MONTGOMERY – Senior quarterback Paul Tyson engineered an 18-play, 97-yard game-winning drive Friday night at Madison City Stadium which culminated with a 9-yard TD pass to receiver Jamyre Reese with 14 seconds remaining to give Hewitt-Trussville a dramatic 43-41 victory over James Clemens in the first round of the AHSAA Class 7A state football playoffs.
Tyson, who finished the night 25-of-41 passing for 326 yards and four TDs, earned the AHSAA Football Spotlight for round one of the state playoffs in the process.
The clutch performance also kept the Huskies’ state championship hopes alive and sets up a rematch with Thompson in the second round. The two teams met Oct. 25 in a game showcased to the nation on ESPN with the Warriors winning 63-49.
Tyson also completed TD passes of 56, 13 and 13 yards in the win over James Clemens. The great-grandson of Alabama coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant is 212-of-308 on the season for 3,012 yards and 31 touchdown passes. He has thrown just six interceptions.
Coach Josh Floyd’s Huskies head into the much anticipated rematch with the Warriors (9-1) riding some much-needed momentum thanks in big part to the clutch play Tyson. The quarterback connected with senior receiver and Alabama All-Star selection Ja’Varrious Johnson for 12 completions. The performance was almost equaled by James Clemens senior quarterback Jamil Muhammad, who had 20 rush attempts for 191 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 1, 1, 1 and 46 yards and completed 7-of-9 passes for 96 yards and another TD.
The clutch effort also edged out several outstanding performances from across the state.
Others reported included:
ALABAMA ALL-STARS SHINE IN FIRST ROUND
LEE WITHERSPOON, NORTH JACKSON: A selection at running back for the Alabama All-Stars in the upcoming 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at Cramton Bowl on Monday night, Dec. 17, Witherspoon not only continued to shine but also set a new state record for rushing touchdowns in a single season. He had 15 rush attempts for 236 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Chiefs (11-0) to a 45-6 Class 4A win over Curry. He now has 53 rushing touchdowns on the season – breaking the AHSAA single-season record of 49 set by Beauregard’s La’Damian Webb in 2016. Witherspoon also has a single-season state record 59 touchdowns scored with one receiving, one on an interception return, three on punt returns and one kickoff return. Webb scored 53 TDs overall that season, which was also the AHSAA single-season mark coming into this season. Witherspoon has 2,759 yards rushing on the season on just 131 carries, an average of 21.1 yards per carry. He is also averaging scoring a touchdown every 2.5 rush attempts he takes. and is closing in on 3,000 yards rushing on the year.
BO NIX, PINSON VALLEY: Selected as one of two quarterbacks on the Alabama All-Star team connected with receiver Demarion Holloman for five touchdown passes as the defending Class 6A state champs downed Albertville 47-0 in the Class 6A playoffs. Nix was 16-of-22 for 231 yards in the 6A playoffs. Nix was 16-of-22 for 231 yards and five TDs. He is 176-of-291 passing for 2,489 yards and 36 touchdowns on the season with just four interceptions. His career totals are now 596-of-1,067 for 9,080 yards and 113 TDs. The passing yardage ranks seventh all time and is 1,659 yards shy of the state record (10,774 yards) held by JaMarcus Russell of Williamson (1999-02). The 113 TDs is second all-time behind American Christian’s Chris Smelley (2002-05), who had 134 TD passes in his prep career. Nix became just the third player in AHSAA history to go over 11,000 total yards for a career with last week’s performance. He currently stands at 11,009 yards (including 1,929 yards rushing) and needs 780 yards to move past the current record holder Terrance Hollingsworth of Berry, who had 11,788 yards rushing, receiving and passing from 2009-13.
Holloman finished with seven receptions for 94 yards. The five TD receptions were one shy of the state record (6) held by three receiver: Ja’Michael Willis of Gardendale (2010); David Morrison, Berry (2009) and Brandon Greer of Westbrook Christian (1998). Four others have caught five TD passes. The most recent was Tyler Crumpton of Phillips in 2012.
