PREP FOOTBALL: Tigers working to get back to postseason in 2019

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The Meek Tigers will kick off the regluar season Thursday night at home against Cold Springs. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

ARLEY, Ala. — The Tigers graduated a large class of players in May and as a result, head coach David Norwood and his staff have a lot of bodies to replace on the field this fall. Norwood is happy with how his team has prepared in the offseason and preseason but feels like he needs to see his guys play a game before he can know where the problems really are.

“We graduated 16 seniors last year, so we have to replace guys everywhere. Right now, I feel good about us up front on offense but it’s hard to say,” Norwood said. “Most coaches will tell you they need to go play a game so they can figure what they need to be working on because you don’t know until you put pads on and play that first game.”

Norwood is entering his third season as the head man at Meek and in that time, he’s seen the kids respond to changes in the program and is proud of the work ethic they’ve displayed during this offseason.

“Having been here three years now, they kind of know what to expect in the offseason and our participation has been seriously great. The only time we’ve missed kids all summer long has been on vacation. We don’t have any kids just laying out and missing,” Norwood said. “If our kids are in Arley, they’re at workouts. Of course, we go at 5:00 in the afternoon and I think that helps versus in the morning because you’ve got kids that’ll oversleep, plus if they’ve got a summer job, they’re almost always off work by 5:00. So, they’re able to roll in and make it to practice.”

When asked who the Tigers were going to need to step into a leadership role this season, Norwood had a few names ready immediately. One of the biggest challenges for Norwood and his staff, along with the rest of the smaller schools in the state, is depth. Keeping guys healthy and available for Friday nights is one of the biggest priorities for Meek this fall.

 “Stuart Waldrep, James Brown, Ethan Grace, he’s an offensive lineman. Last year (Grace) played H-back which for us isn’t anything but a glorified lineman, but now he’s actually going to have to go to guard this year. We’ve got the same problem that everybody in 1A has got, we’re two injuries away from not being very good,” Norwood said. “We’ve got to stay healthy and that means we’ve got to practice smart. We cannot get them hurt Monday through Thursday. If they’re going to get hurt, and it’s a collision sport so you’re always taking a chance that someone could get hurt, we’ve got to make sure that if that happens, it only happens on Friday night.”

Norwood brings an intensity to the practice field and to the sideline on Friday nights that he wants to instill into his team. He makes it clear to his guys that they’ll have to learn to take a little bit of heat from time to time playing for the Tigers, but he also makes it clear that his intensity comes from a desire to see them grow and improve.

“They know what I expect, and they know that I’m an intense guy and I coach intense. They’ve learned that and the first year I was here I coached like that and if I’m going to coach you, you can’t wear your feelings on your sleeve,” Norwood said. “I tell them point blank, ‘I’m going to chew your ass out and if not every day than every other day, you’re going to get your ass chewed. But, at the end of the day, I still love you.”

The Tigers missed the postseason last fall after advancing to the first round in 2017 and they’ll be hungry to bounce back into the playoffs this year. Norwood likes the way his team is coming together right now but the key, as always, will be staying healthy and showing up when the lights come on.

Meek (Class 1A, Region 6)

2018 record: 3-7 (1-6)

2018 opponents record: 55-55

Averaged 17.5 points per game, allowed 31.3 points per game.

0-4 record on the road, 3-3 record at home. Defeated Winston County on recovered fumble in endzone with no time remaining.

David Norwood entering third season as head coach.

Departing seniors: Gabe Jones, Payton Key, Joseph Vines, Bryant Key, Caleb Gibson, Evan Grace, Shawn Harbison, Bradley Colley, Ezekiel Dake, Andrew Farmer, Caleb Aaron, Zackery Baker, Christopher Clark, Aaron Cook, Kevin Chino, Gavin Brock, David Lockhart, Bryar Gibson, Joseph Norris, Bradley Vickery.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 22nd – vs. Cold Springs

Aug. 30th – @ Winston County

Sept. 6th – vs. South Lamar *

Sept. 13th – @ Hubbertville *

Sept. 20th – vs. Berry Fayette *

Sept. 27th – @ Sumiton Christian

Oct. 4th – @ Brilliant *

Oct. 11th – vs. Pickens County *

Oct. 18th – @ Marion County *

Oct. 25th – vs. Lynn *

Bill Miller photogtraphy

Meek Varsity Cheerleaders

Courtney Lane, Madison Smith, Madyson Smith and Kelsey Vickery, Christina Tyree, BreAnna Eddy, Ryleigh Thompson and Kayla Clark.

2019 Meek Football Roster

No.      Name                          Grade

1          Matthew Clark            10

2          Jonah Johnson             12

3          Braxton Dickerson      8

4          David Tidwell             10

6          Ory Frith                     9

7          James Brown              12

8          Braden Webster          9

9          Cameron Deaver         8

10        Tommy Daniel            10

11        Bryson Hudson           12

12        Trint Ory                     10

24        Stuart Waldrep            12

28        Cyrous Thornton         11

33        Dalton Guthrie            11

50        Dalton Sparks             12

51        Angel Chino                12

53        Aiden Thompson         10

54        Colby Manasco           12

55        Ethan Grace                11

61        CJ Dennis                    9

63        Jon Williams                12

65        Ethan Robinson           12

72        Jeremiaah Baker         9

73        Tyler Cooper               9

75        Jordan Vines               11

76        Judson Bradley           9

88        Andrew Wyatt            9

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