When you’ve lost 20 games in a row, any victory is a positive.
The Bulldogs’ varsity team knocked off Brilliant 8-0 Friday night at G.W. Keith Stadium.
Tough it won’t go in the standings, the win was Carbon Hill’s first victory on the gridiron since a 26-19 road win at Cold Springs in Week 10 of the 2011 season.
Carbon Hill has dropped 20 straight regular-season games entering the 2014 season.
“I had a lot of folks tell me how big a win that was,” said Woody Smothers, who took over the Carbon Hill football program in March.“I had one kid tell me that was the first time he had ever been on a team that was leading at the half.”
Carbon Hill got a touchdown on a run from Derrick Simerly. The Bulldogs added a 2-point conversion on a pass from Stevie Simerly to Chandler Gann for an 8-0 lead and the Carbon Hill’s defense made the lead stand.
“We had nine days of practice. We have a new offense and a new defense with a new head coach. I was tickled with the result,” Smothers said.
The win set off a celebration.
“I’ve been a part of losing teams before, but it’s hard to understand unless you’ve suffered through 28 losses and two wins over the last three years,” Smothers said. “I’ve had my share of losing, but these kids haven’t been competitive.”
Carbon Hill lost by an average of 40.55 points per game over the last two seasons while going against some of the top Class 4A teams in the state in Region 4.
This year, the schedule tilts back in Carbon Hill’s favor with region games against Curry, Cordova, Danville, Haleyville, Hamilton and Fayette County.
Smothers, who served as a coordinator on Cordova’s 2007 state championship team, brings a much-needed positive influence to a Carbon Hill program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2002 and hasn’t advanced to the playoffs since 1999.
Carbon Hill put 51 varsity players through spring practice.
Another 42 were on the 7th- and 8th-grade teams, giving the school 93 players in the program.
“If we had 51 come out and stay out (in the summer), that would be huge. I think the kids need to be able to trust you. They’ve had seven coaches in nine years. You can’t build trust like that,” Smothers said.
“I noticed that toward the end of the (jamboree), the kids were paying more attention and listening more intently because they saw that it paid off and because we were winning. I believe this is a good group. They play hard.”
Carbon Hill has also added a new coach heading into the 2014 season. Bryant Garrison was officially hired at the Walker Board of Education meeting last week.
The regular season starts Friday, Aug. 22 at home against Northside.