Several members of the 2018 Alabama All-Star Team turned in superb efforts including:
TAULIA TAGOVAILOA, THOMPSON: The Alabama All-Star team’s other quarter was 12-of-26 passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 90 yards and a score on nine carries in a 45-14 victory over Florence in the 7A playoffs. His season totals are 234 completions in 374 attempts for a state-leading 3,251 yards and 31 touchdowns.
A’MONTAE SPIVEY, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Selected as one of the Alabama All-Star running backs, Spivey had 156 yards rushing on 12 carries and scored on a 54-yard run as the Red Devils (11-0) downed Davidson 46-0. He had 126 yards at the half.
D.J. DALE, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: The Alabama All-Star defensive lineman intercepted a pass on a tipped throw to set up a touchdown as the Cougars cruised to a 45-6 victory over Mae Jemison in the 6A playoffs.
JA’VARRIOUS JOHNSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: The Huskies wide receiver chosen for the Alabama All-Star team has a state-leading 82 receptions this season for 1,610 yards and 15 touchdowns after 11 games. He had 12 catches in Friday’s win.
GEORGE PICKENS, HOOVER: The talented Hoover wideout and Alabama All-Star selection had six receptions for 78 yards and one TD – a 16-yard connection coming one play after a personal foul penalty pushed Hoover back from the Bob Jones 1 to the 16 – to give the defending Class 7A state champion Bucs a 19-10 lead early in the fourth quarter of its 26-18 win over the visiting Patriots.
RICHMON SINGLETARY, ELBA: Returned two kickoffs 81 and 72 yards for touchdowns, giving him four in the last two games and six for the season as the Tigers advanced to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs with a 54-19 win over Billingsley. The six kickoff returns set a new AHSAA state record. The previous record (5) was held by four different players including: Javin Thatch, Tanner (2011); Brandon Hale, Lexington (1998); Jason Wilkins, Shelby County (1997); and Steven Reese, Florala (1997). Singletary also rushed for 173 yards on 15 carries to go over 2,000 rushing yards on the season. He caught two passes for 23 yards and had seven tackles on defense.
WILL BAILEY, DAR: Completed 20-of-29 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a 36-30 win over Northside in the Class 4A state playoffs. The victory was the first playoff win in school history for DAR. Braeden Lewis grabbed 13 receptions for 159 yards and two TDs. He also had two interceptions on defense.
JOSEPH HANSON, MARS HILL BIBLE: Returned an interception 87 yards for a touchdown and added a 21-yard TD run to help the Panthers (10-1) beat Marion County 55-0 for the school’s first ever football playoff win. Hanson has accounted for 35 touchdowns this season, 24 passing, 10 rushing and one on defense. Teammate Peyton Higgins had five rush attempts for 160 yards and three TDs, and Colt Smith had six carries for 74 yards and three scores – and 13 tackles on defense.
GRANT WOODRUFF, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Ran for 169 yards and a TD on just six carries and also caught a 15-yard TD pass as Cottage Hill defeated Class 2A Goshen for its first AHSAA playoff win in school history.
COLTON YEAGER, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Intercepted two passes and returned one 60 yards for a TD in the final minute of the first half as Mountain Brook defeated Austin 31-0 in the 7A playoffs. Teammate Grant Griffin also had two picks in the milestone win that gave Coach Chris Yeager his 101st victory at the school, making him the all-time winningest coach in school history.
PIEDMONT WINS 300TH HOME GAME: The Bulldogs downed Clements 41-0 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs to record the school’s 300th home victory, according to information provided by the Alabama High School Football Historical Society (AHSFHS.org). Matthew Thornton returned a fumble 24 yards in the second quarter for a TD to spark the shutout win. The Bulldogs have gone 300-178-13 at home (62.4%) and 206-217-15 (48.7%) for an all-time record of 506-395-28 (56.0%) through Friday’s win. The school’s first home win came in 1924 with a 27-0 victory over Cave Spring (GA).
ROYDELL WILLIAMS, HUEYTOWN: Ran 34 times for 358 yards, with TD runs of 14, 82, 6, 71 and 5 yards, to lead the Golden Gophers to a 38-13 victory over Eufaula in the Class 6A playoffs.
