The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 20, 2013

Rattlers get another Blue Map, designate road

By Jonathan Deal

TANNER — Travelers passing through Tanner on Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road will know exactly what the school represents thanks to a new road sign. Limestone County commissioners, school board officials, principal Billy Owens and head football coach Laron White unveiled it Thursday morning at a ceremony outside the school.

Prior to unveiling the “Road of Champions” sign, the school presented the football team with its latest blue map trophy. The team recently won its second consecutive championship and second overall at the school.

“So many student athletes never get to play in a state championship game,” said Owens. “Do you know how hard it is to win a state championship? The guys behind me do. I remember the week for Fyffe, it was cold and we were out of school, but those guys were practicing Wednesday and Thursday morning on Thanksgiving when the high was 30.”

Sitting at center court Thursday with the entire student body in the stands, Tanner’s players looked on as their head coach spoke about their special season.

“This is my 11th season and this senior class is the only group that could have done this,” said White. “For this team to lead these young guys and handle the pressure and the adversity they handled and keep everything under control is impressive.”

Tanner’s accomplishments have piled up quickly over the past several years. Since March 1, 2011, the school has won no less than six state championships in three sports. The run started when the boys and girls basketball teams were awarded championship trophies at the BJCC.

The Rattlers football team followed that up with its first state championship in 2012 after reaching the title game for the first time in 2011. The boys track and field team then won its first state title in 2012. The boys basketball team won the school’s fifth state championship in February 2013 and the football team recently repeated as champions earlier this month at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

To commemorate Tanner’s accomplishments, the county approved the road sign leading to the school at a meeting last month. Originally presented with the idea from local high school sports supporter Wilson Blair, Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk was on hand Thursday to unveil the sign.

It’s now up to the Rattler’s basketball teams to continue the school’s unprecedented winning tradition.

Tanner’s already full trophy case could add a few more blue maps sooner rather than later. The girls team is ranked No. 6 while the defending state champion boys team are undefeated and ranked No. 1.