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Sports in 2010: The year in review

January

Basketball season was in full swing in January 2010, with the annual county tournament headlining the action.

The Handley Tigers defeated the Woodland Bobcats, 76-54, to win the county title in Wadley.

The Woodland Lady Bobcats took home the girls’ county title by defeating the Handley Lady Tigers, 90-59.

In late January, Courtney Strain hit another milestone in her career by breaking 5,000 points scored in a 78-25 win over Wadley. Strain’s jersey was retired last season and she signed a scholarship to play for Auburn.

February

The Handley Lady Tigers claimed the area basketball title by upsetting Munford in the area tournament, punching their ticket to the playoffs. The Lady Tigers continued their 2010 push by defeating Booker T. Washington Magnet to move on to the regional round of the playoffs.

The Woodland Lady Bobcats earned an area title by defeating Randolph County and Ohatchee. The Woodland boys also made the state playoffs by finishing second in the area.

Handley’s Ladarious Phillips was a surprise signee to Auburn’s recruiting class under first-year head coach Gene Chizik.

Handley’s Taylon Hunter and Woodland’s CJ Stephens inked offers to Southern Illinois and Georgia State respectively.

March

The 2010 All-County Basketball Team was selected with Woodland’s Courtney Strain and Handley’s Darius Finley earning Player of the Year honors. A total of 16 county players were named to the All-County team.

In late March, legendary former Randolph County football coach and Handley offensive coordinator Ron Watters was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Watters is the winningest head coach in the county with a record of 144-99.

April

After searching for a new head football coach, the Randolph County Tigers hired former Wadley head coach Randy Sparks to helm the program.

2010 was a big year for county baseball as well, with Handley, Woodland and Wadley all making the playoffs.

May

The Handley Lady Tigers softball team earned the top seed in the area tournament and went on to demolish the competition.

Wadley followed Handley’s lead by dominating its area tournament to earn a top seed in the first round of the playoffs. Woodland also made the playoffs by taking second in its area tournament.

The spring football season also gave county football fans a glimpse of what was to come in the fall.

Sparks and the Randolph County Tigers made some positive strides toward the 2010 season and the Handley Tigers thumped defending 4A state champions Cherokee County, 54-20, in their spring game.

June

Woodland’s Trey Fetner headed up a field of 14 All-County Baseball players as the Player of the Year. Fetner had a .519 batting average along with three home runs and 26 RBI.

Handley’s Morgan Parmer was named the All-County Softball Player of the Year to head a group of 13 All-County players. Parmer tossed 160 strikeouts and walked 56 in 150 innings of work. She also had an ERA of 2.42.

The Handley Lady Tigers basketball team found a new head coach in Wally West after the retirement of long-time coach Jimmy Askew.

The Wadley Bulldogs filled the spot vacated by Sparks’ move to Wedowee by hiring first-time head coach Jamie Abrams to guide the program.

August

Handley, Woodland and Randolph County each began the 2010 football season in style by winning their respective jamboree games.

September

Randolph County, under first-year head coach Randy Sparks, defeated Horseshoe Bend, 35-27. The win put Randolph County in contention for a playoff spot for the first time in three years.

The Handley Tigers earned their first signature win of the 2010 season by going on the road and downing perennial powerhouse Clay County, 17-12.

Handley followed one impressive road win with another. The week after defeating Clay County, Handley headed southwest and bested 1A power Sweetwater, 41-27, cementing their status as a state power in class 3A.

October

In the annual rivalry game between Woodland and Randolph County, the Bobcats prevailed over their Highway 48 foes, 29-14, earning another year of bragging rights.

That same week, the Wadley Bulldogs earned the third seed in their region by defeating a resurgent Notasulga team, 43-16. In his first year as head coach, Jamie Abrams succeeded in keeping the Bulldogs’ playoff tradition alive.

The Handley Tigers defeated one of the best 2A teams in the state, Lineville, 29-23, to finish the regular season 9-1.

Randolph County ended its season with a 24-14 win over the Wadley Bulldogs. The win gave the Tigers a 5-5 overall record, breaking a three-year run of going 3-7.

November

Three county football teams entered the playoffs in 2010—Handley, Woodland and Wadley.

Wadley fell in its first-round game to Autaugaville while Woodland upset second-seeded Fyffe on the road to move on.

The biggest first-round playoff win was no doubt Handley’s win over Aliceville, 49-0. But not just because it kept the Tigers’ season alive for another week.

The win was the 250th win of Handley head coach Mike Battles’ career. Battles was honored at midfield after the game, and the Tigers went on to the next round

December

The early goings of the 2010-2011 basketball season have seen the Handley Tigers start with a 7-0 overall record with a 3-0 area mark before losing their first game of the year.

The Woodland Lady Bobcats are up to their usual dominance, ranked sixth in the state in class 2A with only two losses so far this season.

Handley head coach Mike Battles earned his 250th career win during the 2010 season./Alan Cason

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