MATT DIXON, GOOD HOPE: Gained 252 yards rushing on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Raiders beat St. John Paul II Catholic 62-28 in the Class 4A playoffs. Good Hope (10-1) finished with 546 yards rushing to post the school’s first playoff win since 2013.
TYQUAN RAWLS, WETUMPKA: Picked up 214 yards rushing on 15 carries and completed 5-of-11 passes for 70 yards and a TD as the Class 6A Indians ((9-2) opened the state playoffs with a 49-21 victory over Daphne.
DARRELL GIBSON, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Had 28 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 42-yard TD pass in the Knights’ 42-13 Class 4A playoff win over Holtville.
REECE SOLAR, ALABAMA CHRISTIAN: Scored the game-winning touchdown on the final play of ACA’s 18-14 Class 4A playoff win over Lincoln. He finished with 198 yards rushing on 28 carries and scored all three TDs. He also completed 12-of-20 passes for 85 yards and caught a 12-yard pass.
BRYCE PEAVY, ARITON: Rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns and teammate Daniel Hicks added 69 yards and two scores plus a strong game defensively, helping the Purple Cats beat Thorsby in the 2A playoffs 41-14. Peavy scored on runs of 4, 4, 8 and 1 yards, while Hicks had TD runs of 24 and 14 yards and added seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery on defense.
TRENT DAVIS, ETOWAH: Rushed 17 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the Blue Devils’ 33-0 Class 5A win over Guntersville.
JORDAN EMBRY, RAMSAY: Accounted for 152 yards of total offense scoring with touchdowns on a 4-yard run and 41-yard reception as the Rams beat Charles Henderson 36-7 in the Class 5A state playoffs.
JERMAINE BROWN, ST. LUKE’S EPISCOPAL: Rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries as St. Luke’s won its 10th straight game beating Francis Marion 48-16 in the Class 1A playoffs.
JAYSON JONES, FULTONDALE: Rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 18, 2 and 17 yards in a 37-6 Class 3A playoff win over Plainview.
MASON McKINNEY, COLLINSVILLE: Accounted for 171 total yards and for TDs – 84 rushing yards on 12 carries with three touchdowns (4, 1, 8 yards) and three pass receptions for 87 yards including a 61-yard score – as Collinsville (10-1) downed Westbrook Christian 35-21 in the Class 2A playoffs. He also forced and recovered a fumble on defense.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed for 164 yards and scored three touchdowns on 24 carries in the Eagles’ 38-14 Class 4A victory over Central-Florence.
KENNETH BOTHWELL, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Totaled 130 rushing yards and a touchdown on 30 attempts as the Panthers rallied past A.P. Brewer, 15-9. With Southside trailing 9-7 midway through the fourth quarter, Bothwell ran for 28 yards and caught a 17-yard pass on the Panthers’ game-winning drive.
TEDARRIAN MURRAY, LEE-MONTGOMERY : Ran for 100 of his 129 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning touchdown, as Lee knocked off Theodore 13-7 in the opening round of the Class 7A playoffs.
ZYQUEZ PERRYMAN, PLEASANT GROVE: Completed 18-of-26 passes for 322 yards and three TDs in a 42-21 victory over Beauregard in the 5A playoffs. He now has thrown 27 TD passes and just two interceptions this season.
AARON DOVE, FALKVILLE: Completed 20-of-30 passes for 300 yards and four touchdown passes in a 35-6 Class 1A playoff win over Talladega County Central for Falkville (11-0). He heads into the second round of the state playoffs with 2,852 yards passing on the season with 44 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He is 164-of-233 passing, a 70.4% completion rate for the unbeaten Blue Devils.
TRENTON DUPPER, DECATUR: Accounted for all five touchdowns to help No. 4 seed Decatur knock off No. 1 seed and previously unbeaten Jackson-Olin (10-1) in the 6A playoffs 35-32. He was 13-of-17 passing for 185 yards and three touchdowns and Hs 23 rush attempts for 78 yards and two TDs.
SETH BROWN, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Completed 16 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns in the Falcons’ 62-28 playoff loss to Good Hope. It was the first football playoff game in St. John Paul II history.
