Meet the Rebels – Seniors going for a “three-peat”
Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2023
The Lowndes Academy Rebels are off to a winning start after the team’s 41-0 shutout defeat of Macon East Montgomery Academy. The game marks the Rebel’s first home game and season open, but for the team’s senior members, it represents the beginning of their goal of a “three-peat” – a third Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) state championship.
Wide receiver and middle linebacker Cooper Dansby is finishing his high school football career at the school where his father played. For him, carrying on the legacy of excellence, for his school and for his dad, means earning a third championship title before graduation.
“We’re going for a ‘three-peat, three championships in a row,’” Dansby said.
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For Dansby, that goal means playing behind the scrimmage line, holding up the opposing team’s blocker to fill holes and make tackles.
“[My job] is to make almost every tackle because the lineman is there to clog holes or open up holes for me to go into,” Dansby explained. “And, if the running back goes through the hole, I’m supposed to be there to tackle them. If they clog the hole, they’ll bounce [the ball] outside and I’ll make the tackle.”
Head coach Shane Moye said the seniors have played together since tenth grade, when the group were part of the team that won the state championship in 2021.
“When they were in tenth grade, we just continued to get better every single week,” Moye said. “We won the first state championship, and then last year, we won it again. We set out this year, to give them some extra motivation, asking what their legacy was going to be. Were they going to be the senior class that wins the third championship or were they just going to go out and not be able to get it done.”
Quarterback Clayton Hussey has played football at Lowndes since the first grade and credits every success to the team’s linemen.
“I can’t do anything without my linemen,” Hussey said. “They open up holes for me and my running back. They keep it where I can see most of the field to throw the ball.”
When asked if the team looked to him for leadership, Hussey said his class teammates were all leaders.
“I see leaders out there, on and off the field, the whole senior class,” he said. “[It means] always doing the right thing and being a role model wherever you go. The seniors all play different positions and help everybody out.”
According to Moye, the senior team members are the team leaders – the heart of the team – working together toward the victory.
“[The seniors] have been key parts to us winning both championships,” Moye said. “They’re the heart and soul of the team and the leaders. We want them to still be hungry and to have that chance to win a third one.”
Scott Stinson plays linebacker and cornerback, helping to cover the outer edges of the field. Stinson has played with the Rebels since the sixth grade and sees his job as making sure his opponents don’t get the ball and helping his teammates to be successful.
“I push them to their limits and make sure they do what they’re supposed to do,” Stinson said. “If they mess up, I just help pick them up.”
Nick Dougan takes the field as offensive and defensive lineman. As a defensive lineman, he works to take on any opponent to free up gaps for his teammates. Dougan started playing football in the eighth grade because he wanted to be a role model for younger players.
“I had an older brother who played football,” Dougan said. “I wanted to become a role model for little kids, so if they were scared to play sports or if they didn’t have anything to do, they could get into sports.”
Pierson Hill also plays the line on both offense and defense. As an offensive lineman, he works to keep his quarterback safe.
“I keep the linebackers and linemen from blitzing and hitting him, to keep him safe and clean,” Hill said.
Moye said Hill isn’t the largest player on the field. On the contrary, he is a small player who has learned to be quick and smart about protecting his quarterback.
“You just have to be quicker and smarter than everybody else,” Hill said.
Outside linebacker and wide receiver, Jase Howard, has played with the Rebels since second grade. His goal is to help his team members, whether that means catching a pass or taking down an opposing runner.
“I try to maintain the passes from the other team and when I can get to the run as quick as I can,” Howard said. I try to keep everybody accountable and make sure that they’re working hard at practice.”
Moye said the championship has made the Rebels complacent. In fact, he said the standard of winning has led them to hold each other accountable, to push one another every day and help their younger teammates strive for the same goals.
“They handle things that need to be handled,” Moye said. “They know the ultimate goal because they’ve seen it. They lead the younger kids, the ninth- and tenth graders who haven’t been on the team as long.”
The Rebels plan to keep doing what they have done the past three years – winning. To learn more about the Rebels team, check out the Lowndes County Football Media Day video at www.lowndessignal.com.