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12 December 2007
Two JSU Alumni Face Off as Opposing Coaches
of 2007 Class 6A Championships

By Jimmy White
Progress Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Lions Win Back-to-Back Championships

Two youngsters who shared a biology class at Jacksonville State University in 1987 proba­bly never dreamed that 20 years after leaving their alma mater they would share the same in­terview room following a state championship game as head coaches on opposing teams.

But Saturday night, in the media room under the north end zone of Birmingham's Legion Field, Bill Clark of Prattville High School and John Grass of Spain Park High School met with sports reporters to answer questions about the results of the 2007 Class 6A finals.

Clark took no credit himself, giving it all to his players ands assistant coaches. Grass ack­nowledged his team's effort and praised his former classmate's team for winning their second consecutive state title. It proved to be an emotional scene for the longtime friends and former classmates.

"We had our hands full," Grass said. "Prattville's two de­fensive lineman (Greg McCall and Jarvis Nixon) are good play­ers. We had a hard time keeping them out of our backfield. We had a hard time blocking those two guys.

"Prattville took away our running game and forced us to throw more than normal. We had some good pass protection, but their defense is pretty good. They are not the No. 2 team in the nation for nothing."

But Grass couldn't help thinking what might have been, had his team not made a handful of crucial mistakes.

"There were several keys plays in the game," he said. "If we had made one of the field goals, who knows? It could have made a difference. We had a cou­ple of passes overthrown. I felt like if we could have gotten one of those we might have had a chance.

"We talked about getting the game to the fourth quarter and we weren't able to do that."

Clark was measured in his comments but offered up strong praise for his team and the way they were able to handle their assignments.

"We knew they were physi­cal up front and that our defense would have to step up," Clark said. "This year's defensive team may just be the best one we have ever had here.

"My hat is off to those guys, and to our coaches. We had a great fourth quarter, with our offense controlling the football. It was a team effort, and I can't say how proud I am of the sen­iors. They were the leaders on this team and they made it hap­pen."

Clark said the ability of his team to overcome adversity made a big difference down the stretch.

"We had some key injuries during the season, yet we were able to overcome those," he said. "Justin (Albert) played hurt to­night where many kids wouldn't have played. He wanted to be a part of the team. It is what we teach -- a team effort, a family, and I am very proud of every one of them. They started talking about this game back in Janu­ary when the offseason pro­grams began. They worked un­selfishly for this opportunity."

Clark said he understood the significance of the accomplish­ment, and thanked parents and fans for their support of the team.

"Its not often you get the op­portunity to win state champi­onships much less have an op­portunity to win it back to back," he said. "This one is for our community, for our fans and all those who support our pro­gram."

See story at the Montgomery Advertiser's website:

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