As we gear up for the high school football season, News 19 will be previewing more than 40 of our Tennessee Valley programs in On the Road with Olivia and Claudia.

Episode three features the Brooks Lions and Lauderdale County Tigers.

The Lions have a new head coach for the first time since 2014 in Tim Bowens. But it’s a familiar name for the program as Bowens is a Brooks football alum.

“Did I think I’d be back here, I didn’t know that but I’m excited to be back, I’m glad to be back, it’s good to be home to be back at Brooks High School. We’ve been very fortunate, the last three coaches all played here at Brooks High School. It’s something pretty special and I want to make sure I don’t take that for granted and follow in the footsteps of those two coaches who did a good job,” Bowens said.

Bowens is returning to a program with high expectations after they won their first region title since 2018 last season and went 12-1, the most wins for the Lions in one season.

“Every single year you have to be prepared, no matter what you did last year. Last year was a really good year for these guys, they played extremely hard, had a very good record but one thing they have to understand is that they’re the new group now of seniors so we want these guys to really lead and understand that they can leave their mark this year,” Bowens added.

Next we head up Highway 72 to Jeff Mason and his Tigers. Lauderdale County is also coming off of a strong 2021 going undefeated until the final week of the regular season, losing to Brooks. But a second round playoff exit had the Tigers motivated right away.

“We’ve had guys who stepped up. We came after the season straight the weight room to start preparing. That’s what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to improve every day, you got to work every day, we talk about an inch better every day,” Mason said.

This year the Tigers have two young quarterbacks battling but bring back plenty of experience on both sides of the ball. So what’s the message from coach Mason going into this year as they try to replicate last year’s success?

“You’ve got to not live comfortable, we’ve got to get out of our comfort zone every day in whatever we do whether it’s in the weight room, whether it’s work on the field, whether it’s conditioning work, whatever it is because football’s an uncomfortable game. Every day we’ve got to push that spot where we’re comfortable further down the road,” Mason added.

Both Brooks and Lauderdale County open the 2022 season on the road for week zero.