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Local Sports Archives for 2020-07

UNA Lands a Pair on Big South Pre-Season Team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- University of North Alabama senior punter Joe Gurley of Killen., is a pre-season first-team All-Big South Conference selection in voting by the league’s head football coaches and a media panel.


Gurley was also an honorable mention all-conference selection as place-kicker and was joined on the squad by senior defensive lineman Wallace Cowins, Jr., of Conyers, Ga.


They were the only two Lions named to the squad. 


A three-time Big South Conference Special Teams Player of the Week in 2019, Gurley ranked second in Big South in punting average at 42.4. He had 60 total punts for 2,545 yards, with 14 punts over 50 yards and a long of 61. He had 16 of his punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and was second in league for most punts over 50 yards. He was a third-team Phil Steele's All-Big South Conference pick as a punter last season. A three-year starting punter for the Lions, Gurley has 161 career punts for a 39.9-yard average and a long of 61 yards (twice).


Cowins was the leading tackler in the Big South among all defensive linemen last season with 66. He also led that position with 6.0 tackles per game. He ranked as the 15th leading tackler in the entire league regardless of position. He ranked third in the Big South in tackles for loss (12) with 1.09 per game and finished third on UNA team in tackles. He finished the season with 12.0 tackles for loss of 36 yards and two sacks for 10 yards. He added four pass breakups and one recovered fumble. He was a second-team Phil Steele's All-Big South Conference pick last season.


2020 Big South Football Preseason All-Conference Teams





QB    Hajj-Malik Williams, Soph., Campbell

RB    Isaac Foster, Jr., Kennesaw State

RB    Juwon Farri, R-Soph., Monmouth

WR   Izaiah Gathings, Jr., Gardner-Webb

WR   Jadakis Bonds, Jr., Hampton

WR   Lonnie Moore IV, R-Sr., Monmouth

WR   Terrance Greene Jr., R-Jr., Monmouth (tie)

WR   Caleb Snead, R-Jr., Campbell (tie)

TE    Gene Scott, Jr., Monmouth

OL    AJ Farris, R-Sr., Monmouth

OL    Chris Dye, Sr., Kennesaw State

OL    Jake Lassiter, Sr., Kennesaw State

OL    Justin Szuba, Jr., Monmouth

OL    William Nana-Fabu, Jr., Kennesaw State



DL    Shaundre Mims, R-Jr., Charleston Southern

DL    Brevin Allen, Jr., Campbell

DL    Nick Salley, R-Sr., Charleston Southern

DL    Anton Williams, R-Jr., Charleston Southern

LB    Bryson Armstrong, R-Sr., Kennesaw State

LB    Da’Quan Grimes, R-Sr., Monmouth

LB    Darien Reynolds, Sr., Gardner-Webb

LB    Justice Galloway-Velazquez, Jr., Campbell

DB    Anthony Budd, Sr., Monmouth

DB    Cody Cline, Soph., Charleston Southern

DB    Darion Slade, R-Sr., Campbell

DB    Justin Terry, Sr., Monmouth



PK    Alex Usry, R-Jr., Charleston Southern

P      Joe Gurley, Sr., North Alabama

KR    Lonnie Moore, R-Sr., Monmouth

PR    Devron Harper, Soph., Gardner-Webb

LS    Ethan Ray, R-Sr., Charleston Southern



QB    Jack Chambers, R-Jr., Charleston Southern

RB    Shaquil Terry, Sr., Kennesaw State

WR   Garris Schwarting, R-Sr., Charleston Southern

OL    Tyler McLellan, R-Jr., Campbell (tie)

OL    JT Melton, R-Jr., Charleston Southern (tie)

DL    Wallace Cowins Jr., Sr., North Alabama

LB    Cade Hamilton, Jr., Gardner-Webb

DB    Demetrius Pettway, Jr., Kennesaw State

PK    Joe Gurley, Sr., North Alabama

P      Nicholas Jones, Sr., Kennesaw State

KR    Devron Harper, Soph., Gardner-Webb (tie)

KR    Issac Foster, Jr., Kennesaw State (tie)

PR    Issac Foster, Jr., Kennesaw State

LS    Will Mullins, Sr., Gardner-Webb


SPHL Announces Target Date for 2020-2021 Season

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (July 28, 2020) – The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) today announced that it is targeting mid-to-late December for the start of the 2020-2021 regular season.

“With the continued spikes in COVID-19 throughout the country and the challenges other sports are facing in their attempts to resume play, delaying our start to December gives us the best chance of completing an entire season with all 10 teams,” stated Commissioner Doug Price. “In addition, various state restrictions on large gatherings and the economics surrounding the uncertainty of having fans in our arenas in October or November, even at reduced capacity, make it difficult for teams to guarantee the ability to generate the revenue needed to operate if we were to start any earlier.”

