Tuesday, October 22, 2019






Prep Football Squads Announced For 59th North-South All-Star Game

MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the upcoming 58th AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game have been selected. The two teams comprised of 2018 graduating seniors were announced by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Tuesday.
      The North-South Game will be played Thursday, July 19 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. The annual game will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast by the AHSAA Radio Network.
  The South holds a 30-26-2 edge in the North-South. The North won 14-13 last July, its third straight victory in the series which was first played in 1948. The North won that first game played in Tuscaloosa 33-0.
      Head coach for the South is Montgomery Catholic High School Coach Aubrey Blackwell. The North head coach is Locust Fork’s Chris Musso.
     Blackwell has led the Knights to a 22-11 record over his three seasons as head coach. Last year’s team finished 10-2, won the school’s first region title and first playoff game since 1989.  Musso, beginning his sixth season as head coach at Locust Fork, has compiled a 53-52 career record in 10 seasons – the first five at John Carroll (23-29) and the last five at Locust Fork (30-23). The Hornets have made the state playoffs three of the last four years.
     Musso’s North coaching staff includes Tom Causey, Pelham; Drew Gilmer, Clay-Chalkville; Ryan Lolley, Gordo; Mark Sanderson, Donoho; Matt Griffith, Sylacauga; and James Thompson, Pickens County. Blackwell’s South staff consists of Jon Cooper, Kinston; Josh McClendon, Greenville; Kenny King, Daphne; Erik Speakman, Opelika; Kevin Smith, Benjamin Russell; and Andro Williams, W.S. Neal.
      Eight players who helped their teams play in state championship games last December have been selected to play in the 2018 game. Named to the South squad are quarterback Swift Lyle of Class 5A state champion St. Paul’s Episcopal and linebacker Shamar Lewis of Class 1A state champion Sweet Water. Defensive back Eric Cameron-Garror and running back Bryan Hill of Class 7A runner-up McGill-Toolen Catholic and offensive lineman Tavien White of Class 6A runner-up Wetumpka are also on the South squad.
      Goshen, which reached the Class 2A semifinals and finished with 12 wins for the first time in school history, is the only team to place three seniors on the South squad. Selected are quarterback Brock Snyder; wide receiver Zack Alford; and defensive lineman Devin Bell.
Headlining the North squad is defensive lineman Khamari Brown of Class 7A state champion Hoover, defensive lineman Desmond Scott and wide receiver Liallen Dailey of Class 6A state champion Pinson Valley. Leeds and Thompson have three players each selected. Green Wave seniors include kicker Greg Dawkins; offensive lineman Gage Towery; and defensive back Jaylen Washington. Chosen from the Class 7A Warriors (12-1) are defensive back Myles Brown, wide receiver Tim Harris-Edwards; and defensive lineman Mackie McNeal.

    The AHSADCA, which operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), will also host all-star games in baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ cross country during the All-Star Week.
      The rosters are attached.

AHSADCA Football Lunch & Learn To Feature Prominent High School Coaches

  MONTGOMERY – Four outstanding high school football coaches among the ranks of the AHSAA will be the keynote clinicians at the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Lunch and Learn Mini-Clinic Friday, March 9, at the AHSAA Office.
  Thompson head football coach Mark Freeman will open the mini-clinic at 9 a.m., discussing Thompson High School’s offensive philosophy. He will be followed in Session 2 by Bob Jones head coach Kevin Rose, who will address his staff’s coaching philosophy.
   After lunch, Hillcrest-Evergreen head coach Clint Smith will discuss “Building a Championship Program from the Ground Up,” explaining how he took a team that finished 4-7 in 2014 and in just three years led them to a 14-1 season and Class 3A state championship.
   Hoover High School’s Josh Niblett, one of the most sought after high school coach clinicians in the nation, will close out the day discussing “Hoover High School Football.”
    High school and middle school coaches can still register for the Lunch & Learn by going to http://www.ahsaa.com/Coaches-ADs/Lunch-Learns/Lunch-Learn-Registration

    Registration online is $30.00.

Vestavia Hills Coach Buddy Anderson Headlines 2018 Class of National High School Hall of Fame

MONTGOMERY — Buddy Anderson, the AHSAA’s career football-coaching wins leader, headlines the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame administered by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
          Anderson joins a class of 12 that includes  Tom Osborne, the 1955 Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year who later led the University of Nebraska to three national football championships in 25 years as the school’s coach; and  Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump as a high school athlete in Oregon when he developed a technique that became known as the “Fosbury Flop” were selected as athletes in Class of 2018.
       Vestavia Hills’ legendary coach, one of five coaches selected, will be beginning his 41st year as the Rebels’ head football coach next fall. His overall 329-146 coaching record ranks is the most wins of any high school football coach in state history.
       A strong man of faith and character, he guided the Rebels to state football titles in 1980 and 1998. His teams have compiled a 47-28 playoff record in 29 appearances. He had a stretch from 1993 to 2004 with 12 straight playoff appearances and his teams have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years just once since 1984. Anderson and his father Dovey Anderson became the first father-son coaching tandem to be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Dovey, who spent his entire coaching career at Thomasville High School, was inducted into the charter class in 1991. Buddy, who has spent his entire coaching career at Vestavia Hills, was inducted in 2003.
    “Buddy Anderson is an outstanding football coach, but more importantly, he is a role model all coaches can emulate. His influence as a teacher and coach will have a positive impact for student-athletes and coaches in this state for many years to come,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Buddy is just the fourth coach from our state to be selected for induction into this prestigious hall of fame. Through his strong commitment to faith and character, he exemplifies all the right lessons that participation in educational-based athletics can teach. ”

