PREP FOOTBALL: Tigers kicking off new era under Powell

2020 Meek Tigers Football Team. (Bill Miller Photography)

ARLEY, Ala. – A new season is here for the Meek Tigers and after a tough season in 2019, they’re ready to flip the script with a new head coach at the helm. Houston Powell is stepping in as the Tigers Head Coach this fall, and he wants to bring a new attitude and a new standard with him to Meek.

Powell’s tenure got off to an odd start when the coronavirus pandemic closed schools just a few weeks after he got the job. However, in that time he and his staff were able to lay the foundation for a new strength and condition program as well as establish relationships with their players.

“I think they’ve responded really well. I got the job in February and I was there for three weeks before school ended so in those three weeks I was there, we completely changed how we do the weight room and changed how we did flexibility training and speed training and they were really buying into it,” Powell said. “I felt really good going into that week four and then obviously school got shut down and I had to Zoom call the players about once or twice a week for two or three months. So, when we got back this summer, we hit the ground running and I think these kids know that there’s something special coming. They can feel the new energy and life in the program and the community is fired up about it, so these kids have really bought in to our program.”

Powell says missing spring practice set the Tigers back a little bit early on, but he feels that they’ve more than made up for in the first weeks of fall camp.

“We feel pretty good about it. I feel like being a first-year head coach here at Meek High School, not having spring training really kind of set us back because we haven’t been able to put pads on. So, in the first week of fall camp we got extremely physical and really got after it. We’ve really seen some things that we thought might have worked out and have kind of moved some people around into positions we felt better about. We’re kind of fighting a little bit of a battle at Meek right now as far as promoting the toughness and physicality,” Powell said. “With the style of offense and defense we plan to run, physicality and toughness is going to be number one for us and they just haven’t had that in the last three or four years at practice. So, trying to bring my mentality in and change that in the next 10 days is going to be a rough deal but we’ve got some kids that have really surprised us and we’ve been really pleased with our fall camp. After we made some adjustments, we really feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

Several Meek players returning this fall play multiple sports and they now know all too well how quickly your season can come to a halt. They, along with athletes all over the state, will be carrying that perspective into this football season.

“A lot of our guys play multiple sports and when spring sports ended, they didn’t get to finish they year and coaches preach this all the time, you’re not promised next week. Something can happen every time you leave this field house, and nobody really takes that seriously, but our program has taken that seriously because everybody knows now,” Powell said. “We’re liable to play one game and then have school or football season shut down so they’ve really attacked this 2020 season and what our goals and expectations are. They are really set on doing the most that they can with every week that we have together.”

The health and safety protocols brought on by the pandemic were an adjustment for teams all over the state and Powell admits he was worried at first but he and his staff were able to find the positives in the situation.

“The first week or so I was really stressed about it but the more I started looking into it the more I felt like it kind of helped us because us coaches were able to really specialize with just 10 kids at a time and have more one on one time with them than if we had the whole team there,” Powell said. “So, we’ve tried to use that as a positive and take advantage of that but at practice during the summer it kind of limited us because we couldn’t really do a lot of face to face contact with some drills we would normally do but now that they’ve lifted some of those and we’ve started fall practice and been able to get pretty physical, it hasn’t limited us as much. We’ve been trying to create some social distancing at practice and doing some things we’ve never had to do before so it does create a little stress on the organizational side of practice but we’ve tried to make the best of it.”

The Tigers are coming off a winless season in 2019 and the goal is obviously to add to the win column this fall but Powell is more concerned about the way his Tigers play this year than the results.

“We just want to attack our season. When we look at our schedule we don’t think here are the games we can, here are the games we want to win and these are the games that are going to be tough, we just take it one week at a time. What we preach at practice is that we don’t focus on the opponent, we focus on our own details and our own philosophy and goals and if we play to the best of our ability for 48 minutes on Friday nights, the winning will take care of itself,” Powell said. “As a head coach I’d be crazy to say my goal wasn’t go 10-0 and get to the playoffs but our thing is if we can come back in the locker room and look everybody in the face and say, ‘We played our butts off and played the best game we could’ve played and they were just better.’ I can live with that.”

Meek will open the 2020 season on the road against Cold Springs Friday night.

2020 Meek Football Schedule

8/21: @ Cold Springs

8/28: Winston County

9/4: @Brilliant*

9/11: South Lamar*

9/18: Hubbertville*

10/2: @Marion County*

10/9: Lynn*

10/16: Pickens County*

10/23: @ Berry*

10/30: @ Sumiton Christiane

2020 Meek Football Roster

#1 Matthew Clark

#2 Justin Freeman

#3 Braxton Dickerson

#4 David Tidwell

#6 Ory Frith

#7 CJ Dennis

#8 Bradigan Farmer

#9 Carson Davenport

#10 Jack Cotton

#11 Jarrett Benson

#12 Trint Ory

#15 Rylee Thompson

#20 Jackson Brown

#23 Kendick Smith ‘

#24 Cam Deaver

#25 Jacob Smith

#28 Cryous Baker

#33 Dalton Guthrie

#44 Owen Barrett

#50 Cameron Grace

#51 Aaron Farmer

#53 Aiden Thompson

#54 Ben Hood

#55 Ethan Grace

#63 Jon Williams

#64 Xavier Lugo

#65 Ethan Pounds

#68 Aiden Benson

#69 Braxton Kee

#72 Jeremiah Baker

#73 Tyler Cooper

#75 Ethan Wright

#76 Judson Bradley

#77 Caleb Wright

#78 Mycah Davenport

#80 Brennden Miller

#81 Nick Miller

#88 Brayden Webster

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