HANCEVILLE – No other prep football program locally has achieved as much as the Hanceville Bulldogs have in the past three years of regular season competition. Hanceville has been a winner in 26 of 30 regular season games, winning its final eight regular decisions of 2013 after suffering a 28-22 loss in overtime to Good Hope during the second week.
Hanceville is approaching the 2014 season with a positive attitude. The Bulldogs have plenty to gain and nothing to lose. Hanceville suffered a loss in key personnel to graduation from the 9-1 regular season team that was champions in 3A, Region 7.
Then a few players have decided in their own reason to transfer and no longer be a part of something Danny Miller has built since he came to Hanceville in 2008 after a long and successful career coaching at Cullman Middle School.
The Bulldogs have worked hard in the first week of fall practice with Miller very pleased about the attitude of this team. "We have had a good attitude and effort," Miller said. "It is the best we have had here in two years. The kids come to practice ready to work. We had a very good summer program. We feel like that will be a help for us down the road."
Hanceville is limited on starters returning with five offense and five back on defense. The starters on offense come in the position of two linemen, two wide receivers and a tight end.
On defense, the Bulldogs will look to leadership from two starters at defensive end, two linebackers and one in the secondary.
That means Hanceville will have a new backfield. Sophomore Brannon Hurst is currently taking the most snaps at quarterback and had a very good spring.
Miller reports he has at least five guys that can carry the football with the approach to be a "running back committee" instead of one that stands out above the rest.
Currently 10 players are lining up on the offensive line battling for a chance to be in the starting unit when the Bulldogs go to Fairview for the season opener Aug. 29.
"We will have to play together to be successful," Miller replied. "It will not just be one guy, it will be everybody."
Two good days of working out in full gear to end the first week of practice pleased the veteran coach of the Bulldogs. Hanceville dealt with a warm Thursday afternoon and finished the day with a series of 3 on 3 drills that they learned from watching film of the University of Oklahoma.
Before Friday's practice, Miller had his 30-man roster in the film room seeing a video on how the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks display technique in tackling. The film showed different phases of tackling that Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll learned from watching the game of rugby.
Hanceville will have a jamboree game on Aug. 22 at Corner then kick off the season with the county battle at Fairview.
They are in Region 5 of Class 3A this season. The Bulldogs host Winston County on Sept. 5, play a regional game at Vinemont on Sept. 12.
It's a big non-regional game for the Bulldogs Sept. 19 and the first of three consecutive at Ray Talley Stadium where they have been 14-1 in their last 15 regular season games.
The Addison Bulldogs travel to Hanceville for the fourth game on the Bulldogs' season. Then on Sept. 26, the West Point Warriors come calling.
As the month of October appears, the Bulldogs get back into Region 5 with a home game against Winfield. Miller believes the Pirates will be a team that can seriously challenge for the regional crown.
On Oct. 10, the Bulldogs go into Walker County for a regional game with Oakman. They have the Holly Pond Broncos coming to Hanceville Oct. 17 for regional play and end the regional schedule on Oct. 24 at Susan Moore.
This game will have some pride with Susan Moore now under the command of Mike Stansberry as the principal. Stansberry just got the job after spending a long time teaching, coaching and being an administrator at Good Hope.
Stansberry was a senior on the 1978 Raiders' team when Miller began his coaching career, helping the Raiders and serving as the junior high head coach.
Speaking of Good Hope, the Bulldogs and Raiders battle it out on Halloween at James Shabel Stadium.
The Bulldogs go into the Vinemont game with four straight victories over the Eagles, have won three in a row vs. West Point. have claimed two straight against Holly Pond. Now they are looking to break a two-game slide at the end of the season with Good Hope.
Hanceville and Vinemont have the most games against county opposition with four. The difference is that the Bulldogs play Good Hope at the end of the season while the Eagles face Cold Springs in week five.
The Bulldogs and Eagles have county matchups vs. Fairview and Holly Pond besides playing each other.