MONTGOMERY – Thompson (12-1) and Central-Phenix City (13-0) each posted dramatic last-minute wins Friday night in the AHSAA Class 7A football playoff semifinals to advance to the 2018 Super 7 State Championships at Auburn Dec. 5.
The other six classes played quarterfinal rounds with four teams in each class advancing to the semifinals. All games will be played at home sites on Friday night, Nov. 30 with 7 p.m. kickoffs.
Coach Mark Freeman’s Warriors nipped Hoover 31-28 to become the first non-Hoover school reach the large-school state finals for the first time since 1999. Hoover High School appeared in the Class 6A state championship game every year from 2000 to 2017 except twice (2007 and 2015) when Spain Park represented the North. Thompson’s last state championship game appearance came in Class 3A in 1982 when the Warriors finished 14-0 to win the state title under the direction of Coach Larry Simmons, now a member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Central-Phenix City, coached by Jamey DuBose, is making its first state championship appearance since 1993. The Red Devils won the 1993 Class 6A state title over West End of Birmingham at Legion Field with Coach Wayne Trawick as head coach. Like Simmons, Trawick is also a member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Freeman (197-49) and DuBose (124-38) are not strangers to the AHSAA state finals, however. DuBose coached Prattville to Class 7A state titles in 2008 and 2011 and runner-up finish in 2009. He was an assistant Prattville’s 2004 state runner-up team and 2006 and 2007 state championship squads. Freeman coached Spanish Fort to back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013 and began his coaching at Bessemer Academy in the AISA – winning four state titles in that league and finished second twice from 1998-2007. DuBose is 53-9 in five seasons at Central with four straight trips to the semifinals. Freeman is 50-7 in four seasons at Thompson with semifinal appearances the last two years.
Among the 24 schools advancing to this week’s other semifinal games are 12 No. 1 seeds, 10 No. 2 seeds, one No. 3 seed (Class 4A Andalusia (9-4) and one No. 4 seed (Class 4A Oneonta (10-3).
At least one region in all six classes have two teams squaring off the semifinals with Region 3 foes Maplesville (12-1) vs. Linden (12-0) in Class 1A; Region 3 and Crenshaw County rivals Luverne (12-1) vs. Highland Home (12-1) in Class 2A; Region 6 teams Randolph County (12-1) and Piedmont (11-2) in Class 3A; Region 1 rivals Andalusia (9-4) and defending state champion UMS-Wright (12-0) in Class 4A; Region 5 opponents Central-Clay County (10-3) vs. Mortimer Jordan (12-1) in Class 5A; and Region 6 Jefferson County rivals Clay-Chalkville (12-1) vs. defending state champion Pinson Valley (11-1) in Class 6A.
Unbeaten teams advancing to round 4, by class, include: (Class 1A) Linden (12-0); (Class 2A) Fyffe (13-0); and (Class 4A) UMS-Wright.
Raycom Network announced its AHSAA Playoff Game of the Week early this coming week will be the Clay-Chalkville vs. Pinson Valley game. The NFHS Network produced 17 live-streamed events over its NFHS Network School Broadcast Program in Round 3 and 42 radio/internet audio broadcasts were also produced statewide by local radio and school affiliates. At least five games will be live-streamed this week over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform.
The third-round pairings:
AHSAA State Football Playoffs
(All games Nov. 30, 7 p.m. kickoff)
Maplesville (11-1) at Linden )12-0)
Pickens County (9-4) at Mars Hill Bible (12-1), Florence
Luverne (12-1) at Highland Home (12-1)
Aliceville (11-2) at Fyffe (13-0)
Providence Christian (12-1) at Flomaton (10-3)
Randolph County (12-1) at Piedmont (11-2)
Andalusia (9-4) at UMS-Wright (12-0), Mobile
Oneonta (10-3) at Deshler (8-5), Tuscumbia
Vigor (12-1) at Greenville (11-2)
Central-Clay County (10-3) at Mortimer Jordan (12-1), Kimberly
Saraland (12-1) at Wetumpka (11-2)
Clay-Chalkville (12-1) at Pinson Valley (11-1), RAYCOM Game of the Week
(Finals, Dec. 5, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn)
Central-Phenix City (13-0) vs. Thompson (12-1)
AHSAA State Football Playoffs
Maplesville 29, Lanett 6
Linden 44, St. Luke’s Episcopal 43
Mars Hill Bible 41, South Lamar 27
Pickens County 13, Spring Garden 0
Luverne 26, Leroy 7
Highland Home 28, Ariton 14
Fyffe 21, Ohatchee 13
Aliceville 38, Addison 22
Flomaton 12, Pike County 10
Providence Christian 23, Gordo 20
Piedmont 27, Westminster Christian 26
Randolph County 19, Saks 8
Andalusia 28, Hillcrest-Evergreen 21
UMS-Wright 21, American Christian 19
Oneonta 29, Good Hope 8
Deshler 20, Hokes Bluff 14
Greenville 27, Ramsay 13
Vigor 27, Demopolis 7
Central-Clay County 35, Etowah 13
Mortimer Jordan 41, Jasper 21
Saraland 24, Opelika 19
Wetumpka 21, Spanish Fort 17
Pinson Valley 48, Homewood 7
Clay-Chalkville 45, Oxford 9
Central-Phenix City 34, Lee-Montgomery 27
Thompson 31, Hoover 28
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