By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
As the temperature drops and football season draws to a close, that can only mean one thing…basketball season has arrived. Madison County High School has been preparing for this basketball season for over a month now. The boys have been running drills, surviving difficult practices and overcoming many obstacles. This year’s team will have many more obstacles to face as they continue through the season.
Currently, the MCHS varsity boys’ basketball roster has 10 juniors, one senior and one sophomore. However, the roster won’t be final until football season ends. The 10 juniors currently on the roster are: Trey Johnson, Davontay Stephens, *Octavious Fayson, *Chris O’Hara, *Tre Arnold, *Brandon Vought, *Neal Brown, *DJ McKnight, *Laterrius Davis and Israel Snowden. Deontay Jones is the only senior on the team, and Coddrick Griffin is the only sophomore.
Eddie Richie, Cowboys’ head coach, said of this year’s team “As you can see from the roster, we are pretty young. Only one senior is on the team so far, and he hasn’t played before but he is coming along just fine. Last year’s varsity team got better as the year went along. Those guys were all young last year and built some quality experience in games and in practice. Also, almost everyone you see worked very hard over the summer, some of them splitting time with football and baseball workouts. Another bonus is last year’s JV squad went an amazing 19-1. Coach Allen Demps does a stand-up job preparing these young men for varsity competition and life in general.
“Another challenge we have this year is more than half of our roster is still out on the football field. We support them 100%, but we still are eager to complete our roster…as any coach would be. Some JV players are filling in for the ones plaing football while they are on their way to State and may be able to earn a spot. Ivan Johnson, Chris Fead, Jaylon Hazzard, Ladarious Robinson, and Seth Molnar have all had some time playing with varsity this year until our roster is complete. This helps them build some much-needed experience for when they are ready to move up. Other JV players include Shayon Davis, Javon Redding, Javen Butler, Mike Hodge, Trey Jonas and Jarkevious Blachshear. Of course, other JV players are still playing football as well. Some of those include Dee Oliver, Dee Wells, DeAndre Miller, Brice Hamilton and Akevious Williams. We will have another tryout once football is over in a couple weeks to give everyone a fair shot to those who we haven’t seen play yet.”
However, don’t let the age of this team make you doubt them. Richie had this to say about the strength of his team, “As a person and a coach, I am an odd combination of an optimist and a realist. That being said, I feel very confident that we can be successful with the team we have. We have size (Octavious Fayson is 6’7” and Tre Arnold, Davontay Stephens, Israel Snowden and Brandon Vought are all around 6’3” to 6’4”). We have speed and athletes everywhere. We have some great shooters and a solid defense. We may not a have a ton of varsity experience, but this group works well together. They pick each other up and they correct each other when needed. We have some players who are learning how to lead as well. They worked this summer playing a few dozen games together in the Madison Summer League, Perry Summer League and two team camps. I think we may go through some growing pains until we fill our roster and at first when we get everyone, but come January we’ll surprise some people. This group truly enjoys playing together and just being around each other in general.”
The boys basketball season kicked off against Lincoln on November 22. The second game of the season was against Maclay on November 29. They played Brooks County in a Pack The Gym game on December 2 and Hamilton County on December 3. They will play Taylor County on December 9 at 8 p.m. in Taylor County. They then play Godby at home on December 13 at 7:30. Then the next two games on their schedule are away at 7:30 p.m. They play East Gadsden on December 15, and Suwannee on December 17.
To kick off the new year the boys will play Brooks County away on January 7 at 7:30 p.m. They will travel again on January 10 to Florida State University, that game begins at 7:30 p.m. They will play East Gadsden at home on January 12 at 7:30 p.m. Then they will play Taylor County at home on January 13 at 8 p.m. On January 19 they will travel to Godby to plat at 7 p.m. They will then play Jefferson County at home on January 20, at 7 p.m. On January 21, at 7:30 p.m., they have an away game at Hamilton County. They will play at 7:30 p.m. January 24 at home against Florida State University. On January 27 they play Suwannee at home at 8 p.m., they then travel to Jefferson on January 28 to play at 7:30 p.m. On January 31, they travel to Maclay to play at 7 p.m. and then On February 3, they travel to Baker County in the last regular season game, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
Richie had this to say about the Cowboys’ schedule, “Our district includes Godby, East Gadsden, Taylor County, and Florida High all of which have talented rosters. Especially Godby. They boast a top 10 pre-season ranking in class 4A. Some say they have a good chance to win state. I say, so do we. But our ultimate basketball goal is to win every day. Take things one day at a time and not look to far ahead. Win every practice, win every drill; win every possession by giving full effort in all that we do. We feel that if we do that, then hopefully our hard work will be rewarded with success at the end of the year.”
He also added, “As always, we appreciate all the support. I am looking forward to successful year.”