MUSCLE SHOALS, 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 18 features the Muscle Shoals Trojans and Deshler Tigers.
Muscle Shoals is coming off a 9-2 record in the 2021 season.
Head coach Scott Basden is entering his 15th season leading the Trojans’ program, but he’ll be the first to tell you he actually wasn’t interested in the job at first when he was approached about it. At the time, the Muscle Shoals standard just wasn’t very high, but in his tenure, Basden has certainly changed that.
So how does a program get to that point? How did Basden get his team to be consistent year after year?
“I think it’s expectations really,” Basden said. “Our guys know what’s expected of them and know there’s no shortcuts.”
Basden has coached a lot of young men over the years, but he says this year’s group is one of if not the closest he’s ever seen.
“I don’t have a crystal ball they might win one game, they may win 10, they may win 15 but I do know this it means something to them,” Basden said. “They hold each other accountable and they’ll give everything they’ve got on a Friday night to not let each other down.”
Right down the road in Tuscumbia, we find Deshler High home of the Tigers who went 3-7 in 2021.
The Tigers have a new man in charge but this isn’t a new program to him; Patrick Malone played for the Tigers in the late 90s and won a state championship in 1998.
Malone knows how much pride is instilled in the program and community, so being back home and coaching for his alma mater is a huge honor for him.
“First thing we talked about was how important what they have across their chest is not only to me but to our people in Tuscumbia and what it’s going to mean to them,” Malone said. “That’s our goal bring the pride, bring the discipline, the class, the character and the things that Deshler’s known for to this team.”
Malone says he’s ready to get this program back to the Deshler standard and he knows his team is ready to make that happen.
“Deshler used to be everybody’s rival everybody wanted to beat Deshler and that’s what we’ve got to get back to because that means you’re good,” Malone said. “Y ‘all know the programs that are good year in and year out and we want to sustain a level of excellence.”
The Trojans kick things off under the Thursday night lights against Bob Jones at Madison City Stadium on August 18; Deshler will play at Madison Academy on the 19th.