Last night (November 7th), the LendingTree Bowl hosted its last C Spire 1st and 10 Club meeting. We welcomed Tim Brando, Sportscaster for FOX Sports. Brando joined FOX Sports in 2014 as a play-by-play announcer for the network’s college football and college basketball coverage.
Brando started off the night by talking a little bit about how he got into the world of sportscasting. He said, “I already knew I was going to call football games for a living, it’s what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to have a father who helped put television on air in my hometown. I knew I was going to be in front of people, and he made sure I was comfortable. The most enjoyable times I have now have little to do with the game itself, but more to do with the meetings in preparation for the games that we have with the coaches and players.” Brando also mentioned his time with the late head football coach, Vince Dooley, when Dooley was an analyst. He shared stories of their times together, which were heartwarming for the crowd. He also spoke about college football, and what has happened to Alabama and what is happening in college football. Brando said, “College football has changed. The landscape of college football has changed. With the NIL and the transfer portal, it makes everything a little more conflicting. Alabama’s level of dominance has been more mental than physical. There are moments where they have misfits, and when those things happen along with distractions, there are teams now that are capable of beating them. So, if you lose 2 games in 1 year, you shouldn’t be shocked. It’s gonna happen. It’s happened to everybody else.”
After a few impersonations and stories, Brando finished off with a Q&A open to the club members. One question asked was about NIL deals and the transfer portal. Tim responded with, “The problem with NIL is the transfer portal. We have to fix NIL to the transfer portal. We can’t have unlimited free agency, where players can just throw their name into the portal, after they don’t get what they want their first year. That’s the essence of the problem.” Another question asked was in regards to the University of South Alabama. Brando said, “Teams that are playing at that level need more coverage. My biggest complaint is that no one in a position of editorial license is covering ALL of college football the way college football deserves to be covered. National and local stations are not covering college football like they used to.”
Along with the Q&A, the club recognized three local high school students who were awarded with Student Athlete of the Month, and one student awarded with Team Focus Member of the Month.
The Student Athlete of the Month awards were presented by iHeart Radio’s Corey Labounty and C Spire’s Anita Clark. These players were selected for their performance in recent weeks of the 2022 football season. They are as follows:
Defensive Player of the Month, Travis Bendolph (Sr.), Defensive Lineman, Theodore High School.
Travis Bendolph 6’1, Senior Defensive Lineman for the Theodore Bobcats. Travis helped anchor the Bobcat defense to the first #1 ranking in school history. Theodore’s defense is only going up with 10.9 points per game this season. In 11 weeks of football, Travis has had 61 total tackles, (18 solo, 43 assists), 9 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 22 hurries, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass break ups, and 2 touchdowns. Travis Bendolph and the Bobcats play Hueytown this Friday night in the second round of the AHSAA playoffs at home.
Co-Offensive Player of the Month, Ronnie Royal (Jr.), Running Back/Cornerback, Gulf Shores High School.
Ronnie Royal is a 5’10 Junior Running back/Cornerback for the Gulf Shores Dolphins. For the 2022 season, Ronnie has 106 carries for 1,016 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry, to go along with 20 rushing touchdowns. He also has 48 receptions for 744 yards and 7 touchdowns. Ronnie also has 1 pass attempt for 31 yards and 1 touchdown. Defensively as a cornerback, Ronnie has 21 solo tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 caused fumble, and has offers by Arkansas, Mississippi State, Florida State, and Mizzouri.
Co-Offensive Player of the Month, Josh Flowers (Jr.), Quarterback, Baker High School.
Josh Flowers is a 6’2, Junior Quarterback from Baker High School. For the season, Josh completed 108 of 169 attempts for 1,453 passing yards, averaging 132 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Josh also carried the ball 158 times for 1,367 yards, averaging 124.3 yards per game, and 15 rushing touchdowns. Flowers has a total of 2,820 all-purpose yards, and has offers from Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida so far.
The Team Focus Member of the Month was presented by Aaron Dias, Alabama Director of Team Focus. Team Focus is a mentoring organization for young men without father figures in the home. This was awarded to Evan Taylor. Taylor attends Mobile Christian School and is on the track and field team as well as a member of the band. Evan started Team Focus when he was around 12 years old, and he is one that understood he needed to ask for help. He has turned around academically and is ranked #2 in the state for pole vault. Taylor is set to play with the South Alabama Honor Band this coming Saturday.
Thank you to C Spire for being our Title Sponsor of this year’s 1st & 10 Club and to all of our members for attending and supporting our 1st and 10 events.