MONTGOMERY – Twenty-six home teams and 26 visiting teams posted wins in the second round of the AHSAA State Football Playoffs Friday night to advance to the third round Friday, Nov. 23.
Among the winners were 28 No. 1 seeds, 17 No. 2 seeds, five No. 3 seeds and two No. 4 seeds (Class 4A Oneonta and Class 7A Lee-Montgomery). Overall, the 52 teams advancing are averaging 10.2 wins each and have won collectively 86% of their games.
Three regions had three qualifiers win second-round games: Class 3A Region 6; Class 4A, Region 1; and Class 6A, Region 6. In Class 7A, which heads into the semifinal round Friday night, Regions 2 and 3 have two qualifiers in the pairings: Region 2 foes Lee-Montgomery and Central-Phenix City in the South semifinal, and Region 3 teams Thompson and Hoover in the North semi-finals.
Five of seven state champions from 2017 survived round one: Class 7A Hoover (9-3); Class 6A Pinson Valley (10-1), Class 4A UMS-Wright (11-0); Class 3A Hillcrest-Evergreen (8-4), now competing in 4A; and Class 2A Lanett (11-1), now competing in Class 1A.
Unbeaten teams advancing to round 2, by class, include: (Class 1A) Linden (11-0); South Lamar (12-0); (Class 2A) Ohatchee (11-0); Fyffe (12-0); (Class 3A) Westminster Christian (11-0); (Class 4A) UMS-Wright (11-0); American Christian (12-0); Class 5A: Etowah (12-0); and (Class 7A) Central-Phenix City (12-0). Ohatchee is at Fyffe in the Class 2A quarterfinals Friday, and American Christian is at UMS-Wright in battles of unbeaten.
UMS-Wright’s 48-0 win over Trinity Presbyterian in the Class 4A playoffs was the 300th head-coaching win for Coach Terry Curtis (300-85)(. His career coaching record is 300-85 since he took his first head-coaching position in 1989. He became just the fourth head coach in AHSAA history to win 300 games in the AHSAA. The others include: active coaches Vestavia Hills Coach Buddy Anderson (335-150); Houston Academy Coach Jamie Riggs (312-85); and retired Luverne Coach Glenn Daniel (302-169-16). Fayette County retired coach Waldon Tucker (309-126-3) won 284 games in the AHSAA and 25 at non-member schools.
Central-Clay County Coach Danny Horn registered his 296th head-coaching victory in the AHSAA with the Volunteers’ 44-19 victory over Madison Academy in the Class 5A second round. He is now 296-86. He and Curtis have each coached teams to six state championships. Hoover head coach Josh Niblett (203-51) picked up his 200th head-coaching victory with the Bucs’ 31-7 win over Mountain Brook in late October to clinch the Class 7A, Region 3 title. Currently in his 11th season at Hoover, he has a 138-19 record at Hoover with a 73-6 region record and 43-4 slate in the state playoffs. The Bucs won state titles in 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2009 under Niblett’s direction. He also guided Oneonta to the 2004 Class 3A state championship for seven total AHSAA state crowns.
Raycom Network will announce its AHSAA Playoff Game of the Week early this coming week. The NFHS Network also plans to live-stream several games produced by member schools belonging to the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program and will also live-stream the Class 7A rematch between Hoover (9-3) and Thompson (10-1) at the Hoover Met over the NFHS Network and over Facebook Watch, thanks to a pilot program between Facebook and the Network that will showcase several high school football teams in the playoffs in selected state associations.
The NFHS Network produced 28 live-streamed events over its NFHS Network School Broadcast Program in Round 2 and 67 radio/internet audio broadcasts were also produced statewide by local radio and school affiliates.
The third-round pairings:
MONTGOMERY – Challenges each in the Florence-Thompson, Trinity Presbyterian at Handley and Boaz-East Limestone games last week resulted in no overturned calls as the AHSAA’s DVSport Instant Replay was used in the state playoffs for the first time in AHSAA history.
Both challenges in the Florence-Thompson game were concerning fourth-down spots for first downs with the calls on the field being upheld. Total time for each review was 1:05 and 1:12, respectively. Boaz attempted to challenge an ineligible player downfield, but that is not an eligible challenge. East Limestone challenged a catch that stood as called on the field. The official reported that the instant replay didn’t provide an adequate review of the play. And Trinity challenge a pass that was called complete. Upon review, the call on the field was upheld.
There were no challenges in four other games using Instant Replay.
On the season there has been Instant Replay in 88 games with 88 different schools taking part in 181 opportunities. A total of 71 challenges have been made with 18 calls overturned – a percentage of 25.4%.
Eight games will be utilizing Instant Replay this week with seven schools taking part for the first time this season: Mortimer Jordan, Jacksonville and Pike County - bringing the total to 91 on the year.
This week’s playoff games, with classification of each school, utilizing Instant Replay include:
FRIDAY, NOV. 16
MONTGOMERY – Raycom Network, the AHSAA TV partner, will televise the Class 7A second-round playoff game between Thompson and Hewitt-Trussville tonight live over its Raycom network of stations and the Bounce Channel. Check Raycom’s www.pathtotheplayoffs.com link for more inform locally.
The game is also being featured over the NFHS Network’s live-stream subscriber-based network and over a special pilot program with Facebook that will stream the game live over Facebook Watch.