KYLE WALKER, VIGOR: Completed 9-of-16 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns as the Wolves (10-1) opened the 5A playoffs with a 45-8 rout of Central-Tuscaloosa.
ROBBY ASHFORD, HOOVER: Finished 12-of-19 passing for 150 yards and a TD and rushed 12 times for 76 yards to lead the Bucs to a 26-18 victory over Bob Jones in the 7A playoffs.
LUKE HAMPTON, CEDAR BLUFF: Completed 17-of-30 pass attempts for 163 yards, including a 35-yard score to Tray Wilson to end the first half. He also ran for an 8-yard touchdown in the Tigers’ 47-12 loss at Ohatchee. Wilson finished with a career-high nine receptions for 106 yards and one TD.
WILL CROWDER, GARDENDALE: Passed for 155 yards and ran for 103 on 14 carries to lead the Rockets to a 21-14 victory over Fort Payne in the 6A playoffs.
KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 6-of-13 pass attempts for 140 yards with a 61-yard touchdown and also ran for 90 yards on 19 carries with a 7-yard score in the Panthers’ 35-21 Class 2A victory over Westbrook Christian.
RYLEY KIRK, SPRING GARDEN: Completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 145 yards including a 69-yard touchdown to Cooper Austin in the Panthers’ 40-7 victory over Decatur Heritage.
CHANING MARMANN, DESHLER: Passed for 139 yards and rushed for 74 yards to pace the Tigers to a 21-7 Class 4A playoff win over Anniston.
DAQUON KINCEY, ABBEVILLE: The Yellow Jackets quarterback was 3-of-6 passing for 118 yards and one TD and rushed for 68 yards and two more scores Abbeville's 56-0 Class 2A win over Vincent. Kincey scored on runs of 50 and 14 yards and threw a 41-yard TD pass to Marquise Hollins.
CHRISTIAN IRONS, WATELOO: Caught three passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns and also scored on a two-point conversion play to account for all his team’s points in a 20-15 Class 1A win over Hubbertville.
MARCUS McGHEE, HOMEWOOD: Caught six passes for 100 yards as the Patriots earned a 24-14 victory over Athens in the 6A playoffs.
CHRISTIAN McKINNEY, RED BAY: Made had 17 tackles, including a stop on Winston County’s 2-point try in overtime to preserve the Tigers’ 16-14 Class 2A playoff victory.
JASON WEST, JACKSON: The sophomore linebacker had 21 tackles, including three for a loss, as the Aggies beat Chilton County 21-14 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
JALEN BUSTAMANTE, THOMPSON: Intercepted two passes to spark the defense in a 45-14 victory over Florence in the 7A playoffs.
MARCUS EVANS, McADORY: Intercepted two passes – stopping Carver-Montgomery's best drive on a fourth-and-7 deep in McAdory territory and setting up Yellow Jackets’ first touchdown with his second pick in a 17-0 victory in the 6A playoffs.
CADE MANGO, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Intercepted two passes in a 42-28 victory over Valley in the 5A playoffs.
QUINDARIUS ADAMS, MIDFIELD: Had nine tackles on defense and had six rush attempts for 100 yards and two TDs on offense in a 32-14 victory over Pisgah in the 3A playoffs.
ASHIR HOGUE, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: The junior linebacker recorded 10 tackles with a sack as the Yellow Jackets edged Prattville 17-13 in to advance to the second round of the 7A playoffs.
WILLIAM HARDY, RAMSAY: Returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown and teammate Cedarius Doss picked off a pass and raced 65 yards for a score in a 36-7 Class 5A playoff win over Charles Henderson.
DERICKEY WRIGHT, ETOWAH: Had two interceptions in the Blue Devils’ 33-0 Class 5A win over Guntersville. Wright and his fellow Etowah defenders limited the Wildcats to minus-6 total yards en route to the team’s fifth shutout of the season.
EVAN CRAIGHEAD, MADISON ACADEMY: Picked off a pass at the goal line to seal the Mustangs' 18-15 Class 5A playoff win over Alexandria. Craighead also recovered a fumble and made eight tackles.
