High School Football Preview: Fultondale Wildcats

College Sports

FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — Quick, name the top four winning-est programs in Jefferson County over the last four years. You probably named Hoover, that’s easy. McAdory, yep they’re two. Clay-Chalkville is a no-brainer, they’re number three despite losing several games to AHSAA sanctions in 2011. That fourth one would probably be a mystery had you not clicked on this article. With 36 wins over the last four seasons, Fultondale is your answer. “We started from the bottom,” said senior Jared Stewart. “We’ve really progressed.” Quietly, the Wildcats have built a stout program in 3A, but a state title has alluded them. “When it comes down to the playoffs it’s about match-ups,” said Richie Busby. “I think if you ask anybody, any of those guys that have had success, they’ll tell you that you have to stay injury-free and get good match-ups.”

Despite the four year mark we set, there is one player still on the Wildcats roster that’s been around for all those wins. Stewart will start his fiftieth ball game for Fultondale this fall, pending health obviously, and is half of the senior class with Ja’Marcus Hollis. Despite the low numbers, they’re high in experience. “They’ve been in big ballgames, they know what the expectations are,” said their coach. “We just want them to play hard.“

OFFENSE: Both returning seniors are at wide receiver. James Gowdy, a sophomore, will return for his second year starting at quarterback. “He did pretty good last year, so we’re expecting big things from him,” said Stewart. Total, the Wildcats will return four starters on the offensive side. “We’re a multiple offense,” said Busby. “[We] try to spread the ball around to our playmakers and let them play in space.” A new playmaker is Khalil Yow, who transferred into Fultondale. Stewart is also a danger in the return game.

DEFENSE: Last year, the Wildcats could be downright suffocating on defense. They shut out three region opponents and posted an 18.6 points allowed per game average. Both seniors also play defensive back for Busby, with only one other starter returning. Stewart is a two-time all-state performer and is quick to point out the D has a ways to go. “We’ve got to tighten it up a little bit, I’m not even going to sugar coat it to you,” said Stewart. To try and improve on what was already a pretty stellar unit, the Wildcats could be shaking things up. “We’re trying some new things on defense, maybe going to a three man front,” Busby revealed. “We’re just seeing what best fits our personnel.”

After making the playoffs seven out of the last eight years, the goals are clear for Busby’s squad. “Our expectation is always the same thing, we want to win the region title and then if you do that you’re in the playoffs,” said the third-year head coach. “Then it’s a one game season and if you win, you advance.”

“If you don’t, you don’t.”2015 Fultondale Wildcats Schedule:

8/21 – Tarrant

8/28 – Fairfield

9/4 – Central Coosa

9/11 – @ Prattville Christian

9/18 – Beulah

9/25 – Alabama Christian

10/2 – @ Montgomery Academy

10/9 – B.B. Comer

10/16 – OPEN

10/22 – @ Midfield

10/29 – @ Oak Grove

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