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"The Gipper"

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Published by:R-Sports.com Date: 7-15-97  Web page by Quik-Tek Internet Services
Don Gipson  
Gipson's Galleys 
About The Gipper 
GiP's Pics
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Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10

                           "Gip's Piks
                        By Donald Gipson 

     The hottest place on Earth has to be an Alabama high school football 
field in mid-August, as would-be super-stars sweat, groan and grunt through 
grueling drills, sometimes twice, maybe three times a day. 
     Coaches quickly find out who can play and those who can't. 
     The hot August sun truely separates the men from the boys. 
     Since August 11th, young athletes at high schools all over North Alabama 
and hundreds of other high schools throughout the South, have sweated thru 
seemingly, endless practices in order to make their presence felt on that 
glorius battlefield we call the gridiron. 
     It's a tough way to pay your dues, but, ultimately it's the right way. 
     Friday nights in late August, even up thru September and into October, 
can be hot, humid and fluid draining. So much so, that the Alabama High 
School Athletic Association has, for several years, mandated extra water 
breaks in each quarter to help the athletes make it through the night. 
     All the sweat, the cramps, the throwing up, the bumps, bruises and the 
pain is usually forgotten that first Friday night when these finely-honed 
young athletes take the field for the opening kickoff. 
     Amidst the sounds of the cheering fans and pretty cheerleaders, the 
colorful bands inspiring music and the encouraging words of teammates, Friday 
night football becomes the focal point of life under glaring lights in 
Anytown, USA. 
     I love high school football. Being on the sidelines, feeling the 
emotional ups and downs, watching the intensity, hearing pads hitting pads, 
is a great way to spend a Friday night. Admittedly getting paid for being 
there is a financial plus. 
     Each year as I roam the sidelines of high school football games, I am 
constantly asked, "Who gonna win?" "What do you think about this school, that 
     So, a few years back I decided to begin a predictions column. 
     This year, thanks to Steve Rousseau and R-Sports.com, my "piks" are on 
the Internet. 
     Hope you enjoy this weekly attempt at selecting winners and losers of 
area high school games. 

"Gipper"Jamborees over; time for 
regular season to begin 

By Donald Gipson 

Do pre-season football jamborees really answer any questions for the coaches and players involved? 
That what Sparkman, East Limestone and Bob Jones football programs tried to find out this past Friday evening . 
As far as winning or losing was concerned, the Sparkman Senators downed West Limestone 6-0. The Indians from East Limestone and the Bob Jones Patriots weren't as fortunate. The Patriots were shut out 10-0 by Athens in their affair at Athens while the Indians fell to the Hazel Green Trojans 14-0. 
The Sparkman-West Limestone encounter at Hazel Green was a defensive battle with both teams showing size, strength and quickness from a defensive standpoint. 
Sparkman coach Obie Childers said following the mini-game, "I thought we were focused." "Our kids played hard even though we made a lot of mistakes." 
Childers was also pleased with his defense. "We got a good effort from the defensive unit," Childers said. 
"Our offensive line blocked well and the backs made some good runs," added Childers. 
"All in all,it was a good experience," stated Childers. "I hope this gets rid of opening game jitters." 
Sparkman opens their '97 regular season on the road traveling to Sylvania. 
The Senators touchdown came on a 40-yard reverse play by Troy Brown following a West Limestone fumble recovered by Sparkman's Jonathan Dobbins. 
In the second showcase game, host 6A Hazel Green dominated 3A East Limestone 14-0 
Phil Cavnar spoke briefly following the game. "Cavnar said, " Hazel Green has a great football team." "They played well, we played poorly." 
The game was shortened a few minutes after East Limestone's Antoine Caudle was injured. The game was called in a mutual agreement by both coaches after it took nearly 30 minutes to remove the injured Caudle from the field. Caudle was carried by ambulance to Huntsville Hospital. 
The young East Limestone athlete was kept overnight for observation but was released on Saturday. 
The East defense had to spend a lot of time on the field due to the Indians offensive mistakes. 
The Trojans scores came following a bad snap on a East Limestone punt and a short punt off the side of Brian Looney's foot deep in their own territory. Fumbles and other breakdowns in the punting game put the Indians in holes they just couldn't get out of. 
East Limestone travels to Tanner on Thursday to kick off their '97 bid for a playoff spot. 
Hazel Green is at home on Thursday, hosting the Buckhorn Bucks. 
The Bob Jones Patriots will try to regroup for a Friday night visit by the Albertville Aggies. 


