1009-ECHS at Holt VB 5

Caleb Turrentine / The Herald Holtville’s Alexus Hindman hits the ball.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a six-part series highlighting the biggest moments from sports in Elmore County during the 2019-20 academic year.

Holtville girls win first game since 2016

After blowing a late lead, the Holtville girls basketball team fought through an extra period and made some late free throws to beat Billingsley, 32-29. It was the program’s first win since January 2016, ending a 56-game losing streak.

“It was electric in there,” Bulldog coach Jason Franklin said at the time. “The girls were excited and the crowd was going crazy too. No one probably expected that to happen when they showed up, so it was pretty special to get to do that at home.”

As soon as the extra period began, Holtville became the aggressor and after scoring the first bucket, it never trailed again. Summer Hutcheson made the only field goal for either team in overtime while Rylee Helus and Tori Headley each hit a free throw to help secure the victory.

Two teams snap losing streaks to county rivals

Elmore County had the Bulldogs’ number over the past few years in both football and volleyball but both programs made it over the hump in 2019. 

On the football field, Kolby Potts rushed for 138 yards and four touchdowns to defeat the Panthers, 35-14. The Bulldogs trailed going into halftime but Potts scored three of his touchdown in the second half, giving Holtville its first win in the series since 2010.

“I want to give all of the credit to my team,” Potts said. “We came out and played for each other and played a team game and that showed on the scoreboard.”

Two weeks later, Alexus Hindman put on a show on the volleyball court, finishing with seven kills, eight digs and one ace. Her performance helped push the Bulldogs to a three-set sweep against Elmore County as Holtville defeated its rival for the first time since 2007.

“We had to have fun because we have been playing so stressed and nervous,” Hindman said. “We were playing so careful against them last time so this time we came out with a bang. We did what we had to do to win.”

Holtville football 

reaches top 10

Holtville coach Jason Franklin has been trying to change what people think when they hear the words “Holtville” and “football” in the same sentence. It was usually something negative over the past decade but the Bulldogs have done their best in recent years and that work is starting to pay off.

After defeating Central Coosa in its season opener, Holtville was moved to No. 10 in Class 4A by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. It was the first time since 1993 the Bulldogs have been ranked.

“I didn’t even know enough writers knew where Holtville was to vote for us,” Franklin said. “It goes to the players and coaching staff who have worked really hard to even be considered. Obviously, it’s just rankings and you’d like to be the last one standing but it’s still tremendous for our guys to get to this point.” 

Holtville fishing team shines on local waters

On a cold and rainy day on Lake Jordan in November, Holtville’s fishing team made it look easy as it came away with the top team prize after having three boats fill up the top three spots in the individual standings. Daniel Sommers and Cade Law took home first place with a weight of 17.32 pounds for six fish.

“It was really great for us,” Holtville sponsor Kelli Watkins said. “They were really excited for each other and we were very proud of all of them. Once the weather got bad, some people pulled out but their determination to keep fishing made the difference.”

Michael Cannon and Conner Clark were close to their teammates but weighed in at 16.11 pounds to grab second place. Dylan Bearden and Gavin Koch finished in third place, weighing in their six fish at 13.03 pounds.

Bearden and Koch took some of that momentum into the start of the spring season when they finished first on Lake Martin in the opener for the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association. The Holtville duo reeled in 12.93 pounds to earn first place.

Bella Farmer signs to play Division I softball

For the second straight year, the Holtville softball program had a player sign a Division I scholarship. Infielder Bella Farmer has been committed to South Alabama for a while but she made things official last during Holtville’s signing ceremony in December. 

“I was just really proud of myself in that moment,” Farmer said. “I feel like this is something I have been working on forever. It felt really good to have the support from the community and be surrounded by my friends and family.”

In two years, Farmer has a .368 batting average in 340 plate appearances and has hit 15 home runs as the team’s starting shortstop. She helped Holtville return to the state tournament last season with two home runs at super regionals.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.