HARRISON BARRON & SPENCER SMITH, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Each defender had 10 tackles and teammate Michael Sullivan had nine tackles plus a fumble recovery during the Eagles' 31-6 Class 3A win over Lamar County in the Class 3A playoff opener.
LANDON GOWENS, SPRING GARDEN: Posted eight tackles and had a 27-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Panthers’ 40-7 Class 1A playoff victory over Decatur Heritage.
C.J. YARROUGH, EAST LIMESTONE: Caught a 48-yard touchdown pass on offense and picked off two passes returning one 77 yards for a TD in a 53-33 Class 5A win over Boaz. He finished with six tackles and scored a two-point conversion.
SETH FAISON, HEADLAND: Blocked a critical extra-point try with 37 seconds left in the game to preserve a 13-12 victory over Talladega in the Class 4A state playoffs. The Rams (10-1) saw their bid for a perfect regular season thwarted last week with 23 seconds remaining in the final regular season game with Henry County rival Abbeville but emerged from a 6-0 deficit heading into the fourth quarter Friday with two touchdowns and one all-important extra point. K’Shun Stokes scored on a 10-yard run on the first play of the final quarter and scored the winning TD with 6:21 left on a 4-yard run. Talladega, which built the early lead with field goals of 24 and 29 yards by Onique Deer, scored on a pass play with 37 ticks remaining to set up Faison’s special team heroics. Teammate Ben Tew recovered Talladega’s onside kick attempt that followed to close out the first playoff win for the Rams since 1988.
TREY STODDARD, MUSCLE SHOALS: The Trojans’ place-kicker, an eighth grader, booted a 23-yard field on the last play of the game to lift Muscle Shoals past Minor 10-7 in the Class 6A state playoffs.
K.J. HALL, HIGHLAND HOME: Returned a kickoff 72 yards for one score, had four receptions for 88 yards and rushed 11 times for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the Flying Squadron’s 63-28 Class 2A playoff win over Chickasaw.
J.R. TRAN-RENO, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and added TD runs of 1, 1 and 4 yards to lead the Lions to a 42-28 victory over Valley in the 5A playoffs.
RICHARD BRINSON, UMS-WRIGHT: Returned a kickoff 84 yards for a score and also caught an 8-yard TD pass from Skipper Snypes in UMS-Wright’s 43-8 win over West Blocton in the Class 4A playoffs.
JAQUON KINCEY, ABBEVLLE: Returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown in Abbeville’s 56-0 win over Vincent in the 2A playoffs.
MONTGOMERY – Jasper High School’s Lady Vikings (29-3) powered to eight straight victories last week, including going 6-0 to win the Spain Park Heffstrong Invitational Tourney, to claim the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight this week.
Coach Bobby Daniel, who picked career victory 700 as Jasper finished second in a tourney in Tennessee two weeks ago, saw his team beat five teams ranked by al.com in their respective classifications including Class 6A Spanish Fort, the top-ranked team in Class 6A, in the finals of the Heffstrong tourney. His girls did not lose a single set.
McKinley Ferguson and Alex Oliver provided the power up front with 74 and 67 kills, respectively, for the Lady Vikings. Ferguson also had 30 service aces, and Oliver managed 19 blocks.
Daniel had taken four different schools to the AHSAA State Tournament semifinals, including Winston County, Curry and Arab, in addition to Jasper.
Walker’s strong performance for the week edged strong performances by Hazel Green and Carbon Hill for the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight.
The Class 6A Trojans (31-8) were 11-1 on the week winning the Huntsville Ironman Tourney. Gracie Lynn Butler had 111 kills and 26 blocks, setter Catherine Smith dished out 211 assists and middle blocker Myah Magwood recorded 31 blocks.
Carbon Hill’s Alyssa Dutton had a killer week with 127 kills, 17 blocks, 71 digs and 24 service aces and the Bulldogs (36-3) won the Brooks Invitational to finish the week 13-0.
In other top performances reported for the week:
MACKENKZIE DAVIS, ATHENS BIBLE: Recorded 265 assists to surpass 2,000 for her career, and also had 40 kills in Athens Bible’s nine matches last week.
MARISSA KOCH, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Totaled 93 kills and 48 digs in 11 matches.