    The Class of 2018 will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The 36th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
     Anderson will become the fourth high school coach from the state and 12th Alabamian to be enshrined. Others include: former AHSAA Executive Directors Cliff Harper (1987), Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1990) and Dan Washburn (2011); coaches Glenn Daniel (1999); Wallace Guy O’Brien (1992) and Jim Tate (2013);  athletes Bart Starr (1989), Pat Sullivan (2012) and Ozzie Newsome (2014); and contest officials Dan Gaylord (1988) and Sam Short (2007).  Two other athletes, Olympic Gold Medal track stars Jesse Owens and Harrison Dillard, were born in Alabama and both moved as youngsters to Cleveland (Ohio) and attended the same high school in that state.
       Osborne was a three-sport standout (football, basketball, track and field) at Hastings (Nebraska)    football history. Fosbury developed the upside-down, back-layout leap known as the Fosbury Flop at Medford (Oregon) High School and later perfected it by winning the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

The other outstanding coaches selected for the 2018 class, include Miller Bugliari, the all-time leader nationally in boys soccer coaching victories with a 850-116-75 record in 58 years at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Dorothy Gaters, the Illinois state leader with 1,106 career victories in 42 years as girls basketball coach at John Marshall High School in Chicago who won her ninth Illinois High School Association state title last weekend.

Other coaches who will be honored this year are Jeff Meister, girls and boys swimming coach at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, who has led his teams to a combined 34 Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships; and Bill O’Neil, who retired last year after winning almost 1,300 games as the boys ice hockey, girls soccer and girls softball coach at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Other former high school athletes chosen for the 2018 class are Nicole Powell, one of Arizona’s top all-time girls basketball players during her days at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix who later excelled at Stanford University and in the WNBA, and Carrie Tollefson, who won five state cross country championships and eight individual track titles at Dawson-Boyd High School in Dawson, Minnesota, before winning individual and team NCAA titles while competing at Villanova University and qualifying for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.

The other three members of the 2018 class are Roger Barr, who retired in 2015 after a 43-year career in high school officiating in Iowa, including the final 13 years as director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association; Dick Neal, who retired in 2013 after a 34-year career as executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association; and Bill Zurkey, who retired in 2012 after an outstanding 35-year career as a choral director in three Ohio schools, including the final 25 years at Avon Lake High School.

These four athletes, five coaches, one contest official, one administrator and one performing arts director will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The 36th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.

            The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and performing arts programs. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 470.

            The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.

            Following is biographical information on the 12 individuals in the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.




            Buddy Anderson is Alabama’s all-time winningest football coach – at any level. Not only is he the top high school football coach with 329 victories in 40 years at Vestavia Hills High School, he has more wins than college coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant (323), Nick Saban (216), Ralph “Shug” Jordan (176) and Pat Dye (153). Anderson’s teams have won 16 area and region championships and made 30 state playoff appearances, including state championships in 1980 and 1998, when his team finished 15-0 and was ranked nationally. Despite the demands of being a head football coach, Anderson has also served as the school’s athletic director for 40 years, and the school’s teams have won 66 state championships during his tenure, including 14 state wrestling titles and nine state baseball championships. Anderson was selected Alabama Coach of the Year three times, and he was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

            Miller Bugliari is an icon at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where he has been the school’s boys soccer coach since 1960. The 82-year-old Bugliari has amassed a national record 850 victories and led his teams to 26 Prep A and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association state championships. His teams have registered 20 undefeated seasons and won 27 county championships. Bugliari has been named New Jersey State Coach of the Year seven times, and he has earned four National Coach of the Year awards. He is a former president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was inducted into the NSCAA Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. Bugliari was a teacher in the Science Department at Pingry for many years and now is Special Assistant to the Headmaster.

            Dorothy Gaters is the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) career leader in basketball coaching victories – for both boys and girls. After completing a 22-7 season at John Marshall High School in Chicago last weekend and winning her ninth IHSA state girls basketball championship, Gaters’ record stands at 1,106-198. Her teams won the Class AA title in 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1999, and the Class 3A title in 2008. Gaters’ teams at John Marshall have finished second three other times and third on six other occasions. During her 42-year career at John Marshall, her teams have won 24 Chicago Public Schools championships and qualified for the IHSA state finals 26 times. Gaters was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996 and the prestigious Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. She was selected as a coach for the Junior Olympic team in 2000 and the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2011. 

