Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director
The issue of vaping has reached a crisis stage across the United States, and leaders in our nation’s schools must take immediate steps to stop the use of these electronic cigarette products by our nation’s youth – particularly the more than 12 million participants in high school athletics and performing arts programs.
On Tuesday, CBS News reported that Kansas health officials confirmed the first death in that state linked to vaping. The CBS News release stated that last week, officials in Indiana, California and Minnesota reported deaths in their states linked to vaping. Previous deaths had been reported in Illinois and Oregon.
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that public health officials confirmed two people in Idaho had developed a serious lung disease linked to vaping. The outbreak of vaping-related lung disease has sickened about 450 people in at least 33 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), causing the CDC to urge people to consider stopping vaping as the number of cases of severe lung illnesses continues to rise.
In February 2019, the CDC reported a 78 percent increase in high school students vaping from 2017 to 2018. Youth e-cigarette use has been called an epidemic by major public health officials.
Students in our nation’s schools have been sold a false bill of goods that vaping is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking – particularly by industry giant JUUL, which held a 76 percent share of the e-cigarette market at the end of 2018 and has wooed the youth market with its products that contain flavors such as cotton candy, chocolate, gummy bear, strawberry and many others.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving e-cigarette companies until sometime next year to demonstrate that their products can help people stop smoking cigarettes, leaders in our nation’s school activities programs must do everything possible to stop the use of these products by our nation’s youth now – not in 2020.
One educational tool that schools can use immediately is the online course “Understanding Vaping and E-Cigarettes” created by the NFHS with support from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. The free course is available on the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
Several articles related to vaping will appear in the September issue of High School Today, which will be posted this week on the NFHS website (www.NFHS.org).
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is beginning her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.
The AHSAA is proud to partner with the Jason Foundation, which works together with schools across the nation for the awareness and prevention of youth suicide.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month; Sept. 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week; and Tuesday, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.
The Jason Foundation reports that the latest CDC WISQARS National Data (2017) shows suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-14 in Alabama and third leading cause of death for ages 12-18 (middle and high-school age) and college-age youth in the state.
To learn more about recognizing risk factors or for other information, go to the Jason Foundation website found at:
http://jasonfoundation.com/ or call 615-264-2323.
Also, we want to thank University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban for providing public service videos concerning this important topic. Please feel free to use these PSAs in your school and to send out over your school’s social media platform. If your school or school system participates in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program or with any other broadcast program, please consider incorporating these videos into your school broadcast package. The link to the PSAs can be found at:
Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes at your school, especially concerning this important topic.
If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact the AHSAA office.
234 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Sept. 4 – Sept. 12
MONTGOMERY – Two Birmingham neighbors, Minor and Jackson-Olin high schools, will square off in the AHSAA TV Network’s Football Game of the Week Thursday night as the prep season moved to Week 2.
In addition, the NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream a record 234 events over the Sept. 4-Sept. 12 time period with 111 football games, 122 volleyball matches and on swim meet scheduled already.
Jackson-Olin (1-1) and Minor (0-2) will grab the spotlight Thursday night, however, as the e second installment of the AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. The Class 6A, Region 5 battle will be produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM under the direction of executive producer Vince Earley. The game will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the WOTM Network in Alabama. Tommy Wood and Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM/NFHS Network production.
Jackson-Olin’s Mustangs rolled to the school’s first perfect 10-0 regular season in 2018. Coach Tim Vakakes’ squad won the Region 5 title with a 6-0 record before losing 35-32 in the first round of 6A state playoffs to Decatur. The 10 regular-season wins surpassed the previous best established by Jackson-Olin in 1990. That team was anchored by future University of Alabama and NFL star David Palmer, who earned the state’s Mr. Football honors for that season. Leading this year’s team is Alabama commit Quandarrius Robinson, a 6foot-5, 230-pound linebacker rated among the top defensive prospects in the nation.
