Gordo’s first-year head coach admits to being nervous as season opener arrives

Lane Moss, a senior quarterback, is a returning starter for the Gordo Greenwave, which kicks off its 2013 season tonight at Aliceville. (Photo by Skylar Kynard)

Ryan Lolley admits to feeling nervous, but it’s not necessarily a problem.

Lolley plans to keep going over details and continuing preparations right up until the time his Gordo Greenwave kicks off against Aliceville tonight.

Lolley, who coached the receivers and outside linebackers last season, took over the program after David McKinney left.

"I think any time you work as hard as we work and prepare for something that means so much to you you’re going to be a little nervous," Lolley said. "I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

"We’ve prepared our guys to be in good condition and to execute the game play. I have confidence they can do that.

"It’s going to be different as far as my duties are concerned during the game. I’ll be making the decisions as far as play-calling, but I’ll have some good guys on our staff upstairs. Our whole staff tries to prepare so that we’ll know how to handle certain situations."

Lane Moss should know the plays, since he’s a senior and a returning starter at quarterback. Moss will operate in a multiple offense.

"To have anybody that’s started as many games that he has and produced in the capacity that he’s produced in, it makes the transition easier," Lolley said. "He has a lot of confidence, and we’re very fortunate to have him.

"It’s definitely nice having something that’s been in the fire. He’s had an excellent fall camp, and we’re excited about what’s to come."

Lolley said he plans to rotate his running backs. Candidates include Malcolm Nicholson, Alandis Smith, Tyvon Martin and Nick Jones at tailback and Alijah Latham and Tyree Hurst at fullback. Lolley said eighth-grade fullback Collin Herring might get a chance to play in the opener.

"We have a bunch of unselfish guys who realize that fresh legs are more important than one person just having the big stats," Lolley said.

Ben Davis is expected to start at tight end, and he will be a target for Moss’ passes, along with wide receivers Devin Prude, Tyler Davis and Riley Bridges. Call Dyer will start at center, and Andrew Hutcheson will start at left tackle. Hutcheson will also play on defense as an inside linebacker.

Gordo went 8-3 last season and qualified for the AHSAA Class 3A playoffs. Aliceville, coached by Charles Moody, went 7-5 and reached the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

"They’re very athletic and big, which is a dangerous combination," Lolley said. "We have a lot of respect for them. It’s always a hard-fought game, and we don’t expect anything but their best."

Santiago Taylor, a freshman, will be the probable starter at quarterback for Aliceville, but his receivers are proven performers. Joe Robinson had 47 receptions for 854 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Chris Crowell caught 38 passes for 685 yards and accounted for 10 touchdowns.

Winfield’s Moore commits to UA

George Hennicke, the softball coach at Winfield High School, confirmed that Madi Moore, now a junior, has made a commitment to the University of Alabama.

As a sophomore, Moore helped the Lady Pirates reach the championship round of the AHSAA Class 3A tournament and finished second to Pisgah. She was The Tuscaloosa News’ 2013 Player of the Year and a first-team All-State selection as a pitcher.

Alabama turned out to watch her pitch in the regional at Sokol Park. She threw a no-hitter and struck out 26 in 14 innings in a 2-1 win over Good Hope.

Moore finished with a 31-6 record, 411 strikeouts and a .379 batting average.

Verbal commitments are nonbinding, but Moore could sign as early as November of her senior year.

Ranked teams


Several West Alabama teams will be involved in games this week featuring teams that were ranked in the ASWA preseason poll.

In Class 6A, No. 7 Tuscaloosa County plays at home against No. 6 Mountain Brook. Hillcrest, a Class 6A team, travels to open against Hartselle, the No. 7 team in Class 5A.

Demopolis, No. 10 in Class 5A, hosts American Christian Academy, a Class 3A school. Tom Causey coaches Demopolis. John Causey, his younger brother, coaches ACA.

Calera, the No. 4 team in Class 4A, plays at Holt (3A). Fayette County, the runner-up last season, starts a new year as the No. 4 team in Class 3A. The Tigers will face Pickens County, which is No. 4 in Class 1A. Sulligent (2A) plays tonight against Hamilton, the No. 10 team in Class 3A.

Linden, No. 3 in Class 1A, plays Leroy (2A). Berry, coming off its best playoff run in school history, is No. 10 in Class 1A. The Wildcats play at home against Northside (3A).

In the AISA poll, defending Class AAA champion Tuscaloosa Academy is ranked No. 3. Tuscaloosa Academy plays at home against No. 8 Lee-Scott Academy. The Knights beat Lee-Scott Academy twice last season, starting with a 34-0 victory and ending with a 27-26 win.

Pickens Academy, the Class A runner-up last season, is No. 5. The Pirates travel to play Sparta Academy in Evergreen.

Howell, Royal sign up

Del Howell and Andre Royal, former star athletes in high school, have signed on assistant football coaches this season.

Howell is back at his alma mater, American Christian Academy, to coach the defensive backs as a member of John Causey’s staff. Royal, a graduate of Tuscaloosa County High School, is on Robert Johnson’s staff. Royal coaches the linebackers at Tuscaloosa Academy, which won the AISA Class AAA championship last year.

Howell, a wide receiver and defensive back in football, was a left-handed pitcher and outfielder for the ACA baseball team. The Patriots won three straight AHSAA Class 1A baseball championships (2004-06). Howell was named Mr. Baseball by the Alabama Sports Writers Association after his senior season in 2006. He went on to play at the University of Alabama and spent a few years in the minor leagues.

Royal was a linebacker on Alabama’s 1992 national championship football team. He played for five seasons in the NFL with Indianapolis and Carolina.


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