Perfectly Imperfect

For the everyday home

A Q&A with Shaunna West, a blogger from Troy, Alabama, who writes about everything from painting furniture to decorating to homeschooling. 

Shaunna West

Shaunna West

What will readers find at your blog?
Shaunna West: Perfectly Imperfect is a window into our lives. You’ll find DIY projects, furniture makeovers, before-and-after room makeovers, shop talk, topics on running a creative business and even a few family posts.

Why did you become a blogger, and how has blogging changed your life?
SW: I have been writing since I was a little girl, and in 2009, I needed to write. I began sharing my furniture-painting techniques and the process of our attic renovation, and soon, the blog became a business and a place for people to seek inspiration for their everyday homes. The community and readers at Perfectly Imperfect took me completely by surprise. There is a world of people interested in the same things you are, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even develop relationships with these incredible people. The Internet can be used for such good, and its reach is incredible. I’m grateful for PI, for my readers and for their willingness to listen to what I have to say.

What are some big trends in decorating this spring and summer?
SW: Any time you gear into spring and summer, people are going to be looking to brighten and lighten their homes. There are lots of beautiful metallics out there and lots of blues and golds and greens as far as colors. Anything you can do to try and make your home feel fresh and clean. Spring is the time when we all begin to organize and begin to purge and pare down and only have what’s necessary in the home. Homes should be functional and efficient as well as beautiful.

Check out her blog: www.PerfectlyImperfectBlog.com

Shaunna’s tips for changing your home on a budget

living roomKeep in mind that your home is your sanctuary away from the busyness of the world. Take the time to create spaces you enjoy and that create rest for you and your family.

If you’re feeling like your home has become dark and dreary, give the walls a fresh coat of paint in lighter neutrals. It will instantly brighten your space. My favorites are Benjamin Moore White Diamond, Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, Sherwin Williams Crushed Ice and Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray.

Save and invest in key pieces like your sofa and armchairs, and shop flea markets and antique malls for small end tables and dressers. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll save when you allow time for your space to come together.
Paint everything in sight. Seriously, paint is the cheapest and fastest way to transform your home. Have a coffee table you love, but hate how beaten up it is? Paint it, and you will have a new piece of furniture in a few hours.

Whatever your interest, there is likely an online community of people who share that interest with you. Our “Featured Blogger” series introduces you to people who write websites about a variety of topics. In the May/June issue, we’ll focus on marriage and relationships.

Other home/DIY blogs you might like:

www.TheLetteredCottage.net
Layla shares her love of cottage style with readers.

www.BeneathMyHeart.net
Tracey describes herself striving to create beauty in her heart and in her home.

www.thistlewoodfarms.com
KariAnne shares her transition from the big city to a slower-paced, happier life.

 

A nation divided: 150 years later

Relive history on a tour of these prominent Civil War battlefields

By Robert Thatcher

This year, the country will conclude its 150th anniversary remembrance of the Civil War. But don’t worry if you missed the reenactments and fanfare over the past four years. Take this trip on US Highway 41 from Kentucky through Middle Tennessee to find plenty of history while tracing pivotal battles in America’s most costly war.

Stop #1 – Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Where Ulysses Grant became a household name

Fort Donelson National Battlefield, on the banks of the Cumberland River just south of the Kentucky border, is a natural starting point for a drive through Middle Tennessee. It’s also a good beginning militarily.

Dover Hotel

Dover Hotel

“Almost everything that happened in the state is a sequel to what happened here,” says Doug Richardson, Fort Donelson’s chief of interpretation.

Rivers were arteries of commerce for the South, and the Confederates built Fort Donelson to protect the Cumberland and upstream cities like Clarksville and Nashville

But on Feb. 12, 1862, a little-known Union brigadier general named Ulysses S. Grant set his sights on Fort Donelson. He was confident of victory after his gunboats easily took nearby Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

Donelson was not so easy. Well-positioned Confederate guns brought victory, setting up a successful “break out” through Union lines. But the victory was short-lived, as the Confederates unwittingly helped Grant by pulling troops back to their original positions. Grant retook the lost ground, and the 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. The battle made Grant a star and was a catastrophe for the South.