AHSAA corporate partner ALFA Insurance has also designated the Class 4A battle between Deshler and Fayette County at Fayette tonight as the ALFA Road to the Super 7 Playoff Game of the Week. The game is being broadcast live over radio stations WLDX in Fayette and WMSR in Tuscumbia.
Thompson ((-1) and Hewitt-Trussville (8-3) met three weeks ago in a game televised live over ESPN with the Warriors roaring from a 28-0 first-quarter deficit to a 63-49 win.
A full slate of 24 AHSAA first-round state playoff football games are scheduled to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based AHSAA School Broadcast Program tonight.
Broadcast coverage of the AHSAA state playoff first-round included a record 130 events combined including NFHS Network productions, 80 live radio productions, nine tape-delayed TV/Cable video productions and Raycom Sports’ AHSAA Game of the Week. This week, 101 broadcasts are planned with the NFHS Network live video streaming 24 games with five productions in Class 7A, nine in Class 6A, two in Class 5A, three in Class 4A, two in Class 3A, two in Class 2A and one in Class 1A.
Four games are being taped-delayed to be shown on local cable channels or internet sites, and 68 games will be broadcast live over radio (or internet audio sites).
To subscribe to the NFHS Network, go to the following: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/subscribe/retail
The complete AHSAA schedule of events currently set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network, live radio/internet broadcasts and delayed video events can be found at the link below:
MONTGOMERY – Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, announced Thursday that former National Football League players Roman Harper and Wallace Gilberry will take part in the 2018 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game festivities in December.
The 32nd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic will be played on Monday night, Dec. 17, at Cramton Bowl with a 6:30 p.m., kickoff. Raycom Sports will televise the game live over its affiliate stations in Alabama and Mississippi as well as selected stations in Tennessee and Georgia.
“We are extremely proud to have Roman Harper and Wallace Gilberry taking part in this year’s Alabama-Mississippi Classic,” Lee said. “Both are alumni of the All-Star Classic and both had outstanding college and NFL careers, which make their participation even more special.”
Harper, a former Prattville High School and University of Alabama standout, will be the guest speaker at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star players/parents dinner set for Saturday, Dec. 15. He played eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints and his final two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He played in the 2009 and 2015 Super Bowls.
Gilberry, a Baldwin County High School standout who played in the 2003 Alabama-Mississippi Game, will serve as the Alabama All-Star Team honorary captain. He will speak at the banquet set for Sunday, December 16th. Named to the All-SEC Coaches Team in 2007, he went spent nine years in the NFL.
Both will take part in the Alabama-Mississippi Game festivities at Cramton Bowl.
WALLACE GILBERRY, Alabama All-Star 2018 Honorary Captain
Not recruited heavily out of high school and undrafted out of college, Gilberry spent nine seasons in the NFL, playing in 124 games, registering 34 sacks and scoring a touchdown on a 25-yard fumble return against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
Despite a senior season with 76 tackles and seven sacks, the defensive lineman wasn't recruited by any SEC football program coming out of Baldwin County High School in Bay Minette, but his performance during the Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic on June 7, 2003, earned him a second look.
The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game as Gilberry tells it, “Changed my life.” Alabama had one scholarship remaining and signed him. He then embarked on an outstanding college career at a defensive end for the Crimson Tide from (2004-2007).
He became a starter in his sophomore year and played in 50 games during his college tenure with the Crimson Tide. He had 188 tackles with 60.5 stops resulting in minus-223 yards, had 38 quarterback hurries, forced five fumbles and recovered three. He was named to the All-SEC Coaches’ Football Team in 2007
He was an undrafted free agent in 2008, signing with the New York Giants, was released prior to the season and was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs. He also had stints with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL.
His best year was 2009 when he had 20 tackles, two assists and 4.5 sacks for the Chiefs. While playing for the Bengals in 2012, he scooped up a fumble and ran it into the end one for the first and only touchdown of his career.
MONTGOMERY – Senior quarterback Paul Tyson engineered an 18-play, 97-yard game-winning drive Friday night at Madison City Stadium which culminated with a 9-yard TD pass to receiver Jamyre Reese with 14 seconds remaining to give Hewitt-Trussville a dramatic 43-41 victory over James Clemens in the first round of the AHSAA Class 7A state football playoffs.
Tyson, who finished the night 25-of-41 passing for 326 yards and four TDs, earned the AHSAA Football Spotlight for round one of the state playoffs in the process.
The clutch performance also kept the Huskies’ state championship hopes alive and sets up a rematch with Thompson in the second round. The two teams met Oct. 25 in a game showcased to the nation on ESPN with the Warriors winning 63-49.
Tyson also completed TD passes of 56, 13 and 13 yards in the win over James Clemens. The great-grandson of Alabama coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant is 212-of-308 on the season for 3,012 yards and 31 touchdown passes. He has thrown just six interceptions.
Coach Josh Floyd’s Huskies head into the much anticipated rematch with the Warriors (9-1) riding some much-needed momentum thanks in big part to the clutch play Tyson. The quarterback connected with senior receiver and Alabama All-Star selection Ja’Varrious Johnson for 12 completions. The performance was almost equaled by James Clemens senior quarterback Jamil Muhammad, who had 20 rush attempts for 191 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 1, 1, 1 and 46 yards and completed 7-of-9 passes for 96 yards and another TD.
