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Quick take on prep football: Cleburne County Tigers

Cleburne County at Anniston action BW 05.JPG

Cleburne County's Devante Cantrell carries the ball during the 2020 Cleburne County at Anniston game.

2021 SCHEDULE

Aug. 20, vs. Ohatchee

Aug. 27, vs. Beulah

Sept. 3, at White Plains*

Sept. 10, vs. Munford*

Sept. 17, at Handley*

Sept. 24, at Alexandria

Oct. 8, vs. Jacksonville*

Oct. 15, at Cherokee County*

Oct. 22, vs. Anniston*

Oct. 29, vs. Randolph County

*Class 4A, Region 4 game

2020 RESULTS

Aug. 21, Ohatchee (A), L 40-13

Aug. 28, Beulah (A), W forfeit

Sept. 4, White Plains (H), W 21-14

Sept. 11, Munford (A), L 31-0

Sept. 18, Handley (H), L 32-0

Sept. 25, Alexandria (H), L 49-7

Oct. 8, Jacksonville (A), L 33-0

Oct. 16, Cherokee County (H), L 21-0

Oct. 23, Anniston (A), L 28-0

Oct. 30, Randolph County (A), W 26-14

HEAD COACH

Joby Burns is entering his third season as head coach at Cleburne County, his first position as a head coach. His Tigers improved to 3-7 last year after finishing 2-8 in 2019.

CLASS, REGION

Class 4A, Region 4

LAST YEAR

3-7 overall, 1-5 region

HOW IT WENT IN 2020

Cleburne County opened Class 4A, Region 4 with a 21-14 win over visiting White Plains. In their next six games, the Tigers were shut out five times and scored just one touchdown in the sixth game. The offense came to life in the final game of the season with four touchdowns in a 26-14 victory over Randolph County.

KEY RETURNEES

LB Matthew Brown, RT Trey Brown, RB Devante Cantrell, LT Kadin Christy, LG Russell Clanton, QB Beau Clay, S Grant Harcrow, OLB Brody Higgins, DE Cole McElroy, QB Kyler McGrinn, DE Dee Prothro. Trey Brown will move to center for 2021 after starting at right tackle in 2020. Higgins will start at safety this year after starting at outside linebacker in 2020. Clay will start as the Z receiver in 2021.

OUR TAKE

Quarterback Kyler McGrinn returned from an elbow injury that eventually ended his 2020 season in the 2021 spring jamboree game against Haleyville and sparked the offense with his running.

Devante Cantrell will be the primary running back and should benefit from McGrinn’s presence. The offensive line, left to right, looks to be tackle Kadin Christy, guard Russell Clanton, center Trey Brown, guard Luke McNeese and tackle Zack Biggers. Expect Dylan Mize to be on the offensive line at both center and tackle. Grey Freeman, Beau Clay, Andrew Adams, Jaylan Groce and Jake Littleton will be receivers.

On defense, Trey Brown, Rico Huguley, O’Neal and Clanton will play at nose guard inside defensive ends Dee Prothro and Cole McElroy. Matthew Brown and Jake Dingler will be inside linebackers with help from Brennan Jerrell. Aleick Whatley and Nate Adams will start as outside linebackers with James Cotton behind them. Grant Harcrow and Brody Higgins will be the safeties with J.J. Cosby and Groce at the corners.

If the Tigers can make the plan to eliminate two-way players work, more wins should follow.

WORD FROM COACH BURNS

“Offensively, we’ve got to score points. We’ve got to score more points than we did last year or we aren’t going to win. … Defensively, we can’t give up big plays. I thought we did a good job except for giving up big plays defensively.”

Sports Correspondent Rip Donovan: 256-236-1551 or 256-235-3557.