The Elba Tigers will kick off the 2019 high school football season on Friday night when they travel to Daleville to battle the 2A Daleville Warhawks. Elba owns a lopsided 14-5 edge in the series with Daleville, won the last meeting back in 2017 by a score of 34-28 and has won four of the last five match-ups in the series that began in 1978 and saw the Tigers win the first eight meetings. The Tigers posted an 8-3 record last season in their first year in the Class 1A ranks and are picked in the ‘Top 10’ in the state in a preseason poll. However, they must replace one of the state’s top performers in multi-talented Richmon Singletary as well as find a new starting quarterback, running backs and receivers. Looking to replace the departed Singletary in the backfield will be a quartet of players with unlimited potential in Iverson Lane (Jr., 5-10, 170), Ja’quez Prince (Jr., 5-9, 170), Seth Ware (Sr., 5-8, 153) and Collin Harrison (Jr., 5-10, 180), while Prince and sophomore signal caller Carson Wise (So., 6-0, 170) will be called upon the lead the Elba offense at quarterback. While the Tigers may not put the ball in the air as much as in years past due to a massive offensive line, they do have a bevy of receivers to aim passes at in Nathan James (Jr., 5-8, 138), Dezmion Roberson (Sr., 6-2, 185), Peyton McCart (So., 6-1, 150), and Byron Burks (So., 5-7, 140). While the Tiger coaches must find skill players to exploit opposing defenses, the offensive line appears to be the team’s strongpoint, led by returning seniors Tom Ford (Sr., 6-2, 292), Isaac Watkins (Sr., 6-0, 267), Chandler Coppage (Sr., 5-10, 234) and Omarian Terry (Sr., 6-3, 242). Elba fielded one of its best defenses in years last season and with seven starters back look for the defense to lead the way until the young offense can find its way. Leading the way on defense will be noseguard Tom Ford (Sr., 6-2, 292), linebacker Dezmion Roberson (Sr., 6-2, 185), linebacker Brandon Epps (Sr., 5-10, 164), linebacker Omarian Terry (Sr., 6-3, 242), defensive back Seth Ware (Sr., 5-8, 153), defensive back Nathan James (Jr., 5-8, 138) and defensive back Iverson Lane (Jr., 5-10, 160). Others expected to see action on the defensive side include cornerback Byron Burks (So., 5-7, 140), linebacker Paxton Wise (So., 5-11, 175), defensive back Peyton McCart (So., 6-1, 150)linebacker Chrystyile Caldwell (So., 6-1, 208), defensive lineman Derrick Hill (Sr., 5-11, 180), defensive lineman Jaden Juarez (Jr., 5-7, 238), linebacker Collin Sauls (So., 5-8, 178) and defensive back JT Coleman (Fr., 5-11, 145). The Daleville Warhawks finished strong last season and advanced to the second round of the 2A playoffs, and are expecting to start fast and finish fast this season as they have their sights set on a deep playoff run. Leading the way for Daleville on offense will be the 1-2 punch of junior quarterback Peanut Bloodshaw (6-0, 185) and senior running back Jalen White (6-1, 195). Bloodshaw is a dual threat in the backfield as a runner and passer, while White developed into one of the state’s best backs last season and rushed for almost 500 yards in just two playoff games. The Warhawks will also be in good hands up front, where four starters return, including seniors tight-end Melvin Matthews (6-1, 200) and tackle Casey Moore (6-3, 260). Also returning to the ‘o-line’ are junior Myles Parris (5-10, 200) and sophomore Dylan Grant (6-0, 225). The Daleville defense allowed over 26 points per game last season, but should be much more stingy this year with five starters back, including senior linemen Brian Serrano (5-9, 225) and Casey Moore (6-3, 260), senior linebacker Melvin Matthews (6-1, 200), senior defensive back Jalen White (6-1, 195) and junior rover Sincere McKenzie (5-6, 160). Kickoff Friday night will be at 7:00 pm.
JUNIOR VARSITY FOOTBALL
The Elba Junior Varsity football team will open its season Tuesday night, Aug. 27, in Brundidge taking on the Pike County JV Bulldogs. This game is set to start at 6 p.m.