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County schools kick off football season


By Bart Moss

For the FCT

This week will mark the start of the 2015 high school football season. It will begin unofficially for Russellville, Tharptown and Vina, all of whom are playing in a pre-season game format of some fashion. However, the Phil Campbell Bobcats and Red Bay Tigers will kick off the season “for real” this week.
A rule change last year by the Alabama High School Athletic Association allows teams to start a week early and have an off week later in the season or play a fall jamboree and play ten straight regular season games.
Phil Campbell opens its season Friday night at Falkville. The Bobcats lost to the Blue Devils 45-13 last season but committed six turnovers in the game. Bobcat Coach Ryan Swinney attributed it to nerves and a little bad luck. He said he thinks his team this year is more mature and getting used to a little success, and he hopes that translates to a win Friday night.
“We had a lot of tough luck against Falkville last year,” said Swinney. “We had a lot of young players in that game playing or starting for the first time. They matured a lot as the season went on. I believe will be ready to play Friday night and give a much stronger performance this year.”
Red Bay will travel to Colbert Heights Friday night to open the season. The Tigers won last year’s game easily, 59-28. With loads of returning starters, Coach Michael Jackson’s team has high expectations as they enter this season.
“We are anxious to get on the field and play,” said Jackson. “We want to see our progress, and we want to get started with the season.”
Tharptown will travel to Vina Thursday night to play in a pre-season jamboree. The game will be played just like a regular season game, with live kicking and with full varsity squads. Both Tharptown Coach Jason Murray and Vina Coach Luke Childers just want to see progress and see where their teams are physically and mentally.
“I want to see how our guys compete,” said Murray, who is in his first year as the Wildcats coach. “I want to see how they respond to adversity and how hard they fight to win.”
“We are looking for our team to find a way to win and compete and not give up,” said Childers, who is in his second year at the helm of the Red Devil program. “We want everyone to have a chance to show us what they can do in a game situation. We want to see who wants to compete.”