—Todd Ginn enters his second season as head coach of the Valley Cubs, who went 6-5 and made the 5A playoffs in 2018. With a controversial finish at Boaz factored in, the Valley Cubs finished 3-3 in region play and fourth place. The Valley Cubs lost to Madison Academy 18-15 in the first round of the playoffs.
—Comparisons are inevitable because of Ginn’s last name. He inherited the non-seniors from a team that went 8-3, also losing in the first round of the playoffs. His dad, the late Larry Ginn, went 8-3 in his first year as Alexandria’s coach, 1986. The elder Ginn inherited those remaining from a 13-2 team that won a state title, Alexandria’s first, in Lou Scales’ final season.
— Alexandria sustained key losses, including running back Romeo Dye, quarterback Jacob Wells, wide receiver/safety/punter Joe Tucker, LB/FB Sam Shaw, DB Fletcher Swindall and lots of strength up front, including Peyton Thrasher, Skyler Payne and Eric Farlow. Nearly all were All-Calhoun County selections.
—Leading the returning group are FB/LB Devin Burton, OL/DL Layton Ellison and RB Nate McCallum. All were all-county picks in 2018. McCallum was a second-team pick, while Ellison and Burton were honorable-mention picks. Alexandria also picked up an intriguing transfer in FB Dekari Garrett, an honorable-mention all-county pick from Donoho.
—One of Alexandria’s biggest position battles is at quarterback. Ginn has said the Valley Cubs will work with two or three quarterbacks, with the possibility of all getting playing time early in the season. Elusive sophomore Javis McGhee, sophomore left-hander Austin West and junior lefty Wesley Wright will battle for the job.