By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
Dantley Coker couldn’t have been happier with his experience in the North-South All-Star football game on July 24 in Montgomery. The same could not be said, however, for his Southside High football teammate and fellow 2014 SHS graduate Colton Clay.
Coker got to play a good bit at the Cramton Bowl, but was in a blocking role for much of the time. The South won by a score of a 20-12.
“I liked it,” he said. “It was a different style of football. It was more of a multiple offense where we ran and passed about the same amount.”
When he did run, Coker was asked mainly to run outside instead of between the tackles, where he is most comfortable, according to Panther head football coach Ron Daugherty.
“It didn’t bother me (to run outside),” Coker said. “I like running up the middle better, but that’s because I’m used to it.”
Daugherty said that Clay tore his ACL during first-quarter action. Clay was unavailable for comment.
As for the All-Star week in general, Coker said that, “it was an amazing trip. I got to meet a lot of people and be around a ton of talent. The entire field was covered in talent. It was truly good times.”
Etowah’s Devin Horton got to start and play every snap at cornerback, where he had seven tackles and a couple of deflections.
“It felt good to get back on the football field,” he said. “The two-a-days were rough the first day but I got used to them quick.
“It was great to be with the best players from the North and to play the best from the South.”
Etowah High senior Amber Jones got to play extensively in the North/South softball game on July 22 at Lagoon Park, spending one inning at catcher, one at second base and four at shortstop.
“It didn’t go as planned, because we didn’t win,” she said. “But it was a great honor to be invited and to get to play.”
After a 3-3 tie in the first game, the South posted a 4-1 victory.
“It was more about meeting new people than anything,” Jones said. “I already knew a lot of the girls, but I met a lot more. And I got to bond with the ones I already knew.”
Hokes Bluff High senior Hannah Evans played in the girls’ basketball game on July 23 at Alabama State University’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome. 12 minutes of action, she scored three points with two rebounds and one assist in the North’s 58-46 victory.
“After I saw the players and the talent they had, I expected to play a lot less minutes than that,” Evans said. “I learned a lot about basketball and got to make a lot of new friends.
“But when we hit the court, it was about wanting to win – as much as any game I’ve ever played in.”
Gadsden City High senior Madison Caldwell played in the girls’ soccer game on July 22 at Emory Folmar Soccer Stadium. The North scored twice in the second half to post a 3-1 win.
“It was a lot of fun to be able to play with a lot of girls you’ve always heard of and who love soccer as much as I do,” Caldwell said. “It was really good to be challenged – not to compare myself with them, but to use their talents to increase mine was a great thing.”
Southside High girls soccer coach Tiffany Cargill was one of two coaches for the North.
“It was a very humbling experience,” she said. “I got to see so much talent from all over the state. To see them all together, working on the same things, was wonderful. It was a totally awesome experience.”
Southside’s Claire Graves (softball) and Glencoe’s Tyler Johnson (football) were selected but did not participate.
In other North/South games, the North posted a 3-1 win in volleyball on July 24 at Faulkner University; the North downed the South, 82-64, in boys basketball on July 23; the North baseball team lost, 2-1, and won, 9-8; and the North shut out the South, 3-0, in boys soccer.