Ad Spot

The Top 10 Sports Stories of 2006

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The 2006 athletic year was another one full of great accomplishments for area teams and individuals – from the gridiron to the soccer pitch to the hardwood to the running track and everything in between. Here are the Top 10 sports stories of 2006.
10. Hartselle wins its first Morgan County soccer title (May 4 issue)
Hartselle goalie Brad Galloway made a save on Austin's Trey Garrison to give the Tigers a 5-4 win in the shootout and a 3-2 victory over Austin in the championship game of the Morgan County Soccer Tournament.
It was the first time Hartselle won the county title in the program's history. In order to accomplish that feat, they defeated a Black Bears team that had earlier given Hartselle a 3-1 loss in pool play. In the semifinal round of the tournament, Hartselle came back from a four-goal deficit against Decatur to win the game 5-4.
9. Falkville's Kyle Pressley wins second state golf title in three years (May 25 issue)
Falkville senior Kyle Pressley shot a par-72 on his second round of the state championship, combining with his first round score of 75 to give him his second Class 1A-2A individual title in three years. Pressley's 147 finished well ahead of second-place Altamont's Jake Killian, who shot 155. In the team competition, Falkville finished fourth.
Pressley, who plays 36 holes every day if weather permits, signed a golf scholarship to Northwest Shoals Community College.
8. Falkville boys and girls track teams each finish second at state; 4-by-800 boys relay team breaks 19-year-old state record (May 11 issue)
Both the Falkville boys and girls' track teams finished with a second-place finish at the state track meet in Birmingham, each finishing behind Altamont in the team standings. Although the Blue Devils didn't win a team title, both the boys and girls were quite successful in individual events. Six members of the boys' team won gold medals – Justin Blanchard (4-by-800 relay), Shane Edge (400 meters, 800 meters, 4-by-400 relay and 4-by-800 relay), Josh Henderson (pole vault), Jonathan McNatt (4-by-400 relay and 4-by-800 relay), Cody Sewell (4-by-400 relay) and Jace Wilemon (4-by-800 relay).
The girls had no gold medalists, but Alisha Sparkman won two silver medals and the 4-by-400 relay team of Emily Robbins, Alesia Smith, Nichole Lee and Krystal Gibbs also took a silver.
The 4-by-800 boys team not only won the race, but it also set a new state record in the event. The old mark of 8 minutes, 29.25 seconds was set by The Randolph School in 1987 but the Falkville team bested that time with a final of 8:22.56.
7. Hartselle baseball advances to semifinals (May 18 issue)
Hartselle's baseball team is used to being one of the elite teams in the state, but again it was a familiar rival that got the best of the Tigers. Cullman defeated Hartselle in the state semifinals by scores of 2-1 and 8-0 – the third time in the last five years that the Tigers dropped a state semifinal series to the Bearcats.
Although Hartselle came up short in its quest for a seventh state title, the playoff run was full of drama, particularly the Tigers' second-round series on the road at Gardendale. In that series, the teams split the first two games to set up a Game 3 for all the marbles. Hartselle trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning but the Tigers came from behind to win it on Jake Bradford's two-run home run. Hartselle finished the 2006 season with a record of 38-18.
6. Hartselle's Dixie Belles advance to World Series (July 27 issue)
The Hartselle Dixie Belles (13-to-15-year-olds) All-Stars swept through their competition at the state tournament in Eufaula to set up a trip to the Dixie World Series in Alexandria, La. Hartselle won five games at the tournament, including a 10-0 shellacking of Eufaula in the championship game. The Belles became the first Hartselle softball team to make a World Series since 1998.
In Alexandria, the Hartselle team finished with a 2-2 record and a tie for fifth place. They suffered a tough 11-10 loss to host Alexandria in the first game, but bounced back with a 21-0 win over Arkansas and a 4-2 win over Texas. South Carolina defeated Hartselle 8-1 in the team's final game at the World Series.
The Belles were coached by Mitzi Dobbins and the team members were Leah Dobbins, Deleasa Henderson, Meghan Stephenson, Dallas Snell, Katie Salverson, Hayden Watts, Chelsea Fagan, Alex Paulsen, Meaghan Gray, Breanna Riley, Danielle Carden and Jacquie Shadden. All members of the team were younger than 15 years old and eligible to return to the Belles league in 2007.
5. Hartselle and Brewer make volleyball's Elite 8 for first time in school history (Nov. 2-9 issues)
It was a historical season for Morgan County volleyball teams as two Class 5A schools made the Elite Eight state volleyball tournament for the first time in their program's history. Both Hartselle and Brewer made it to the Pelham state tournament, along with Class 3A Danville – who qualified for the second straight season.
The Tigers had little trouble advancing to the state tournament, winning the Area 13 tournament and Region D tournament to set up a sub-state match in Hartselle against Pleasant Grove. Hartselle won that match in three games – 25-6, 25-7, 25-10.
Brewer's road to the Elite Eight was a little rockier, as the Lady Patriots finished as area runner-up and finished fourth in Region D. As a result, Brewer had to travel to Region C champion Gardendale for a sub-state match. The Lady Patriots were rude visitors, sweeping past Gardendale 25-19, 26-24, 25-16. All four qualifiers from the Region D tournament – Hartselle, Muscle Shoals, Scottsboro and Brewer – advanced to the Elite Eight.
In the state tournament, Brewer fell to John Carroll in the opening match while Hartselle defeated Gulf Shores before falling to No. 1 Briarwood Christian in the state semifinals. Danville also was defeated in the Class 3A semifinals, dropping a match to Lexington after defeating Clarke County.
