Year to year, it’s common to see a handful of current Russell football players whose fathers also roamed the place now known as Ivan McGlone Field.
This season, there’s a bumper crop.
Make it 13 second-generation Red Devils on the roster for 2013.
The Hall of Fame coach’s reaction?
“I’m getting old,” said McGlone, now 75 and back for his 38th season at Russell despite heart surgery and a collapsed lung earlier this year. “You have to kind of feel that way. I always say when I start getting the grand kids, I’m going to go.”
Junior Timmy Hammond and freshman Evan Ison share a bond. Their dads — Tim Hammond and Rusty Ison — played together in the backfield for Russell’s region championship teams in the early 1980s, along with several other dads of present-day Red Devils.
McGlone certainly hasn’t forgotten.
“We beat some good ballclubs during that time,” the coach said. “Rusty was a hard runner. Tim had great vision. He’s one of those that break the line of scrimmage, and you come from the side and he just knows you are there.”
Timmy and Evan have heard a lot of the old stories.
“All the time,” Timmy Hammond said.
“Yeah, they never stop talking about it,” Evan Ison added with a smile. “Every time you hear a story, they act like they never told it to you before. I look up to my dad a lot in football.”
Other current Russell players and their fathers to wear the school’s maroon and white include: seniors Jake Conley (Marty) and Austin Potter (Mark); junior Garion Robinson (Tom); sophomores Mitch Redden (Chip); Sammy Smith (Sam); Jacob McKee (Tim); Jake Riffe (Mike); Conner Slone (Scott); Matt Cox (Bobby) and Jacob Howard (Ben); and freshman Maxx Blackburn (Barry).
The younger generation wants to achieve some of the program’s success of the past. The Red Devils are in a drought between district titles.
“I want to bring Russell football up to the place it should be, where we are in the running for state like the teams were every year when my dad player,” Evan Ison said.
Jake Conley, entering his final season, is pushing for a starting job on the offensive line after seeing playing time as a junior. He’s also savoring the journey.
“It’s just good to be in the McGlone era,” Jake said. “Everybody thinks of him as a legend. His offense is known around the area and has been successful for years. This is a good legacy to be a part of.”
Conley, like most of his teammates, came up through the Russell Junior Football League. His cousin, Evan Boyd, played on the Red Devils’ 2005 state championship team and became a team captain.
“I remember going to those games,” Jake said. “They had their banquet at GattiLand near my birthday. I was about 8 or 9. I was trying to get autographs of Kasey Clark and all of them.”
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2671.