New coaches to meet on fieldPublished 6:00am Wednesday, September 19, 2012
When the 2012 football season started in Franklin County, there were two new head coaches leading programs at county schools.
These two individuals are not only new to the county, but they are both first-time head coaches.
Jason Hill took the helm of the Phil Campbell Bobcats this summer after the departure of Bo Culver, and John Ritter became the new head coach for the Red Bay Tigers after Jamie Easley, the replacement for Dale Jeffreys, decided to resign.
Now that week four in the 2012 season is here, the two coaches will get to face each other on the gridiron in a clash of not only two Class 2A, region 8 teams, but county rivals as well.
“The team and the coaching staff are very excited,” Ritter said. “We know that this is a big-time rivalry game for Red Bay. We’re excited to play at home again and to play a good ole’ high school rivalry.”
“[Coach Ritter] and I have similar but unsimilar circumstances,” Hill said. “Him coming in as late as he did, he came in a lot later than me. His preparation time was cut way short, and I think they’re starting to peak right now.
“They’re learning his system, and I feel like they’ve gotten better on offense every week.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, and there’s no bad blood between he and I, I can tell you that. I know that, historically speaking, there has been some bad blood between Red Bay and Phil Campbell. To me it’s just another football game.
“It’s another chance for us to go out and prove that we have improved from week to week, and I hope we can play a lot better than we did.”
Both teams have struggled with tough opponents over two of the first three weeks, and both teams come into the game with a 1-2 record, though Red Bay has the lone region win (against Hatton) among the two schools.
“Every region game is important,” Ritter said. “We want to control our own destiny. To do that you have to win your region games to not have to depend on anybody else to help you make the playoffs. It’s a very important game from the region standpoint.”
“I would feel a whole lot better about the situation if we were going into this game full strength,” Hill said. “The injury bug has bit us, and bit us hard. We’ve got several guys that were already out before we played Sheffield, and then we had a couple more guys get hurt against Sheffield. Red Bay is a very good football team.
“They’re physical and they get after you on defense. Their big fullback [Matt Belue] is a load. It’s going to take a real, concerted team effort Friday night for us to have a good showing.”
Yet another thing the two teams have in common is dealing with the weather that struck Franklin County earlier this week.
The deluge forced many teams indoors, which generally wrecks a practice, and every minute of preparation time counts when two county and region rivals are playing each other.