Abbeville eyes first state title since 1971
ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WTVY) - “This is for all the marbles. This was one of our team goals to be able to play in this game.”
Those were the words spoken by Abbeville head coach LaBrian Stewart at one of the Yellow Jackets’ last practices of the 2020 season.
The Abbeville Yellow Jackets are just one win away from calling themselves state champions. Hive Nation will make the trip north to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a showdown with the Mars Hill Panthers in the Class 2A state title game on Friday.
“It’s pretty unreal because it hasn’t happened in a while,” said senior Rico Dozier. “We’re use to first and second round, so it’s a great opportunity to get to play for a state championship.”
Abbeville has put together quite the 2020 season, but it’s no surprise for this team as many of the players have been suiting up together since elementary school.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time since we were like four years old,” said senior quarterback Martavious Glanton.
“We’ve been playing together since we were like young young, like four or five years old,” said Dozier. “We have great chemistry.”
When you look at what Abbeville has been able to accomplish this year, there is a lot that stands out. Over 40 points per game on offense plus four shutouts on defense. All this from a team who didn’t have a head coach until mid-July.
“All the offensive plays and stuff he brought in. Most of the offense is him,” said Glanton. “He’s pretty good.”
“We’ve had the same coach since we were in the eighth grade so getting a new coach made us figure that if we do all the work we can, we can make it,” said Dozier
Despite all the success, the turning point for this program is the one blemish on the record, a 42-30 loss to Geneva County.
“We went in to that game and had our worst game as a team and I mean as a team,” said Stewart. “The ball boy to the coaches to the players. We didn’t play as well as what I thought we should have to be able to beat a team with such great players. They were on that night and we were off. At that particular time, we found our identity. I can tell you that.”
Since that loss, the yellow jackets have rattled off 9 straight victories and will play for their first state title since 1971.
“I believe we needed it because after that we knew we couldn’t come in and play with nobody and just come out playing around on the field and stuff,” said Glanton.
“I think that gave us the kick in the butt we needed to get our stuff together to get us to the point we are at now,” said Dozier.
A win against the Panthers would be the icing on the cake for this special group of seniors.
“It would mean a lot,” said Glanton. “It’s been a long time.
“It would mean so much because I think the city needs it because Abbeville Christian Academy went to a state championship and us going to a state championship,” said Dozier. “I think it would bring this city well close together.”
Abbeville and Mars Hill meet in Tuscaloosa on Friday at 2:45 p.m. with the Class 2A state championship on the line. The WTVY sports team will be there to bring you all the highlights.
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