Teams in this post:

Paul W. Bryant Stampede wants back on winning track

Patrick Porter, a college prospect at defensive back, will also play quarterback for the Stampede this season. (Photo by FILE PHOTO | THE TUSCALOOSA NEWS)

COTTONDALE | Hired last summer, coach Errol Jones didn’t have the advantage of going through spring training with the Paul W. Bryant football team. 

The Stampede had winning seasons and made playoff appearances in 2010 and 2011 under different coaches. Last year didn’t produce any on-the-field wins, but two victories were awarded by forfeit in rulings by the AHSAA. 

Late in the season, Jones decided to implement his offseason program, and he believes progress was made. 

“We were able to have a complete offseason program,” Jones said. “It really started with three games left in the regular season last year. We worked hard at getting bigger, faster and stronger. I’m really waiting to see how the offseason went because the only way to tell is when we start going against different competition.” 

Jones said he hopes that the strength training and conditioning will prevent the rash of injuries that
 affected the team last season. Paul W. Bryant didn’t play in a scheduled spring game against Holt because of rainy weather, but Jones said he felt comfortable with most every position except quarterback. Senior Patrick Porter, considered a college prospect as a defensive back, volunteered to take the role. 

“Pat came in and said, ‘Coach, I played quarterback in the ninth grade. I know we need one, so I’ll try it,’” Jones said. “He’ll be a dualthreat quarterback.” 

Seniors Cornelius Lee and Jordan Merriweather and freshman Jacure Jackson provide depth at quarterback. Jones said Merriweather is the leading prospect to start at running back. 

Carlos Moore, Zabrian Moore and Godfrey Gholston have been working at wide receiver. 

The leading candidates on the offensive line all have experience. Probable starters include Robert
 Samuel, Moses Mason, Connor Huggins, Jordan Stines and De-Shaun Walton. Adam Schumaker, Elijah Kelley and Jalen Cromwell are competing for playing time. 

“We went to a team camp for the first time, and they got good work there,” Jones said. “Other coaches working the camp told me we’re not bad. We’ve just got to keep working to get better.” 

Probable starters on defense include JaDarius Ceasar at linebacker or end, Cameron Newton at free safety and Porter at cornerback. Ceasar led the Stampede in tackles and sacks last season. 


Jones said he wants to be judicious in the way he utilizes Porter. 

“He can’t last in 5A football playing every snap both ways,” Jones said. “We’ll pick our spots to rest him, both offensively and defensively, but he will be on the field in crunch time if he’s healthy.” 

Freshman Jai Smith and sophomore Zane Samuels are prospects at defensive end. John Snow, Tyler Long and Keondric Beard are defensive tackles. 

Senior Adam Shepherd will do the
placekicking and punting.