HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Episode nine of Road Trippin’ With Rocco & Olivia featured three teams from Huntsville.
In this edition, we preview the Huntsville Panthers, Grissom Tigers, and the Whitesburg Christian Warriors.
2020 record: 1-9
Head Coach: Mark Fleetwood
2020 wasn’t a great year for the Huntsville High football team after dealing with a decent amount of COVID interruptions and having to play in a tough 7A region. After a 1-9 season, head coach Mark Fleetwood says that the goal for this year is simple and it’s to be better than last season.
“When you have such a bad taste in your mouth after a year like that the goal is trying to get back and get everything going so we’ve tried to hit it and make it as regular as possible to get back in the groove of things,” Fleetwood said. “We are once again going to be a young team we’ve only got nine seniors, but I feel really good about the talent that we have. Gaining experience along the way with some of those guys and just making sure that we get the right guys on the field and the right combination, but I feel good moving forward I really do. I think the next couple years are gonna be really good at Huntsville High.”
2020 record: 6-5
Head Coach: Rich Dutton
The Grissom Tigers are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2004 and finished the year 6-5 after falling to the eventual state champion, Thompson, in the opening round of the playoffs. There’s a new man in charge at Grissom this year; Rich Dutton replaces Chip English as head coach coming to the Tigers after nine years leading his alma mater, Lawrence County. Dutton has taken teams to the playoffs before, so what does he think it takes for Grissom to make it back this year after such a long postseason drought?
“I believe it’s developing the depth, especially right now cause we’re seeing new guidelines come out you don’t know what a season like this might look like so developing that second guy is going to become very crucial to making a run,” Dutton said. “Lawrence County gave me the experiences of fighting through underdog scenarios taking a program that has historically not been a playoff contender and that type of thing and then going up to a 7A version that’s just come off playoff experience and wanting to see what that looked like and meeting these players and seeing their leadership has been really encouraging.”
Whitesburg Christian Warriors
2020 record: 2-8
Head Coach: Jimmy Nave
Whitesburg Christian is gearing up for their second season with a varsity football program and they’re doing so with a new head coach for year two; despite this being his first season at Whitesburg, head coach Jimmy Nave brings nearly three decades of experience to the program. Coming to a school with just one season under their belts, Nave says the simple understanding and fundamentals of the game is the biggest difference he’s noticed between the Warriors program and others he’s coached at before. Nave says he knows these guys got a taste of varsity last season and they’re looking forward to 2021.
“These guys work really hard and I’ve been real impressed with their work ethic,” Nave said. “I guess our biggest battle is numbers. They’ve had great attitudes and we’re able to get some stuff done and they’re getting better every day. They’re learning a lot and we’re not asking a whole lot of them so trying to simplify it and trying to teach them correct positioning and technique they’ve made a lot of progress.”
Road Trippin’ With Rocco & Olivia airs every weeknight until August 19th. You can watch new episodes on News 19 at 10 p.m.