GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the Gulf Shores Dolphins.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Dolphins, who are looking to take last season’s momentum into a deeper playoff run.

Gulf Shores went 7-1 in Class 5A, Region 1 and earned a spot in the playoff for the first time in 7 years. The Dolphins beat Carroll and Central Clay County in the first two rounds before falling to region-rival Faith Academy in the third round.

Head coach Mark Hudspeth enters his third year at the helm. The former Austin Peay coach took the Dolphins to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

Hudspeth told WKRG they have nearly 90 players participating in spring practice.

“We’re a veteran team right now,” said Hudspeth. “They’re leading the way right now. We have quite a few returning starters and we’ll also have some guys that will have to step in.”

Hudspeth added he has been “real pleased” with the work put in during spring.

“If we can do the little things and keep improving each and every week throughout our process, hopefully there is some good things ahead for us,” said Hudspeth.

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 11-2
  • 22-12 win vs. Faith Academy (region)
  • 26-21 win vs. Central Clay County (2nd round of playoffs)

Key players:

  • Ronnie Royal (4-star, RB/CB)
  • Otto Brewer (DE/TE)
  • Braden Jackson (WR/CB)

Royal, a four-star athlete with over 20 offers, returns for the Dolphins. He led the team in rushing (1,147) and receiving (876) yards last season. He rushed for 24 touchdowns and caught eight. Brewer is looking to anchor the Dolphins’ defense after a stellar junior season. The defensive tackle had 50 tackles with 12 sacks and three forced fumbles. Jackson is looking to improve upon last season where he totaled 449 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Royal told WKRG he understands his veteran role for the younger guys.

“We talk them up all the time, when they mess up we talk them up and when they do something good, we talk them up,” said Royal. “Basically, lead them and treat them how we would want to be treated.”

Brewer echoed Royal’s thoughts.

“We’re really taking those younger guys under our wing,” said Brewer. “We’re helping push them in practice, keeping them accountable everyday and just teaching them our core values of the team.”

Key Matchups:

  • vs. St. Michael (non-region) — August 25
  • vs. UMS-Wright (reigning region champions) — September 15
  • @ Murphy (non-region) — September 28

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Thursday will feature the Spanish Fort Toros. Follow along WKRG’s “33 teams in 33 days” throughout the next five weeks. Each team will be featured during the 6:30 p.m. newscast on the weekdays and during the 10 p.m. newscast on the weekend.

Full “33 teams in 33 days” schedule: