AUTAUGA ACADEMY, Ala. (WSFA) - We continue our high school football season previews in Fever Country with a trip to Autauga Academy where the Generals are hoping for another AISA state title.
"The expectation is where it's always been at. We've only got one returning starter off last year's team in Anden Hilyer, so that's the challenge," said head Coach Bobby Carr. "But our kids have been responding. They understand where the bar is for us, and that's why a lot of kids who come in from other places, they come here because they want to be a part of this."
Autauga Academy was crowned the 2019 AISA State Champions, going 9-2 in a season capped off with a 23-6 win over Escambia Academy. It was the team's third title in four years.
But, that was last year. This year's squad, like every other program across the country, has had to battle through unprecedented times.
"I think we're definitely behind, but you know what? I bet every football program in the country is behind from where they want to be," said Carr.
Autauga Academy returns just one starter from that championship squad in Hilyer, a junior linebacker. Carr is still working out the kinks of a young squad, but is confident in the players’ ability to uphold the winning tradition in 2020.
“I’ve kinda been spoiled the last few years with some great talent, but these younger guys did see what it takes to win, so they understand it’s tough to get to a level where you’re successful. But its even harder to stay up there year in and year out, so that’s where we’re at, but I think that’s where any program wants to be,” he said.
"I feel like everyone is starting to come together, and being a team together," added Hilyer. "We gotta play together to reach those expectations, and I feel like we're getting there."
It’s a message that the veteran hopes will inspire his new teammates as he steps up as a leader for the Generals.
"You know, we've got guys from all over the place, so I'm just trying to get everybody to play as one, come together, be a team and know what it takes to win,"said Hilyer.
Autagua Academy has played in 4 straight title games ,all against Escambia Academy. It’s only loss came in 2017.
The Generals will open the season on the road at Tuscaloosa Academy on August 28.