The Mustangs had a 12-game regular-season win streak snapped last week in a 38-12 loss to Shades Valley. Vakakes, now in his seventh season, took over a struggling program in after 2013 and has seen his team go from 1-9 the first year to last year’s 10-1 finish.
Coach Adrian Abrams is in his second season as head coach at Minor. He led the Tigers to the 6A state playoffs last season. Minor dropped a close 10-7 decision to Muscle Shoals in the first round. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Ramsay 21-18 in the 2019 season opener and fell 20-7 last week to Paul Bryant in another hard-fought game. Minor won the region title in 2016 with a perfect 6-0 mark and 11-2 overall record. Among the Tigers’ standouts is all-purpose back Jamari Jemison, a big-play man on offense in the backfield and at receiver.
Four varsity games are set for Thursday night with Wenonah vs. Woodlawn and Lee-Montgomery vs. Jeff Davis both set for the NFHS Network’s live-stream events. On Friday, 55 football varsity games are scheduled including five games in Class 1A; three in Class 2A; four in Class 3A; five in Class 4A; four in Class 5A; 18 in Class 6A; and 16 in Class 7A. Another NFHS Network record will be set Monday, Sept. 9 when 25 junior-varsity and nine freshman football games are live-streamed.
Volleyball is also setting records on the NFHS Network with 122 matches set over the weekend and early next week. Thursday’s slate is the largest ever for the AHSAA with 24 varsity matches and 22 junior-varsity matches for a total of 46 events planned by AHSAA member schools in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
Among the top matches will be Addison at Hatton, Enterprise at Auburn, John Carroll Catholic at Mountain Brook and Pelham at Brewer. The 234 total surpasses last week’s previous record-setting total (177) by 57 events.
The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 12 can be found at the following link:
A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:
For information concerning the AHSAA TV Network’s cable availability, got to the following link:
177 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Aug. 29-Sept. 5
Hueytown vs. Helena Tonight in AHSAA Game of the Week
MONTGOMERY – The NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream six varsity football games tonight, including Helena at Hueytown in the AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. The game, produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM, will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the Network in Alabama.
Hueytown (1-0) hosts Helena (1-0) in tonight’s AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. Tommy Wood and Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM/NFHS Network production.
Sixty-five varsity football games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network Friday and Saturday with 105 varsity, junior varsity, freshman and middle school games planned from tonight through next Thursday. Varsity games make up 77 of that total.
In addition, 70 varsity and junior varsity volleyball contests are scheduled to be live-streamed through Sept. 5, one cross country meet and one swim meet for a total of 177 events for the week. Schools will be live-streaming seven varsity and seven junior varsity volleyball matches tonight.
AHSAA member schools live-streamed 47 events last year during that same time span, we are seeing a whopping increase of 361%. The NFHS Network also live-streamed 55 events last week for a total of 232 events in the first two weekends of the 2019-20 school year.
The AHSAA ranked eighth nationally in the NFHS Network last school year with 2,762 events live-streamed – an average of approximately 230 events per month. With last weekend’s totals and this week’s totals, AHSAA member schools will have surpassed last year’s average by Sept. 1.
“A big reason for the amazing increase we are seeing is the NFHS Network’s push to provide schools with Pixellot cameras at a very reasonable cost,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “The special camera can be mounted permanently in a stadium or gymnasium and can video any events in those stadiums automatically. Several of our school systems took advantage of the offer and signed up all their schools.”
The NFHS Network School Broadcast Program provides excellent exposure for school programs as well as opportunities for students to participate in AHSAA events as members of the broadcast production team at each school. Schools can also generate much-needed revenue from advertising sold as well as subscriptions to the Network.
“Schools tell us the most important reason they participate in the NFHS Network’s School Broadcast Program is because it allows those who are unable to attend the games a chance to see their children and grandchildren participate,” Savarese said. “We have received testimonials from our soldiers stationed around the world and from and others who are telling us how much they appreciate this service which allows them to watch the games live. We are extremely proud of how our schools have made the NFHS Network their own.”
