Top Row, 50-Yard Line

by John Goolsby

If you are a fan of Shades Valley athletics, you are probably not a stranger to the Shades Valley Mounties Athletic News page on Facebook or svmounties on Twitter. These two social media accounts have been used over the years to provide Mountie athletic information to everyone, from students to state-wide news outlets.

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone that loves or knows more about the history of Shades Valley than Irondale’s Shane Paschal. Athletic updates and historical stories are posted almost daily to his Facebook page and Twitter feed. They have become the de facto sources for information when local media needs news about Shades Valley athletics.

The depth of Paschal’s research into the Mountie football program, which is found at is comprehensive and impressive.

When the Shades Valley football team plays its 1,000 game this Friday night on the road at Chelsea, you’ll find Paschal in his traditional spot. When asked why he always sits at the top row, at the 50-yard line, Paschal said, “Those of us who attended Shades Valley football games through the years knew Charles Hancock as a fixture at home and away games. He could always be found on the very top row, at the 50-yard line,” Hancock attended Shades Valley games for over 40 years.

“I started attending Shades Valley games when I was a freshman in 1982. I saw Mr. Hancock at the games back then, even though I didn’t know who he was at the time,”

The 1986 Shades Valley graduate went on to say, “As the years progressed, I found myself sitting next to Mr. Hancock in the stands at every game.”

Hancock found in Paschal a kindred spirit. A fellow lover of Shades Valley football and its rich history. “Mr. Hancock told me about many of the games he attended. From the trip to Prichard for the Mountie’s first playoff game against Vigor in 1966 to the playoffs at Legion Field in 1974,”

Paschal continued, “we would reminisce about games we both witnessed and what might have been, such as the near misses in the state title games against Vigor in 1987 and Anniston in 1994.”

Hancock, who passed away in 2011, attended his last Shades Valley game in 2007, but not before he passed the mantle of “Mountie super fan” to Paschal.

“It was my pleasure for him to accompany me to the road games that year. There was not a more loyal fan of Mountie football than Mr. Hancock,” Paschal said.

The same can be said of Shane Paschal. The next time you are at a Mountie football game, take a look up high in the stands. There, on the top row, 50-yard line, you’ll find Shades Valley’s biggest fan…just as Charles Hancock would have wanted it.

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