Touring Fort Donelson

The park preserves more than 20 percent of the original battlefield, with several square miles of earthwork fortifications. Don’t miss these highlights:

  • Stand at the gun batteries where Confederate gunners battered Grant’s gunboats.
  • Visit the Dover Hotel where Ulysses S. Grant demanded “unconditional surrender” from his old West Point friend, Confederate Simon Buckner.
  • Pause at Fort Donelson National Cemetery for a reminder of the sacrifices that Americans have made from the Civil War to the present day.
  • While absorbing the history, you may also encounter two notable park residents. “We’ve got two resident bald eagles who live down at the river,” Richardson says. “Our eagles are about as famous as our generals.”

Stop #2 – Stones River National Battlefield
The Fight for the Confederate Heartland

We could follow General Grant to the Mississippi line and Shiloh, where his Army of the Tennessee headed after Donelson, but there’s good reason to drive to Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro.

“When Fort Donelson falls, the Confederates have to give up Nashville,” explains Park Ranger Jim Lewis. “And Nashville becomes the base for the Union Army to launch the campaigns which will lead to Stones River, Chickamauga and Chattanooga.”

For many, Stones River is a quiet retreat from bustling Murfreesboro. But the 6,100 gravestones across from the visitor center are a sober reminder of what took place there. Of the 81,000 who fought here, 23,000 were killed, wounded or went missing in action — the highest percentage of casualties of any Civil War battle.

Early success, then retreat

Cemetery at Stones River

Cemetery at Stones River

On New Year’s Eve 1862, the Southern army under Braxton Bragg attacked first, catching William Rosecrans’ Union troops at breakfast and driving them north. Then on Jan. 2, the Confederates launched another attack along the east bank of the Stones River to drive Union troops off of a high hill.

“In the process of pursuing, those Confederates will come under the fire of 57 Union cannons along the other side of the river and will lose about 1,800 men in 45 minutes,” Lewis says. “That’s a pretty bloody exclamation point.”

The Confederates then retreated.

Touring Stones River

Stones River offers a 12-stop auto tour, including these sights:

  • Walk around The Slaughter Pen, a rock outcropping where Union troops made a stubborn stand.
  • Pay respect at the Hazen Brigade Monument, one of the oldest war monuments in the country.
  • Be awed by Fort Rosecrans, the largest earthworks fortification in North America.

Stop #3 – Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
The Death Knell of the Confederacy

We’ve followed the Union push to Nashville and Murfreesboro. The next stop is Chattanooga. Actually, we’ll go south of the city to Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.

Re-enactments, like this one near Chickamauga, Ga., can bring history to life, but battlefields throughout the Southeast are interesting places to visit anytime.

Re-enactments, like this one near Chickamauga, Ga., can bring history to life, but battlefields throughout the Southeast are interesting places to visit anytime.

Driving to the park, you’ll cross the mountains that convinced General Rosecrans not to advance directly on Chattanooga. He moved southwest of the city to block supply lines, forcing Confederate troops into Georgia as well. But Chattanooga was the Union goal.

“Chattanooga is a doorway through the southern barrier of the Appalachians,” says Park Historian Jim Ogden.

Driving through the dense woods of the 5,300-acre park, you can see why confusion reigned in the war’s second-bloodiest battle. About 35,000 men were killed, wounded, missing or captured in fighting from Sept. 19-20, 1863. Strategic mistakes led to a Union retreat. The Union troops retreated to Chattanooga, where they withstood a two-month siege before ultimately breaking through in the battle of Chattanooga.

“This allowed the Union drive across Georgia in 1864, from Chattanooga to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Savannah,” Ogden notes.

Touring Chickamauga

Start at the visitor center on Lafayette Road. After touring the park, drive 17 miles to Lookout Mountain Battlefield for views from 1,500 feet above Chattanooga. Other key sites:

  • Stand on Snodgrass Hill where George Thomas became “The Rock of Chickamauga.”
  • Get a general’s view from Orchard Knob, Grant’s command post, and the Bragg Reservation, Confederate headquarters on Missionary Ridge.
  • Watch the conflict electronically at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum on Lookout Mountain.

Chattanooga was a major blow for the Confederacy. But there’s much more to see on the campaign South – Tunnel Hill, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain all the way to Savannah and then into South Carolina. The war continued on and your trip can too. Visit nps.gov/civilwar for more sites from the War Between the States.

