Hartselle set to face Deshler in jamboree tonight
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's football season doesn't officially start until Aug. 30 against Austin, but the Tigers will have an opportunity to work on game-time situations much earlier than that.
Tonight at 7 p.m. at J.P. Cain Stadium, Hartselle and Deshler will meet for a preseason jamboree. The game does not count toward regular season records but does offer both teams a chance to scrimmage against players other than their teammates.
"It's important for us to have a game to help work some of those kinks out and eliminate some of those mistakes before we get into the regular season," Hartselle coach Bob Godsey said.
Godsey said the varsity will play most of the first half and the junior varsity will take over in the second half. Before the game, there will be introductions of the teams in Hartselle's city youth league and at halftime there will be announcements of Hartselle football alumni in attendance.
Following the game, those alumni will meet with the current football players for a meal.
Deshler is located in Tuscumbia and is a yearly power in Class 4A. Its team is also called the Tigers and Deshler finished with a 6-5 record last season, finishing fourth in Region 8 before falling to Dora in the first round of the playoffs. Deshler won three Class 4A state titles in the 1990s and reached the Super Six every year from 2003-05, falling in the championship game each time.
"Their goal is to win the state championship every year," Godsey said. "They will be a good test for us. We always try to bring in somebody who can give us a challenge, and I'm sure they think we'll be a test for them as well."
The Deshler Tigers are coached by John Mothershed and their most visible player is 6-foot-5, 300-pound Demarkus Underwood, a recent transfer from Colbert County who is a Division-I prospect at defensive tackle. Senior running back Dominique King and junior quarterback Chase Blackburn are returning starters who give the Tigers a strong backfield combination.
Mothershed and Godsey are familiar with each other, as they faced each other in several games when Godsey was at Brooks and in the same region as Deshler.
Godsey said the team did "very little" preparation toward Deshler in terms of specific game planning to attack or defend the other group of Tigers.
"That's really not a part of it," Godsey said. "In fact, I met a few days ago with Coach Mothershed for a few minutes and we discussed some things we could do to help each other out. We're going to give Deshler a few looks and sets they need to work on and they're going to use some stuff that we can use to work on as well.
"It's really not about winning or losing, it's about getting our guys playing time in game-like situations and about hopefully eliminating some silly mistakes that would cost us during the regular season."
Hartselle has hosted a fall jamboree game each of Godsey's four seasons as coach. In the most recent two years the Tigers hosted Hazel Green.
"It's a great opportunity for us to make a little money and help promote football in Hartselle," Godsey said. "We've been fortunate that each year since I've been here we've been able to stay home for our jamboree. We sign a one-year contract with the other school and they're paid in return for coming to our stadium.
"Next year, it's possible that we might go on the road to Deshler. Nothing's been decided yet."