High School Sports

High school football: Russell County returns mix of experience, athleticism for 2011

Warriors DL Eric Wheeler is the team’s only full-time defensive starter back from 2010, but that doesn’t worry second-year head coach Tripp Henderson too much.

“We don’t have that much experience, but we have more athleticism this year than we had last year,” Henderson said.

Wheeler agrees and said the team’s offseason work in the weight room should help close the gap on more experienced opponents.

“Well, you know, we’re going to be stronger than last year,” Wheeler said. “Our linebcakers, we really grew in size. We’re going to be really big this year and be a powerhouse on defense.”

Quarterback Bryan Flemming has noticed, too.

“We have people just more aggressive and just 11 going to the ball, pursuing,” Flemming said.

Offense young but experienced

Flemming is expected to split time with fellow returner B.J. Brooks, and the Warriors return other key offensive players in CB/WR Ryan Flemming (Bryan’s twin brother), TE/WR Brandon Barnes and C Tyler Smith.

“It’s more speed than we had last year,” Brooks said of the offense. “Our quarterbacks are kind of quick with it, then we’ll run and pass at the same time. Then our wide receivers have speed and know how to get off.”

The only large offensive concern for Russell County comes at running back, where anticipated starter Marquez Grier is expected to miss the season after blowing out his knee in the spring.


PRESEASON - Aug. 19: vs. Beauregard, 7 p.m. at Russell County

Aug. 26: at Smiths Station, 8 p.m.

Sept. 2: vs. Carroll, 8 p.m. *

Sept. 9: at Eufuala, 8 p.m. *

Sept. 23: vs Central-Phenix City, 8 p.m.

Sept. 30: vs. Charles Henderson, 8 p.m. *

Oct. 7: at Tallassee, 8 p.m. *

Oct. 14: vs. Valley, 8 p.m. *

Oct. 21: at Booker T. Washington, 8 p.m. *

Oct. 28: vs. Jefferson Davis, 8 p.m.

* Class 6A Region 5 game

Coming up in the Ledger-Enquirer

If you're wondering how your favorite team is doing leading up to kickoff, keep checking back. I'll be going to one or two practices just about every weekday for the next two weeks or so until I have hit all 17 Bi-City schools. I'll be posting blogs, photos and videos as I visit each one, but the featured stories about the teams will begin running one a day in the Ledger-Enquirer's print edition beginning Saturday and running in reverse alphabetical order. Here's the schedule of which days you can find which team's story in print:

Aug. 6: Spencer (Blog and video online here)

Aug. 7: Smiths Station (Blog, video and photos online here)

Aug. 8: Shaw (Blog, video and photo gallery online here)

Aug. 9: Russell County

Aug. 10: Pacelli

Aug. 11: Northside (Blog and video here)

Aug. 12: Kendrick

Aug. 13: Jordan

Aug. 14: Harris County

Aug. 15: Hardaway

Aug. 16: Glenwood

Aug. 17: Columbus

Aug. 18: Chattahoochee County

Aug. 19: Central-Phenix City

Aug. 20: Carver

Aug. 21: Calvary Christian

Aug. 22: Brookstone

Aug. 23: 2011 Ledger-Enquirer Dandy Dozen team announced

Have any particularly interesting questions you want me to a coach or player? Have something you'd like to read about on the blog? Have a story suggestion? Paste it in the comments or send it in an email to cwhite@ledger-enquirer.com and I'll do my best to get to your request when I visit that team's practice.

- Chris White (follow me on Twitter @le_chriswhite and at facebook.com/lechriswhite)