The clutch effort also edged out several outstanding performances from across the state.
Others reported included:
ALABAMA ALL-STARS SHINE IN FIRST ROUND
LEE WITHERSPOON, NORTH JACKSON: A selection at running back for the Alabama All-Stars in the upcoming 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at Cramton Bowl on Monday night, Dec. 17, Witherspoon not only continued to shine but also set a new state record for rushing touchdowns in a single season. He had 15 rush attempts for 236 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Chiefs (11-0) to a 45-6 Class 4A win over Curry. He now has 53 rushing touchdowns on the season – breaking the AHSAA single-season record of 49 set by Beauregard’s La’Damian Webb in 2016. Witherspoon also has a single-season state record 59 touchdowns scored with one receiving, one on an interception return, three on punt returns and one kickoff return. Webb scored 53 TDs overall that season, which was also the AHSAA single-season mark coming into this season. Witherspoon has 2,759 yards rushing on the season on just 131 carries, an average of 21.1 yards per carry. He is also averaging scoring a touchdown every 2.5 rush attempts he takes. and is closing in on 3,000 yards rushing on the year.
BO NIX, PINSON VALLEY: Selected as one of two quarterbacks on the Alabama All-Star team connected with receiver Demarion Holloman for five touchdown passes as the defending Class 6A state champs downed Albertville 47-0 in the Class 6A playoffs. Nix was 16-of-22 for 231 yards in the 6A playoffs. Nix was 16-of-22 for 231 yards and five TDs. He is 176-of-291 passing for 2,489 yards and 36 touchdowns on the season with just four interceptions. His career totals are now 596-of-1,067 for 9,080 yards and 113 TDs. The passing yardage ranks seventh all time and is 1,659 yards shy of the state record (10,774 yards) held by JaMarcus Russell of Williamson (1999-02). The 113 TDs is second all-time behind American Christian’s Chris Smelley (2002-05), who had 134 TD passes in his prep career. Nix became just the third player in AHSAA history to go over 11,000 total yards for a career with last week’s performance. He currently stands at 11,009 yards (including 1,929 yards rushing) and needs 780 yards to move past the current record holder Terrance Hollingsworth of Berry, who had 11,788 yards rushing, receiving and passing from 2009-13.
Holloman finished with seven receptions for 94 yards. The five TD receptions were one shy of the state record (6) held by three receiver: Ja’Michael Willis of Gardendale (2010); David Morrison, Berry (2009) and Brandon Greer of Westbrook Christian (1998). Four others have caught five TD passes. The most recent was Tyler Crumpton of Phillips in 2012.
Several members of the 2018 Alabama All-Star Team turned in superb efforts including:
TAULIA TAGOVAILOA, THOMPSON: The Alabama All-Star team’s other quarter was 12-of-26 passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 90 yards and a score on nine carries in a 45-14 victory over Florence in the 7A playoffs. His season totals are 234 completions in 374 attempts for a state-leading 3,251 yards and 31 touchdowns.
A’MONTAE SPIVEY, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Selected as one of the Alabama All-Star running backs, Spivey had 156 yards rushing on 12 carries and scored on a 54-yard run as the Red Devils (11-0) downed Davidson 46-0. He had 126 yards at the half.
D.J. DALE, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: The Alabama All-Star defensive lineman intercepted a pass on a tipped throw to set up a touchdown as the Cougars cruised to a 45-6 victory over Mae Jemison in the 6A playoffs.
JA’VARRIOUS JOHNSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: The Huskies wide receiver chosen for the Alabama All-Star team has a state-leading 82 receptions this season for 1,610 yards and 15 touchdowns after 11 games. He had 12 catches in Friday’s win.
GEORGE PICKENS, HOOVER: The talented Hoover wideout and Alabama All-Star selection had six receptions for 78 yards and one TD – a 16-yard connection coming one play after a personal foul penalty pushed Hoover back from the Bob Jones 1 to the 16 – to give the defending Class 7A state champion Bucs a 19-10 lead early in the fourth quarter of its 26-18 win over the visiting Patriots.
RICHMON SINGLETARY, ELBA: Returned two kickoffs 81 and 72 yards for touchdowns, giving him four in the last two games and six for the season as the Tigers advanced to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs with a 54-19 win over Billingsley. The six kickoff returns set a new AHSAA state record. The previous record (5) was held by four different players including: Javin Thatch, Tanner (2011); Brandon Hale, Lexington (1998); Jason Wilkins, Shelby County (1997); and Steven Reese, Florala (1997). Singletary also rushed for 173 yards on 15 carries to go over 2,000 rushing yards on the season. He caught two passes for 23 yards and had seven tackles on defense.
WILL BAILEY, DAR: Completed 20-of-29 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a 36-30 win over Northside in the Class 4A state playoffs. The victory was the first playoff win in school history for DAR. Braeden Lewis grabbed 13 receptions for 159 yards and two TDs. He also had two interceptions on defense.
JOSEPH HANSON, MARS HILL BIBLE: Returned an interception 87 yards for a touchdown and added a 21-yard TD run to help the Panthers (10-1) beat Marion County 55-0 for the school’s first ever football playoff win. Hanson has accounted for 35 touchdowns this season, 24 passing, 10 rushing and one on defense. Teammate Peyton Higgins had five rush attempts for 160 yards and three TDs, and Colt Smith had six carries for 74 yards and three scores – and 13 tackles on defense.
