By Gary Lloyd
I’ve covered high school football games across Alabama and Mississippi for well over a decade now, and just before each season begins, I look back at the previous season. Who was impressive? Which players are returning? Who is going to break out? Which programs have new coaches?
But this year, I’ve hardly looked at a roster in preparation for the season ahead. I’m just grateful to have the games. We had games last year, and I’ll tip my hat to the Alabama High School Athletic Association and member schools for safely and effectively producing a 2020 season, but I hope it’s better this go-around.
Last season, I covered 10 games, and the average score was 36-14. Nine of the 10 games were decided by 13 points or more. Oof. Only my second game, a 9-7 Homewood win over McAdory in September, was decided by single digits.
The atmospheres across stadiums in 2020 understandably lacked buzz. Seats were empty. Fight songs weren’t played. Deafening cheers failed to echo down Deerfoot Parkway in Clay and Husky Parkway in Trussville. This season, surely that will change. COVID-19 vaccinations have been ongoing all year, and many businesses, venues and other establishments have returned to normal operations. I hope it’s the same for high school football.
I hope black and maroon attire covers every seat at Willie Adams Stadium in Pinson. I hope the Clay-Chalkville student section is as loud as I remember it in 2014 and 2015. I hope Hewitt-Trussville packs out its stadium and the music from the Marching Husky Band rumbles on Interstate 59.
I hope Oak Mountain’s students jump until Heardmont Park shakes. I hope Hoover and Spain Park play another shootout and that students show up painted orange and black, silver and blue. I hope Briarwood Christian raises the gold often and that Mountain Brook makes another deep run. Something about that green and gold is beautiful under November lights.
I want Vestavia Hills to break through with its first new head coach since the Jimmy Carter administration. I want to witness the jubilation when Chelsea wins in the playoffs again and see Homewood’s awesome band make its pregame entrance.
I’m ready for some football, yes, but I’m more ready for the atmosphere. Are you?
Gary Lloyd is the author of six books and is a contributing writer to the Cahaba Sun.