My good friend and veteran Reporter correspondent Ricky Smith is our football pick’em contest guru.

Several years ago, Ricky took charge of putting together the weekly schedule and keeping track of the week-to-week and season records.

Ricky, Sherrie Hall and I battled for the contest lead throughout the 2019 season. The bowls helped me edge them to win the contest. Ricky said it was my seventh championship in the last 12 years.

The final standings for 2019 were:

1. Shannon, 217-53

2. Ricky, 213-57

3. Sherrie, 211-59

4. Taylor Beck, 194-76

5. Jonathan Bottomlee, 193-77

6. Nickie Simpson, 168-102

“I have final records for the last 12 years, and this season is the first time in those 12 years that anyone finished with getting over 80% correct,” Ricky said. “I was close with 78%.”

The late Faye Patterson was a fan of our pick’em contest. Every Sunday morning at church, she’d let me know how I fared in that week’s picks.

Woodie Goree is another member of the Liberty Baptist Church family who enjoys the pick’em contest. He asked me recently who won the 2019 contest, and it reminded me to publish the results.

Corey Yarbrough loves the Albertville Aggies. Corey also follows the pick’em contest, and he gives me grief when I pick against the Aggies.

The first weekend of high school football season is Aug. 20-22, so that puts us seven months away from kicking off the 2020 pick’em contest.


The Rosses are moving home to Bama

I first met Boaz native Randy Ross when he joined then-head football coach Gene Stallings’ staff at Alabama in 1990.

My brother, Jeff, the late Randell Jarrell and I became friends with Randy. All of us enjoyed some great times and made some wonderful memories with Randy during his time working at the Capstone.

One of my memories is all of us riding in a courtesy van Randy was driving in the team convoy — complete with a law enforcement escort — to Alabama’s walk-through practice before the 1991 Blockbuster Bowl in Florida.

Randy spent the last couple of years as director of football operations for Arkansas. This week, he announced on Twitter he is officially retired.

Randy thanked all the players, staffs and friends for making his 45-year career special. He especially thanked his wife, Ann, for being by his side and giving him inspiration and support.

“Look forward to seeing what God has planned for us now,” Randy wrote on his Twitter page @CoachRandyRoss.

The Rosses are returning home to Alabama and will live in Tuscaloosa. Someday, I hope Randy and Ann get a chance to meet my beautiful bride, Malarie, and our children. Maybe I could get my sons, James and Brady, to sing “Yea Alabama” for them.

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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