Monday, September 23, 2019






14th Annual AHSAA Kickoff Classic Set to Kick Off 2019 Season at Cramton Bowl Thursday and Friday

            MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, including two teams ranked in the Sporting News National Top 25 pre-season rankings and two teams that make up one of Alabama’s biggest high school rivalries, will officially kick off the 2019 high school football season Thursday and Friday at Cramton Bowl in the 2019 AHSAA Kickoff Classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
               The head coaches and selected players gathered at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Tuesday for the Kickoff Classic press conference. Media on hand came in early for the annual AHSAA Media Day. The two events were broadcast live by WOTM over its new AHSAA TV Network or cable affiliates and live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
           Jeff Davis and Carver-Montgomery will play Thursday night in game one at Cramton Bowl at 7 p.m., in the 51st contest of a city rivalry that dates back to 1970. Defending Class 7A state champion Central-Tuscaloosa and Hoover, winners of six state championships since 2008 including the 7A crowns in 2016 and 17, meet Friday night in the second game of the Football Classic. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Both games will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network – thanks to a new TV pact announced at Tuesday’s Media Day between the AHSAA, the NFHS Network and WOTM/Broadway Communications. The games will be shown over a network pf cable affiliates and live-streamed over the subscriber-based NFHS Network.
      The Vols of Coach Lee Carter and Wolverines of Coach James Thompson have opened the season with each other most years. Jeff Davis holds a 36-14 edge in the series after opening with 18 straight wins from 1970 to 1988. Since then, the Vols have held a slim 18-14 edge with Carver winning 10 of the last 13 games.  Carver finished last season 8-3 in Thompson’s first season as head coach. Jeff Davis was 3-7 but won its last two games – a positive finish heading into the off-season.
        Central and Hoover have played twice, including meeting in the 2016 Champions Challenge – the previous name of the Kickoff Classic. The Bucs won that contest 23-7 and hold a 2-0 edge in the series. However, Central is coming off a perfect 14-0 season and a dominating playoff run that included two shutout wins and culminated with a 52-7 thrashing of highly touted Thompson in the finals. The Warriors opened the 2018 season beating James Clemens 38-7 in last year’s Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl.
       Their dominance caught Hoover Coach Josh Niblett’s attention. “There’s got to be a greater cause when you are out there working every day in 95 to 96-degree weather. You’ve got to be working for something greater than yourself,” Niblett said. “When you open with the defending 7A state champions you get our oil checked pretty fast.”
      Central Coach Jamey DuBose said his team is honored to play a program with the reputation of Hoover. “What Coach Niblett and his program and teams have has accomplished is just unbelievable,” he said. “You can talk about defending champs, and such, but we have a motto around out place about putting the rings away. It’s not about what you have done in the past but what you are going to do. This is a different team but they have the same dream. You have got to play the best if you are ever going to be the best.”

     The media also heard from coaches from other fall sports including cross country coach Luke Robinson of Scottsboro High School, volleyball coach Elissa Morris of Brewbaker Tech High School, swimming coach Anthony Norris of LAMP High School, football coach Don Moore of Dale County High School and football coach Shawn Raney of Spain Park High School. Raney was introduced as the 2019 Alabama All-Star head coach for next December’s 33rd Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Moore explained the importance of having an emergency action plan in place and being prepared to put into action. He and his coaching staff did just that on August 6 when one of the Warriors’ players had a cardiac arrest and the coaches’ quick actions revived him and saved his life. “That young man was back at practice last Wednesday,” said Brooks. “Having him return to watch us practice really put what’s really important into perspective.”

Comments are closed.