LAUDERDALE COUNTY – Episode five of Road Trippin’ With Rocco & Olivia featured four teams from Lauderdale County.
In this edition, we preview the Mars Hill Panthers, Florence Falcons, Brooks Lions and Lauderdale County Tigers.
Mars Hill Panthers
2020 record: 13-2
Head Coach: Darrell Higgins
Despite losing their first game of the 2020 season, Mars Hill didn’t slow down one bit. The Panthers suffered a second loss due to forfeit because of COVID-19 giving them two losses on the year, but they dominated in all of the games they played after that week zero loss. Kept their momentum going until the end when they won the 2A State Championship. The Panthers don’t just play 2A opponents because head coach Darrell Higgins says to be the best you have to play the best, which is the approach they take in their program by scheduling opponents in higher classifications like 5A and 6A during the season.
“The 1A competition was just as good as the 2A so it wasn’t really a difference in competition but our non-region games are really good,” Higgins said. “We’re just looking to play good people that make us better. We know when we get in our 2A region that if we play better competition that’s only gonna make us better so we always try to play up and better people.”
2020 record: 5-5
Head Coach: Wade Waldrop
The Falcons have a new head coach this season, but it’s someone who’s very familiar with playing in 7A Region 4; Wade Waldrop comes to the Florence program from region foe James Clemens where he led the Jets for eight seasons. The first year with a new team might be intimidating for some, but Waldrop says he’s had a smooth transition and he’s looking forward to his first year leading his new group.
“The last seven months have been rejuvenating for me just glad to be here and glad to be part of a group of guys who want to work,” Waldrop said. “I sense a hungry team and a team that’s willing to do what they’re asked to be successful. We’ve got to get tougher mentally and learn how to push through when we’re tired. I’d love to see more guys stepping into that getting into that boat of just being real tough guys mentally. I like where we’re moving.”
2020 record: 6-5
Head Coach: Brad Black
The Lions made the postseason in 2020 but only to the first round where they fell to Gordo; head coach Brad Black believes that this team’s experience on the gridiron will hopefully help keep their playoff schedule alive longer.
“Everybody’s a year older, a year stronger and a year faster. You can see that they’re bigger, faster, stronger than they were last year and the experience,” Black said. “If you could buy that experience, you could make guys really good players but you have to go through and do that you have to have that experience the situational stuff in the games and until you get out there and play there’s no way to really get that.”
Lauderdale County Tigers
2020 record: 8-3
Head Coach: Jeff Mason
The Tigers finished the regular season 8-2 and made a first-round appearance in the playoffs, but head coach Jeff Mason says he knows his guys wanted to go farther than that first week. Mason says his program has used that loss to Ohatchee in 2020 to better themselves and gear up for a new year in 2021.
“I don’t think we were content we played hard but we understood some reasons that we did go out the first round so they’ve kind of taken that to motivate themselves,” Mason said. “Everybody we’ve got out here wants to be here and they love playing football and being around each other.”
Road Trippin’ With Rocco & Olivia airs every weeknight until August 19th. You can watch new episodes on News 19 at 10 p.m.