By Donald Gipson 

Summer is over. Football, Alabama high school style, is ready to, as it is said every year, to 'kick-off''. 
And, of course, if it's time for Friday night football,it must be time for "Gip's Piks". 
"Pik's" is my annual attempt at picking winners and losers of local and area high school football games. 
My rules are simple. 
Rule No. 1 - Have Fun. 
Rule No. 2 - Refer to Rule No. 1. 
Pick along with me. Have fun. If you have comments, pro or con, you contact at the Madison County Record at 772-6677 or e-mail me at Gip's Page @ AOL.com. 
By the way, you can get a look at my weekly picks on the Internet at R-sports.com. 
Of course, "Gip's Piks" will appear each week in your Madison County Record. 
Here's a look at week No. One. By the way, I got nearly 80% right in 1996. 


The Bob Jones Patriots go into the 1997 season with high expectations. Coming off an excellent '96 year, the Patriots, under head coach Frank Sadler, should do well. Bob Jones is bigger, stronger and deeper. 
Albertville will also be expecting a better season after a down year in '96. 
But I look for the Bob Jones Patriots to rebound from the Athens jamboree shutout with a vengence. 

          Bob Jones - 24, Albertville - 14 


A huge, early season city game. 
The Butler Rebels will be much improved. 
Johnson, city champs in '96, are pre-season favorites to do it again. To top off the importance of this opening week match-up, it is a designated area game. 
It may be too early in the year for either team to be as good as they can be. 
In a close one, the Jaugars win by a touchdown. 

          Butler - 13, Johnson - 20 


The Athens Golden Eagles, coming off the 10-0 shutout of Bob Jones, may be heading toward a 5A playoff spot. 
Decatur, once a periennial 6A powerhouse, is probably one season away from returning to being a front runner in the 6A ranks. Athens is tough to beat at home. 

          Decatur - 7, Athens - 24 


Grissom fell to a Scottsboro team that looked sharp in the Athens jamboree, 21-7. 
Lee and Huntsville played to 21-21 tie. Lee will be better but not enough to tame the Tigers. Grissom will be in the hunt for the mythical city title as well as the area crown. 
The Generals first week of regular season play under second year coach Don Thomas, won't be easy. 

          Grissom - 31, Lee - 7 


This will be an interesting game. 
The Trojans, responding to their second-year coach, Mike Nave, looked better Friday than I've seen them look in years. 
Buckhorn has changed coaches, again. 
My choice could be considered a minor upset. 
The Trojans, playing at home, with renewed entusiasm, more athletes and the right coach, will beat the Bucks. 

          Hazel Green - 28, Buckhorn - 17 


It's common knowledge around town that Huntsville coach Greg Patterson, is good at covering up his team's strengths and weaknesses in media interviews. 
But the well-respected coach may not be able to cover up his '97 Panthers youthfulness. Huntsville lost 22 out of 24 starters from '96. 
Austin is a solid team. 

          Huntsville - 7, Austin - 21 


The Sparkman Senators have come a long way. Friday night, the Senators take the first step of what they hope will be their best season in years. 
Sparkman defeated a good West Limestone team in last week's jamboree at Hazel Green, 6-0. 
Sparkman's defensive effort was strong. A big defensive line will take the Senators a long way this season in their quest for a winning record and a trip back to the playoffs. They have to travel to Sylvania, a team that I don't know anything about. 
But I have faith in the Senators. 

          Sparkman - 27, Sylvania - 13 


What a way to start the year. This week, Tanner. Next week, Hazelwood. 
That's what the East Limestone Indians face the first two weeks of '97. 
They will play both of these teams tough. That's the East Limestone way. 
Unfortunately, the Tanner Rattlers are next to unbeatable on their home field. East will use these opening week's games to toughen up for the area race. 

          East Limestone - 13, Tanner - 24 


My blind pick. 