Tech-Savvy Traveler: Charting your course

Point Park Cannon

Point Park Cannon

Robert E. Lee is regarded by many as the most clever battle tactician of the Civil War. Imagine what he could have done with a GPS! Nowadays, it’s easy to come up with a battle plan and map out the route for you and your troops on your next vacation. Apps like Google Earth provide directions for tourists with aerial or street views of those historic sites from Gettysburg to Charleston. For those battling interstate traffic, Road Ninja is an app that will help you find fuel, food and shelter for the evening, keeping your small army on the move.

Email overload? Manage your inbox with these simple tips

With so much importance placed on email in today’s business world, managing your messages can be overwhelming. You can benefit from this communications tool without letting it wreck your day by putting a few simple principles into action.

Set an email schedule. If you make yourself available for email all day long, you leave yourself open to constant distraction. Set a schedule of specific times during the day when you will check email. You may have to adjust it to find the schedule that’s right for you, but try starting with once before lunch and again early afternoon. You will feel more freedom than when you are drawn in by every email that lands in your inbox.

Turn off notifications. You can’t stay focused on any one task if your computer provides a pop-up notification every time an email comes in. Turn off that productivity-killing feature. In fact, shut down your email app altogether and only launch it when you are ready to focus on email.

Organize your inbox. Most email apps allow you to set up folders, filters and rules to bring order to your email madness. It may take a few weeks of adjusting to find the approach that best fits you, but the result will be a more organized workspace. Your mail will be in intuitive categories so that you’ll be able to deal with the most important messages first.

Keep it brief. When you send an exhaustive email with hundreds of words and multiple questions and points, you invite an equally exhaustive response that you’ll have to wade through.

Consider alternatives. Email is not for every conversation. In fact, it’s a terrible way to manage a project. Post messages pertaining to a specific project inside tools such as Basecamp or Trello. Having all related conversations in the same place with related notes and action items will help you track progress.

Is email an important part of your business? Do you have any tips for managing email to work more efficiently? Tell us your story at www.BroadbandBuildsBusiness.com.

You’ve got mail

With so many new apps and services to help keep us connected, email is still king in the business world

TelcoBadgeProof2From instant messaging applications such as Skype to social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, the past few years have brought us many new options for connecting electronically. And yet, when it comes to communicating in business, email remains the method of choice.

In the report “Technology’s Impact on Workers,” released by Pew Research Center at the end of last year, 61 percent of workers who use the Internet say that email is very important to doing their job.

“The high value of email comes despite the challenges of the past generation,” the report states, “including threats like spam and phishing and competitors like social media and texting.”

Email’s continued reign as the communications tool of choice has its benefits. The study found that 39 percent of workers believe that email, along with the Internet and cell phones, allows them more flexibility in the hours they work.

The downside to that flexibility, however, is that 35 percent — almost the same amount — say these tools have increased the amount of time they spend working.

BBB chart

Landline? You still need one in 2015

Today, mobility means everything. We want to check email, log onto Facebook, watch videos, get the news and generally stay connected no matter where we are. And that, of course, includes the ability to make phone calls. With mobile phones in practically everyone’s pocket, some people question the need for a traditional landline. But consider this:

  1. With a landline, you never have to worry about signal strength. Knowing you can get a call through, especially during an emergency, is more than a comfort.
  2. Speaking of emergencies, your landline sends your complete address information — including apartment number — when you dial 911. Cell phones use GPS-based information, which can be inaccurate.
  3. The clarity of a conversation on a landline (if you have a quality wired or cordless handset) is unmatched by any cell phone call.
  4. With the right plan, you’ll never run out of minutes with a landline.
  5. Your “home phone number” provides a way people can always reach you or leave a message. When everyone in the house has their own cell phone with separate numbers, the landline can serve as a central point of contact for the entire family.

The search for better broadband should start with existing local providers

NEW NTCA logo 4CRural connections

By Shirley Bloomfield, CEO
NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association

There is no question that broadband Internet service is the key to economic and community development, especially in rural America. However, there are differing opinions in Washington about the best way to continue building our nation’s connected infrastructure.

While I applaud President Obama’s recent attention on increasing every American’s access to robust and affordable broadband, it’s not clear that his focus on creating more government-run networks in marketplaces where private operators already exist is the best path toward bringing more jobs and opportunity to rural America.

