MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — 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 12 features the Hartselle Tigers and West Morgan Rebels.
The Tigers are coming off an impressive undefeated regular season and region championship but a first-round exit from the playoffs.
Head coach Bryan Moore says winning 10 regular season games is great, but that’s not their mission at Hartselle. This program is trying to bring a blue map and they believe the best way to make sure they’re prepared enough to try and achieve that goal is to be challenged every single game.
“Our intent is to play deep in the playoffs I think everybody’s is and we structured our schedule to do that,” Moore said. “I don’t think that we were challenged the way that we wanted to be in the regular season last year, out of region. We had some tough games but we need to step up our level of play and we did that so we can play deeper and we can hopefully make a playoff run that everybody remembers. For the fans maybe it’s fun to win 63-0 but for us it’s about being challenged.”
Coach Moore enters year three leading the Tigers, so with a couple of years in the books what makes this program so special to him?
“It is truly Friday night lights. My wife owns a store downtown and that store’s going to be closed on Friday afternoons and that still happens,” Moore said. “I’ve never seen a place like Hartselle that achieves the way that they do at everything.”
The West Morgan Rebels are coming off a 5-5 2021 season.
Head coach Drew Phillips is entering his second season leading this program, so what did Phillips and his team learn last year that they’re bringing into 2022?
“Last year they learned how to compete, believing they could win big games and won some big games,” Phillips said. “I think the seniors last year did a really good job of setting the foundation for that so now it’s not just that we want to go compete we expect to win.”
The Rebels have a core group of seniors and leaders this year, which makes Coach Phillips’ job a whole lot easier.
“If we want to be a good team it’s going to be a coach-led team but if we want to be a great team we’ll be a player-led team and these guys really buy into that,” Phillips said. “They carry the message that we’re trying to develop and not just to have a good team but have a good program at West Morgan for a long time.”
Hartselle and West Morgan both open the season on Friday, August 19; the Tigers are at home against Austin and the Rebels hit the road to take on Randolph.