GRANT WOODRUFF, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Ran for 169 yards and a TD on just six carries and also caught a 15-yard TD pass as Cottage Hill defeated Class 2A Goshen for its first AHSAA playoff win in school history.
COLTON YEAGER, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Intercepted two passes and returned one 60 yards for a TD in the final minute of the first half as Mountain Brook defeated Austin 31-0 in the 7A playoffs. Teammate Grant Griffin also had two picks in the milestone win that gave Coach Chris Yeager his 101st victory at the school, making him the all-time winningest coach in school history.
PIEDMONT WINS 300TH HOME GAME: The Bulldogs downed Clements 41-0 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs to record the school’s 300th home victory, according to information provided by the Alabama High School Football Historical Society (AHSFHS.org). Matthew Thornton returned a fumble 24 yards in the second quarter for a TD to spark the shutout win. The Bulldogs have gone 300-178-13 at home (62.4%) and 206-217-15 (48.7%) for an all-time record of 506-395-28 (56.0%) through Friday’s win. The school’s first home win came in 1924 with a 27-0 victory over Cave Spring (GA).
ROYDELL WILLIAMS, HUEYTOWN: Ran 34 times for 358 yards, with TD runs of 14, 82, 6, 71 and 5 yards, to lead the Golden Gophers to a 38-13 victory over Eufaula in the Class 6A playoffs.
MATT DIXON, GOOD HOPE: Gained 252 yards rushing on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Raiders beat St. John Paul II Catholic 62-28 in the Class 4A playoffs. Good Hope (10-1) finished with 546 yards rushing to post the school’s first playoff win since 2013.
TYQUAN RAWLS, WETUMPKA: Picked up 214 yards rushing on 15 carries and completed 5-of-11 passes for 70 yards and a TD as the Class 6A Indians ((9-2) opened the state playoffs with a 49-21 victory over Daphne.
DARRELL GIBSON, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Had 28 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 42-yard TD pass in the Knights’ 42-13 Class 4A playoff win over Holtville.
REECE SOLAR, ALABAMA CHRISTIAN: Scored the game-winning touchdown on the final play of ACA’s 18-14 Class 4A playoff win over Lincoln. He finished with 198 yards rushing on 28 carries and scored all three TDs. He also completed 12-of-20 passes for 85 yards and caught a 12-yard pass.
BRYCE PEAVY, ARITON: Rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns and teammate Daniel Hicks added 69 yards and two scores plus a strong game defensively, helping the Purple Cats beat Thorsby in the 2A playoffs 41-14. Peavy scored on runs of 4, 4, 8 and 1 yards, while Hicks had TD runs of 24 and 14 yards and added seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery on defense.
TRENT DAVIS, ETOWAH: Rushed 17 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the Blue Devils’ 33-0 Class 5A win over Guntersville.
JORDAN EMBRY, RAMSAY: Accounted for 152 yards of total offense scoring with touchdowns on a 4-yard run and 41-yard reception as the Rams beat Charles Henderson 36-7 in the Class 5A state playoffs.
JERMAINE BROWN, ST. LUKE’S EPISCOPAL: Rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries as St. Luke’s won its 10th straight game beating Francis Marion 48-16 in the Class 1A playoffs.
JAYSON JONES, FULTONDALE: Rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 18, 2 and 17 yards in a 37-6 Class 3A playoff win over Plainview.
MASON McKINNEY, COLLINSVILLE: Accounted for 171 total yards and for TDs – 84 rushing yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns (4, 1, 8 yards) and three pass receptions for 87 yards including a 61-yard score – as Collinsville (10-1) downed Westbrook Christian 35-21 in the Class 2A playoffs. He also forced and recovered a fumble on defense.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed for 164 yards and scored three touchdowns on 24 carries in the Eagles’ 38-14 Class 4A victory over Central-Florence.
KENNETH BOTHWELL, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Totaled 130 rushing yards and a touchdown on 30 attempts as the Panthers rallied past A.P. Brewer, 15-9. With Southside trailing 9-7 midway through the fourth quarter, Bothwell ran for 28 yards and caught a 17-yard pass on the Panthers’ game-winning drive.
TEDARRIAN MURRAY, LEE-MONTGOMERY : Ran for 100 of his 129 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning touchdown, as Lee knocked off Theodore 13-7 in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs.
ZYQUEZ PERRYMAN, PLEASANT GROVE: Completed 18-of-26 passes for 322 yards and three TDs in a 42-21 victory over Beauregard in the 5A playoffs. He now has thrown 27 TD passes and just two interceptions this season.
AARON DOVE, FALKVILLE: Completed 20-of-30 passes for 300 yards and four touchdown passes in a 35-6 Class 1A playoff win over Talladega County Central for Falkville (11-0). He heads into the second round of the state playoffs with 2,852 yards passing on the season with 44 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He is 164-of-233 passing, a 70.4% completion rate for the unbeaten Blue Devils.
TRENTON DUPPER, DECATUR: Accounted for all five touchdowns to help No. 4 seed Decatur knock off No. 1 seed and previously unbeaten Jackson-Olin (10-1) in the 6A playoffs 35-32. He was 13-of-17 passing for 185 yards and three touchdowns and Hs 23 rush attempts for 78 yards and two TDs.
