Shades Mountain Christian's football team runs through drills prior to last season. Photo by Keith McCoy.
After nine years of fighting the good fight, Shades Mountain Christian School, the area’s only Class 1A school, has decided to discontinue its football program.
The private school in Hoover, which first fielded a team in 2006, has been coached the past two years by Dickey Wright. The Eagles went 2-7 and 1-9, according to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society records, those two seasons. The Eagles won their opener over Jacksonville Christian last season, but injuries depleted the small roster, and while they hung with most teams for a half, depth took its toll.
The first team in 2006 went 4-6 under current John Carroll Catholic coach Tim Sanders, but that’s as close as the Eagles have gotten to a winning record.
Wright said he plans to enjoy retirement, at least for now. The veteran coach was 25-27 in five seasons at Homewood, where he coached recent NFL draftee Ameer Abdullah, before coming to Shades Mountain.
The school’s athletic program has had success this past season. The baseball team won its area and made it to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs before falling to Ragland in three games. The boys basketball team posted a solid season, winning 15 games. Individually, Junior Dylan Pausic is the reigning boys champion in 1A/2A cross country. Soccer and basketball player Brock Belcher was recently named a Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete regional winner and is headed to Wofford to play soccer. Golfer Jordan Rockett will play at Blue Mountain College. Football player Jaylin Kemp is set to play at Birmingham-Southern College. Three-sport star Harrison Boozer is a likely candidate to play baseball at the next level.
Shades Mountain opened its doors in 1974 and serves grades K3-12. The possibility exists that football could be started again when enrollment numbers go up. The school is set to move to a new campus in 2017, the current Riverchase Middle School property in Pelham. That move may help boost enrollment and in turn increase numbers that would make football viable. The Eagles expected fewer than 20 players on next year’s team, although the numbers are better at the lower grade levels.