by Kyle Parmley
No matter where Patrick Nix is coaching, the foundation of his high school football program remains the same. It begins with hard work and belief in others, and ends with a cohesive unit that is successful on the football field and instills the community with pride on and off the field.
“Whether you’re at home, in the community, in the classroom, on the field, whatever it is, have a great sense of pride in being the best that you can be,” said Nix, entering his first season as head coach at Pinson Valley High School.
In a culture that teaches the importance of self above all else, Nix sees the game of football as the perfect tool to turn that self-refl ecting mirror around to face others.
He said, “That’s what makes football the greatest sport, the greatest thing you can have, because by rule, you have fi ve guys [the offensive line] that it’s illegal for them to even touch the ball.”
Nix spent the past four seasons at Scottsboro, and comes to the Valley after a 12-1 season that ended with a No. 1 ranking at the end of the regular season and a run to the Class 5A quarterfinals. He wasn’t looking to leave Scottsboro or gunning for the Pinson Valley job, but it was the right move at the right time for his family.
“There were a lot of things, from family situations to job situations, a lot of different circumstances that went into this decision. It wasn’t just one thing,” Nix said.
Nix inherits a talented roster with the pieces to compete, but he believes the intangibles will determine whether or not the Indians have a successful campaign. Opening the schedule with the likes of McAdory, Ramsay, Minor and Clay-Chalkville right off the bat will certainly be a challenge.
“Yes, we have talent to compete, but it’s going to take a lot more than talent to get it done,” Nix said. “The most important thing is who’s going to be the best team.”
Class 6A, Region 6 always proves to be tough. Along with Minor and Clay-Chalkville, the Indians also have to navigate Jasper, Center Point, Gardendale and Carver-Birmingham.
The Indians also take on Shades Valley and Pleasant Grove to round out the 10-game slate.
One position that Pinson Valley should feel great about heading into the season is the quarterback position, where Bo Nix will take over as the signal- caller. The junior and son of the head coach has blossomed over the last few years into one of the top quarterbacks in his class. He’s had no trouble making the transition to a new school.
“One of his strongest things is being able to lead, to get along with everybody in the locker room, but at the same time not compromise what he’s about,” Patrick Nix said. “There is already a pretty good nucleus of guys here, but he’s been able to blend right in with them.”
Alongside Bo Nix in the backfi eld is a dependable weapon in senior Khymel Chaverst, who has gotten a great deal of experience at running back over the past two seasons. Chaverst will be counted on to carry the load, but there are some others waiting in the wings to provide solid depth.
“Khymel will get a lot of carries, but we’ve got other guys that can do a lot of different things,” Patrick Nix said.
Senior LiAllen Dailey has emerged as a likely candidate to be Bo Nix’s top option on the outside. The 6-foot-2 receiver has seen the field quite a bit over the last two seasons at both the tight end and wide receiver spots, and he is expected to put together an impressive year on the outside.
“I think he’s a great player,” Patrick Nix said. “The great thing about him is he’s multiple, can do so many different things, and willing to do so many different things.”
Nix added that the receiving corps could be the strength of the team, going five or six players deep with the ability to contribute.
The offensive line is a mix of young and experienced players, and Nix hopes to continue to see growth and development from that unit.
Desmond Scott and Zeke Lawrence are two seniors who have had extremely productive careers at Pinson Valley and come into their final seasons looking to break out once again.
They will lead a front seven that Nix said has a “chance to be good.”
“We’re very fortunate, we’re deep up front on the defensive line with some very good players,” Nix said. “We’ve got a really solid group of linebackers.”
The secondary loses three starters that signed college scholarships (Ty Woods, CJ Rudolph and Andrew McKinney), but gets an immediate boost with the addition of Jackie Matthews at corner. Matthews has started for much of the last three seasons at quarterback for the Indians and will now use his athleticism to strengthen a young secondary.
“He’s a dynamic player and it’s going to open up a whole other world for him, as far as being able to do different things,” Nix said.
Nix said Matthews will see some time on offense as well, as the team searches for opportunities to get the ball in his hands.
The graduation of Saul Rios leaves a void in the kicking game for Pinson Valley, and Nix said there are three guys in the mix to take over those duties for the Indians.
Head coach: Patrick Nix
Overall record: 28-18
Tenure: 1st season
Offensive Coordinator: Aryvia Holmes
Defensive Coordinator: Tony Hatmaker
Other assistants: David Smith, Lee Guess, Deon White, Justin Reynolds, Gentrell Eatman and Josh Cheek