“After a healthy discussion among our Board of Governors, we just felt there are too many variables out of our control at this time to attempt starting on time,” added Price. “Delaying the season was a difficult decision, but I believe it was the responsible thing to do when taking everything into consideration.” The 2020-2021 regular season schedule and playoff format will be announced at a later date.

About Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL)

Now entering its 17th season, the Southern Professional Hockey League is comprised of 10 member teams located throughout the southeastern and midwestern United States. Headquartered in Huntersville, North Carolina, the mission of the SPHL is to provide a quality family-friendly entertainment product structured inside an economic model that is viable for small and mid-size markets and arenas. For more information about the SPHL, visit the league’s website at www.thesphl.com.

Central Board Approves AHSAA Return to Play

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved the AHSAA’s Return to Play ‘Best Practices’ recommended guidelines Wednesday and reaffirmed plans to start fall sports on time, The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
      Fall sports teams have the option to begin fall workouts on July 27 with the first week used by football for acclimation purposes only with helmets and shorts only. The other fall sports – volleyball, cross country and swimming and diving – can use the first week for acclimation and tryouts. Schools not choosing that option may start fall practice on August 3.
The first contest can be August 20.
     AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese praised the Central Board for its leadership and commitment providing member schools the tools to return to play as safely as possible.
     “The purpose of the Return to Play document is to offer AHSAA member schools best practices in order to commence the 2020-21 school year athletic seasons as scheduled and as safely as possible,” said Savarese.

Lance West Named Head Coach of UAH Hockey

HUNTSVILLE | The University of Alabama in Huntsville Department of Athletics has announced the promotion of Lance West to head coach of the UAH hockey program on Wednesday after two seasons as an assistant on the Chargers bench.
"We are excited to officially announce Lance as head coach of the UAH hockey program," Director of Athletics Dr. Cade Smith said.
"He has a deep understanding of what UAH hockey means to the community and an incredible pedigree within the college hockey landscape. We believe Lance will be successful in continuing the regrowth of the program and will attract successful student-athletes to UAH."
"I am honored to be named head coach of The University of Alabama in Huntsville hockey program," West said. "I want to thank President Dr. Darren Dawson and Dr. Cade Smith for the opportunity to lead the Charger hockey."
"I have spent 18 years either playing or coaching with the program, and I am very aware of and share the passion of our alumni and fan base for UAH hockey. The challenges that lie ahead are tough, but I am excited to work together with the young men, staff and The University that have committed to making this a successful program."
West – a four-year letterwinner for UAH from 1991-95 – returned to Huntsville in 2018-19 as an assistant coach after a 10-season stint at fellow WCHA member Alaska Fairbanks where he was an assistant for nine campaigns before guiding the squad to the conference playoffs as interim head coach in 2017-18.
Overall in his time with the Nanooks, West helped lead the team to six winning seasons in addition to the program's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2009-10.
Prior to Alaska, West served as an assistant coach for UAH for a total of seven seasons from 2000-07 when he helped the team to a pair of College Hockey America regular season championships, four conference tournament appearances and one NCAA tournament berth.
Moreover, West was a volunteer assistant coach for the Chargers from 1995-98 following his playing career, aiding the squad in winning the NCAA Division II National Championships in 1996 and 1998.
During his playing career with the Chargers, the Penticton, British Columbia, native appeared in 106 career games and amassed 108 points on 43 goals and 65 assists over four seasons as a forward on the squad.

West is now the sixth head coach in program history.

The Ohio Valley Conference released its 2020 Preseason All-OVC Football Team on Monday and six Gamecocks were included.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - The Ohio Valley Conference released its 2020 Preseason All-OVC Football Team on Monday and six Gamecocks were included.

Jacksonville State had three players named on offense and three on defense. The team was selected by the league's head coaches and sports information directors and was set to be released during Monday's annual Media Day, which was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Quarterback Zerrick Cooper, tight end Trae Barry and offensive lineman Michael Shaddix were the three offensive players featured for JSU, while defensive end DJ Coleman, linebacker Zack Woodard and cornerback Yul Gowdy were among the defensive honorees.

Cooper, a senior from Jonesboro, Ga., earned his second-straight All-OVC honor in 2019 after being named a first-team selection in 2018, extending JSU's streak of consecutive seasons with a quarterback on the All-OVC teams to seven. In 2019, Cooper finished the regular season ranked eighth nationally in total offense with 310.3 yards per game, eighth in passing yards with 3,404 yards, ninth in points responsible for with 204 and 11th in passing touchdowns with 28. In just two years at JSU, Cooper has the top two single-season passing marks and ranks third in school history for career passing yards (6,820). He also has the top two single-season passing touchdown marks and ranks seventh in OVC history and second in JSU history with 60 career passing touchdowns, just one away from Ed Lett's school record of 61 from 1979-82.

Barry, a senior from Summerdale, Ala., was voted to the 2020 Preseason All-OVC squad despite playing in just five games before an injury forced him to miss the remainder of the 2019 season. Despite the injury, he is JSU's leading returning receiver with 25 catches for 330 yards and a touchdown a year ago. He joined Cooper on HERO Sports Sophomore All-America Team in 2018 after catching 32 passes for 503 yards and a score to grab First-Team All-OVC honors that year. Barry enters his senior campaign with 67 career catches for 1,076 yards and five touchdowns.