          New Hope - 7, Section - 14 


George Bennett, the Madison Academy coach, is one of my favorite people. Not just as a coach but as a person, too. 
Lamar Frith, the MCHS coach is a great guy and he has been building a pretty good football program out at Gurley. 
The Mustangs had a horrendus year in '96. 1997 will be better but against MCHS. 

          Madison County - 33, Madison Academy - 7 

The first week is always interesting. Usually you can depend on some upsets and some funny bounces. But that's part of what makes high school football so much fun. It's not for money. It's for pride. 
Too bad the NFL has forgot what pride is. 

"Gipson's Galleys"

   After traveling in Florida and a three day stint in the Bahamas, the 
Gipson family is glad to be back in Alabama. 
   We have a piece of advice for you if you're considering visiting the 
   It's highly over-rated, over priced and as a tourist on the island we 
visited, you were at the mercy of the locals. 
   If we said no once, we must have said it a hundred times to the multitudes 
of ldies wanting to braid your hair, find you a place to eat or take you 
   It was an experience that I don't want to do again. At least not in the 
near future. 
   One thing I did find interesting about the Grand Bahama Island was the 
absence of high school sports, with the exception of basketball. 
   Basketball is the sport in Freeport. There was some talk of starting up a 
baseball program. 
   I can't i,agine, at least I don't want to imagine, life without high 
school sports. 
Friday night football (which is just around the corner) is an American 
tradition. The bands, the cheerleaders, the players and the energetic 
atmosphere of a high school football game is an American treasure. 
   Friday night football, Alabama-style, is gearing up for another exciting 
In a few short weeks, the sound of marching bands, highschool cheerleaders 
and pads smacking against pads will fill the air of thousands of high school 
football stadiums throughout the United States. 
   Locally, Bob Jones, Sparkman and East Limestone are all coming off 
excellant seasons. 
   At first glance, the Patriots appear strong but 6A competition is always 
tough and Bob Jones will have thhands full. 
   Sparkman should be stronger while East will have some big shoes to fill. 
   At Hazel Green, Coach Mike Nave begins his second season rebuilding the 
Trojans fortunes. 
   Buckhorn has a new coach and will face a tough schedule. New Hope and MCHS 
should improved. 
   In the city, Johnson looks to be the best. Butler should be stronger. Lee, 
under a new coach, still has a tough task ahead putting it's once formidable 
football program back together. 
   Grissom and Huntsville always seem to be in the thick of things. 
   The Panthers, under veteran head coach, Greg Patterson, has to find a way 
to fill 20 out of 22 starting positions, losing most of their starters to 
   It will be a dogfight in both the city and county with Bob Jones and 
Johnson leading the pack. 
   Look for a pre-season breakdown of all the local high school football 
teams right here on "Gips Page". 
   And don't forget the Friday night High school football scoreboard here on 
the Internet and on WTKI AM 1450. 


Donald Gipson, better known in some local sports circles as "The Gipper" is bringing his unique outlook on sports of all types to the Internet. Now you will be able to read Gipson's weekly sports column right here on the R-Sports Web Site. Gipson has covered high school and college sports for more than twenty years throughout the Southeast. "The Gipper", a free-lance writer for the Huntsville Times and the Madison County Record, will take you on the sidelines, in the lockerroom, courtside, in the dugout, the 19th hole, or wherever it takes to report a good sports story. >From the Little League to the "Big Dance", from Friday night football to Saturday morning recaps, Gipson's humor and insight into the personal side of the human drama of an unfolding sports story will keep you "on-line". You will also be able to hear "The Gipper" and a variety of sports personalities each Saturday morning on WTKI-AM 1450 and "On-Line" at 8:30 am. Facts, features and fun will be key elements as you follow "The Gipper" on his rounds of the sports scene in North Alabama. Gipson invites you to respond to his comments and columns. This fall, look for Gipson's weekly prediction column, "Gip's Piks". Each week, "The Gipper" will pick winners and potential upsets from highschool football games from around the state. You may agree or disagree, you may laugh or maybe even cry at Gipson's blend of sports coverage. But most of all, you will enjoy his writing. 

Note: If you have comments, scores, news listings or sports announcements you want published on the internet, mentioned on one of our radio shows, or just want to tell me something, click on "The Gipper" for email. 
Or, mail to GipsPage@aol.com 

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