Monday, August 19, 2013

Bulldogs Welcome Back Fordham

Football 2013
Story by Kelly Caldwell
Photo by Ellen Sims

The Wadley Bulldogs are in familiar territory once again as they welcome head coach Ken Fordham to the team, but this time it is a homecoming of sorts.
"About 20 years ago, I was the assistant coach for football under Edward Beverly here at Wadley," Fordham said. "It is very enjoyable here at Wadley. I feel like I belong. I know a lot of people here. That's how it was years ago, for the people of Wadley it is a matter of ownership in the program.
"There is a lot of pride here at Wadley, and since taking over, there are have been countless people that have come and offered their help and support. And, the funny thing is it's a lot of the same people that were offering help and support when I was here the first time."
Fordham has hit the ground running to get the Bulldogs ready for the upcoming season since taking over the program in early July and so far he likes what he sees.
"One of the biggest things I have noticed about these kids, is they are constantly going to work," Fordham said. "They show up 30 minutes early to practice wanting to learn something new. A lot of times you don't see that hunger. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth. It makes coaching easier when they are willing to work like this."
The Bulldogs were a touchdown away from making the class 1A playoffs last season and the will to win is evident.
"They are hungry for sure," Fordham said. "I hope we can turn the corner this season, and we want to win the right way."
Nine seniors will lead the way for the Bulldogs this season, but Fordham is quick to point out he wants the best athletes on the field at all times.
"We have some athletes here at Wadley," he said. "If you are good enough to play, you are going to be on the field. And with 23 kids on the roster, they are going to have to play multiple positions."
Bradley Melton will anchor the experienced offensive line for the Bulldogs at center while 2012 All County selection Jerry Dye returns with added leadership.
"Most of these guys will be interchangeable on the line," Fordham said. "We are going to do things to get people in the game."
Others that will see action on the line include Glenn Depreist, Cale Mitcham, Hunter Lingerfelt, BRandon Norris, Jeffery Brown, Tristan Coker and Ethan Howard.
 Caleb Calhoun and Dakota Brown will both see action at quarterback for Wadley.
"These two are going to be big assets to the program." Fordham said. "I believe in the two quarterback system. The second is just as valuable as the starter to me because if your first guy goes down you better have someone to replace him quick."
When not in the field general role, Brown will be in the mix at receiver along with Johnathan Clark, Devin Freeman and Austin Hendrix.
Sophomore Kamaury Avery was the workhorse for the Bulldogs last season at running back with 1,156 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 167 carries.
"I have watched spring film on him and saw him play as an eighth grader," Fordham said. "He and Chandler McLain are very aggressive. We want to put them in situations to most benefit the team."
Devarsie Greathouse and John David Fordham will also run the ball for the Bulldogs.
On defense, the leadership will be more of the same.
"It is going to be mostly upperclassman," Fordham said. "I have studied film to see what these guys have done in the past but I am also talking to them to see what they think their strengths are.
"We are changing things up from what Wadley has done in the past but we haven't had any belly aching. These guys want to win."
The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 29 at home against Horseshoe Bend where Wadley leads the series 11-10.
"That's always a big game for Wadley," Fordham said. "And, it's a fun way to start the season. Wadley beat them for a number of years but in recent history Horseshoe Bend has evened the record out.
"Our goal for the season is to stay healthy," he said. "In 1A football, three or four injuries can wipe your season out. Our guys are going to work that's for sure, so we just have to keep them healthy. We want to have success here, not for myself but for my players."


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