The battles between Central Coosa and Childersburg have been classic over the years and the two teams will add a chapter in their rivalry tonight at Childersburg. Tonight’s match is Central’s head coach Joe Belyeu last time to lead the Cougars into Childersburg for a game. The Hall of Fame coach plans to retire after the season.
“He is a Hall of Famer, he was won over 600 games and he has won four state titles,” Childersburg head coach Al Barnett said. “He has been the coach at Central since the school opened in 1989 and previous to that he was at Goodwater High School as the head coach. He has been around a long time and he has had great teams. He has had three professional athletes play for him: Adalius Thomas, who played for the (Baltimore) Ravens and (New England) Patriots. He won a Super Bowl as a player. Justin Tuck, who was the 2001 4A Player of the Year. He has plays in the NFL and you see him on Subway commercials. Jamario Moon, who has played several seasons in the NBA for various teams.”
Barnett said he learned a lot from Belyeu during his time as an assistant coach.
“We worked together for seven years,” Barnett said. “He is a good friend of mine, he is a good teacher, and he is a good ambassador for coaching and education. He just does a great job and I learned a lot from him. We try to do a lot of the same things defensively playing that really good half court man defense.”
Last season both of their games came down to the wire. Childersburg won the first meeting 62-60. Central Coosa won the second meeting, 57-54.
“Over the last 12 years, I guess we averaged playing three times a year whether in Invitational tournament , regular season games and some of those years we were in the same area with them,“ Barnett said. “Probably in 12 years we probably played close to 30 times in 12 year. They have been close and exciting games. I think the biggest win for us against the 2004 state championship team. We went down and they won 20 something straight home games and we beat them 68-66 in a nail bitter. We’ve had a lot of battles. Of course I was with them when Gerald Wallace was at Childersburg. The line at Childersburg and Central would be like a ride at Six Flags just to get in the game. Both arenas would be sold out probably by 5 or 5:30. People just came from everywhere to see those games.”
The Cougars are off to a 3-2 record season. Central Coosa returns four of their starters from last season’s team that made to the Class 3A Sub-Regional tournament.
The Tigers on the other hand has a new cast of players. Childersburg has a 2-4 record, so far this season. Three of their losses have been by eight points or less.
“Right now we are 2-4,” Barnett said. “All four losses are up in class: Talladega, Sylacauga, Ben Russell, We lost to Sylacauga by two and eight another. Ben Russell beat us pretty good and Talladega beat us by two at Talladega. I knew there would be some growing pains this year. This team is a very hard working team and wants to get better each day. No championships are won in November and December; they are all won in January and February. We are not hitting the panic button, we are going to keep working and getting better. Each game is the most important game of the year, because it is the next game, so that is how we are approaching things right now.”
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from Childersburg High School.
Contact LaVonte Young at lyoung@dailyhome .com. Follow him on Twitter @LYoung_DHSports.