These are exciting times for Addison High.
The Bulldogs’ volleyball squad is just a couple of weeks removed from bringing a sixth state title back to campus, and their football team appears poised to make a run at a fourth state championship.
But don’t dare mistake the gridiron gang’s excitement for contentment. Third-ranked Addison’s long-term goals extend far further than this Friday’s Class 1A clash at No. 1 Pickens County.
“They’re all excited, but they’re not excited because we’re in the second round,” second-year Bulldog coach David Smothers said of his team, which is hungry for its first blue trophy since 2005. “They’re excited because it’s another step to the state championship. They’ve got state championship on their mind bad, and that’s the way I want it. They’re excited to be one of the 16 left.”
While none of the kids on the current roster were around for Addison’s last title run, Taylor Wilson does know what it’s like to win a championship. The do-it-all athlete returned to Bulldog country for his senior year after spending a few seasons at Sweet Water, 2010’s top 2A squad.
“I see a lot of similarities between our team and that team,” Wilson said. “We’ve got plenty of potential to do it. This team’s dedicated, if not more dedicated than that team was.”
Move-ins are common at every school across the state. Adding even one who’s a true football player is a rarity, however, according to Smothers. That’s why the coach called Wilson “a blessing from God” and “a very capable kid at any place on the field.”
Wilson wore a variety of hats in the Bulldogs’ big first-round blowout against Phillips-Bear Creek. In the 48-6 victory, the senior kicked a 37-yard field goal and extra point and ran in a two-point conversion and 44-yard touchdown. In addition to his kicking duties, Wilson started at free safety, was cycled in the tailback rotation and even lined up at quarterback, his position for the lengthy scoring scamper.
“Freshman year, coach asked if anybody could kick,” said Wilson, who couldn’t pick a favorite position but said running back comes most natural. “I just went up there and started kicking. I taught myself everything I knew.”
Because he hasn’t been around for the entirety of his prep career, Wilson might need a crash course in just how crazy the Addison community can be about its football.
Tight end and defensive end Kaleb Estill initially said there’s no way to describe it before eventually settling with, “It’s life.”
Fellow senior Kolten Denson agreed.
“It’d be huge for the whole community,” the lineman said of a possible upset of top-ranked Pickens County. “People around here don’t look at the football team as like, ‘Hey, it’s them boys.’ When they talk about Addison football, they’re talking about it like it’s still them out there, too. Everybody’s a part of the team. They want the win just as bad as we do.”
And just how crazy would get in Bulldog country if the Blue and Gold wind up taking down the Tornadoes? Just ask Jonathan Cleghorn, who’s now been present for Addison’s past two playoff runs. The Bulldogs last reached the third round in 2010, the lineman’s freshman year.
“It’d be a big celebration, but it’d be short-lived,” Cleghorn said. “Just another brick in the wall, another rung in the ladder.”
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.