Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

January 24, 2010


What fun to share the recognition our grandson Jake

      There are a lot of men in the Albritton family. My wife and I had five sons, no daughters. We have 12 grandchildren; nine are males.  Most of the Albritton males have played football. Family members, watching us on the gridiron, were inclined to ask, “Have you considered playing tennis?”

          I played football at Wetumpka High School. I still have the two fading letters, big yellow Ws, I was awarded. I own a record at Wetumpka that has not been broken. My speed was the slowest ever recorded. The coach kept telling me my speed was deceiving; I was slower than I looked, he said.

          Now, 60 years after I finished high school, along comes an Albritton   boy who has been recognized for his skills on the football field. Our grandson Jake, son of Steve and Amy, was recently named the 2009 AISA Lineman of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

          We journeyed to Birmingham Wednesday for the awards banquet where Jake and 13 other players were honored as Back or Lineman of the Year in each of the six classifications for the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The banquet was sponsored by the Birmingham News and Hibbett Sports.

          Unlike the Albritton males who went before him, Jake has the potential to play college football. At age 18 Jake is 6-foot-5, weighs 295 pounds, and can bench press 350 pounds. He is a man, the kind of man running backs need on their offensive line so they can get the glory given them.

Jake’s friend and quarterback Craig Granger rushed for more than 1,000 yards, and passed for more than 1,000 yards this past season for Macon-East. Jake’s skillful blocking was one of the reasons Craig had a great year; he was often running behind Jake. At the end of the season Jake and Craig were named permanent captains of the 2009 football team.

Jake played both ways, on offense and defense. He was the third leading tackler for the Knights, finishing with 56 tackles, four sacks, 17 quarterback hurries, three fumble recoveries, and an interception return for a touchdown.

Wesley Lyle of the Montgomery Advertiser said of Jake, “His performance on the offensive and defensive fronts helped the Knights return to the playoffs after a year’s absence. And it earned him AISA Lineman of the Year honors.”

          Head Coach Glynn Lott praised Jake for his leadership. “Jake was one of our captains this year. He helped us start the year off right and led by example all season,” Lott said. “On offense we depended on him to help us up front. We were young on the offensive line this year and Jake had to be our leader.”

          Chosen to play in the AISA All Star Game after the season, Jake performed well, helping the East team beat the West. While Jake may have inherited the speed genes of the family, he managed to frustrate his defensive opponent for the entire game.

          Will Jake play at the next level? At this point we do not know. We hope so. We hope some wise recruiting coach will see the potential we see in Jake and give him a chance. But if not we are still proud of him.  Jake will do well in whatever vocation he chooses. He is a splendid young man and always a gentleman.

My bias is obvious but I believe some coach would become proud that he signed Jake. In the meantime the Albritton family is celebrating his accomplishments as a high school senior. He is a Knight of honor who will always have a place at our table.  + + +