2023 High School Football Preview: Glencoe taking a cue from school cagers


Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Glencoe head football coach Scott Martin realized during the offseason that his team could learn a lesson or two from the school’s 2022-23 varsity boys basketball squad.
According to Martin, the defense will pattern itself after a Yellow Jacket team that won its first county championship in six years, the area tournament title and a berth in the Northeast Regional Tournament for the first time since 2017.
“I thought we were a little passive last year, and I was impressed with what [boys basketball coach [Ryan] Chambless was able to do with his guys playing up tempo from the opening tip to the end of the game. I want to play that way on defense, so we’ve brought in that mentality.
“We have about six basketball guys that are now playing football, and a lot of them play on the defensive side of the ball. So that’s been very positive.”
Martin noted that he has a much better grasp of the program’s strengths and weaknesses entering his second year at Lonesome Bend Road.
“Winning is complex and it takes some time to get it done. I thought last year’s seniors gave us everything they could and laid a good foundation for the years to come. We’ve got a year under our belt, not only in the football program but in our strength and conditioning and our expectations, and the first thing people talk about it the change in demeanor in our kids.
“Our goal is to have a football team that is physical in nature on both sides of the ball. We’re going to win with what we can win with, and that’s being a physical football team.”
Senior Brady Kitchens steps in at quarterback for the graduated Nolan Fairley, a three-year starter who last year finished with 1,031 yards of offense along with 13 touchdowns. Martin also sees senior Braylen Smith and freshman Hayden Watson getting some reps at signal caller.
“It would not surprise me at all if during the season all three of those guys get on the field at quarterback,” said Martin. “If you’ve ever seen our offensive system, you’ll understand why, because our quarterbacks slash a lot as a running back. But we do have the ability to put the ball in the air when we see fit.”
The backfield features a trio of veterans in juniors Aaron Mann and Wade Segrest and senior Austin Mann. Aaron rushed for 617 rushing yards despite playing sparingly in only six games.
The offensive line should be a strength, as Martin noted that everyone who either started last year or saw significant action is back. He singled out senior guards Jordan Haney and Lucas Huff as the leaders of not only that unit but the team as a whole.
“Those two young men are our leaders in the weight room, in the conditioning and on and off the field,” said Martin. “I’ve always said that if you have a coach-led team, it’s usually a sign that you’re not going to be very good. But once your team starts to become player-led, you’ve got a chance to be really good.”
The Yellow Jackets bring back an All-County and All-Messenger performer on defense in Haney, who had 38 stops. Also returning is senior linebacker Colby Bishop (27 tackles).
“I’ve never gone into a football game where I didn’t think we’d have a chance to win, and I think our kids now feel the same way,” said Martin. “That’s important, because hoping to win and expecting to win are two completely different mindsets.”
Glencoe’s Class 3A, Region 6 rivals remain Hokes Bluff, Westbrook Christian, Piedmont, Geraldine, Plainview, Ohatchee and Sylvania.
“I have the utmost respect for everybody in our region,” said Martin. “Looking at it on paper, Sylvania has the most kids coming back. I can’t really say a whole lot about the other teams, because the only guys I’m really worried about are the 47 in our locker room.”
Martin pointed to the increase of one-sport athletes branching out to other sports as indicative of the GHS athletics as a whole.
“I’m the biggest fan of the basketball teams, the softball and baseball teams and every other sport we have here. I’m at all the games because I want to support our kids. When you [attend] a school our size, you can’t afford to be specialized. We want all of the best athletes in our high school to play all of the sports. If they can help us in football, then I’m all for it. All of our guys are buying into the philosophy of, ‘If we can help, we’re going to be out there.’ It really has paid off so far, and I think we’re going to see some fruits of that labor this year.”



Latest News

Veterans park project underway with new funding
Gadsden approves measures to update city-wide zoning
GSCC police, security vehicles equipped with AEDs, Narcan
ECSO, GRMC offer summer safety tips
Kids Korner: The Trip, Part One

Latest Sports News

Westbrook ace highlights All-Messenger baseball team
Gaston thower sets new PR, named Nike All-American
Drew Noles inducted into Marshall County Sports HoF
Sardis’ Snead signs with Gadsden State
Ashville grad leaves mark in AHSAA record book