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July 13, 2009

Ex-Hazlewood football stars Langham, Goode have mixed emotions about school’s closing

TOWN CREEK — It has been almost 20 years since he played his last game at Hazlewood Stadium, but Antonio Langham still gets a special feeling when he steps out onto the field.

The former Hazlewood star went on to become an All-American at Alabama and a first-round NFL Draft choice. Langham has great memories from college and pro football, but said there is something special about those high school memories.

“I think about all those great times every time I step on this field,” said Langham, who was back at Hazlewood on Saturday for the annual Leather Helmet Football Camp. “I think about playing here as a kid and then winning a championship in high school. This school and this field hold a lot of great memories.”

Those memories, however, are all that the people of Town Creek will have.

The Lawrence County Board of Education voted in the spring to consolidate several schools in the system. Hazlewood will merge with R.A. Hubbard and the high school will be in Courtland.

That means that the field will be dark on Friday nights this fall. For a school with a record 11 state championships, not having a football team is hard to swallow.

“It’s sad to think Hazlewood will not have a football team,” said Clyde Goode, the youngest of the four Goode brothers who starred at Hazlewood in the 1980s and went on to play at Alabama. “This field still looks great — it’s just a waste.”

Although he hates to see the end of Hazlewood High School, Goode, who now lives in Decatur, said he understands the reason for it.

“It (consolidation) had been rumored since I was in high school,” he said. “But in the past five years you could see that it was inevitable. The numbers have been down here and in Courtland. All of those great players are gone. All we have now are just memories.”

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