4. Hartselle finishes third at state softball tournament (May 25 issue)
The Lady Tigers had a losing record in 2005 but bounced back in a big way this season with a third-place finish at the Class 5A state softball tournament in Montgomery. Hartselle used its defense and pitching to finish 3-2 at the tournament, allowing just three runs in those games. But it was Mortimer Jordan that had the Lady Tigers' number, defeating Hartselle 2-1 in the winners' bracket semifinal and again knocking off Hartselle 1-0 in the losers' bracket final. In its other games, Hartselle defeated Oxford 4-0 and 2-0 and defeated Huntsville 1-0. The Lady Tigers finished the 2006 season with 41 wins.
Danville also advanced to the state tournament, lasting two games. The Lady Hawks dropped a 4-0 game to eventual state champion Alabama Christian and a 9-4 game to Leeds to finish the season with a 32-21 record.
3. Hartselle baseball coach William Booth moves to front of Alabama's career wins list (April 20-27 issues)
Hartselle's 9-2 win over Bob Jones in the first half of a doubleheader was more than a good regular season result for the Tigers. It was a historic victory that gave Hartselle varsity baseball coach William Booth his 648th career high school victory, moving him past Vestavia Hill's Sammy Dunn and into first place on the all-time list of Alabama high school coaches. Dunn won 647 games at Vestavia Hills during a 25-year time frame.
Following the game, Booth was presented with the game ball and a T-shirt from Hartselle principal Jerry Reeves. The shirt read, "Alabama's Winningest AHSAA Baseball Coach; William Booth, Hartselle High School; 648 wins…and counting."
Booth, who will coach his 20th season in a Hartselle uniform in 2007, has also led the Tigers to six state titles, including three straight from 1990-92. He is currently at 661 wins for his coaching career.
2. Priceville boys' basketball advances to Final Four (Mar. 2-9 issues)
The Priceville Bulldogs ended the regular season with a double-overtime loss to Danville. They would not lose again until the opening round of the Class 2A Final Four in Birmingham, dropping an 85-39 loss to eventual state champion R.C. Hatch.
Priceville's run to Birmingham was nothing short of a Cinderella story. The Bulldogs finished with a regular season record of 16-11 – certainly a respectable mark but nothing earth-shattering. Once the postseason began, though, the Bulldogs went on a complete tear. Priceville won two games at the Area 13 tournament to set up a sub-regional game at home against a good Ider team. The Bulldogs won that game by 11 points to advance to Pete Mathews Coliseum on the campus of Jacksonville State for a regional tournament opener against No. 5 White Plains – a team with a 30-2 record heading into the regionals.
But as soon as the Priceville players stepped foot on the campus of JSU, they treated it like it was home. The first-round game against White Plains was never close, with the Bulldogs clobbering the heavily favored Wildcats 81-61. Junior guard Josh Bedwell scored a Class 2A regional record 43 points in that game.
In the regional championship, Priceville again just toyed with its opponent, defeating Ranburne 91-62 and shooting a red-hot 59.3 percent from the field in the win to advance to the Final Four.
"We ran into a buzzsaw," Ranburne coach Tim Ward said following the game.
1. Hartselle football wins 11 games and advances to state quarterfinal round (Aug.-Nov.)
The Hartselle football team's regular season and postseason run is the 2006 Story of the Year. The Tigers advanced to the state quarterfinal round before falling in a heartbreaking 23-13 loss to eventual state champion Athens – a team Hartselle defeated on the road during regular season play. In that regular season, Hartselle finished with a 9-1 record and its only loss came on the road at then-No. 1 Russellville.
The Tigers made a name for themselves by being giant killers, defeating four ranked teams during the 2006 regular season. That first such win came over then-No. 2 Decatur, as Hartselle defeated the Red Raiders 17-7, making it the first year since 1985 where the Tigers defeated both Decatur and Austin. That Austin win, which came in Hartselle's opener, was a triple-overtime thriller the Tigers won 37-34.
Also during the regular season, Hartselle knocked off then-No. 7 Cullman 28-14, then-No. 5 Athens 35-31 and then-No. 10 J.O. Johnson 26-15. The Tigers closed out their regular season with a 20-7 win over a Huntsville team that advanced to the Class 6A playoffs. But the best was still to come.
After finishing with the No. 2 seed in Region 8, Hartselle had the opportunity to host a first-round playoff game, taking care of business with a 24-14 win over perennial powerhouse Benjamin Russell. In the second round, the Tigers were slated to go on the road to Gardendale, a familiar face that knocked Hartselle out of the playoffs in 2001 and 2003. After three quarters of play, it looked as if the Rockets had the Tigers' number again, with Gardendale holding a 24-7 lead. Hartselle responded with a furious 21-point comeback in the fourth quarter that was itself one of the biggest stories of the year, with the Tigers taking the lead for good when Michael Reed recovered a Gardendale fumble and ran it in for a touchdown and a 28-24 lead with four minutes remaining. The Tigers hung on to win by the same margin, setting up the state quarterfinal match-up against Athens.
Hartselle led that game 13-10 with less than two minutes remaining before a tipped pass resulted in Athens' go-ahead touchdown and the Golden Eagles would add another score late. It was a difficult ending to a season that will be counted among the best in Hartselle's school history. The Tigers finished with a record of 11-2, just the fourth team in Hartselle's 90-year history to win at least 11 games.