            Jeff Meister has become one of the top swimming coaches in the nation during the past 30 years at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Taking over the Punahou swimming program in 1988, Meister has led the boys and girls teams to 34 Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) state championships – 16 boys and 18 girls – including 2018 titles for both squads last month. Although the Punahou program had enjoyed success in swimming prior to Meister’s arrival (47 all-time boys state titles, 51 all-time girls state titles), he has taken the program to another level and is the winningest high school swimming coach in state history. Meister’s teams have won 34 Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) championships, and he has been named ILH Coach of the Year 24 times. Meister has also served as the school’s athletic director for nine years after 11 years as associate athletic director. In addition, he has served as HHSAA State Track and Field Coordinator for 14 years and State Swimming Coordinator for eight years. Meister is currently serving a term on the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee.

            Bill O’Neil was one of the top multi-sport coaches in Vermont history – and perhaps nationally – during his 45-year coaching career at Essex High School. O’Neil compiled a 396-176-52 record in 37 years (1979-2015) as girls soccer coach, a 636-292-33 record in 44 years (1973-2017) as the boys ice hockey coach and a 261-124 record in 22 years (1979, 1992-2012) as the girls softball coach. This rather unique girls-and-boys sport combination yielded an overall record of 1,293-592-32, which is almost 2,000 varsity games coached at Essex. O’Neil led his various teams to 24 Vermont Principals’ Association state championships – 14 in hockey, six in girls soccer and four in girls softball. He has received numerous coach-of-the-year awards in all three sports. Though he has retired from his coaching duties, O’Neil continues to serve as an English teacher at Essex High School, which he has done since joining the faculty in 1965.




               Dick Fosbury revolutionized the high jump when, as a sophomore at Medford (Oregon) High School in 1963, he used his new technique which became known as the Fosbury Flop. The upside-down, back-layout style became the standard as all records around the world have been established by athletes using the Fosbury Flop. Using his new method, Fosbury improved his jumps from 5-4 as a sophomore to 6-5½ as a senior and placed second in the state meet. He continued to perfect the “Flop” at Oregon State University, where he claimed the NCAA high jump title in 1968 with a 7-2¼ effort. That same year, Fosbury won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City with a 7-4¼ jump, which broke both the Olympic and American records. Fosbury was named to the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. He retired in 2011 after 30 years as a civil engineer in Idaho, but he continues to coach athletes at Dick Fosbury Track Camps in Maine and Idaho. 

            Tom Osborne was one of Nebraska’s top high school athletes during his days at Hastings High School from 1951 to 1955. He was the starting quarterback on the football team and helped the basketball team to the Class A state championship in 1954. In track and field, Osborne was state champion in the discus and runner-up in the 440-yard dash. In addition, he played American Legion baseball and helped his 1954 team to a second-place finish in the state tournament as a third baseman and pitcher. Osborne earned all-state honors in basketball and football and was named Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year in 1955. After an outstanding career at Hastings College and a few years in the National Football League, Osborne began his college coaching career. In 25 years as football coach at the University of Nebraska, Osborne compiled a 255-49-3 record, with 25 consecutive bowl appearances, 13 conference titles and three national championships. Following his coaching career, Osborne was elected to the U.S. Congress, and then returned to Lincoln in 2007 to serve as the Nebraska athletic director for five years.

            Nicole Powell was one of the top basketball players in Arizona history during her four years (1996-2000) at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. She collected 1,820 rebounds (eighth all-time nationally) and scored 2,486 points – second highest in state history. She helped her teams to three second-place finishes in the Arizona Interscholastic Association state tournament. As a senior, Powell also won the state discus event in track and field and the singles state title in badminton, and she also participated in tennis and cross country. Powell continued to excel at the next level, leading Stanford University to four Pacific-10 Conference basketball titles. She averaged more than 17 points and almost 10 rebounds per game and was named Pac-10 Player of the Year two times. Powell was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2004 WNBA draft and played 11 seasons with five teams. After her playing career ended, Powell became assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Oregon before being named head women’s basketball coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix in April 2017.

            Carrie Tollefson won five Minnesota State High School League state cross country championships at Dawson-Boyd High School from 1990 to 1994, including the first as an eighth-grader. She also won eight individual track and field titles in the 1600 and 3200 meters, and she set a state record in the 3200 meters in 1994 with a time of 10:30.28. Tollefson’s 13 individual titles in cross country and track are the most ever in the state. Tollefson’s dominance continued at Villanova University, where she won five individual NCAA titles – the indoor and outdoor 3K, the outdoor 5K and two cross country titles – and helped her team to the 1999 NCAA team championship. She was a 10-time All-American and the 1998 NCAA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. Tollefson made the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and participated in the 1500 meters in Athens, Greece. Since her competitive days concluded, Tollefson has conducted distance running camps and served as a motivational speaker and clinic presenter, and she hosts a weekly online show on running and fitness entitled “C Tolle Run.” 



