This is an opinion article.

I’ve always believed the best action photos from a sporting event result from being in the right place at the right time.

I had one of those moments early in the fourth quarter of the 105th meeting between Albertville and Guntersville on Nov. 1, when I snapped a photo of Guntersville freshman defensive back Brandon Fussell intercepting a pass in the end zone.

Fussell snatched the ball out of the hands of Albertville’s Trinity Bell, preventing a touchdown to preserve the Wildcats’ 16-15 lead. The Aggies later converted a GHS turnover into the go-ahead touchdown, but the Wildcats rallied for a 24-21 win on Zak Burnett’s 11-yard scoring pass to Campbell Leach with 1:09 left in the game.

Fussell’s interception at his 6-yard line with 4.6 seconds remaining sealed the outcome.

Thursday afternoon, Judd Fussell called to thank me for publishing the photo of his son’s end-zone interception.

Brandon’s football skills run in his Fussell bloodline. Judd was a football, basketball and baseball standout for the Crossville Lions. Judd’s older brothers John and Jeff were also CHS football standouts.

Judd and his family settled in Guntersville in 2012, following his retirement from a distinguished Air Force career.

I have fond memories of growing up with Judd, who was a year ahead of me in school at Crossville. My cousin, Stan Hammonds, and Judd were close friends during their childhood and youth.

Judd’s oldest son, Ben, is a senior leader for new head coach Brett Self’s Guntersville varsity boys basketball team. Brandon also plays varsity basketball, and he exited the Wildcats’ summer play dates as their starting point guard.

Judd is excited about his sons having a chance to play basketball together in 2019-20, and I understand. My sons, James and Brady, are two years apart, and someday I hope they receive a chance to play on a school team together.

Aggie football news

Offensive coordinator Brock Rutledge furnishes Albertville’s offensive stats update to me, usually a couple of hours after each game. When I didn’t receive an update by Monday following the Aggies-Wildcats game, I wondered if Brock was OK.

AHS head coach Cliff Mitchell told me a case of vertigo sidelined Brock for the big game. Coach Mitchell called the plays in Brock’s absence. Brock is better now and returned to the team this week.

Coach Mitchell and other local coaches I’ve talked to believe it will be mid-December, following the AHSAA Super 7 State Championships at Jordan-Hare Stadium, before we learn the football regions for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The Aggies expect to reclassify to 7A. If they are placed in an eight-team region, they will have three nonregion games. Two of them will be Boaz and Guntersville, and the third will be Arab.

Coach Mitchell and Arab head coach Lee Ozmint have agreed to revive the rivalry, if the schedule provides an opening for the game. Let’s hope it does.

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

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