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High school football: Past and present

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Even two guys named Nick, Saint and Saban, couldn’t save former University of Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt, his wife and former Vols assistant coaches from themselves.

Ditto for former Athens, Alabama, City Schools’ superintendent William L. “Trey” Holladay III and them.

Pruitt was axed long before everyone knew he’d committed 18 major NCAA infractions.

Seems like a guy who cheated that much would’ve done better than 16-19 in three years in Knoxville.

Pru’s worked for Coach Saban three different times, likely won’t be a fourth.

Holladay earned the maximum five-year federal prison sentence and was ordered to pay $2.9m in restitution for his part in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme, where he illegally ordered private school students to be enrolled as full-time virtual public school students, to receive state education funding.

Local folks may recall Holladay’s time as head football coach at Coffee Springs High School (1987-89), when the Golden Bears were 4-28.

Trey and his wife arrived at CSHS their last official honeymoon night; later that week, he told your scribe they were lost as haints upon arriving there well after dark, and had no idea where the nearest anything was, so they had to spend the night sleeping on the coach’s office floor.

Trey’d found the key hidden for them, gone inside, flipped on the ceiling light, evaded hordes of roaches that took flight/scurried into hidey-holes, thanking his lucky stars his bride was still in their car.

They found better accommodations the next day.

Holladay coached at Coffeeville after leaving the Wiregrass Area, moved to Sweet Water, then Lynn before leaving coaching after three years at Smiths Station, 2002-04.

Haven’t seen Trey since Oct. 22, 2004, when he brought Smith’s Panthers to R.L. Bates Memorial Stadium where they were beaten 34-14 his third loss to Enterprise High School in three games.

Would like to check with Holladay after his first night in the big house, where word has it, cockroaches are among the least worries for newbies.

Saint Nick’s watching but can’t help you, Trey.


Speaking of EHS, on August 19, the Wildcats open their season hosting Panama City’s Bay High Tornadoes.

A quarter century ago, the Alabama High School Athletic Association exercised good judgement, decreeing no high school football games would be contested in Alabama in August.

That edict lasted from 1996-2000.

Old-timers like your scribe never went to school here after Memorial Day or before Labor Day.

This year’s Cats will play three games before Labor Day.

Health of teenage athletes is supposedly THE important consideration nationwide; hereabouts, EHS has a certified trainer on campus when ball/other sports are played/practiced.

Sixty years ago, EHS had two outfits practicing directly beside each other twice daily in August’s broiling heat: the football team and band.

There was no trainer nearby; we didn’t know what a trainer was … except as it applied to extra bicycle wheels and bras.

And we didn’t stay hydrated or know what that meant in the Bob McMillan-led Wildcat Marching Band as we rehearsed on the field adjacent to the one where coach Paul Terry’s Wildcats practiced football.

Many of us on both fields, at least once, felt like mortgaging our soul for one measly sip of water.

If memory serves, seems like one among us did just that ...

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