            Roger Barr devoted 43 years of his life to the avocation of officiating – first as a high school football, basketball and baseball official in Iowa for 30 years, followed by 13 years as director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).  Barr was one of the top-rated officials in all three sports throughout his career, which earned him numerous playoff assignments. In football, Barr officiated 30 state tournaments, including 10 championship games. In baseball, he worked 26 state tournaments, including 24 championship contests. And in basketball, he officiated 26 state boys tournaments and 27 state girls tournaments, which included a total of 22 championship games. Barr conducted rules interpretation meetings in all three sports throughout the state during his officiating days, and in 2003, he joined the IHSAA staff as director of officials. He conducted rules meetings and clinics for the IHSAA for 13 years before retiring in December 2015.



Dick Neal retired in 2013 after 34 years as executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). At the time of his retirement, Neal was the longest-tenured active director of a state high school association. He also served as chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA) for 34 years. During his tenure as MIAA executive director, Neal was responsible for initiating the effort to increase leadership of both women and minorities in high school sports in Massachusetts, and he wrote and recommended the amendment that created the MIAA Standing Committee on Sportsmanship, Integrity and Ethics. Neal served a term on the NFHS Executive Committee from 1989 to 1992 and was vice president during his final year. He also served as a member of the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee and director of the NFHS Fund Administrators Association. Neal previously received the NFHS Citation and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Distinguished Service Award.




            Bill Zurkey had a profound impact on thousands of young people during his career as a choral music director at three Ohio high schools. After 10 years at Toledo DeVilbiss High School and Vermillion High School, Zurkey moved to Avon Lake High School in 1987 to rejuvenate a music program that was spiraling downward. In a short time, Zurkey expanded the choral program from less than 100 singers to more than 400. His squads won Ohio Music Education Association superior ratings for 20 years. Despite his full load of music classes, including teaching AP Music Theory and serving as chair of the Fine Arts Department, Zurkey was the eighth-grade football coach for 24 years, as he helped build a program which led to Avon Lake High School winning the Ohio High School Athletic Association state football title in 2003. Since his retirement in 2012, Zurkey has been a teacher at Cleveland State University and is in his sixth year as director of the Cleveland Pops Chorus. Zurkey is the 13th individual to be inducted in the Performing Arts category in the National High School Hall of Fame.

High School Football Players with Improper Equipment Will Be Removed for One Down

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Contact: Bob Colgate

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 8, 2018) — Players in high school football who are detected with missing or improperly worn equipment during playing action will be removed from the game for at least one down, unless the improper equipment is directly attributable to a foul by the opponent.

This revision in Rule 1-5-5 and other related rules was one of five rules changes for the 2018 season recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its January 19-21 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 1-5-5 also states that if the player is wearing otherwise legal equipment in an illegal manner, the participant must also be replaced for one down. If proper and legal equipment has become improperly worn through use during the game, and prompt repair does not delay the ready-for-play signal for more than 25 seconds, the repair can be made without replacing the player for one down.

In a related change (1-5-4), the head coach is responsible for verifying that all players are legally equipped and will not use illegal equipment. The penalty provisions for any use of illegal equipment remain unchanged and result in an unsportsmanlike foul charged to the head coach.

“I commend the entire football rules committee for its thoroughness and focus on the state of the game of football,” said Todd Tharp, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “The committee recognizes that the state of high school football focuses on risk minimization and the responsibility that coaches, players and game officials play in continuing to protect our student-athletes. By emphasizing that the coach is ultimately responsible for assuring his players are using legal equipment by issuing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for violations and that players will be removed for using legal equipment in an illegal manner, the committee continues to focus on minimizing risk for all players.”

The second rules change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee provides another option for teams in Rule 6-1-9 on fouls committed by the kicking team during free kicks and scrimmage kicks. Now, the receiving team can accept a 5-yard penalty from the succeeding spot. The previous three options remain: accept a 5-yard penalty from the previous spot and have the kicking team re-kick, put the ball in play at the inbounds spot 25 yards beyond the previous spot, or decline the penalty and put the ball in play at the inbounds spot.

Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and liaison to the NFHS Football Rules Committee, said this additional option was approved by the committee in an effort to reduce re-kicks, further minimize risks and ensure that appropriate penalties are in place for all fouls.

“The ability to ‘tack on’ penalty yardage on free kicks will potentially reduce the amount of repeated free kicks,” Tharp said. “In addition, this rule change is consistent with NFHS rules that no foul should go unpenalized.”

The third change approved by the committee was a revision related to the examples of a defenseless player. In Rule 2-32-16a, the committee clarified that defenseless player provisions do not apply to a passer until a legal forward pass is thrown. The passer continues to be a defenseless player until the pass ends or the passer moves to participate in the play.

The committee also changed the signal for free-kick infractions, other than encroachment of the neutral zone, from Signal 18 to Signal 19.

The final change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee concerned six-player football in Rule 3. The timing rule between periods and intermission for six-player football has been standardized to match the current NFHS rules for 8-player, 9-player and 11-player football.

A complete listing of the football rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Football.”

Austin’s Asa Martin named 2017 Mr. Football by Alabama Sports Writers Association

MONTGOMERY — Austin’s Asa Martin was named the 36th recipient of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Mr. Football Award Tuesday at the ASWA’s annual Player of the Year Awards luncheon, presented by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association. The luncheon was held at the Renaissance Hotel at the Convention Center in Montgomery.

