Prep Sports

The call came in just before lunch Monday. When I saw that it was Benny Monroe on the caller ID, I knew the timing meant one of the best head football coaches ever to walk a sideline in our area would be retiring. Football coaches don't call reporters in the middle of the day in February to discuss district basketball tournaments.

As Dalton High School begins its search for a new football coach, athletic director Ronnie McClurg said earlier this week that the program will target proven winners, particularly those with championship experience.

Layson West doesn't have time to be nervous about this weekend's Area 7-AA wrestling tournament. Actually, he can't spare time to worry about much of anything the next two days. The Sonoraville sophomore's itinerary the next two days will fill every extra minute.

JASPER, Tenn. -- For 20 nervous minutes, Keta Robinette lay crumpled on the floor, her immediate future and Marion County's hopes of winning its first girls' district basketball championship in 10 years uncertain.

As I began thinking about the area's most memorable prep stories of 2009, the ones I remembered most dealt far more with a kids' perseverance than any game statistic or final score. Here are the top prep stories from our area that made this year memorable for me:

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