Among the school systems that joined the NFHS Network this summer are Mobile County and Jefferson County schools systems.
The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 5 can be found at the following link:
A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:
NFHS reports National Participation has 1st decline since 1988-89
MONTGOMERY – Participation in high school sports declined in 2018-19 for the first time in 30 years, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). However, participation in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) rose by 1.7% in 2018-19 over the previous year’s totals.
The AHSAA saw a total of 146,446 students participating on team rosters in 2018-19, an increase of 2,489 student-athletes over the 143,957 reported in 2017-18. The leader was football, which saw a 4.8% rise from (30,882 in 2017-18 to 32,366 in 2018-19 – up 1,484 students. The biggest sports percentage participation increase was reported in girls’ soccer, which rose from 5,021 to 5,434 over the two-year period, a change of 413 student-athletes and an 8.2% increase.
The NFHS, which gathers data from all 51 state associations, which includes the District of Columbia, showed the 2018-19 total of 7,937,491 participants is a decline of 43,395 from the 2017-18 school year when the number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time record high of 7,980,886. The latest year’s data was still the third-highest ever and consisted of 4,534,758 boys and 3,402,733 girls, according to the figures obtained. The last decline in sports participation numbers occurred during the 1988-89 school year.
“The AHSAA’s increase in participation is a credit to our coaches and administrators for providing an environment conducive to educational athletics resulting in programs where parents want their children involved,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are proud of our schools and believe in our mission.”
The AHSAA’s totals for 2018-19 showed 89,626 boys’ participants and 56,820 girls’ participants, up 0.6% and 3.6%, respectively, from 2017-18. Sports with the highest participation in the AHSAA were: 1. Football (32,366); 2. Baseball (14,100); 3. Boys’ Basketball (13,648); 4. Volleyball (10,310); 5. Softball (9,752); 6. Girls’ Basketball (8,559); 7. Boys’ Outdoor Track (8,317); 8. Cheer (7,885); 9. Boys’ Soccer (6,916); 10. Girls’ Outdoor Track (5,962).
The top gain in AHSAA boys’ sports came in wrestling, where 167 more student-athletes participated for an increase of 5.7%. Cheer, which instituted regional competition for the first time in 2018-19, saw a 7.9% rise with 574 more students participating. Boys’ soccer showed a 5.0% increase and girls’ indoor track had a 6.1% increase. Only two sports showed a decrease, baseball and boys’ tennis. Baseball, which ranked second in participation in both years, had a 712-student decrease resulting in a 11.4% drop in participation. Boys’ tennis saw a 3.5% decrease in numbers from 1,559 to 1,504.
“We know from recent surveys that the number of kids involved in youth sports has been declining, and a decline in the number of public school students has been predicted for a number of years, so we knew our ‘streak’ might end someday,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director addressing the national decline. “The data from this year’s survey serves as a reminder that we have to work even harder in the coming years to involve more students in these vital programs – not only athletics but performing arts programs as well.”
The biggest contributors to the decline were the two longstanding and popular sports of football and basketball. Participation in boys’ 11-player football declined by 30,829 participants to 1,006,013 – the lowest mark since 1,002,734 in the 1999-2000 school year.
Although the actual number of participants in boys’ 11-player football dropped for the fifth consecutive year nationally, the number of schools offering the sport remained steady. The survey indicated that 14,247 schools offer 11-player football – an increase of 168 from last year. A comparison of the figures from the past two years indicates that the average number of boys involved in 11-player football on a per-school basis dropped from 73 to 70, which would include freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams.
While participation in boys’ 11-player football dropped in all but seven states, participation in 6-player, 8-player and 9-player gained 156 schools and 1,594 participants nationwide, with the largest increase in boys’ 8-player football from 19,554 to 20,954. In addition, in the past 10 years, participation by girls in 11-player football has doubled – from 1,249 in the 2009-10 school year to 2,404 last year.