Martin, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior running back, rushed for 2,228 yards this season on 198 carries with 33 touchdowns, while adding two more scores and 399 yards on 20 receptions. The Black Bears went 12-1 on the year before losing 51-50 in the quarterfinals in overtime to eventual state champion Pinson Valley. Martin also rushed for more than 1,300 yards as a sophomore at Austin, but attended school out of state as a junior.  Martin graduated in December and is attending Auburn.

Martin, who was also named the ASWA’s Class 6A Back of the Year for 2017, finished with 170 points and 10 first-place votes in ballots cast by the ASWA’s prep committee, while Pinson Valley quarterback junior Bo Nix was second with 144 points. Thompson quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, selected Class 7A Back of the Year, was third with 143. Both Nix and Tagovailoa had one first-place vote, while Central-Phenix City wide receiver Justin Ross — who finished fourth with 111 points — had two firsts. Beaureguard’s La’Damian Webb, the 2016 Mr. Football, and 2017 Class 5A Back of the Year, was seventh with 64 points, behind Park Crossing’s Tank Jenkins (66) and Thompson’s Ahmad Edwards (65). All were named to the ASWA Super 12. Rounding out the Top 12 were offensive lineman Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville; running back Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s Episcopal; offensive lineman Clay Webb, Oxford; quarterback/defensive back Cardavion Myers, Piedmont; and quarterback J.D. Martin, Wetumpka.

In winning the Mr. Football, Martin becomes the fifth running back to win the award in the last seven years and second player from North Alabama in four years, joining Kerryon Johnson of Madison Academy in 2014. He is the first player from the Decatur area to win the award.

ASWA 2017 Back and Lineman of the Year Recipients
Class 7A
Back of the Year:
Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson, quarterback
Lineman of the Year:
Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville, offensive lineman
Class 6A
Back of the Year:
Asa Martin, Austin, running back
Lineman of the Year: Marcus Jenkins, Park Crossing, defensive lineman
Class 5A
Back of the Year:
La’Damian Webb, Beauregard, running back
Lineman of the Year: Malik Langham, Lee-Huntsville, defensive lineman
Class 4A
Back of the Year:
Symon Smith, UMS-Wright, running back
Lineman of the Year: Caleb Storie, Rogers, linebacker
Class 3A
Back of the Year:
Cardavion Myers, Piedmont, quarterback/defensive back
Lineman of the Year: Andres Fox, Mobile Christian, defensive lineman
Class 2A
Back of the Year:
Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s Episcopal, running back/quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Baraskious Dowdell, Lanett, defensive lineman
Class 1A
Back of the Year:
Shamar Lewis, Sweet Water, running back
Lineman of the Year: Devin March, Houston County, defensive lineman
Back of the Year:
Griffin McKenzie, Monroe Academy, quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Trace Ott, Autauga Academy, offensive lineman

ASWA Mr. Football Award
Recipients by year
2017 Asa Martin, Austin, running back
La'Damian Webb, Beauregard, running back
Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort, quarterback
2014 Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy, running back
2013 Racean “Roc” Thomas, Oxford, running back
2012 Jeremy Johnson, Carver-Montgomery, quarterback
2011 T.J. Yeldon, Daphne, running back
2010 Jamal Golden, Wetumpka, quarterback
2009 Coty Blanchard, Cherokee County, quarterback
2008 Clint Moseley, Leroy, quarterback
2007 Julio Jones, Foley, wide receiver
2006 Larry Smith, Prattville, quarterback
2005 Andre Smith, Huffman, offensive lineman
2004 Jarod Bryant, Hoover, quarterback
2003 Chris Nickson, Pike County, quarterback
2002 JaMarcus Russell, Williamson, quarterback
2001 Brandon Cox, Hewitt-Trussville, quarterback
2000 Carnell Williams, Etowah, running back
1999 Cory Whisenant, Springville, running back
1998 DeMarco McNeil, Blount, defensive lineman
1997 Mac Campbell, Alexandria, running back
1996 Antoneyo Williams, Central-Tuscaloosa, running back
1995 Gorman Thornton, Jeff Davis, tight end
1994 Dawud Rasheed, Shades Valley, running back
1993 Thomas Banks, West Jefferson, running back
1992 Freddie Kitchens, Etowah, quarterback
1991 Robert Davis, Homewood, running back
1990 David Palmer, Jackson-Olin, running back/wide receiver
1989 Steven Coleman, Pike County, running back
1988 Darrell Williams, Vigor, running back
1987 Robert Jones, Parker, running back
1986 Larry Ware, Lee-Montgomery, running back
1985 Pierre Goode, Hazlewood, running back
1984 Roderick Green, Gardendale, wide receiver
1983 Freddie Weygand, Emma Sansom, wide receiver
1982 Tommy Compton, Vigor, quarterback

Mississippi Downs Alabama 42-7 to Claim 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic

