33 Teams in 33 Days: Orange Beach

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — High school football spring practice continues for teams along the Gulf Coast. WKRG’s in-depth look into local programs turns the spotlight to Orange Beach in our “33 Teams in 33 Days.”

There is a lot of excitement in Orange Beach with new head coach Wade Waldrop at the helm. Waldrop is a veteran coach with previous stops at Hoover, Florence, James Clemens and Chelsea in the last 18 years.

Orange Beach is going into its fifth season as a program and Waldrop will look to lead the team back to the playoffs. The Makos finished 1-8 last season. The new coach is leading the team through spring workouts before hitting the field for fall camp.

“It’s been a really good transition. The community has been great and the players have been great,” Waldrop said. “I’m super excited about being here and it has been a great reception so far.”

In October, the Orange Beach City Council approved a $46 million athletic facility on campus. The facility will include a 3,500-seat football stadium and is expected to be completed in May 2025. Waldrop says the city’s support is important to the program’s growth. “

“The future here with the obviously the facilities, but just the focus and the commitment to doing things the right way from our leadership, our central office in our city. I think any coach would be excited about being a leader and being a part of the community here.”

The team returns several key leaders and they are embracing the challenge of turning things alongside Waldrop.

“I think I’ve been working a lot more this time of the year,” said offensive lineman Jay Lanford. “We’re really trying to be better than we were last season, so we’ve been putting in a lot of work five days a week to make ourselves better.”

2023 Record (notable win):

  • 1-8

  • Wilcox-Central (region game)

Key players:

  • Daniel Hembree, 2025 Defensive End

  • Jay Lanford, 2025 Offensive Lineman

  • James Key, 2026 Wide Receiver / Linebacker

Key Matchups:

  • @ Elberta – 8/23

  • @ Satsuma – 9/20

  • vs. Escambia County – 10/4

Who’s next:

The next installment will feature the Baldwin County. Follow along 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.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WKRG News 5.