From Hartselle to Troy
Sports is something that is in the blood of many athletes that come through the city of Hartselle. Former Hartselle quarterback Jake Tiffin was no different. Growing up, sports was a family tradition and he was determined to make a name for himself once he got into high school.
Tiffin played just about anything. However, before his legacy could ever start, Jake had to witness his older brother Will make his. “I was a ball boy for Hartselle long before I was ever on the team” Tiffin said “I was around more than ever when Will was a senior and I knew I wanted to be a part of the program.” Before Jake could get the chance to play for the varsity team, he had to grow up on the JR. high team. While Tiffin was playing JR. high, the Hartselle Tigers were making their run for the state title. “It’s funny because we were just talking about this the other day” Tiffin said. “It was a little frustrating that we were just a year out from winning the title but it just made us want to work harder.” Once Jake made it in to high school, he had to adjust to playing for a team that went from chasing a title to defending a title. “It was different that year because the teams we played took a big step up,” Tiffin said “When my brother played Muscle Shoals they were an alright team, but when I got into high school all of a sudden they were the big kids on the block.” Hartselle would fall short of repeating as champions and would fall against the Trojans in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. “A lot of people expected us to repeat as state champions,” Tiffin said “even though we
didn’t it was still a very good season.”
When Jake became a sophomore he would face his greatest challenge. “I knew going into spring that there was a good chance the quarterbackjob was going to be mine” Tiffin said. “Once I knew for sure that it was mine I started preparing myself.” It was a tough challenge for Tiffin to face, not only would he start as a sophomore but the Tigers were also replacing 15 senior starters.
Early on, the young Tiffin went through many growing pains. Some of the hardest ones would come on the field of arch rival Cullman. “I feel like that was my best game even though I didn’t play well and threw three interceptions.” Tiffin said “it was in that game that I found out I could make throws and plays in tough situations really fueled the rest of the year.” Hartselle would defy all odds of the preseason by advancing to the playoffs where they lost a controversial nail biter to Pinson Valley. “That one still stings,” Tiffin said. “It looked as if that last field goal went in. I’m still not sure it didn’t.”
Flashing forward two years, the now experienced Tiffin was charged with mentoring the future quarterback Trevor Oakes. “Coach Godsey came to me and told me Trevor was going to get playing time in each game,” Tiffin said “I was perfectly okay with that. It was a really great setup that helped both us. When he was on sideline he could watch and tell me what he saw and when he went in it allowed me to watch for things I couldn’t see on the field. Trevor is going to be a special player for Hartselle.”
While Tiffin was busy running Hartselle’s football team, he was also excelling on the field of an entirely different sport “I first started playing golf when I was very little with my dad,” Tiffin said. “Then the older I got the more serious I got about it and it carried into high school.” This would carry Jake to his junior year where the boy’s golf was put in a big pressure situation. Hartselle was in the middle of a seven-year streak in which they had won a state title in at least one sport and the boys golf team was the only team left in the spring of 2015 to keep the streak going.
“To be the one to continue that streak was pretty awesome.” Tiffin’s great play would earn him a chance at a college scholarship later that summer. “I competed in a tournament later in that summer” Tiffin said “I didn’t really play that well but I still got offered by Troy. I accepted almost immediately.” Tiffin will now attend Troy this fall and play golf for them.
Tiffin has no doubt left a big legacy in the sports of Hartselle high school and he hopes he can leave the same for Troy.