    HATTIESBURG (MS) – Mississippi’s All-Stars scored 35 unanswered points in the second half Saturday to beat Alabama 42-7 in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game here at the University of Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium.
     With the loss, Alabama’s record in the series dropped to 22-9 overall and 0-2 in games played at Hattiesburg. Alabama won last year’s game at Cramton Bowl 25-14 and is 5-0 in games played at Montgomery since the classic was moved from Mobile in 2011. The 42 points is the most scored by Mississippi in the series and the most since beating Alabama 38-9 in 1995. Alabama’s biggest margin of victory (51-14) came in 2007.
    Alabama, coached by Steve Smith of Piedmont, started off strong, scoring on its first possession when Wetumpka’s Kavosiey Smoke scored from the 1 to cap a seven-play, 76-yard march – highlighted by Smoke’s 42-yard run. Evan McPherson of Fort Payne booted the extra point and the visitors led 7-0 with 7:03 left in the first period.
   McPherson followed with a successful onside kick recovered by Ramsay’s Starling Thomas, but a 15-yard penalty foiled Alabama’s opportunity.
    Mississippi, coached by Lance Mancuso of Jefferson Davis County, tied the game at 3:43 in the quarter following an Alabama fumble at its own 24-yard line, and Kenneth Gainwell of Yazoo County raced 24 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Brandon kicker Scott Goodman’s kick tied the game at 7-7.
   Both teams sputtered at times in the second quarter – with Alabama missing on a 51-yard field goal and Mississippi’s 48-yard field-goal try on the last play of the first half coming up a few yards short.
   Mississippi took control in the third quarter scoring three touchdowns as Alabama’s offense continued to sputter and a tiring defense that spent too much time on the field.
   Quarterback Patrick Shegog of South Panola put Mississippi ahead for good early in the third period with a 3-yard touchdown run. Marcus Murphy of West Point scored from the 2-yard line three minutes later taking advantage of Pearl defensive back Tylan Knight’s interception of Alabama quarterback James Foster’s pass at the 26-yard line as Mississippi took a 21-7 lead. Gainwell scored his second touchdown of the third quarter with 1:32 left in in the period with a 12-yard run.
    Gainwell, who finished with 56 yards rushing on nine carries to earn co-MVP honors for Mississippi with Knight, added his third touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run.  Murphy, who rushed for a game-high 124 yards on 13 carries, added his second score with 3:53 left on a 25-yard run.
    Alabama linebacker K.J. Robertson of Thompson High School finished with seven tackles, including 3 for losses, was selected Alabama team MVP.
    Smoke led Alabama’s offensive effort with 69 yards on 10 carries. Asa Martin of Austin added 39 on 12 carries and Carlos Davis of Muscle Shoals had 38 on six attempts. Alabama had 131 yards rushing but was only 10-of-27 passing for 87 yards to finish with 218 yards. Mississippi had 187 rushing, 138 passing and 325 total yards. Each team had eight penalities with Alabama being assessed 55 penalty yards and Mississippi had 59. Both teams had two off-setting penalties as well.
     Alabama quarterbacks Jack West of Saraland was 9-of-17 passing for 71 yards and James Foster of Sidney Lanier finished 1-of-10 for 16 yards. Seth Williams of Paul Bryant had three catches for 48 yards and Justyn Ross of Central-Phenix City had one for 19 yards.
    Fort Payne kicker Evan McPherson punted six times for a 42.2 average and missed his only field-goal try.
    Jaquez Jones of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa also had six tackles and Jamias Presley of Opelika had five. Marese McBride of Daphne also had two tackles for losses among his four stops.
   Cameron White of Madison Central led Mississippi with five stops. Knight also had five and an interception.



    HATTIESBURG (MS) – The week of preparation is over for Alabama and Mississippi All-Star football teams as both teams completed their seventh practice of the week Friday morning. The two teams square off Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi Classic all-star football game at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M/M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi here.
    Raycom Media will televise the game over its network of affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi with most of the stations, including WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery, showing the game over the main channel. Some of the affiliates will show the game over Raycom’s Bounce channel. To check availability, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch” or click on the following link for a story detailing the available at each affiliate: http://www.ahsaa.com/News-Articles/ArticleId/928/31st-alabama-mississippi-all-star-football-game-to-be-televised-on-main-channel-of-7-raycom-affiliates-saturday

