Former Jeff Davis QB Burkett hopes to burn it up at wideout

Recent Jeff Davis graduate Courtney Burkett is adjusting to a different position this week.


By Adam Bagni

Davis graduate Courtney Burkett is adjusting to a different position this week.

JD's starting quarterback the past two seasons, Burkett will play receiver tonight in the All-Star Sports Week football game in Huntsville. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Alabama A&M's Louis Crews Stadium.

The position is a change for Burkett, but it's not totally unfamiliar. Burkett played receiver for the Vols as a sophomore.

"It's really been pretty easy," Burkett said of moving back to receiver. "I had already been working out as a receiver,
running routes and catching balls. I think we've got a good group of receivers here. We don't have a lot of height, but we've got speed and everyone of us can catch the ball."

JD quarterback coach Greg Parker said Burkett's ability to play both positions shows his versatility.

"There is a little transition from quarterback to receiver, but there is no question he can play receiver," Parker said. "Courtney realized early on that if he wanted to play in college, it was probably going to be at receiver. He played quarterback for us because that's where we needed him. But when he has gone to camps and combines, he's worked as a receiver."

Wetumpka head coach and South receivers coach Chad Anderson said Burkett has done well this week.

"Courtney is handling the transition just fine," Anderson said. "He's a good kid and he works hard. He's quiet, but you can tell he is a competitor. He goes in, works hard and does what he's asked."

Burkett's college plans are not finalized and he is hoping a good performance tonight might generate some interest. If not, he may try to walk on somewhere.

Either way, he said he has enjoyed this opportunity.

"I want to have a good showing (tonight), but I also want to have fun," Burkett said. "This has been a fun week. The schedule is tiring but it's been worth it."

Burkett is joined on offense by two tri-county offensive linemen, Marbury's Zack Peppers and Stanhope Elmore's Jake Naylor.

Four tri-county players will help lead the defense. Elmore County's Luke Rowe and Stanhope Elmore's Brye French anchor the front while Prattville linebacker Terrence Williams and Prattville defensive back L.C. Morris will team up one more time.

"We've got some athletes on defense," said Marbury head coach and South defensive coordinator Kyle Glover. "From Mobile up through Montgomery and Prattville, there is a lot of speed and athleticism among this group. It's been a lot of fun to work with them. This is a group you would love to coach every Friday night."
Ainsworth is new president: Alabama Christian athletic director and volleyball coach Denise Ainsworth is the new president of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.

Ainsworth's new role became official Thursday morning. She replaces Decatur football coach Jere Adcock in the role. Ainsworth will serve for one year.

"When I stood up there today, I realized what a tremendous responsibility this is," Ainsworth said. "This is an association with 8,000 coaches as members. I want to do right for the coaches and for the kids."

Ainsworth has been at ACA since 1986 and has served as athletic director since 2001. She has served as volleyball coach since 1995, posting a 331-180 record with two state championships.

Ainsworth is known statewide for her success in softball. She compiled a 455-234-4 record with seven state titles from 1987-2006. From 1996-2006, her fast pitch teams were 355-139-4 with six state titles and three second-place finishes.

Named Coach of the Year at the metro, state and national levels, Ainsworth's final 10 teams reached the state tournament and the final nine played in the state championship game.

Local coaches honored: Montgomery Academy golf coach Tim Bethea, Selma girls basketball coach Anthony Harris and former Prattville football coach Bill Clark were among the coaches recognized Thursday at the All-Star Sports Week Championship Coaches Awards Luncheon.

Bethea and Harris were two of 11 coaches to receive the Meritorious Service Award for longtime contributions. Bethea has coached at MA for 24 years. Harris was recognized for his 23 years of service.

Bethea and Clark were honored as National Federation of High School Association coaches of the year.

"It's quite an honor," Bethea said. "There are a lot of fine golf coaches out there, who do just as much as I do. I've been blessed during my 21 years as a golf coach. I've had some really good kids that have brought me a lot of joy."


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