SATSUMA, Ala. (WKRG) — Next up on WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” spring special is the Satsuma Gators.

WKRG sports director Simone Eli and weekend sports anchor Gerhard Mathangani provide an inside look into the Gators, who are looking to bounce back this season. Satsuma has a lot of positive momentum as they enter the year.

The Gators enter the second season under head coach Rodney Jordan. Satsuma plays in the tough Class 4A Region 1 alongside perennial powers including T.R. Miller and Jackson. Last season, the team picked up a lot of valuable experience and one victory (over Wilcox Central). Despite their record, the Gators played with pride and they enter this season with plenty of inspiration. Jordan told WKRG the practice reps will help his team as they gear up for the fall.

“We were so far behind a year ago in our reps and I wanted to do a spring practice for a reason because you’re getting three weeks of reps that you’re not getting in the summer,” said Jordan. “We’re taking three weeks in the month of May to get better at the game of football. The more reps that you get, the more comfortable you are at it and the better off you’re doing it.”

Jordan says the team has responded well to the work required in the offseason.

“We started our offseason program in the month of November and we have gone leaps and bounds from where we were then,” added Jordan. “We’ve gotten so much stronger, become so much more cohesive as a group. I’ve been very proud of our guys this offseason as far as working hard and getting stronger in the weight room.”

2022 Record (notable wins, losses):

  • 1-9
  • 41-12 win vs. Wilcox Central

Key players:

  • Kennedy Austin, Jr., MLB
  • Zach Lamar, RB / LB

The Gators will be led by a pair of physical players Kennedy Austin, Jr. and Zach Lamar. The duo will be key figures as the Gators look to make their first playoff run since 2020. They both agree with Coach Jordan that the fundamental work will be an important start for success.

“Practice has been really good. We’ve been doing conditioning last week with helmets, practicing learning formations and plays,” said Austin. “I’ve been working out, doing some speed training like doing ladder drills and talking to coaches about what to improve.”

“I hope to improve on a lot of stuff,” added Lamar. “But the main thing, how to read blocks and really hit that gap as fast as you can.”

Lamar believes the team’s unity has been a strength.

“But we’ve been hanging around each other for a long time,” added Lamar. “We are good with each other then football just bring us bring us together.”

Key Matchups:

  • @ Cottage Hill (non-region) September 1
  • at St. Michael (region game) September 21
  • vs. Bayside Academy (region game) October 27

Link to full schedule.

Who’s next:

Sunday will feature the Murphy Panthers. 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: