READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Valley head coach Adam Hunter talks upcoming season

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 28, 2023

VALLEY — Adam Hunter, the athletic director and head football coach at Valley High, talked about the upcoming football season at Wednesday’s noon-hour meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley. A native of New Site, Alabama, Hunter has been at VHS for the past 17 years.

“Seventeen years,” he said to members of the club. “The time has really flown by, but I love it here. There’s no place else I’d rather be.”

Hunter said he’s glad to have another year coaching the Rams. He said he’s glad to have another year coaching the Rams.

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There will be a merger when the new high school is built, but for now, students in Valley will continue attending Valley High, and the LaFayette students will remain at LHS.

As the school’s athletic director, Hunter is responsible for 14 different sports at the school. Each team has its own coach, but Hunter heads up the entire program.

Valley has 72 players preparing for the school’s season opener versus 4A power Handley. Hunter hopes the momentum built up by this past winter’s 33-0 and 5A state basketball state championship will spill over into football. Key players on that team, such as Cam Dooley, Jay Harper and Ian Crim-Davis, will enter their senior year with the school’s football program. Another basketball team member, 6-6 center Brandon Thomas, is also putting on the pads for Rams football this season. He will be a rangy target for quarterback Dooley. 

“We have 12 seniors this year,” Hunter said. “It’s a good group, and we have some great leadership from them.”

Two senior class members will continue playing football at the Division 1 level. Dooley has committed to the University of Missouri and will be a Mizzou Tiger; Harper has committed to the University of Wisconsin, where he will be a Cornhusker. 

If Valley has an achilles heel this year, it will involve line play. There’s a good group of starters, but proven depth is lacking. 

“We will have to stay healthy,” Hunter said. “We have a lot of guys who are experienced at playing 5A and 6A ball. That will help us, but we have got to avoid injuries that could sideline any of our main guys.”

Hunter said he has some ninth graders who show promise but need experience to be dependable players.

“We can’t take anyone on our schedule for granted,” he said. “We have to be prepared to play every week.”

Hunter loves to talk about his staff. The coaches have a good rapport with each other and love the kids they work with daily.

The head coach is making one promise: “We will be better in special teams,” he said.

Hunter said enrollment numbers are down slightly at both Valley and LaFayette. When consolidation takes place, the new school will almost certainly be 6A but a long way from being a 7A school.

When consolidation takes place, Hunter believes his current position will be in demand. 

“The job will open up when consolidation takes place,” he said.

When asked what teams would be strong in the region this year, Hunter said he didn’t think any of them would be pushovers. 

“We’ll have to be ready every game we play,” he said.

He said that Clay Central will be good. 

“Their coach, Danny Horne, always does a good job,” he said. “Beauregard will be good. Transfers have really helped their program. I expect Tallassee will be good, too, and that Sylacauga will be much improved.”

A number of Valley players have taken part in summer camps. “You have to be careful with this,” Hunter said. “If your players go to a camp that’s overbooked, they won’t get much one-on-one attention. The seven-on-seven camps are good for your offense but not for your defense.”

Valley High is looking for officers for its athletic club, which covers all sports. Hunter said it’s hard to be a volunteer these days. 

“After having a long day at work, it’s hard to sometimes work several hours after that in a volunteer position,” he said.

Fundraising by athletic clubs can cover such expenses as bus drivers, gas for the buses, the referees, uniforms, meals and so on. “Everything comes out of that,” Hunter said. “The band gets what comes from the concession stands.”

Today’s high school students can have a virtual education at home. Valley has had some of these students taking part in sports. 

“Virtual students don’t count against your enrollment numbers unless they participate in a sport,” Hunter said. “We offer home school kids a chance to play.”

In looking to the future, Hunter said Valley is in need for a major upgrade in its weight room. 

“It’s well past time for that,” he said.

For this year, Hunter said the coaching staff is committed to always having their best players on the field. 

“We have to be smart in how we do it,” he said. “We are going to put our best foot out there.”