     Alabama head coach Steve Smith said Alabama’s squad has had an outstanding week of practice. The team held a light workout Friday morning going over special teams, substitution patterns and other game details. The players participated in a community service project in Hattiesburg Friday afternoon. A banquet attended by both teams and the players’ families was scheduled for Friday night. A breakfast hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at M.M. Roberts Stadium will be Saturday morning. A “Meet the Players” time on the field will be from 10 to 11 a.m. for fans and families attending the game.
     The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), played at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium from 1988 to 2010. The game moved to Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in 2011 and has been there ever since – except for the 2015 game played at Hattiesburg for the first time. Mississippi won the 2015 game 28-21 and is 1-0 at home. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
    Annually, the teams are comprised of 40 of the top senior players in each state. This year’s squad is no different. Since the inception of the game in 1988, many of the players had successful college careers and some have reached the NFL. More than 60 current players with Alabama roots are playing in the NFL. Among the Alabama alumni that have played in this game are current NFL players former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, T.J. Yeldon, Julio Jones, A.J. McCarron, ArDarius Stewart, Reuben Foster, Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Sammie Coates, Reggie Ragland, Nick Fairley, Marlon Humphrey, D.J. Fluker, C.J. Mosley and Courtney Upshaw.
   Several current Alabama All-Stars have committed to Division I schools including Paul Bryant wide receiver Seth Williams (Auburn); Austin running back Asa Martin (Auburn); Hoover wide receiver Shedrick Jackson (Auburn); Saraland quarterback Jack West (Stanford); Westminster Christian tight end Michael Parker (Alabama); Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa linebacker Jacquez Jones (Ole Miss); Stanhope Elmore tackle Jake Andrews (Troy); Eufaula defensive tackle Ka’Darian Hill (Ole Miss); Fort Payne placekicker-punter Evan McPherson(Florida); Hoover offensive lineman Mike Maye (Georgia Tech); Piedmont defensive back Cardavian Myers (Western Kentucky); Homewood wide receiver C.D. Daniels (Memphis); Ramsay defensive back Starling Thomas (UAB); Central-Phenix City offensive lineman Jahlil Ryles (Middle Tennessee); Thompson linebacker K.J. Robertson (Troy); Bob Jones linebacker Kade Koler (South Alabama); and Spanish Fort offensive lineman Grant Betts (Troy).
    Among the top players still uncommitted are Central-Phenix City wide receiver Justyn Ross; Park Crossing offensive tackle Tank Jenkins; Lee-Montgomery safety Kevontae Ruggs; Wetumpka running back Kevosiey Smoke; Theodore defensive tackle Timaje Porter; Thompson linebacker Jalen Rayam; and Sidney Lanier quarterback James Foster, who de-committed from Missouri during the fall.
    TELEVISION: The 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Classic will be televised live over Raycom’s network of stations in Alabama and Mississippi. Kickoff is set for noon. Check www.ahsaa.com
for more complete details.
   RADIO: The AHSAA Radio Network will live-stream the audio over the internet and will also carry the game live over its network of radio stations across the state.

31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game to Be Televised on Main Channel of 7 Raycom Affiliates Saturday

    MONTGOMERY -- The 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game, which kicks off at noon Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, will be televised live in both states by Raycom Media.
    According to Rich Michaelson of Raycom’s Broadview Media, the game can be seen on the main channel of four of the six affiliates carrying the contest in Alabama and on three of the six stations carrying the game in Mississippi/Tennessee. It will be on the Bounce Channel of four of the other Raycom stations. The game will be on the MyNetwork D.2 channel at WTOK TV in Meridian (MS).
    MOBILE: Mobile area viewers will find the game on WFNA TV 55 at the following channels: Comcast Cable (channel 235); Cox Cable (channel 1015); U-Verse (channel 1012); Mediacom – Mobile County (channel 804); Mediacom – Baldwin County (channel 817); Dish Network (channel 55); Direct TV (channel 55).
     Handling the play-by-play will be Mississippi announcer Russ Robinson and Gary Harris of WVUA TV 23 in Tuscaloosa will be the color commentator. Rachel Richlinski will be the sideline reporter.
   Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will be in the radio booth for the AHSAA Radio Network’s live broadcast Saturday as well.
Raycom Media will televise the game beginning at 12 noon Saturday over its statewide network of affiliates either on the station’s main channel (available on cable or satellite) or the D.2 Bounce Channel (available on cable only or antenna TV only). In Mobile, the game will be available on WFNA TV (Bounce Channel).
Raycom will also live-stream the game with links at each affiliate and on You Tube. To find the cable channel in your area, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on Where to Watch or go to www.ahsaa.com and click on the nearest location. Raycom affiliates and partner stations include:
Birmingham    WBRC TV Fox 6                    (Main Channel)
Dothan            WDFX TV Fox 34                  (Main Channel)
Huntsville        WAFF TV NBC 48                (Main Channel)
Mobile             WFNA TV 55 D.3                  (Bounce Channel)
Montgomery   WSFA TV NBC 12                (Main channel)
Columbus        WTVM TV ABC 9                 (Bounce Channel)
Biloxi              WLOX TV ABC/CBS 13       (Bounce Channel)
Hattiesburg     WDAM TV NBC       7          (Main Channel)
Jackson            WLBT TV NBC 3                  (Main Channel)
Meridian          WTOK TV ABC 11                (MyNetwork)
Tupelo             WTVA TV NBC 9                  (Main Channel)
Memphis         WMC TV NBC 5                    (Bounce Channel)

RADIO INFO: The Alabama Radio Network will carry the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game over its network. Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will handle the announcing and Michael Forehand is the producer. The broadcast can be accessed at www.ahsaa.com or at the following link: http://mixlr.com/ahsaaradio/


