle hitter fron Navarre (Fla.).
"Tiffany hits pretty well and I think she will be a good leader for us. She has things to work on such as her strength, but she is a good addition for us," Nims said. "We were in desperate need of size. Tiffany and Jessica Powell (a 5-10 recruit from Baldwin County) will help us in that area."
JDCC's other recruits are Sonie Demko, a setter from Baldwin County, Carly Dougherty, an outside hitter from Mobile, and Jennifer Windham, a setter from Clanton.
The East Brewton Youth Football and Cheerleading League will meet February 23 at 6 p.m. at the Agricultural Science Center, which is located behind Southern Pine.
All parents who are interested in their children playing football or cheering next season are encouraged to attend.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Department will battle the Brewton Fire Department on the basketball court February 21 at 6 p.m. at the Jefferson Davis Community College Gym.
While admission is free, donations for Relay for Life will be accepted.
For more information, contact Phillip Jackson at 867-6860.
Summer youth sports sign-up reminders: Registration for the upcoming Brewton Little League baseball season will be held February 16, February 17 and February 19 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the T.R. Miller High School Field House.
All players who turn age nine before August 1, 2004 and do not turn age 13 before August 1, 2004 are eligible to play. Players must bring a birth certificate to verify age.
Players will be fitted for shirts and pants.
Tryouts will be held February 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for players in the age nine and 10 division at the Brewton YMCA Sports Park. Tryouts for for players in the age 11 and 12 division will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Those tryouts will also be held at the Brewton YMCA Sports Park.
Individuals who are interested in coaching a team must fill out a Little League Volunteer Application Form. The Brewton Little League Board will approve coaches based on qualifications.
For more information, contact Tony Smith at 867-6407 or Randy Denton at 867-8876 after 5 p.m.
The Brewton Babe Ruth Baseball League will hold its registration February 24 and February 26 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the T.R. Miller Field House.
All players must register. Any new player must show a birth certificate at registration.
The Brewton Area YMCA will hold registration for T-Ball (age four), Coach Pitch Baseball (age five to eight) and girls softball (age nine to 15 until February 29.
Call the Brewton YMCA at 867-9622 or Randy Salter at 363-2053 for details.
Anyone interested in coaching baseball or softball at the YMCA should contact Salter.
Brewton resident and T.R. Miller golfer Tripp Owens posted his second straight win on the Robert Trent Jones Junior Tour when he captured the Grand National championship held at Lakes Course at Auburn/Opelika.
Owens overcame cold and windy conditions to claim the crown. He was in second place after the first day of play with a score of 78, four strokes behind Jonathan Randolph of Madison.
Owens made up the deficit when he fired a decisive round of 73 on the second and final day. Owens used a quick start, as he birdied two of his first three holes.
Owens made up seven strokes on Randolph for the day and won the event by three strokes.