Central players are stars in the classroom

Central’s Clarence "Trey" Sutton is one of several players who have participated in a summer program at Stillman College and the International Baccalaureate program. (Photo by T.G. Paschal)

When the Central Falcons started fall camp, Clarence "Trey" Sutton III had to miss some practice time, but the senior defensive back was excused to participate in an academic program at Stillman College.

"Your schoolwork is the most important thing that one can do because that will take you further than the sports that you play," Central coach Dennis Conner said. "Like the old saying goes, a mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Kalias Robertson, a tight end and quarterback, and offensive lineman Donche’ Vinson participated in the program at Stillman.

"We had to let them go because it was doing them a lot of good to be in that program," Conner said. "It really helped them in some of the things they were trying to achieve.

"We have about six or seven coaches, and we all talk to them about changing your circumstances, and the best way to change your circumstances is by using your mind. You try to make the kid understand that school is the best place and the best thing for them. Once a kid understands that he can use his mind to better his circumstances, he can end up having a great life."

Conner said Vinson already made a solid score on the ACT, so he spent time in the summer helping a teammate prepare for the test.

Sutton, Vinson and Robertson have participated in the International Baccalaureate program, which offers a variety of academic studies from an international perspective. Conner said Ron Rice, a junior linebacker, started in the IB program this year.

"All these guys are going to college," Conner said. "You can use football as a vehicle to finance your education, but these guys also have a vehicle because of the way that they’re using their brains in the classroom. They’re competing in the classroom with the best students in the school, and then they come to the football field to compete with the best football players. I’m real pleased with their success in the classroom because they’re representing Central High School football."

Central English teacher Jennifer Hines coordinates the IB program, which is based on a two-year curriculum.

"What we focus on are English, math and history, and we offer Spanish here as a foreign language," she said. "It teaches our students to have compassion for other cultures because we have to study so many different works that have been translated from other languages to English. It’s a rigorous course.

"(The players) are well-rounded students. They possess character and leadership, and this is a tremendous accomplishment for them."

Sutton, the son of Central Principal Clarence Sutton Jr., has received recruiting letters from some Ivy League schools and the Air Force Academy.

"I’m very proud of him," Principal Sutton said. "One of our goals is to make a well-rounded student. I think it prepared him how to set priorities, how to manage his time. I know that he’s prepared for the next level."

Linden officials decline comment on penalties

The Linden Patriots, ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 1A poll, play at home Friday, facing A.L. Johnson in a Region 1 game.

Last Thursday, Linden’s 47-8 victory over Wilcox Central was halted late in the third quarter because of a fight that resulted in 32 ejections.

Principal Timothy Thurman and coach Andro Williams declined comment when asked about possible suspensions or fines administered by the AHSAA.

Williams was asked if any of his starters were suspended for Friday’s game.

"I deal with all the discipline on my team," he said.

A tape of the game was sent to AHSAA headquarters in Montgomery. An official said it’s AHSAA policy not to publicize penalties, but both schools were notified by a letter. The official also said that Linden’s coaches "did a good job" of keeping the reserve players on the sideline and preventing them from joining the fight.

Rules posted on the AHSAA website state that coaches and players that are ejected from contests in all sports will now receive the following penalties:

First ejection: Minimum $300 fine (Can be reduced to $100 if the person being ejected takes the online STAR Behavioral Mode within 10 school days of the date of the ejection.)

Second ejection: Minimum one-game suspension and $500 fine

Bryant injuries piling up

Paul W. Bryant coach Errol Jones said starting quarterback Joe Pradat and running back Tyler Slayton won’t be able to play Friday when the Stampede takes on Parker in Birmingham. Pradat and Slayton suffered leg injuries in last Friday’s loss to Hillcrest. Slayton got hurt in the first quarter. Pradat was hurt in the third quarter.

Jones didn’t say if the two would be out the rest of the season.

Freshman Keonte Chambers, who filled in Friday, is expected to start at quarterback.

"We’re going to run our offense," Jones said. "We’re not going to do anything he can’t do. He’s got an opportunity."

Jones said the running back rotation will be "by committee."

"It depends on who has a good day of practice this week," Jones said.

Pickens Academy’s Lewis hits milestone

In six games, Pickens Academy quarterback Josh Lewis has rushed for 1,076 yards on 75 attempts. Lewis, who is averaging 14.3 yards per carry and 179.3 yards per game, has 14 rushing touchdowns.

AHSAA events staying in Montgomery

The AHSAA baseball and softball tournaments will continue to be staged in Montgomery through the 2016-17 school year.

The AHSAA, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association and the City of Montgomery agreed this week to a five-year contract extension.

According to the AHSAA website, other events scheduled for Montgomery include at least one division of the state tennis championships; volleyball super regional tournament; the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football and Boys and Girls Basketball Games; and the Champions Challenge preseason football games.


Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.