By Chris McCarthy
A pair of Eagles recently landed for a week in Montgomery.
Hokes Bluff High School head football coach Mike Robertson was an assistant for the North team at the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s 2017 All-Star Sports Week, while 2017 HBHS graduate Adam Patterson competed in the North’s 14-13 victory over the South All Stars on July 20 at the Cramton Bowl.
It was the second time that Robertson participated in a state all-star football game. In 2001, he was an assistant for the Alabama in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic after the Eagles won the Class 3A state championship.
Hokes Bluff recovered from a rough start last season to reach the semifinal round for the first time since the 2004 season. After losing their first three games, the Eagles went on a 9-1 tear that featured their first victory in three years over county rival Glencoe and three straight postseason wins. Robertson was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A Coach of the Year.
“I got to meet a lot of great players and a lot of great coaches, so it was a very enjoyable week,” said Robertson. “It was a little less pressurized than the Alabama/Mississippi game, but the kids wanted to win just as much. The biggest thing was that Adam got to play a lot, and he did great. I haven’t watched the game film yet, but just watching him play in the game, I thought he did a tremendous job.”
As the linebacker coach for the North, two of the top highlights for Robertson was when Hartselle linebacker Connor Landers scooped up a South fumble and ran 46 yards into the end zone for a touchdown midway through the first quarter and Haleyville linebacker Will Evans blocked a punt that led to another North score. Evans was named the North MVP after finishing with 11 tackles.
Robertson was somewhat familiar with Evans, as Hokes Bluff defeated Haleyville in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs last season.
“I was kidding with Will’s parents after the game that who would have thought that a Hokes Bluff coach would coach a Haleyville kid in an all-star game,” he said. “We got a laugh out of that. But the kids were super and I made a lot of new friends with the other coaches, so you can’t beat that. [North head] Coach [Andre] Robertson was kind of laid back and let us coach.”
A standout offensive lineman over the past few seasons for the Eagles, the 6’3, 250-pound Patterson played almost the whole game as the North’s starting center. He was a second team ASWA All-State selection in 2016.
“I actually didn’t think that I was going to play when I got down there, so it was really nice to play pretty much the entire game,” he said. “I played better than I thought I would. I thought everybody on the [North] team meshed pretty good. It was interesting to play with some people that you had played against. We also went bowling one night with the South team, so that was pretty fun.”
Patterson did note that the two-a-day practices were difficult in the mid-July heat.
“It was hard to get in football game shape in just one week, but we got through it,” he said.
Patterson, who scored a 26 on his ACT and will attend Jacksonville State on an academic scholarship, has tentative plans to compete for a walk-on spot for the Gamecocks next season.
“When it gets closer to the spring, I’ll see where I’m at and decide then,” said Patterson, who plans on earning a nursing degree. “It’s definitely something I’m considering.”
The victory was the third in a row for the North and closed the South’s edge in the series to 30-26-2. The South’s last win came in 2014 in a 20-12 win. The North won the first game played in 1948 at Tuscaloosa, 33-0.
This article was supplemented by ahsaa.com