“The survey certainly confirms that schools are not dropping the sport of football, which is great news,” Niehoff said. “Certainly, we are concerned about the reduction in the number of boys involved in the 11-player game but are thrilled that states are finding other options by starting 6-player or 8-player football in situations where the numbers have declined.
“While we recognize that the decline in football participation is due, in part, to concerns about the risk of injury, we continue to work with our member state associations, the nation’s high schools and other groups to make the sport as safe as possible. Every state has enacted rules that limit the amount of contact before the season and during practices, and every state has concussion protocols and laws in place, so we continue to believe that the sport is as safe as it has ever been.
“We also are working with groups such as USA Football to reduce contact and teach proper tackling skills at the youth levels to increase the interest level as kids reach junior high school and high school.”
The NFHS survey showed that combined basketball participation was down 23,944 (13,340 girls and 10,604 boys), and the girls basketball total of 399,067 is the lowest since the 1992-93 school year. However, the decrease in girls’ basketball participation from 430,368 in 2016-17 to 399,067 in 2018-19 is largely attributable to a 25,000 drop in Texas during that two-year period. Dismissing the Texas numbers, girls’ basketball numbers have been steady in the range of 430,000 for the past seven years.
AHSAA basketball participation rose 1.1% from 13,386 to 13,532 for boy’ basketball and girls’ basketball rose 2.2% from 8,314 to 8,494.
Four of the top 10 boys’ sports registered increases in participation the NFHS survey reported, topped by track and field with an additional 5,257 participants. Other top 10 boys’ sports that added participants last year were soccer (2,715), wrestling (1,877) and tennis (1,163). Among girls’ top 10 sports, volleyball was the front-runner with an additional 6,225 participants, followed by soccer (3,623) and lacrosse (3,164).
The most significant increases from last year were registered in the adapted and Unified sports programs. The various adapted sports sponsored by schools across the country gained 4,102 participants, while Unified sports participation increased 2,938.
With 1,006,013 participants, 11-player football remains the No. 1 participatory sport for boys in high school by a large margin. Outdoor track and field is No. 2 with 605,354 participants, followed by basketball (540,769), baseball (482,740), soccer (459,077), cross country (269,295), wrestling (247,441), tennis (159,314), golf (143,200) and swimming/diving (136,638).
Outdoor track and field continues to lead the way for girls with 488,267 participants, followed by volleyball (452,808), basketball (399,067), soccer (394,105), fast-pitch softball (362,038), cross country (219,345), tennis (189,436), swimming/diving (173,088), competitive spirit (161,358) and lacrosse (99,750).
While some of the traditional sports such as football, basketball and baseball have remained steady and/or experienced slight declines in the past seven years, other sports have registered significant gains since 2012. Girls’ and boys’ soccer gained 70,668 participants since 2012 (a nine percent increase) and now has a combined 853,182 participants nationwide.
The top 10 states by participants remained the same in 2018-19. Texas and California topped the list again with 825,924 and 824,709 participants, respectively, followed by New York (369,266), Ohio (339,158), Illinois (333,838), Pennsylvania (316,429), Florida (308,173), Michigan (292,947), New Jersey (281,058) and Minnesota (240,487). Only Texas, California and Minnesota reported higher figures than the previous year.
The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971 through numbers it receives from its member state associations. The complete 2018-19 High School Athletics Participation Survey is available via the following link:
# # #
AHSAA Media Contact: Ron Ingram, 334-263-6994
AHSAA Director of Communications
NFHS MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
Assistant Director of Publications and Communications
25% of Calls Challenged Were Reversed in First year
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Instant Replay program designed and administered by DVSport concluded its first season last year with 23 calls reversed from 96 challenges.
The AHSAA Instant Replay will be at nine games this week to the start of the 2019 season. Among them are both contests set for the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. DVSport will be on hand for tonight’s Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgomery game which kicks off the Kickoff Classic at 7 p.m. Hoover will play Central-Phenix City Friday night at Cramton Bowl in the second game of the Kickoff Classic. Thar game begins at 7 p.m., as well. Both will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network by WOTM/Broadway Communications and live-streamed over the NFHS Network, which now manages the AHSAA TV Network.
