Eclectic Middle School Panthers line up for a practice last week. They will join a host of middle school and junior high squads Saturday for the first Holtville Middle Kickoff Classic. Games are scheduled against Montevallo, Goodwyn and Alex City Middle.  (David Goodwin Photo)
Eclectic Middle School Panthers line up for a practice last week. They will join a host of middle school and junior high squads Saturday for the first Holtville Middle Kickoff Classic. Games are scheduled against Montevallo, Goodwyn and Alex City Middle. (David Goodwin Photo)

Junior Highs collide in first Holtville Kickoff Classic Saturday

Published 6:45am Saturday, August 24, 2013

While Friday night may be the varsity’s debut, Saturday belongs to the area middle schools as Holtville is set to host the first Holtville Kickoff Classic at Boykin Field.
“This is great,” said Grady Rowe, coach of the Eclectic Middle Panthers.
“It gives us a dress rehearsal. It’s a 20-minute snapshot of what we’ve (coaches) visualized happening in game situations. It’s a chance to tweak our line-ups and see where we need to work.”
The Panthers will play three games in the one-day affair: Montevallo (8:55 Saturday Morning), Goodwyn-Montgomery (9:45) and finish the day with Alex City Middle (11:25).
“I want to see them execute our basic offense and see that they understand the basic concepts of the defense and that they play hard,” said Rowe. “I really hope they use this like it’s intended, a jumpoff point for the regular season.”
The Panthers will join the host Holtville Middle Bulldogs and the Millbrook Middle/Junior High Mustangs in representing the county against a host of teams from throughout the state.
“I was really excited to get the teams want to come in this year. It’s great to see they’ve taken an interest in it,” said Lee Arant, who along with Holtville Middle coaches Cortes Mitchell and Robbie Broom helped organize the event. “I was surpirsed though by Demopolis, Irondale and Central-Baldwin wanting to come up.”
Montgomery Catholic, St. James, Trinity and Prattville Christian are scheduled to attend. Along with Demopolis, Montevallo, Sanford Middle (Central-Phenix City), Briarwood Christian, Irondale (Shades Valley) and Central Baldwin (Robertsdale)
“This is a pretty stout fundraiser (for Holtville High). And its relatively easy,” said Arant. “It takes a little legwork to put it together, but once you get everybody where they need to be and it gets going, it takes care of itself.”
Eclectic will officially open the 2013 campaign Sept. 3 against Tallassee’s Southside Middle.
“We don’t have very many returning (seventh graders moving to eighth) but we’ve got some pretty good skill guys,” said Rowe. “We are going to have build an offensive line from scratch. That’s where we need to get better in a hurry.”
The Panthers defense has chanced to match what the varsity does.
“We’ve got some guys on that side of the ball that can run to the ball, but we don’t know how well they can tackle yet,” said Rowe. “That’s something we need to find out.”

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