Chad Eads made his second lap around Jefferson-Shelby High School Football Media Days on Monday, joining a pair of chosen players for a 16-minute press conference at the Gardendale Civic Center.

Sitting alongside seniors Kendale Allen and Bailey Parsons, the second-year Gardendale head coach spoke about his expectations for a season which is less than one month out. The Rockets finished last season with a record of 6-6 following a second-round playoff loss to Homewood. 

With seven starters returning to the offensive huddle, including Parsons at tight end, and six more returning to the defense, including Allen in the secondary, Eads believes there is much to build on in Year 2. 

“I think the offseason has gone really well. The key guys have made a point of being there every day,” said Eads. “I think we’ve had really good attendance. They’re showing up early in the morning and staying until 6:30 or so and doing it every day, sacrifice a bunch of the things maybe a normal teenager does in the summer to be here with us, but I’ve been real pleased with the summer.”

Gardendale enters 2019 with a new look at offensive coordinator, as former Rockets assistant Heath McCoy has returned to Driver Stadium to take hold of a unit quarterbacked by junior Will “Goose” Crowder. 

“We’ve got coach [Heath] McCoy back on the offensive side and it’s kind of picking back up to my freshman and sophomore years when he was there and kind of getting back in the groove where we were at and like coach Eads said, attendance has been great; everyone has been showing up every morning ready to work,” said Parsons, a Stanford commit.

Crowder enters his second season as the teams’ starting quarterback.

“You don’t find a lot of flaws in him,” said Eads of his junior signal caller. “He’s a great leader and a great teammate. Even though he’s being recruited and he’s getting that attention, he still works very hard for Gardendale football.”

The Rockets open up their season on Aug. 23 at home against Mae Jemison.

Erik Harris is the sports editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at

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