If our leaders are looking for an excellent model for what can be accomplished, we believe they should turn to the experts who have decades of experience deploying and maintaining modern telecommunications infrastructure: community-based, independent telcos like yours.

Rural telecommunications providers are delivering advanced technology to their customers.

Rural telecommunications providers are delivering advanced technology to their customers.

Nationwide, there are over 1,000 technology providers like yours that serve over 4 million households in the most sparsely populated pockets of our country, deploying high-speed, high-quality broadband services. For decades, these providers have gone above and beyond to build the infrastructure that allows our country’s most rural markets to access the same technologies found in our largest cities — and they’ve done it all under the extremely difficult financial and physical conditions that come with deploying technologies in rural and remote communities.

Thanks to the hard work and commitment of companies such as your local provider, rural America now has access to affordable broadband in some of the most remote locations. But the sustainability of those networks is at risk, and other areas need broadband as well. Policymakers in search of answers to these communications challenges in rural America should turn first to those who have shown they can get the job done time and again, rather than casting about for the next new thing, creating regulatory uncertainty and putting at risk significant investments already made in existing networks through the prospect of redundant or wasteful overbuilding.

There’s already a great broadband success story out there in rural America, and it is being written by community-based telecom providers like yours. As our national broadband story progresses, we should strive to build upon proven initiatives and leverage existing efforts that are working, rather than pursue new uncharted pathways. As this debate plays out, you can be assured that you have a voice in Washington, as your provider joins with hundreds of others through NTCA as the unified voice of America’s rural broadband companies.

First area family with telephone is now FTC’s first with gigabit Internet

By Matt Ledger

Geraldine Mayor Chuck Ables was a boy when his parents became the first members of Farmers Telephone Cooperative on February 20, 1955. R.E. Ables, the mayor’s father, was the first to receive a telephone line — party line number 9-5722 — in his home across the road from Geraldine School.

Sixty years later, the Ables’ home was once again the first in town to get a new form of telecommunications service.

FTC officially launched the gig Internet services on Feb. 6 — once again at the Ables’ home. “The symbolic nature of us being back here to celebrate this milestone for customer No. 1, means that we have remained committed to our mission,” said Fred Johnson, general manager of FTC.

Ables, 64, spoke emotionally about his late father’s own communication interest as a HAM radio operator. R.E. Ables was instrumental in improving the Sand Mountain region and bringing Northeast Alabama Community College to the area. That campus, along with all DeKalb and Jackson county schools served by FTC, will benefit from FTC’s new Internet capabilities.

In 2007, FTC board members committed to building a world-class fiber optic network, which is nearly complete. When all phases are finished in June, approximately 84 percent of all residences in the FTC coverage area will have access to the highest Internet speeds in Alabama. All municipality and industrial parks in DeKalb County, and those east of the Tennessee River in Jackson County are served by the FTC optical fiber network, except Mentone. “(Mentone) is my hometown, and we’ll get there sooner or later,” Johnson said, joking.

Keith Adams, assistant administrator for telecommunications of USDA Rural Utilities Service, spoke about the ways that enhanced broadband capacity enables opportunities like telemedicine and distance learning programs. “It means economic development, educational opportunities and access to the world,” Adams said. “When we fund projects in rural America, it makes the world much smaller to people who don’t have the same opportunities, in most cases.”

This major milestone for FTC puts the co-op in an exclusive club of telecom providers offering gigabit Internet service.

“It was accomplished by the members of the Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, which are those men and women who have lived, worked and raised their families on this mountain,” Johnson said, proudly. “Those communities that have this kind of communications infrastructure will thrive in years to come.”

FTC becomes one of the state’s first providers to launch gigabit Internet service

PrintBy Stephen V. Smith, Editor

When the President of the United States spoke recently about the need for greater broadband speeds in our country, he showed a chart listing cities where gigabit Internet access is available: Hong Kong, Paris, Chattanooga and Kansas City were among them.

Now you can add Geraldine to that list.

In fact, thanks to the fiber network FTC is building in DeKalb and Jackson counties, most of the cities and towns in the area can list gigabit Internet access among the benefits they can offer prospective businesses and families looking to relocate.

With its launch of gigabit Internet service in February (see story next page), FTC put northeast Alabama on the map as one of the areas with the most advanced broadband networks available. Those connected to FTC’s fiber system can enjoy speeds up to 100 times faster than the 10 megabits per second (Mbps) once considered typical, and 40 times faster than the new definition of broadband — 25 Mbps — adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in January.

