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Coaches, teams ready to learn

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Aug. 27, 2003
West Lauderdale and Clarkdale have at least one thing in common heading into their season opener. Neither team knows what to expect from the other.
Gary Lee, the first-year head coach of the Clarkdale Bulldogs, knows even less about West Lauderdale.
Both teams will look to learn quickly about each other and themselves as the squads kick off the 2003 football season at 7 p.m. Thursday in Collinsville.
Both coaches said they expect mistakes in their first game of the season, but they hope to keep them to a minimum.
Lee, who inherits a team that went 7-4 last year, said he plans to stay away from plays that have caused his team trouble in practice.
McCain said the atmosphere of a high school football game can be intimidating for young players, but he hopes that West Lauderdale's spring game in May helped to defuse that problem.
Lee said he must calm not only his players' nerves, but also his own.
The game's Thursday night setting provides an atypical backdrop for high school football. McCain said if the game were being played on a Thursday in the middle of the season, it could interfere with his practice schedule.
Lee disagrees, and said the Thursday night game also conflicts with next week's preparation.
Lee said the Thursday night games are intended to generate attention.
Both coaches agree the first game is important, but McCain said it still is only one game.
Bay Springs
Entering the 2003 football season the Bay Springs Bulldogs will have some new faces and some questions to answer.
Some of those questions will be answered as the Bulldogs meet the Stringer Red Devils in their first game of the season Thursday at home. Head coach Cecil Hicks is very excited and anxious to begin the season against the Class 1-A Stringer squad.
The youth of the Bulldogs may be on the minds of many fans, but Hicks believes that experience will build over time.
With the new faces on both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs return four seniors who will be counted on for much needed leadership.
Philip Sims will be returning on offense for Bay Springs to take up the duties of tailback. Sims will also play linebacker on defense.
Ronnie McCullum will be the other pawn in the rushing game for the Bulldogs to join the already experienced back field for Bay Springs.
The youth will be mainly on the offensive line for Bay Springs. Luther Walker will represent the lone starter from last season on the line for Bay Springs. One factor that Hicks is excited about is the home-field advantage.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Bay Springs.
Robby Atkinson