With a mix of suspensions and injuries, a top Alabama football team will be without 14 starters when it opens its season Thursday night.
When Alma Bryant (Irvington, Ala.) opens its season at Class 7A, Region 1 foe Murphy (Mobile, Ala.) at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the bulk of its starters will not be dressed. According to AL.com, the team had 11 starters suspended for two games stemming from a spring game incident against LeFlore (Mobile) in May. Those players also missed last week’s jamboree loss at Faith Academy (Mobile).
Additionally, the Hurricanes have three starters out with injury.
“It is difficult, but you have to deal with it,” first-year Bryant coach Doug Hoehn told AL.com. “Other kids will just have to step up. This is their chance to get in there and play.”
Hoehn told AL.com that the 11 starters suspended for two games were penalized for stepping onto the field when they were not involved in the current play during that spring game.
According to Hoehn, no punches were thrown and it was more of a “letter of the law” ruling.
“It’s a National Federation rule that anyone who crosses the line and is not involved in the play must sit out two games,” Hoehn told AL.com. “These guys have learned a tough lesson I think. But I want to stress that there was no fight. There was some jawing back and forth, and that was pretty much it. But a rule is a rule.”
LeFlore coach Anthony Shamburger lost six offensive starters for last week’s 19-6 season-opening loss to Williamson (Mobile) and told AL.com that he concurred with Hoehn’s assessment of the incident.
“One of our guys was tackled near their sideline, and a little scuffle ensued,” Shamburger said. “There weren’t helmets thrown or a lot of fists flying or anything. It was mainly just a lot of grabbing of jerseys and that type thing.”
Hoehn told AL.com that Alma Bryant would be back to full strength following this week’s game. Thursday night, though, should provide quite the challenge for the depth chart.