News

Christmas in the Park enjoyed in Falkville despite rain

News

Somerville woman arrested after threat made in Priceville

News

Officials: Escaped Morgan inmate apparently caused his own death

News

Majority leader Stadthagen sees strength in election of 26 republican legislators

News

Lacey’s Spring community fighting proposed rock quarry

News

Hartselle students participate in character expo

News

Authorities: Gifts in unlocked cars a tempting target so take preventive measures

At a Glance

Three arrested for theft of vehicle in Hartselle

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Annual Christmas parade to be held Thursday  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Some concerned over new Hartselle superintendent hire  

At a Glance

Town of Falkville to hold Christmas in the Park Sunday

At a Glance

Hartselle Holiday Market returns Saturday

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Old Hartselle post office to become event center, new home for chamber  

At a Glance

‘Have a Hart’ information session to be held Dec. 2

Morgan County

Future leader

News

Alabama DHR accepting applications for next round of child care bonuses 

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Spirit of Thanksgiving: Volunteers deliver 266 food bags on holiday for Meals on Wheels  

At a Glance

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office to let citizens behind the scenes with academy  

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Winter window wonderland  

At a Glance

Council to interview candidates for Parks and Rec director job  

Hartselle

Live nativity scene returns to First Christian Dec. 7-10

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Local church prepares 400 Thanksgiving meals

News

HIS students help clean up effort at Mt. Tabor Cemetery 

News

Lovely landscape

x