SETH BROWN, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Completed 16 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 62-28 playoff loss to Good Hope. It was the first football playoff game in St. John Paul II history.
KYLE WALKER, VIGOR: Completed 9-of-16 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns as the Wolves (10-1) opened the 5A playoffs with a 45-8 rout of Central-Tuscaloosa.
ROBBY ASHFORD, HOOVER: Finished 12-of-19 passing for 150 yards and a TD and rushed 12 times for 76 yards to lead the Bucs to a 26-18 victory over Bob Jones in the 7A playoffs.
LUKE HAMPTON, CEDAR BLUFF: Completed 17-of-30 pass attempts for 163 yards, including a 35-yard score to Tray Wilson to end the first half. He also ran for an 8-yard touchdown in the Tigers’ 47-12 loss at Ohatchee. Wilson finished with a career-high nine receptions for 106 yards and one TD.
WILL CROWDER, GARDENDALE: Passed for 155 yards and ran for 103 on 14 carries to lead the Rockets to a 21-14 victory over Fort Payne in the 6A playoffs.
KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 6-of-13 pass attempts for 140 yards with a 61-yard touchdown and also ran for 90 yards on 19 carries with a 7-yard score in the Panthers’ 35-21 Class 2A victory over Westbrook Christian.
RYLEY KIRK, SPRING GARDEN: Completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 145 yards including a 69-yard touchdown to Cooper Austin in the Panthers’ 40-7 victory over Decatur Heritage.
CHANING MARMANN, DESHLER: Passed for 139 yards and rushed for 74 yards to pace the Tigers to a 21-7 Class 4A playoff win over Anniston.
DAQUON KINCEY, ABBEVILLE: The Yellow Jackets quarterback was 3-of-6 passing for 118 yards and one TD and rushed for 68 yards and two more scores Abbeville's 56-0 Class 2A win over Vincent. Kincey scored on runs of 50 and 14 yards and threw a 41-yard TD pass to Marquise Hollins.
CHRISTIAN IRONS, WATELOO: Caught three passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns and also scored on a two-point conversion play to account for all his team’s points in a 20-15 Class 1A win over Hubbertville.
MARCUS McGHEE, HOMEWOOD: Caught six passes for 100 yards as the Patriots earned a 24-14 victory over Athens in the 6A playoffs.
CHRISTIAN McKINNEY, RED BAY: Made had 17 tackles, including a stop on Winston County’s 2-point try in overtime to preserve the Tigers’ 16-14 Class 2A playoff victory.
JASON WEST, JACKSON: The sophomore linebacker had 21 tackles, including three for a loss, as the Aggies beat Chilton County 21-14 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
JALEN BUSTAMANTE, THOMPSON: Intercepted two passes to spark the defense in a 45-14 victory over Florence in the 7A playoffs.
MARCUS EVANS, McADORY: Intercepted two passes – stopping Carver-Montgomery's best drive on a fourth-and-7 deep in McAdory territory and setting up Yellow Jackets’ first touchdown with his second pick in a 17-0 victory in the 6A playoffs.
CADE MANGO, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Intercepted two passes in a 42-28 victory over Valley in the 5A playoffs.
QUINDARIUS ADAMS, MIDFIELD: Had nine tackles on defense and had six rush attempts for 100 yards and two TDs on offense in a 32-14 victory over Pisgah in the 3A playoffs.
ASHIR HOGUE, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: The junior linebacker recorded 10 tackles with a sack as the Yellow Jackets edged Prattville 17-13 in to advance to the second round of the 7A playoffs.
WILLIAM HARDY, RAMSAY: Returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown and teammate Cedarius Doss picked off a pass and raced 65 yards for a score in a 36-7 Class 5A playoff win over Charles Henderson.
DERICKEY WRIGHT, ETOWAH: Had two interceptions in the Blue Devils’ 33-0 Class 5A win over Guntersville. Wright and his fellow Etowah defenders limited the Wildcats to minus-6 total yards en route to the team’s fifth shutout of the season.
EVAN CRAIGHEAD, MADISON ACADEMY: Picked off a pass at the goal line to seal the Mustangs' 18-15 Class 5A playoff win over Alexandria. Craighead also recovered a fumble and made eight tackles.
HARRISON BARRON & SPENCER SMITH, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Each defender had 10 tackles and teammate Michael Sullivan had nine tackles plus a fumble recovery during the Eagles' 31-6 Class 3A win over Lamar County in the Class 3A playoff opener.
LANDON GOWENS, SPRING GARDEN: Posted eight tackles and had a 27-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Panthers’ 40-7 Class 1A playoff victory over Decatur Heritage.
C.J. YARROUGH, EAST LIMESTONE: Caught a 48-yard touchdown pass on offense and picked off two passes returning one 77 yards for a TD in a 53-33 Class 5A win over Boaz. He finished with six tackles and scored a two-point conversion.