MADISON CARTEE, DANVILLE: Slammed 79 kills, 15 aces and had 11 blocks in 10 matches for the Hawks.
JASMINE BROOKS, SPARKMAN: Had 75 kills and 33 digs in 10 matches last week.
RYA McKINNON, HOOVER: In two match wins over Thompson and Tuscaloosa County, McKinnon totaled 29 kills for the Bucs (20-4).
BAILEY JOHNSON, BROOKWOOD: In three matches, she recorded 31 kills, 7 assists and seven blocked shots as Brookwood (13-8) went 2-1.
MAGGIE WOOD, HORSESHOE BEND: Had 28 kills, 14 blocks and 29 aces as the Generals (18-2) won six matches and the Wadley Varsity Classic tourney title.
KENYA McQUIRTER, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Registered 22 kills as the Dirty Dozen (21-3) beat St. Paul’s Episcopal and Bayside Academy in regular-season matches.
ANN VANDEVELDE, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Helped the Spartans (25-5) go 9-2 with 238 assists and 88 digs for the week.
SAVANAH FREE, DANVILLE: Recorded 234 assists, 19 aces and 40 digs in 10 matches.
LEIGHANNA TRALONGO, BOB JONES: Had 196 assists as the Patriots (23-6) went 8-2 for the week.
JOY MULLINS, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Picked up 196 assists as WCA finished 6-3 on the week.
LAEKYN BENNETT, LAWRENCE COUNTY: Had 190 assists and 17 digs as the Lady Red Devils (31-6) won eight of nine matches.
KAYLA KESHOCK, SPANISH FORT: Posted 178 assists as the Toros (27-3) tolled to eight wins in nine tries last week. Spanish Fort lost to Jasper in the finals of the Spain Park Heffstrong Tourney.
ISABELLE FUELL, HUNTSVILLE: Totaled 175 assists, 33 service aces and 49 digs in 10 matches for the Panthers (15-10), who won seven of 10 matches on the week.
MADELYN DIZON, LINDSAY LANE: Had 144 assists and 33 kills to lead Lindsay Lane (23-7) to an 8-1 record and runner-up finish to West Point at the Priceville Invitational.
LAUREN HUNT, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Had 135 assists as the Panthers were 6-2 to finish second in the Sandy Hunter Invitational to host Pleasant Valley.
BEATRICE LINDQUIST, MARY MONTGOMERY: Accounted for 118 assists and 29 digs in six matches.
BRINKLEY HEARN, FAITH ACADEMY: Had 100 assists, 43 digs and eight service aces as the Rams (17-11) went 6-1 en route to the title at the Battle of the Bridge Tourney.
VICTORIA SCHMER, CHELSEA: Helped the Hornets (27-4) win eight matches, capturing the championship of the Hewitt-Trussville Husky Challenge. She had 114 digs and 20 service aces.
MADALYNN OWEN, PRICEVILLE: Had 110 digs in nine Priceville matches to lead her team to a 7-2 record for the week.
MEGAN EDMOUNDS, BAKER: Had 38 digs and six service aces in two wins for the Hornets (14-5).
LAURA LEE KEENER, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: Managed 85 digs and 15 service aces in seven matches over the week.
TAYLOR BROWN, WILSON: Had 64 digs and Tori Walker had 25 blocks as Wilson (22-8) finished the week 6-2.
LEXIE DISHNER, PHILLIPS: Had 60 digs, 162 assists and 14 aces as Phillips (17-7) went 5-3.
KRISTEN BLACK, SARALAND: Managed 53 digs, 55 kills and nine aces as the Spartans (13-3) finished second to Faith Academy at the Battle of the Bridge tourney. Saraland was 6-1 for the week.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – More and more student-athletes are joining the 128 high school varsity girls’ and boys’ swim teams in Alabama. And, those Alabama High School Athletic Association swimmers are finding success beyond the confines of the pools in this state.
Wade Thaxton, swimming and diving coach at Bob Jones High School in Madison, said, “The state of swimming in Alabama is as good as it’s ever been. We are seeing more and more kids take it to college, it’s a good avenue for scholarships.”
