Harper looks to lead Valley to first perfect season

Published 9:45 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

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It’s been a dream season so far for Valley head coach Marshon Harper and his undefeated boys.

Coming off of an area championship win over Tallassee, the Rams now have their sights set on Birmingham.

Valley will host Sylacauga on Tuesday, and for Harper, this has been a long time coming in his 24th year with the Rams.

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Harper explained how he landed at Valley.

“I went off to school and I had my first job working in the cotton mill,” Harper said.

“Mr. McCullough told me to turn in my resignation letter, and I got a job. He taught me in high school, and he gave me an opportunity to get a job.”

Harper isn’t just the basketball coach. He’s an assistant coach for football as well as a physical education teacher.

Harper enjoyed his first years at Valley.

“I got to coach with some coaches that coached me,” Harper said.

“They welcomed me with open arms, and I got to bring some stuff with me I did in college in the secondary. They were good mentors to me. Coach Danny Walker was still there, and he taught me good things about being a coach.”

Harper has been patient in trying to get to Birmingham.

“It’s been a nice journey,” Harper said.

“We’ve been to the round of 16. We’ve won the area, but this team is special. They play hard every night. The bond together. We eat dinner together. The kids bought in. We need to win that title for the community, the teachers and the school.”

Harper is also glad to be coaching his son, Jay, who’s a starting guard.

“My son started off at Callaway,” Harper said.

“He played AAU basketball with some of the kids at Valley, and then he wanted to play for me. He came in and fit right in. Teaching him every day has paid off.”

Harper will now prepare his team for their toughest test of the season.

“We just try to stay humble,” Harper said.

“We built an identity we don’t want to change. We work day in and day out. We try to work on our craft. The kids come to work, and I’m proud of them.”

Valley’s toughest challenge in 5A this year could be Ramsay or Charles Henderson, but Harper is focused on Sylacauga.

“We have to get past Sylacauga,” Harper said.

“We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. Hopefully, we can get to Birmingham.”

This could also end up being the final home game at Valley High.

“It means a lot,” Harper said.

“You’re talking about history. If we win, we go down in the history books. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”