Sanders finds ‘home away from home’

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2011

Pleasant Home’s John Caleb Sanders has found his home away from home at Huntingdon College.

And, it’s his athletic home, too, because Sanders signed on to play for the Hawks’ football team.

Sanders, who played left tackle and guard for the Eagles from his sophomore year until his senior year, visited numerous colleges and universities until Huntingdon contacted him to come play for the Hawks.

“It just felt like home there,” Sanders said. “It was just a good campus. It seemed like I would fit into the program better.”

The other colleges and universities Sanders made official visits to were Auburn, Middle Tennessee, Faulkner University, Shorter College and Birmingham-Southern College, to name a few.

During his high school career, Sanders won the offensive lineman of the year award in his final two seasons playing for the Eagles, and finished in first place in bench press at the Class 1A state weight lifting championships this month.

Sanders started playing football in seventh grade at Andalusia Middle School, where he played under coach Tommy Wright for two years.

After going through spring training at Andalusia High School, Sanders transferred to PHS, where he had to sit on the sidelines during his freshman season.

He said he didn’t mind doing so because it all paid off at the start of his sophomore season.

Sanders said he was a bit nervous putting on the pads for the Eagles and getting to play his first game for the team.

“It was nerve-wracking, but it was OK,” he said.

Sanders will play for the Hawks while on two academic scholarships because Huntingdon doesn’t award athletic scholarships.

One memory Sanders said he’ll take with him from his playing days at PHS will be the game where the team clinched a playoff spot with a win over Geneva County last season.

“When the clock went running down, and we knew we were in it,” Sanders said. “To win it for (PHS head football) coach (Robert) Bradford, and get him to his first playoffs as a head coach was amazing.”

Sanders is the son of Karelle and Donny Sanders of Andalusia.