Players and coaches from all seven schools in Walker County took part in the third annual Southern Orthopedic/Daily Mountain Eagle PrepZone Media Day on Wednesday at Five Loaves Bakery in downtown Jasper.
Media members from Jasper, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Cullman were represented at the event, and fans of each area team showed up to show their support. DME Publisher James Phillips said his staff has worked hard to make improvements to the event each year. The 2018 event recently won a first-place award for "Best Use of Social Media" in the Alabama Media Awards.
“In our third year, I think we made some incredible strides with our Media Day event,” he said. “Our technical team as well as our sports staff have worked hard to make this event something special for our community. It may not be ESPN and the SEC Media Days just yet, but we are sure working to get it as close to that level as possible.”
The event featured appearances by every head coach in Walker County and several players from each team. Each team had a segment of time to make opening statements and were then asked questions by media members. The press conferences were broadcast live to the Daily Mountain Eagle Facebook page. They are now archived on the page.
“This is our way to bring our football teams and our community together,” Phillips said. “We have received so much positive feedback from coaches, players, media members, people attending and people watching at home. That’s why we started this event. We wanted something to bring the community together, and what better way to do that in our area than through the avenue of high school football.”
Jasper Coach Bryan Moore said the Media Day event is impressive.
“What the Daily Mountain Eagle does with this event is incredible,” he said. “Our players enjoy it. Our fans enjoy it. I enjoy it. It really is something special that you don’t find in many places for high school football. It is a great event for our student athletes, because it allows them to speak in public, take questions from the media and get experience in dealing with a live broadcast. I appreciate our newspaper going above and beyond to do things that highlight our players and our school.”
Keith Dobbins, a Walker County resident and employee at WVUA-23 from Tuscaloosa, said the event proved to be great on several levels.
“This was a great day for not only Walker County football, but for the county as a whole,” he said. “It allowed the residents of Walker County a chance to see what outstanding young men are representing their schools on Friday nights.”
David Powell, newly hired head coach at Sumiton Christian, said he was surprised by the magnitude of the event.
“I knew we were coming to a Media Day, but I didn’t know it was going to be like this. This is live. This is first-class,” Powell, formerly of McAdory, said.
Moore added that Five Loaves was also the perfect venue.
“The event was good last year, but having it at Five Loaves really put it over the top,” he said. “The space was great. The food was great. It would be hard to improve on this.”