Shaddix, a junior from Fort Payne, Ala., finds his name on the Preseason All-OVC squad after earning All-OVC honors as a sophomore in 2019. In earning his first All-OVC honor a year ago, he helped the JSU offensive line pave the way for the second-best offense in the OVC. Shaddix and his teammates up front cleared a path for 5,033 yards of total offense and 296 passing yards per game - 13th-most in the nation.  

A junior from Atlanta, Coleman grabbed his first All-OVC honor in 2019 as one of the OVC's top pass rushers. He created havoc for opposing quarterbacks in his second season in Jacksonville, leading JSU with five sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss. His five sacks tallied a total loss of 31 yards, while he also picked up a team-best 28 quarterback hurries, broke up a pair of passes and forced a fumble. He totaled 59 tackles, tied with All-American Marlon Bridges for fourth on the team.

Woodard, a junior from Thomasville, Ala., had a breakout season in his first season starting in the middle for JSU in 2019. He led the Gamecocks and was in the top five in the OVC in tackles with 96, while also tallying seven tackles for a loss and assisting on a sack. He recorded an interception, broke up four passes and recovered a fumble for the Gamecocks to earning All-OVC honors in 2019.

Gowdy, a junior from Birmingham, earned the Preseason All-OVC recognition by the league's coaches after recording 36 stops, four for a loss, an interception and six passes broken up in 2019. Gowdy was a Freshman All-American and OVC All-Newcomer pick in 2017 after notching 41 tackles with an interception and 10 break-ups.

The Gamecocks are scheduled to open the 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 3, at Florida International in Miami, Fla. JSU is then set to play at North Alabama on Sept. 12 before its home opener against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 19. Tickets are currently on sale at www.JSUGamecockSports.com or by calling the ticket office at (256) 782-8499.

Alabama Football's Lee, Moses and Named to Butkus Award Watch List

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football’s Shane Lee and Dylan Moses have been named to the 2020 Dick Butkus Award Watch List, the Butkus Foundation announced today.


Lee and Moses are among 51 candidates from around the country named to the preseason list for the Butkus, which is given to the nation’s top linebacker. Four Crimson Tide players have won the award previously with Reuben Foster taking home the hardware most recently in 2016. Joining Foster on the list of Alabama linebackers to capture the honors are C.J. Mosley (2013), Rolando McClain (2009) and Derrick Thomas (1988). 



Linebacker, Sophomore

  • Called into duty at middle linebacker as a freshman and put together a solid season in 2019
  • Started all 13 games on his way to earning Freshman All-America honors from both the FWAA and ESPN.com
  • Selected to the Freshman All-SEC team by the league coaches
  • Paced all league freshmen in tackles with 86 and ranked third among first-year defenders in tackles for loss at 6.5 (-33 yards)
  • Finished second on the Tide defense in tackles and added 4.5 sacks (-29 yards) to go with three quarterback hurries
  • Picked off one pass, forced two fumbles and recovered one fumble to round out his first collegiate season



Linebacker, Senior

  • One of the top linebackers and defensive players in the country
  • Returns to the field after missing the 2019 season with an injury
  • Played in 26 career games with 17 starts to his name
  • Totaled 126 tackles, including 15.5 for loss (-65 yards) and five sacks (-46 yards) in two seasons
  • Also forced a pair of fumbles, picked off one pass and broke up another in his career
  • Led the Tide defense with 86 tackles in 2018 on his way to being named a finalist for the Butkus Award and earning second team All-America honors


The Butkus Award has been presented annually since 1985 by the Butkus Foundation to recognize the top linebacker in college football. The award is named in honor of college and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. The 2020 winner will be announced at the conclusion of the regular season and recognized at the annual ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December.


Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.




Alabama Football's Patrick Surtain II Named to Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Patrick Surtain II has been tabbed to the 2020 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday.
Surtain II is part of a group of 49 defensive backs from around the country named to the preseason list. Alabama has had two Thorpe winners in program history, first with Antonio Langham in 1993. Minkah Fitzpatrick was the Crimson Tide’s most recent recipient, bringing home the award in 2017.

Defensive Back, Junior

A shutdown corner for the Tide defense and one of the top defensive backs in the nation
Worked in all 28 games of his Alabama career including starts in 25 consecutive
Picked off three career passes while breaking up 15
Added 79 total tackles and four forced fumbles in his two seasons with the Crimson Tide
Recorded 42 tackles and forced three fumbles as a sophomore
Also broke up eight passes while picking off a pair in 2019
The Jim Thorpe Award has been presented annually since 1986 by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to recognize the top defensive back in college football. The award is named in honor of multi-sport legend Jim Thorpe. The 2020 winner will be announced at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.




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