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Gadsden City travels to Florence to open season


Finesse Middleton and the Gadsden City Titans travel to Florence for the Titans season opener. (Photo by Sarah Dudik | Gadsden Times | File)


 

The Gadsden City Titans travel to Florence on Friday night to open the 2012 high school football season.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Braly Municipal Stadium.

It’s a matchup of non-region foes but will give the respective coaches — Gadsden City’s Joe Billingsley and Florence’s Jamey DuBose — a good idea of where their teams are heading.

The Titans are coming off a 6-5 record in 2011 with a 21-0 loss to Mountain Brook in the first round of the state playoffs. Florence, meanwhile, went 7-3 but missed the playoffs after there was a three-way tie for the fourth spot in Class 6A, Region 8.

Expect Billingsley and the Titans to be much sharper on offense in their second-year of the spread. Last year’s offensive coordinator, Chris Garmon, did not return for 2012, but Billingsley said in the preseason that what Gadsden City does on offense this year “has Chris’ trademark on it.”

Senior quarterback C.J. Moore has improved during the offseason and is a threat to pass and run. He’s got one of the best wide receivers in the state in B.J. Hammond to throw to and also has a shifty running back in Trevor Sandridge.

The strength for the Titans appears to be defense, though, and Finesse Middleton is the centerpiece. Middleton committed to Ole Miss during the summer, and after having to sit out much of last year with an injury, expect the senior to make a big impact against Florence and the games to come.

Gadsden City’s linebacker corps. of T.J. Posey, Rashad Carter and Blake Worthy is one of the most fierce and experienced in this area.

Florence is loaded with talent, too, as 10 starters return. Junior Kendrick Doss is back and is a solid dual-threat quarterback, while wide receiver J.J. Green is dangerous any time he touches the ball.

Running back Beniquez Brown, who signed with Mississippi State, is gone, but Roland Adams, Ronnie Vaughn and Erroll Thompson fill out the stable of backs for the Falcons.

Florence has Division I Rashawn Smith at outside linebacker, along with Irving Adams.

If there is one thing for certain, DuBose knows how to get the most out of his players. He built a powerhouse at Prattville and after winning two state titles with the Lions decided to go for a new challenge with Florence.