SETH FAISON, HEADLAND: Blocked a critical extra-point try with 37 seconds left in the game to preserve a 13-12 victory over Talladega in the Class 4A state playoffs. The Rams (10-1) saw their bid for a perfect regular season thwarted last week with 23 seconds remaining in the final regular season game with Henry County rival Abbeville but emerged from a 6-0 deficit heading into the fourth quarter Friday with two touchdowns and one all-important extra point. K’Shun Stokes scored on a 10-yard run on the first play of the final quarter and scored the winning TD with 6:21 left on a 4-yard run. Talladega, which built the early lead with field goals of 24 and 29 yards by Onique Deer, scored on a pass play with 37 ticks remaining to set up Faison’s special team heroics. Teammate Ben Tew recovered Talladega’s onside kick attempt that followed to close out the first playoff win for the Rams since 1988.
TREY STODDARD, MUSCLE SHOALS: The Trojans’ place-kicker, an eighth grader, booted a 23-yard field on the last play of the game to lift Muscle Shoals past Minor 10-7 in the Class 6A state playoffs.
K.J. HALL, HIGHLAND HOME: Returned a kickoff 72 yards for one score, had four receptions for 88 yards and rushed 11 times for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the Flying Squadron’s 63-28 Class 2A playoff win over Chickasaw.
J.R. TRAN-RENO, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and added TD runs of 1, 1 and 4 yards to lead the Lions to a 42-28 victory over Valley in the 5A playoffs.
RICHARD BRINSON, UMS-WRIGHT: Returned a kickoff 84 yards for a score and also caught an 8-yard TD pass from Skipper Snypes in UMS-Wright’s 43-8 win over West Blocton in the Class 4A playoffs.
JAQUON KINCEY, ABBEVLLE: Returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown in Abbeville’s 56-0 win over Vincent in the 2A playoffs.
MONTGOMERY – Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected from an outstanding field of 48 nominations for induction into the 29th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next March.
The 2019 class, which includes an “old-timer,” will be inducted at the 27th annual banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa, March 18, 2019.
Selected for induction are football coaches Phil Lazenby, David Lowery, Willie Carl Martin, Billy Odom and Ronnie Sikes; basketball coaches Carolyn Wright and Scheussler Ware; track coach Claborn Campbell; baseball coach Mark Mincher; basketball official Johnny Robertson; and longtime coach and administrator Reynolds “R.C.” Cook, chosen in the old-timers’’ division. Mr. Cook is deceased.
Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate partners include Alabama Power, ALFA, Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Jack’s, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer will emcee the banquet. The NFHS Network is scheduled to live-stream the banquet.
The first class was inducted in 1991. These 11 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 353.
A profile of each selectee:
CLABORN CAMPBELL: Campbell, 65, graduated from Cold Spring High School and Southern Benedictine College – then returned as a high school teacher and coach spending the bulk of his years in education at his alma mater Cold Springs (1979-83 & 1999-2018). He also had coaching stints at Winston County and West Point.
Considered one of the top track coaches in the state, he helped coach the Eagles’ boys to two state track titles and had four teams finish runner-up. His West Point and Cold Springs girls’ track teams won 17 Cullman County championships. He also directed the Cold Springs girls and boys to three state cross country crowns and had seven runner-up finishes.
A dedicated coach and devout man of faith, he has been inducted into the Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame, was an AHSAA Making A Difference Award recipient in 2016, was selected NFHS Alabama Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2017 (girls) and 2016 (boys). U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named him Alabama Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2014.
REYNOLDS G. COOK (OLDTIMER Division): Cook, now deceased, was born in 1913 and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in 1933. He earned his college degree from Troy State Teachers College in 1950. He earned his master’s in 1964.
He began his teaching and coaching at Williams School in Montgomery, then moved to Union Springs High School in 1952 where he remained in various capacities through 1974.
He coached Union Springs’ only undefeated 10-0 football team in 1956 – earning him Birmingham Post-Herald Class 1A Coach of the Year. His 1957 team was 9-1 and participated in the prestigious Peanut Bowl at Dothan. As a basketball coach he had two teams go undefeated through the regular season – combining for a 46-2 record in 1963-64 and 1964-65.
He also coached baseball and helped bring the Alabama Lions Club regional East-West Baseball Game to Union Springs for several years. He also coached Union Springs to signature baseball victories over his much larger alma mater Sidney Lanier and its rival Robert E. Lee. He founded the youth baseball programs for Union Springs and remained active for many years.
He left coaching to become the Superintendent of Education in Bullock County – guiding the school system through 1974. He also served as president of the TSU Alumni Association and was District Governor of the Alabama Lions International.
PHIL LAZENBY: A graduate of Bessemer High School (1968) and Samford University (1974), Lazenby, 68, also received a master’s in education from the University of Montevallo in 1979. He played on Samford University’s 1971 National Championship football team and was selected Most Valuable Defensive Player for SU in 1973.
He embarked on a long-time career in teaching and coaching, first as an assistant football and head tennis coach at Bessemer’s Jess Lanier High School (1976-1980). He then moved to Mountain Brook where he served as defensive coordinator and assistant principal (1981-90).
He became a head coach, first at Guntersville (1991-95), was at Southside-Gadsden for one year in 1996, then moved to Benjamin Russell (1997-2000) and currently is at Bayside Academy (2007-present). He spent 2001-2006 at UMS-Wright as assistant coach and strength & conditioning coach. His overall head-coaching record is 169-89 with two state championship game appearances at Benjamin Russell and one at Bayside Academy. His teams had just two losing seasons in 21 years and have reached the state playoffs 17 times.