WOTM will provide the video replay feed for both games.
“This will be similar to what we were able to do at last year’s Super 7 State Football Championships,” said AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones. “Twelve challenges were made by teams in the seven championship games with four calls overturned and one other reversal was administered based on an automatic review of a scoring play for a 38.5% reversal rate. All scoring plays and potential scoring plays were reviewed automatically by the reviewed in the championship games.”
For the year, DVSport Instant Replay was utilized by 96 different schools in 103 games for a total of 203 opportunities. The final tally showed 96 challenges and 23 calls on the field overturned – a percentage of 25.0%.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and AHSAA former Director of Officials Greg Brewer began working on implement ting Instant Replay in 2013 – when NFHS rules changed to allow the technology on the sideline for the coaches. The National Federation State High School Associations (NFHS) granted permission to the AHSAA to experiment with instant replay for a beginning with the 2018 season. The AHSAA, thanks in big part to the leadership of current Director of Officials Mark Jones, partnered with DVSport in 2018 to implement instant replay in the regular season as well as post season play. DVSport equipment is required in Alabama for instant replay.
“Our first year of the experiment exceeded our expectations,” Jones said. “It was demonstrated that instant replay can work with the limited camera angles we have available. Most games usually two camera angles: one from the sideline (press box) and the other from the end zone.”
Jones said that during the state championships, the AHSAA was able to utilize the same equipment used by Auburn University during its home games. That equipment is also provided by DVSports. That allowed a review of all scoring or potential scoring plays from the booth without requiring a challenge by either coach.
In addition to the Jeff Davis-Carver game, the Sidney Lanier at Baker and Callaway (GA) at Opelika contests will also be utilizing the DVSport Instant Replay tonight.
The complete slate of games scheduled to for DVSport Instant Replay this weekend include:
Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgoemry, Kickoff Classic, Cramton Bowl.
Sidney Lanier at Baker, Mobile
Callaway (GA) at Opelika
Hoover vs. Central-Phenix City, Kickoff Classic, Cramton Bowl.
Wilcox Central at Auburn
Hartselle at Austin
Carbon Hill at Good Hope
LaFayette at Handley
Munford at Oxford
Dothan vs. Clay-Chalkville, at Thompson HS, 3 p.m.
Davidson at Thompson, 7 p.m.
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.”
MONTGOMERY – Spain Park High School head football coach Shawn Raney will be the head coach for the Alabama All-Star football squad for the 33st annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game next December. The game will be played at Hattiesburg (MS) on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday, December, 14.
Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) made the announcement at the 2019 Kickoff Classic press conference Thursday at the AHSAA office. The AHSADCA, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) administers the all-star game each year.
Alabama lost to Mississippi 24-20 last year at Cramton Bowl but still holds a 22-10 edge in the series heading into this year’s game.
The head football coach at Spain Park High School for the last six years, Raney has compiled a 44-23 record with the Jaguars. He guided Spain Park to the 2015 Class 7A state finals before falling to McGill-Toolen 14-12. His team won the Region 3 title in 2015 a 7-0 record. As an assistant coach, Raney served as defensive coordinator for three years at Hoover, helping the Bucs win the 6A state title in 2012. Hoover reached the state finals in 2011 and 2010 finishing as state runner-up.
“I am excited and humbled to be selected to serve as head coach of the Alabama all-stars,” said Raney, who served as defensive coordinator on the 2018 Alabama All-Star coaching staff. “Not growing up in Alabama, I was truly humbled when I was asked to coach in the game for the first time in 2013, and even more humbled when Coach (Josh) Niblett asked me to be his defensive coordinator in the game last year. But to be chosen as the head coach is even more humbling.”
