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33 Teams in 33 Days: Fairhope Pirates

FAIRHOPE, Ala (WKRG) — High school football programs along the Gulf Coast are honing their skills in spring practice. WRKG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days” continues touring local practice sessions with a look at Fairhope High School.

The Pirates are looking to bounce back this fall after finishing 3-7 last season. Fairhope played an incredibly tough schedule. Their four non-region opponents won 36 combined games (Spanish Fort: 9, Choctawhatchee: 10, Pensacola Catholic: 11 and Briarwood: 6).

Despite winning two of their final three games, Fairhope missed a playoff berth for the first time since 2016. Head coach Tim Carter returns for his tenth season at the helm. Carter praised the team’s practice habits during spring training.

“This is a fundamental time of the year that you’re maybe a little bit apprehensive in the fall when you’re when you’re playing games,” Carter said. “We want to see who will stick their nose in there on offense and defense and it’s a really a testing ground. I’ll always do a spring training as long as they provide us the opportunity. We can evaluate and correct in the summer. I think we’ve had a great attitude and we have worked hard. Our kids’ coachability and effort are really high right now. We have some developing to do but as long as they have energy and good attitudes, I think we have a chance to have a competitive football team.”

The Pirates have a strong core of veterans back in the locker room this year. The upperclassmen are looking to return back to the top of Region 1.

“I think more than the X’s and O’s,” said quarterback Jackson Robertson. “We are working on a team-building strategy. We are all coming out here together, fighting every day and that’s what I love about it. We’re all building chemistry together and that will lead us forward and help us have success in the fall.”

“If you don’t have the basics down, you can’t grow from there,” linebacker Rock Gearhart added. “That’s really just an important thing. We are definitely a younger team, so we have a lot of young bucks that I’m trying to help bring up. That’s just part of being a role model and showing them how to work hard and how to put in the extra work.”

The Pirates will play another tough schedule in 2024 with non-region games against Spanish Fort, Faith Academy and Theodore.

2023 Record (notable wins):

  • 3-7

  • Spanish Fort 17-14

  • Alma Bryant 34-14

  • Briarwood 24-14

Key Players:

  • LB/RB: PJ Harbin – 55 tackles, 8 TFL

  • LB/DE: Rock Gearhart: 35 tackles, 6 TFL, 1 INT

  • QB: Jackson Robertson – 878 YARDS, 6 TDS

  • RB/CB: Dez Thomas – Avg. 5.2 yards per carry

Key Matchups:

  • @ Alma Bryant (9/6)

  • vs. Foley (10/4)

  • @ Daphne (10/18)

Who’s next:

The next installment will feature the B.C. Rain Red Raiders. Follow along with WKRG’s “33 Teams in 33 Days.” 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.

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