5. Girls hoops team puts together 7-game win streak

Playing up for its first two games of the 2018-19 season, Horseshoe Bend’s girls basketball team seemed to get off on the wrong foot. It dropped a pair of games to begin the year, but quickly the Generals proved they were on par with their competition level once they began to play smaller classification teams.

After those first two losses, Horseshoe Bend reeled off seven straight victories and nearly cracked the top 10 of the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A girls basketball rankings. During the streak, the Generals had a pair of wins over both Woodland and Fayetteville while also knocking off Reeltown and Wadley. They also defeated 3A Dadeville in an all-Tallapoosa County showdown.

Although HBS had a roller coaster end to the season, not winning more than two games in a row after that and falling just short of Ranburne in the Class 2A Area 9 tournament, the seven-game streak was certainly a highlight of the season.


4. Volleyball wins back-to-back area titles

Hosting the Class 2A Area 9 tournament, the Horseshoe Bend Generals found themselves facing off against two sets of Bulldogs. After dispatching the LaFayette Bulldogs in the first round, the Generals had one final hurdle standing between them and the area title: the Ranburne Bulldogs. When the dust cleared, Horseshoe Bend claimed the area title in straight sets, 25-16, 25-19, 25-18.

“I told our girls that ultimately, our season goal was to win an area championship, and I told them this was the last step in the process to obtaining our goal,” Horseshoe Bend coach Julie Turner said. “I told them that if they come out and play like they know how, without errors or with fewer errors than normal, then we would do well and we did.”

Horseshoe Bend looked full of confidence in the first set, but a handful of errors in the second and third frames allowed Ranburne to stick around. The Generals held a commanding 10-2 lead in the second set, but a few hits out of bounds and into the net allowed the Bulldogs to tie the set up, 17-17, but a Ranburne serve into the net and a pair of kills gave Horseshoe Bend enough of a spark to put away the second set.

The victory was Horseshoe Bend’s second area volleyball title in a row.


3. Generals win area title in softball

Horseshoe Bend pitcher Danielle Mitchell and the Generals found themselves one out away from breaking a two-year drought with area titles.

With two on and two out, Reeltown brought Marlee Knox to the plate. Flashes of an 8-7 comeback win reminded the Generals what the Rebels are capable of.

The Generals got the final groundout, completing a sweep of the Class 2A Area 7 tournament with a 7-5 victory at Reeltown.

“I’m just proud of them,” Generals coach Hagen Whiteard said. “We talked about being consistent all season, and they finally showed that. It feels even better doing it here in Reeltown. I’m very excited about heading to the regionals.”

Horseshoe Bend avenged the regular-season sweep by Reeltown by holding on after a five-run second inning.

Leighann McWhorter led off with a walk, Alyssa Whiteard hit a single and Nadia Brooks walked. Reagan Taylor hit an RBI double then Mitchell hit a big three-run homer.

HBS continued to keep the pedal to the metal, nearly earning a spot in the state tournament with a strong run at regionals but it fell just shy.


2. Girls team, 1 boy qualify for state in cross country

In just the second year in its existence, Horseshoe Bend’s cross country team is already making a name for itself. The Generals’ girls team took third overall at the Class 1A/2A Section 2 meet and headed to the state championships this season.

Joining the girls was Jarrett Bice, a Horseshoe Bend sophomore who qualified as an individual.

“It’s crazy with the fact that four of (the girls) are middle schoolers, so I’m sitting here thinking how can I keep them happy and on my team?” Horseshoe Bend girls coach Emily Rasbury said. “What are they going to do when they are senior high kids?”

Members of the girls team who qualified for state were senior Baylor Turner, freshman Stacy Peters, eighth-grader Brityn Spence and seventh-graders Rebecca Rasbury and Katie Rasbury.

Although none of the Generals had incredible finishes in term of the individual standings, they all grouped together as a team with the top runner finishing less than 10 places ahead of the fifth runner.

Rebecca Rasbury paced the Generals at sectionals, taking 24th place overall with a time of 30:26.07. Peters, Spence and Katie Rasbury then all finished back to back. Peters took 27th in 30:58.84, and Spence followed right behind in 28th place with a time of 31:01.28. Katie Rasbury came in just 12 seconds behind Spence for 29th place.


1. Phillips named head football coach at HBS

Since graduating high school in 2010 from Clay County, Jeremy Phillips has been in the coaching world and he’s had his sights set on one thing: Being a head coach. That dream came true for the former Benjamin Russell offensive coordinator as he was approved unanimously by the Tallapoosa County Board of Education as the head football coach at Horseshoe Bend.

“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach,” Phillips said. “When I started coaching, I decided that’s what I wanted to be eventually is a head coach. Most of the time it doesn’t happen when you’re young like me, but it’s worked out and I think it’s a good fit at Horseshoe Bend.”

Horseshoe Bend had 30 applicants for its head coaching position, and the pool was dwindled down to five interviewees, according to superintendent Joe Windle. Phillips was the second person to be interviewed, but Windle said he kept coming back to his interview with Phillips after talking to all the finalists.

“There was just something about this young man that in my gut said, ‘This is the person you need,’” Windle said. “Because this young man is not going to be outworked. He’s going to coach teams to be physical and football is a collision sport. It’s tough and you have to be physical.”

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.