Alabama lost 42-7 in Hattiesburg in 2017 and Alabama won 25-14 at Cramton Bowl in 2016. The annual game, which pits the top high school senior players from Alabama and Mississippi, has been played yearly since 1988. Mississippi has won both games played in Mississippi (2015 and 2017). Alabama has a 22-8 edge in all games played in Alabama. Hoover High School’s Josh Niblett was Alabama head coach in 2018.
“Coach Raney is one of our state’s most outstanding high school head coaches,” said Lee. “The rest of the staff is also outstanding. They are already working hard on the player selection process.”
Lee also announced the coaches selected to complete the Alabama All-Star staff. Assistant coaches include Jamey DuBose, Central-Phenix City; Darrell Higgins, Mars Hill Bible; Ben Berguson, Homewood; Jon Clements, Corner; Adrian Abrams, Minor; Doug Vickery, Flomaton; Tim Vakakes, Jackson-Olin; and Brian Maner (scout coach), Spain Park.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama holds a 22-10 lead.
MONTGOMERY -- Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese announced a three-year television agreement with PlayOn Sports (POS) / NFHS Network (NFHSN) at the AHSAA’s annual Media Day and Kickoff Classic press conference held at the AHSAA office Tuesday.
PlayOn Sports will work with WOTM/Broadway Communications/Alabama Cable Network (ACN) and their cable television affiliations across the state for finals TV carriage to compliment the exclusive digital coverage on the NFHS Network (NFHSN) digital OTT platform.
WOTM will be producing both games in the Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl August 22-23 as part of that agreement. WOTM will provide the live digital streaming to the subscriber-based NFHS Network and will provide live television coverage over many of the state’s cable network carriers – including major affiliates Charter, Comcast, Cable One, ATT U-verse and Anniston/Oxford area, TV affiliate WEAC TV 24. In Montgomery, the games will be shown on Charter Cable’s channel 80 (ACN). WOTM broadcast live the AHSAA Media Day and Kickoff Classic press conference Tuesday.
In addition to the Kickoff Classic’s Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgomery game Thursday night and the Central-Phenix City vs. Hoover game set for Friday night, WOTM will also produce the AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships, the AHSAA State Basketball Finals, the AHSAA Game of the Week each Thursday during the regular season and the AHSAA Playoff Game of the Week during the four playoff rounds leading up to finals.
WOTM will also produce for the AHSAA TV Network the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game; Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Games; the AHSAA State Softball and Baseball Finals; and the State Cheerleading Finals. The Network will also produce a weekly “Inside the AHSAA’’ 30-minute TV program to be shown over its network of cable stations and the NFHS Network beginning in September.
The agreement solidifies the AHSAA broadcast package that includes the digital live-streaming partnership with PlayOn! Sports and the NFHS TV Network. The Network has been streaming AHSAA Tier 2 events as well as the Tier 1 Super 7 football championships and AHSAA State Basketball semifinals and finals.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with PlayOn Sports, the NFHS Network and WOTM,” said Savarese. “This partnership is important to us and will take us into the next decade with one of the best broadcast packages anywhere. WOTM and (ACN) in Alabama is included on many of the state’s cable affiliates and covers much of the state. The NFHS Network will continue to provide outstanding programming via live-streaming. This partnership will no doubt provide enormous exposure of AHSAA championship events for our member schools and help promote our message of education-based athletics.”
WOTM/Broadway Communications president Vincent Earley said the company is proud of its relationship with the AHSAA.
“We are an Alabama company and look forward to working hand-in-hand with the AHSAA and PlayOn Sports/NFHS Network to bring such outstanding sports events to viewers,” Earley said.
“We believe in the AHSAA mission and purpose and we believe in the young men and women in Alabama’s high schools who are working daily to make themselves better students and better athletes. We are also looking forward to recognizing the administrators, teachers, coaches and communities that are making such a positive difference in the lives of these students. We look forward to working with the AHSAA and NFHS Network in building a relationship that will benefit our schools and citizens.”