Lazenby coached as an assistant and head coach in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game, was ASWA Coach of the Year in 1997, 2011 and 2015 and has served as a past president of the Alabama Football Coaches Association. Lazenby was inducted into the Samford Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. He served in the U.S. Army infantry reaching the rank of First Sergeant with tours in Europe and Central America.
DAVID LOWERY: A native of Butler County, Lowery, 53, graduated from Georgiana High School in 1983, Troy University in 1988 and earned a master’s at AUM in 1998. Hs first teaching/coaching position was at Evergreen High School in 1988. He moved to Elba High School as assistant coach and defensive coordinator from 1989-1998. He also was head baseball coach leading the Tigers to the playoff semifinals in 1993 and 1994. He was head football coach two years (1995-1996).
He then moved to Brantley High School where he was head football coach and athletic director from 1999-2013. He had an amazing run compiling a 156-27 overall record and 88-3 region record. His teams won the Class 1A state football title in 2009 and 2012 and finished runner-up in 1999 and 2005.
Lowery was named ASWA Class 1A Coach of the Year in 1999 and ALFCA Class 1A Coach of the Year in 2012. Brantley High School named the football field David Lowery Stadium in 2013, and he was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
WILLIE CARL MARTIN: The Alexander City native and outstanding high school football lineman graduated from Laurel High School in 1969. He attended Northeastern Oklahoma on football scholarship. He was selected in the summer of 1969 to participate in the North-South All-Star Game – as one of the first three black participants in the game’s history.
After a successful playing career in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Martin, 67, returned to Alexander City and began a teaching and coaching career at Benjamin Russell High School that spanned the next 25 years. He served as an assistant football coach from 1985-2001 directing a defense that allowed only 12.32 points a game over a 15-year period. He served as head football coach from 2001-2006. He compiled a 51-24 record during that span and captured the school’s only state football title in in his first year in 2001.
Martin’s leadership expanded to the AHSAA where he served on the District 4 Board and Central Board from 2003-2007.
He was hired in 2007 to serve on the University of Alabama football staff as Director of Player Development, a role he kept until 2015 when he retired. In May of that year, Alexander City celebrated Willie Carl Martin Day (on May 12) as the city honored the native son who served as a trailblazer throughout his career.
MARK MINCHER: Mincher graduated from Hazel Green High School in Madison County in 1975, got his college degree from Memphis State University in 1975 and later earned a master’s in administration from Alabama A&M.
The son of former Major League baseball standout Don Mincher embarked on a career in education in 1980 that lasted more than three decades. He coached football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball at Monrovia Middle School for two years before moving to Sparkman High School in 1982. He became head baseball coach in 1983. He moved to Huntsville High School as head baseball coach in 1985, a position he held for the next 28 years. He compiled a 576-353 baseball-coaching record with 12 city championships, eight area titles, 18 state playoff appearances and one Class 6A state championship (2011).
Mincher also served as HHS athletic director during that time and became an important mentor for other teachers and coaches, not only at his school but throughout Huntsville, Madison County and the state.
He was recognized as the Huntsville City baseball coach of the year numerous times, was named AlaBCA Coach of the Year (6A) and NFHS State Baseball Coach of the Year in 2011. Mincher was inducted into the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He was chosen HCPTA Secondary Principal of the Year in 2015.
BILLY ODOM: Odom, 68, graduated from Baker High School in Mobile in 1968 and from Mississippi College in 1972. He served as a teacher and head football coach at Baker High School for 14 seasons (1972-87), moved to Murphy as an assistant coach from 1989-91 and returned to head coaching at Alba High School from 1992-1997.
His Alba team won the region title in 1994.
Odom’s work as a coach and teacher was just part of his many contributions. He also played a key volunteer role in the development and administration of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game in Mobile from its inception in 1988. He has been a key administrative coach for that game ever since – heading into his 33rd year. He has also served as the South team manager for the Senior Bowl College All-Star Game for the last three decades.
Recognized as one of Mobile County’s most dependable volunteers, he received the prestigious Bob Pannone Service Award in 2017 and was recognized by the L’Arche Mobile Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012
JOHNNY ROBERTSON (Contest Official): This Sidney Lanier 1965 graduate has been one of the state’s top basketball officials more than 50 years. Robertson, 71, served in 17 of 18 AHSAA state basketball tournaments from 1982-1999.
Recognized by the his peers and the AHSAA for his teaching skills, he served as AHSAA state rules clinician from 1981-1999, has been a Regional Tournament coordinator ever since the regional and state final four basketball format was instituted in 1994 and has been the South Central District Director for Officials since 1999. He has been serving as State Rules Interpreter since 2008. Robertson helped institute the state officials’ camps and has been the State Camp Director since 2008. He received the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award in 2008.
Robertson also officiated high school football from 1972-1987, and he officiated baseball from 1972-1974.
Active in church and civic affairs in Montgomery, he has served in various positions of civic leadership including serving as president of the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery, was Division 9 Lt. Governor for the Kiwanis from 2007-2009 and has also served as president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the River Region.
RONNIE SIKES: A native of Randolph County, Sikes, 59, graduated from Randolph County High School in Wedowee in 1977 and from Auburn University in 1981. He also attended Southern Union Community College and received a master’s degree from Auburn University (1987).
