ADDISON - Reclassification by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) in January changed the culture for the Addison Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs were placed back in Class 1A after the two previous seasons being in the 2A ranks.
Addison is sixth in student enrollment for the smallest class in the state at 146 students. The Bulldogs missed remaining in 2A by a total of eight students.
Dropping back to 1A changes the culture for the Bulldogs in the quest to maintain success under David Smothers. Smothers has directed the Bulldogs to 28 wins in four seasons with only 15 losses and four consecutive berths to the state playoffs.
The past two years, Addison had the likes of state power Tanner to contend with in 2A, Region 6, plus up and coming programs from Cold Springs and Falkville. Those two defeated the Bulldogs last season for the first time in a long period. Addison was 3-3 in the region that got them the fourth seed and a game in November in the first round with Red Bay, the champions of Region 8.
Now with a new regional schedule that will challenge the Bulldogs week to week, Addison is working on getting ready and adding to its great tradition of winning football. The Bulldogs have gone 135-50 since the 2000 season, 47-20 in the last seven years.
Smothers has experience with running back Ben Robinson a prominent factor to the squad. Robinson is a ball carrier that is not easy to contain and played well in the spring jamboree, a 14-13 victory at Good Hope.
Last year's quarterback, Noah Rice, was switched to wide receiver in the spring. Rice has quality speed. He showed tremendous ability when he ran for three touchdowns in the 2015 season opener, a 42-33 shootout at Vinemont.
Junior Bryant Ridgeway, sophomore Gage Gilliland and sophomore Zayne Guthrie are battling it out for the starting slot at quarterback. Ridgeway got plenty of reps during the spring jamboree in which Addison had two solid scoring drives to get some momentum with Good Hope.
Zeb Maze lines up for the Bulldogs at tight end and is the team's placekicker. Key personnel up front include center Hayden Ray, guard Caleb Ergle and tackle Arron Pratt.
Will Gunnin provides a spark on the defensive side at nose guard and tackle. Gunnin is listed at 6’1'', 320 pounds.
Chandler Cookenmaster provides experience in the secondary with Guthrie, Braxton Pruett and Rice.
Changes in the schedule have come about for the Bulldogs. Addison will host Elkmont on Aug. 19 in the opener at A.G. Hicks Stadium. The two are playing each other for the first time since 1949.
Addison has a couple of games against Cullman County schools. The Bulldogs journey to Hanceville Aug. 26. It will be the third straight year these two have played after going for half a century not facing one another.
The 1A, Region 7 season opens with a home game against Southeastern School Sept. 2. Southeastern is like Addison, a 2A program that dropped down to 1A for the next two years.
Addison is at Sumiton Christian Sept. 9, at home with Lynn on Sept. 16 and has a home game vs. Vinemont on the 23rd.
Back into regional play the Bulldogs go on Sept. 30 when they travel to Decatur Heritage. The Eagles enjoyed their best record in their six-year history in the AHSAA in 2015 when they finished 12-2 and got to the semifinal round of the 1A playoffs.
Longtime rival Meek comes to Hicks Stadium Oct. 7 for a regional encounter; the Bulldogs journey to R.A. Hubbard Oct. 14, have the week off for the 21st and visit another rival, Winston County, Oct. 28.
Smothers has followed a great line of successful coaches at Addison. Going into the new season, his winning percentage is .651. Six of the seven coaches prior to Smothers won between 67 percent and 80 percent of their games. This spans back to 1956 when Hicks started and registered 139 victories in 19 seasons and a state championship in 1970.
Addison has three state titles to its credit in this sport, the last coming in 2005 with Randy White leading the ball club.
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