Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos Courtesy Trinity Presbyterian Athletics
CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE — With first-year coach Granger Shook stalking the sidelines – taking over for longtime Wildcats leader turned Faulkner coach Randy Ragsdale – Trinity Presbyterian reached rarified air, the third round of the AHSAA playoffs knocking out Flomaton and Slocomb (by a combined 51-7) along the way. Their run ended in a one-sided Capital City Conference beatdown by rival Montgomery Academy. The two are scheduled to meet August 27 at Trinity, two weeks into the 2021 season.
Shook says: “Our expectations for this season is to continue to build on the foundation of what last year’s team laid. We want to instill a work ethic in these young men that will make Trinity Football a state contender.”
He’s basically looking for the Wildcats to compound success and build the program back into a consummate contender for the 3A championship. This is a program that has 32 state tournament appearances but has only reached the promised land once; defeating Deshler 24-14 in 2003 to win the Class 4A AHSAA State Championship.
Shook: “Playing in the third round was something we haven’t done here in a while. So, playing 14 weeks (including a bye) was something that our boys were not used to. Last year’s team bought in quickly and I see some of the same excitement out of this year’s team. I am constantly preaching that this year is a different unit and the we will need to earn it all over again.”
Trinity coaches will turn to a new cast of characters to lead the Wildcats this fall: Mac McClinton, Coleman Stanley, Daniel Scott, Ahmad Lee, Jake Tucker and Joe Handery will look to fill the shoes left by Walton Cherry, Will Chandler, Jake Hufham and JD Bonner.
But this bunch has an advantage over the 2020 iteration of the Wildcats: A “normal” Summer.
Trinity – like many of the high school athletes across the country – was sidelined by Pandemic Protocols as “two weeks to flatten the curve” turned into a complete shutdown of all things … well all things … for a period of months.
“Not having the protocols has allowed us to have more of a ‘normal’ summer training experience in the weight room and out on the field,” said Shook. “Also, we’ve been able to compete against other local schools which has been great for our boys.”
The Wildcats (on July 8) are set to host a 7-on-7 tournament that brings in schools from across the AHSAA – Elmore County, Benjamin Russell, Stanhope Elmore, Chilton County and Charles Henderson.
Shook says: “I think the playdates for us are crucial to the success of our season. Football is a preparation sport. We must prepare versus attributes (speed and size) that we may not see when going against ourselves.”
Trinity – in August – hits the ground running hosting Alabama Christian and MA in back-to-back weeks and then have dates against Reeltown and Montgomery Catholic (both on the road) standing in the way of a playoff berth.
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