The gig: How?

In order to join the short list of U.S. providers offering gigabit speeds, FTC first had to build “a world-class fiber network,” says Fred Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of FTC. “This network is the backbone for a new era of economic infrastructure in our entire service area, including those commercial areas such as Fort Payne that are essential to the overall economic well-being of the region.”

With the construction of its fiber network essentially complete, FTC decided last year to begin the work of making gigabit speeds available. “As electronics and customer demand evolved, we had confidence in the integrity of our network and the electronic technology that supports it to handle the demands of gigabit service,” says Johnson.

The gig: Why?

Only a small percentage of consumers today actually need the capacity of a gigabit connection. But as with any type of critical infrastructure, FTC’s network has been built with the future in mind.

“People continue to find new ways to use their broadband connection, and they are demanding more and more bandwidth,” says Brandi Lyles, FTC’s manager of marketing and public relations. “We have customers connecting computers, TVs, video-streaming devices, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, security systems and more.” That trend, she says, is expected to continue at an accelerated rate.

The gig: When?

With FTC’s announcement came the good news that gigabit Internet speeds are available immediately throughout the entire area served by the cooperative’s fiber network.

For the foreseeable future, Johnson has certain expectations. The presence of the gig, he says, will mean students will access advanced learning tools, families will take advantage of new entertainment options and home automation technology, and businesses will use the ultra-high connection to compete and grow.

Beyond that lies a future that cannot be foretold. “Gigabit Internet access will undoubtedly inspire great innovation,” Johnson says, “as people create new ways to harness the power of such incredible bandwidth and put it to work — to improve our communities and our overall quality of life.”

What is a gig?

The rate at which information (photos, movies, music) flows from its source to your device (computer, tablet, gaming console) is measured in bits per second.

  • One megabit, or Mb, is 1,000 bits.
  • One gigabit, or Gb, is 1,000 megabits.

Internet speeds of 10 megabits per second (or Mbps) are commonly available throughout the U.S. 1 Gbps is 100 times faster than 10 Mbps!

That’s fast!

Downloading a typical HD movie:

  • 10 Mbps connection = 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • 1 Gbps connection = 2 minutes

Economic Impact

A study released by the Fiber to the Home Council found that communities with widely available access to gigabit Internet service have a per capita GDP (gross domestic product) that is 1.1 percent higher than communities with little to no gigabit service. In the 14 gigabit communities studied, this meant a difference of approximately $1.4 billion in additional GDP!

Red Devils’ cheerleaders building a tradition of excellence

By Matt Ledger

While this marks the first state title for the Fyffe football team, the cheerleaders that root them on are building a legacy of success all their own. The 2A-classified Red Devils cheerleaders won both of the regional competitions they entered during the season, while competing against much larger 4A and 5A schools. The 15-member squad later took home yet another trophy in 2014, their third consecutive state championship.

“We’ve been building our program for a few years now,” coach Connie Cochran says. “We didn’t have any injuries this year, so we were very lucky. It’s been really special this year.” She sensed the team had a special chemistry when the girls spontaneously held hands while taking the mat for their first performance. Starting the program with that unrehearsed gesture ignited a cohesiveness that remained throughout the season.

The cheerleaders’ season begins toward the end of the school year in May, starting with summer workouts — three days a week — just like the football players. The team’s success, and their parents’ fundraising efforts, has led to a new addition to the school. This summer, the girls will begin practicing in their new 50-by-70-foot practice facility. Team members plan to increase the difficulty, with more tumbling in the routine, as they aim to defend their title.

Fyffe cheerleaders (front row, from left) Nadia Powell, Katie Carroll, Isabelle Blackwell, Addison Rains, Alexa Bailey, Colby Cochran, Savannah Johnson. (Back row) Kaley Miller, Cheyenne Holbrook, MaKayla Turner, Madison Stoner, Jaiden Hatch, Anna Wootten, Sagen Thomas, Taylor Spatz.

Fyffe cheerleaders (front row, from left) Nadia Powell, Katie Carroll, Isabelle Blackwell, Addison Rains, Alexa Bailey, Colby Cochran, Savannah Johnson.
(Back row) Kaley Miller, Cheyenne Holbrook, MaKayla Turner, Madison Stoner, Jaiden Hatch, Anna Wootten, Sagen Thomas, Taylor Spatz.