The veteran football coach began his career in high school education in 1981 with stints at Valley High School (1981-1984), Notasulga (1984-1988), Mortimer Jordan (1988-1990), and Beulah (1990-1992) before returning to Notasulga in 1992. He served as head football coach for the Blue Devils for 12 years compiling a 91-51 record. He then moved to Lanett from 2004-2009. He has coached and taught at Georgia public schools since 2013. While at Notasulga his teams compiled a 25-game winning streak with his 2001 team capturing Class 1A state runner-up. He rebuilt the Lanett program in a short time becoming the coach to lead the Panthers to the first 12-win season since 1976.
Sikes coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice and also coached in the North-South All-Star Game. He was named O-A News Coach of the Year in 1998.
SCHUESSLER WARE: Anniston High School’s long-time boys’ head basketball coach graduated from AHS in 1974 and Talladega College in 1978. He earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Jacksonville State University.
Ware, 60, began teaching and coaching at his high school alma mater in 1979 – spending his entire career with the Anniston City Schools. He became head basketball coach in 1997 and for the next 20 years his teams compiled a 420-168 record with two state championships, the Class 5A title in 2002 and the 4A championship in 2009. Anniston made five State Final Four appearances, five Northeast Regional titles and seven Calhoun County championships during his tenure.
He was chosen Calhoun County Coach of the Year nine times, AHSAA Class 5A (2002) and Class 4A (2009) Coach of the Year, and saw 12 of his teams win 20 or more games in a season. Only one team had a losing record but still won the area title, and two years later the program rebounded to go 27-6 and reach the Northeast Regional tourney.
He is active in his church and community serving as an Elder at First United Presbyterian Church.
CAROLYN WRIGHT: Mrs. Wright, 62, graduated from Tuskegee Institute High School in 1974 and from Alabama State University in 1978. She earned a master’s in specific learning disability.
She has spent the last 40 years teaching and coaching, primarily at Central High School in Phenix City. She became the head girls’ basketball coach at Central in 1991 and begins the 2018 season with a 498-281 record. She guided the Lady Red Devils to a 26-4 record in 2016-17 and a berth in the Class 7A State Tournament after winning the Central Regional title. Her teams have had just two losing seasons and finished 29-5 in 2005 to set a school girls’ record for basketball wins in a season.
Wright, who also coaches volleyball at Central, served as girls’ track coach from 1992-2007 with 14 individuals or relay teams winning state event titles. Her volleyball team reached the Super Regional tourney in 2014.
She serves in several other leadership roles include department chair for the health and PE department (1991-2008) at Central, and is also currently assistant athletic director. She served on the AHSAA Strategic Planning Committee in 2016.
Her husband Bobby Wright, the Central boys’ basketball coach, was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. With over 600 wins, the husband-wife duo have more basketball games than any other husband-wife coaching duo state history. The couple now have the distinction of being just the second husband-wife tandem to be selected to be enshrined in the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The first were Tom and Lynette Calvin.
MONTGOMERY – The 63rd AHSAA State Cross Country Championships get underway Saturday at 8:30 a.m., at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park & Museum near Moulton.
Montgomery Catholic senior Amaris Tyynismaa will be vying for her fifth straight state championship in the Class 4A race which is scheduled to kick off the competition in the first race of the day. Homewood senior Will Stone will by chasing his third straight Class 6A cross country title as well.
Tyynismaa won her first Class 4A title in 2014 as an eighth grader – running the 3.1-mile course in 17:03.03 to set the all-time record for the girls’ state championships. She has not topped that mark since but did win last year with a time of 17:14.37, which ranks second best all-time. Lisa Savell of J.T. Wright holds the state record for most individual state titles with six – winning from 1977-82 in the Class 1A/2A division. Holly Holman of St. Paul’s Episcopal (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 & 1988) and Karisa Nelson of T.R. Miller (2009-2013) each have five state championships.
Stone clocked 15:46.20 last year to win the 6A individual medalist honors – the second fastest time of all 2017 class champions. He won the 6A title in 2016 with a time of 16:01.40. Only two runners in the 62-year history of the cross country championships have won three state titles. Barry Fitts of Brooks was the first, winning in 1979, 1980 and 1981. Steve Allen of Haleyville won three in a row from 1983-85.
Defending Class 7A boys’ champion Mountain Brook captured the school’s 14th state crown last year – just one behind the record of 15 held by Hoover. Class 5A Scottsboro’s boys are also going for their 13th title overall and Class 6A Homewood’s boys come in riding a six-year winning streak.
Scottsboro won the 5A girls’ title in 2017 – the school’s 21st overall. Mountain Brook holds the girls’ state record with 23. The Spartans last won in 2015.
The schedule of events Saturday:
8:30 a.m.: Class 4A Girls
8:50 a.m.: Class 3A Boys
9:10 a.m.: Class 6A Girls
9:30 a.m.: Class 4A Boys
9:50 p.m.: Class 3A Girls
10:10 a.m.: Class 6A Boys
10:30 a.m.: Class 5A Girls
10:50 a.m.: Class 1A/2A Boys
11:10 a.m.: Class 7A Girls
11:30 a.m.: Class 5A Boys
11:50 a.m.: Class 1A/2A Girls
12:10 p.m.: Class 7A Boys