There were not many surprises as the Alabama team opened practices for today’s Georgia vs. Alabama Indoor Football Classic at the Columbus Civic Center. Most of the senior football players nominated to play for Alabama knew what their new teammates are capable of doing on the field.
Those from Central-Phenix City and Russell County have played against one another every year, rivals from Beulah and Lanett have played a season-opening series each of the previous three seasons, and many of the others on the team have played against one another at some point in their careers.
But for the first time, athletes from Glenwood and Chambers Academy are getting an opportunity to show Alabama private schools are just as competitive as their public school counterparts.
Glenwood and Chambers belong to the Alabama Independent School Association, which prohibits its teams from playing against Alabama High School Association teams such as Central and Russell County.
“It’s good to show the private school kids can compete against the public school kids,” Glenwood lineman Austin Williams said. “It’s nice to finally be able to play together.”
The Alabama roster is made up of players from nine schools, including three from Glenwood, five from Central and three from Russell County. The team is headed by Russell County coach Tripp Henderson and has assistants from Russell County and Smiths Station.
Glenwood lineman Jason Motycka said he and his teammates were enjoying the diversity of talents on their new roster.
“It’s been nice to face the better competition all week,” Motycka said. “Everyone here is good.”
The team began practicing nearly two weeks ago, and some of the best athletes from as far away as Robert E. Lee in Montgomery, Ala., have been traveling to Russell County to prepare for today’s game at the Civic Center. The competitive atmosphere allowed many of the players to jell quickly and earn a new respect for athletes they played against or, in the case of Glenwood and Chambers, never have seen on the field.
“It’s been a really good experience for everybody, and you can finally see the people you played against in a different aspect,” Russell County lineman Malcolm Jelks said. “There are no friends on the field when you’re playing. Now, you can get to know them a little bit.”
Kickoff is at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Civic Center box office and may be traded in after the game for a free ticket to the Columbus Lions’ 7 p.m. scrimmage against the North Georgia Bulldogs.
Chris White, 706-571-8571; follow Chris online at twitter.com/le_chriswhite and at facebook.com/lechriswhite.
Georgia vs. Alabama Indoor Football Classic
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Civic Center
Tickets: $10 at Civic Center box office, redeemable for free ticket to preseason scrimmage between Columbus Lions and North Georgia Bulldogs
For rosters for both teams, visit writer Chris White’s blog at ledger-enquirer.com/valley_preps.