The AHSAA has been a member of the NFHS Network since 2013. More than 100 member schools are part of the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
WOTM’s network of cable affiliates for the Kickoff Classic is detailed in the accompanying chart.
MIDLAND CITY -- The preparedness of Dale County High School head football coach Don Moore and his football coaching staff and their quick action in implementing the school’s emergency action plan saved a student-athlete’s life Tuesday morning, said Dale County High School Superintendent of Schools Ben Baker Tuesday afternoon.
Baker said he is so thankful for all the training concerning health and safety provided by the AHSAA for its member schools and is thankful that schools are required to have emergency action plans in place. He is even more thankful that his football coaching staff paid attention in those professional development training sessions and had practiced their emergency action plan often.
Baker described what took place.
“This morning about approximately 7:15 a.m., they had just gotten started about 10 minutes earlier, the team was doing some defensive drills, running some patterns, when a 15-year old student-athlete collapsed,” Baker said. “It was a cardiac arrest. The coaches immediately implemented their emergency action plan, each knowing their responsibilities. The coach responsible for dialing 911 did that. The coach responsible for administering CPR immediately started CPR. The coach responsible for getting the Automated External Defibrillator ran and got the AED. The coach responsible for going out to the road to meet the ambulance did that.
“The coaches continued administering CPR until the AED arrived. They then shocked the child, then shocked him again. On the second shock from the AED, the child began to gasp for breath and got back in rhythm.”
He said the ambulance arrived and the paramedics took the child to Flowers Hospital in Dothan. He was later flown to UAB as a precaution and to try and figure out what happened. The student-athlete’s named had not been released late Tuesday afternoon.
“The young man is not out of the woods, so we want to keep him and his family in our prayers and definitely want to take care of their needs, but I am so proud of the coaching staff at Dale County High School. The big story first and foremost is that the child is alive. But it is important to point out that the emergency action plan the AHSAA mandates and we do as a local school system works. We train and prepare and we train and prepare, but today we implemented it and because those coaches were trained and prepared, they saved the life of a child. “
He also praised the ability of the coaching staff to remain calm in the emergency situation. “Because they didn’t panic, they were able to do what they have been trained to do.”
Baker urges other schools across the state and nation to take note about just how vital having a plan in place, having an AED available and having the staff trained can be to the survival.
“I know that schools may not have AEDs, but they need to get them regardless of the cost. They need to find a way,” Baker said. “And they need them where they can get to them quickly. You’ve got to have one at the field house, one at the gym, one at the field, and one at the baseball stadium … regardless of the cost.”
He said Dale County Schools implemented a plan a few years go to put AEDs in the schools like fire extinguishers.
“We put them on the walls all over our campuses. We’re not satisfied with just one in the nurse’s station. We want them at all facilities because it proved today that it can save a life. I know it is expensive but a child’s life is worth every dime. The physician told us without the AED and CPR, the chances of survival were unlikely. However, each coach knew what they were supposed to do and they did it. Why? Because they practiced it.”
Hours later, Baker was still praising his coaches’ alert actions. Ironically, the school system had already had a professional development time planned for Tuesday.
“We just finished that professional development where we met with our local physician and met with Encore, which provides our local trainers,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “Coach Don Moore and staff were there. I gave them the opportunity to speak and of course they were choked up because the ordeal was very emotional. Coach Moore is a great leader of men. He praised the actions of all his coaches. They were prepared, they had a plan, they implemented that plan.”
He reiterated that people need to hear this story because the coaches in Alabama and all across the nation need to understand it could happen to them at them.
“We want to get that message out not just to celebrate that the child is okay, but to let everybody know that you better have a plan, and you better be ready to execute it. You can’t just have a plan on paper. A plan on a shelf is useless. You’ve got to practice it,” he said.
“We are also so thankful for our partnership with Encore because they have helped us with that. Just this week and the latter part of last week we put coaches on buses and went to our different venues and practiced our plan. We knew this day may be coming and we are just so thankful our coaches were ready … and a life was saved.”
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