Chasing a championship

How coach Benefield’s Red Devils brought home a state football title

By DeWayne Patterson

 

The Fyffe Red Devils football team and cheerleaders celebrate the state championship victory on the field of Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium after defeating the Elba Tigers.

The Fyffe Red Devils football team and cheerleaders celebrate the state championship victory on the field of Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium after defeating the Elba Tigers. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Wilson)

The Class 2A state championship trophy sits in the Fyffe field house, a few months past the 28-17 title-clinching victory over Elba at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. At some point,  the cherished award will move to the school’s trophy room. For now, though, it still belongs close to the man who spent a lifetime chasing it.

Paul Benefield fought with the reality, for years, that he might never coach a state-championship-winning team. It was hard to accept, but it was still there.

Now, he’s won that fight; he has the blue trophy to prove it. You must understand, it began long before 2014.

Setting a foundation

Benefield, a 1975 graduate of Fyffe, returned to coach his alma mater’s football team in 1997. The program became a work in progress.

“When I got here, the year before, they didn’t have enough kids to have a junior varsity team,” says Benefield.

In his first team meeting, in the spring of 1997, 23 prospective players showed up. After the first week of spring practice, five quit.

In his third year, the 1999 team had three seniors and two juniors. After four years, Benefield’s Fyffe record was 28-16.

“For us to go 28-16 those first four years was a miracle,” says Benefield. “Those kids overachieved.”

And they set the foundation. By year five, it was on. And it hasn’t stopped. Since 2001, Fyffe is 135-17, a winning percentage of 88.9 percent, second only to Hoover within the state, a big school powerhouse (90.2 percent). There have been seven unbeaten regular seasons during that stretch.

“Since 2001, I could name four teams that had no business winning 10 games,” says Benefield. “Those kids just believed they were going to win.”

There was heartbreak along the way, for sure. Seasons ended, sometimes deep in the playoffs, to the likes of Lineville, Clay County, Woodland and Tanner.

A tough loss to Gordo in 2001 almost sent the program back to square one. Controversial calls late in the game cost the Red Devils, who were overmatched in every aspect of the game — except heart.

“That was the worst,” says Benefield, who was literally sick following the game and gave serious consideration to quitting coaching.

Fyffe made it to the state championship game in 2007, coming up short 25-20 to three-time defending champion Leroy, a team loaded with college prospects.

“Over the years, life has made me a pessimist,” says Benefield, laughing. “Through the tough losses, I’m thinking it’s just not meant to be.”

Building champions

Coach Paul Benefield cradles a long-awaited state title trophy earned by the Red Devils.

Coach Paul Benefield cradles a long-awaited state title trophy earned by the Red Devils. (Photo courtesy of DeWayne Patterson)

To give his players a better chance on the big stage, Benefield wanted them faster and playing against faster teams in jamborees and the regular season.

“We had to get faster,” he says. “We make our kids go fast all of the time. We work at it. It’s not that Fyffe has the fastest players in the county naturally.”

Still, the weight room remained a priority.

“I felt like we had a good team coming back,” says Benefield of the 2014 season. “I also felt like if we spend this much time in the weight-room, we need a physical, smash-mouth offense — a weight room offense, you could say.”

Benefield knew by the summer it would take a good team to beat his.

“It just all fell together,” he says. “And we were able to stay away from injuries.”

Benefield says his team played together as one, behind senior All-State performers DaKota Newsome and Austin Stiefel.

“Everybody just did his job,” he says.

Adopting a new motto

The motto to start the championship season was “Why not us?”

The Red Devils became only the second team in DeKalb County history to finish 15-0 and win a state title (Crossville did it in 1986).

The blood, sweat, hard work and even heartbreak of the past led to the championship season, as did the times of running the hill and pushing tires in the dead of summer. When you think you can go no more, you learn you can. It’s that time from January through July in the weight room and the heat that championships are won.

By now, at Fyffe, where a community has pulled together each year for more than 50 years for its football team, it has started again.

The state championship trophy will soon find its permanent resting place. It will sit there, awaiting company.

“Why not us?” is now “Do it again!”

—DeWayne Patterson is managing editor of The Daily Sentinel in Scottsboro
(www.thedailysentinel.com)