    HATTIESBURG (MS) – Alabama All-Star football team head coach Steve Smith praised the effort of his players after completing their fourth workout in 36 hours Wednesday. Alabama’s 40-man team of current seniors will face Mississippi Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football classic at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
    The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), is making its second appearance in Mississippi after playing the first 28 games in Alabama beginning in 1988. Mississippi won the 2015 game 28-21 at Hattiesburg. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
   “We had a very good morning practice,” Smith said. “We dragged a little in the afternoon workout, but that is to be expected a little. The players who just finished their season have been fine, but a lot of these guys finished their season much earlier in the playoffs.”
      He was very pleased with the work of his eight offensive linemen, especially Robert E. Lee’s Cameron Hill and Spanish Fort’s Grant Betts. “Both of these guys were tackles on their teams and they are also working at center right now for us,” Smith said. “They are showing their versatility.” H-back Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook is the long snapper.
    He said Beauregard Coach Rob Carter, who is working with the offensive line this week, has been happy with the players’ eagerness to work at different positions.
    “With only eight offensive linemen, they need to be versatile,” Smith said. “They have really stood out this week.”
     Smith said quarterbacks James Foster of Sidney Lanier and Jack West of Saraland have shown steady improvement in the first four workouts. “We have a tremendously talented group of receivers, maybe the best I have ever seen in this game,” Smith said. “The quarterbacks and receivers seem to be getting a little better day with their timing.”
    He said Paul Bryant’s Seth Williams, Hoover’s Shedrick Jackson, Central-Phenix City’s Justyn Ross and  Bob Jones’ Damontrez Brown are all capable big-play receivers. “Nathaniel Watson of Maplesville is also one of the best athletes on the team and Anquaevious Pollard of Lanett is a big, talented player at 6-foot-7,” Smith said. “Our tight end Michael Parker (of Westminster Christian) is also 6-6. This is a good-looking group of guys.
    “I think our receivers will make some big plays for us on Saturday. Defensively, our front rotation is also looking good.”
  He said the secondary, linebackers and front rotation of linemen are really coming together. Smith said the coaches expect another solid practice Thursday morning at 9, and will then scale back to work more on the mental aspects of the game and special teams in tomorrow’s afternoon practice.
   Both squads were scheduled to go to Hattiesburg Country Club Wednesday night for a dinner and program. Temple Baptist Church hosted both teams Tuesday night. While two practices are set for Thursday, Alabama will go through only one workout on Friday morning at 9 a.m., and will participate in a community service project Friday afternoon.

  TELEVISION: The 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Classic will be televised live over Raycom’s network of stations in Alabama and Mississippi. Kickoff is set for noon.
   RADIO: The AHSAA Radio Network will live-stream the audio over the internet and will also carry the game live over its network of radio stations across the state.



    HATTIESBURG (MS) – Alabama’s All-Star football team made great strides from the morning and afternoon practices, said Alabama All-Star head coach Steve Smith of Piedmont Tuesday.
    “The players have had a great attitude, have not just been on time but are getting where they need to be early,” Smith said. “We struggled some with our passing game in the morning workout (at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg) but we began to get our timing down a whole lot better in the afternoon practice. That was not unexpected, though. The quarterbacks and receivers had not worked together before and they will continue to improve as the week goes on.”
    The players and coaches reported Monday with both 40-man squads comprised of current seniors conducting two workouts Tuesday. That same schedule will be in place for Wednesday as the teams prepare for Saturday’s 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game set for a noon kickoff at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
    The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), is making its second appearance in Mississippi after playing the first 28 games in Alabama beginning in 1988. The game was held at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium from 1988-2010 and moved to Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in 2011. The MAC hosted the 2015 game at Hattiesburg with Mississippi snapping a seven-game Alabama win streak with a 28-21 win. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
    Smith said he has been impressed with all the Alabama all-stars. One player, Robert E. Lee’s 6-foot-4, 205-pound strong safety Kevontae Ruggs, caught all the coaches’ attention. “He is a big, strong kid who appears to only know one speed,” said Smith. Ruggs’ older brother Henry played in last year’s game – returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The return was the longest in the Classic’s history. Henry is now a freshman at the University of Alabama.
   Smith also mentioned running back Asa Martin of Austin, H-back Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook, receivers CarDamien Daniels of Homewood, Shedrick Jackson of Hoover and Nathaniel Watson of Maplesville, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa linebacker Jacquez Jones, and Park Crossing offensive lineman Tank Jenkins.  He also had high praise for place-kicker and punter Evan McPherson of Fort Payne.
    “I realized that his 60-yard field goal this past season was the longest in AHSAA history from a snap and hold,” Smith said. “But what I didn’t know was that he kicked it without a tee – right off the ground even though kicking off a tee is allowed in high school. He can really boom his kicks.”
    Smith led Piedmont to two straight Class 3A football championships in 2015 and 2016 but was beaten in the semifinals this season when Region 5 rival Randolph County scored the winning touchdown with 1.6 seconds remaining to advance to the Super 7 finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
    “This all-star game is good therapy for me,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have jumped back into it the following Monday after that loss. It was tough for my players and for me, but I was proud of our kids and proud of Randolph County. They represented our region well. When you coach this game long enough, you find yourself on both sides of a game like that. It has been a great learning experience for me and my players.
    “What we want these kids to understand in this game is that while we want to win, we need to do all we can to be prepared and then give our very best effort. If we do that, then we will be satisfied. They are doing all we ask of them.”