Thaxton, who was an assistant for two boys’ state titles at Bob Jones and has been head coach for the past four years, said he was thrilled with the spirit his swimmers bring to the pool. “With high school swimming, it’s all about the team,” he said. “I asked my kids what was different between their summer league teams and our team and they told me, ‘We are together. We do things together besides what we do at the pool.’ One of my swimmers told me, ‘It is all about the school spirit, not just about yourself.’
“To see them celebrate with each other and the parents taking pictures, not of their swimmer in the pool but the team on the sidelines, that is really something that stands out.”
According to the latest reports, 72 AHSAA schools offer varsity girls’ swimming and 56 field boys’ teams. The 716 boys’ varsity swimmers is an 11.5 percent increase over the 2016-17 academic year. Girls’ participation jumped 3.8 percent to a total of 844 swimmers.
The Bob Jones swim teams do agility and weight training along with their work in the pool – which is at a local recreation center, since none of the Madison City Schools System teams have pools at school. “We practice five days a week, about 2½ hours a day,” Thaxton said. “Some of our kids also swim on their own, too. Sometimes in practice, I just want them to do sets for speed – ‘OK, just go as fast as you can on this, just get there.’ Other times, I ask them to go 60-70 percent so we can work on technique. They need individual instruction to know what they need to work on. It’s about doing every little thing that is going to make their time faster.”
Faster pays off for the high school teams – Bob Jones has won nine boys AHSAA championships, including seven straight in the 2000s, and one girls title in 2007 – and for the individual swimmers. Former Patriots standout Zach Harting, who now swims for the University of Louisville, won a bronze medal this year in the Pan Pacific Championships with a personal best time (1:55.01) after finishing second in the 2018 U.S. National Championships in the 200-meter butterfly.
High school swim season for the AHSAA began with the opening of practice on Aug. 6 with the first contests on Aug. 23. The sectional meets – in Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile – are Nov. 16-17 with the State Meet set for Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Auburn University.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions.
By Lucas Nunn, Special for AHSAA
VESTAVIA HILLS – From the volleyball court to the international mission field, Hannah Vines’ extracurricular life is nothing short of exciting.
Hannah is a rising senior at Vestavia Hills High School and has played on the varsity volleyball team since her sophomore year. She is also a member of the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association Student Leadership Group, one of two members chosen to represent the state at a national conference in Indianapolis this month.
On the court, Hannah has had success both in school and club volleyball. Vestavia Hills reached the super regionals last season, and just last month her club team – Southern Performance Volleyball Club – placed second at the national tournament.
While her athletic achievements are impressive, it is Hannah’s desire to serve her community that sets her apart from the rest.
The 17-year-old is one of thousands of AHSAA athletes who give of themselves to their communities during their summer break, as well as spending many hours the rest of the year as they juggle sports, homework, family and volunteer time.
Hannah has been an active member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills since she was 5 years old, and the church is her favorite place to serve the community. “I really like to work with kids through my church,” she said.
Her service for others also goes well beyond the walls of the church. This past spring, Hannah spent her school break on a mission trip to Guatemala. She worked with children there and assisted in putting on a Bible School for them.
“The trip was amazing. Spanish is one of my passions, I have been taking Spanish since I was in the seventh grade, so going down there was great,” Vines said. “It was just another way to connect with the kids and hear about their lives talking about the differences in culture between the U.S. and Guatemala.”
In March, Hannah was one of 18 student-athletes from around Alabama selected for membership in the AHSAA Student Leadership Conference, and she was thrilled to learn she and Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby were chosen to represent the state at the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Student Leadership Summit in Indianapolis. The NFHS Summit wrapped up this week.
“I was really excited when I heard about it,” Vines said. “The goal is to come back and be better leaders on our teams and in our communities.”
Upon graduation, Hannah plans to continue serving her community through her church, as she continues her volleyball career at Samford University.
Last year, Hannah was also featured in the AHSAA #MoreThanAGame social media campaign. Watch her video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fayZMkAkY
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control has approved allowing modification of the kicking game rules for non-varsity football competition beginning this fall and approved regional sites for softball and bowling for the coming school year. The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday.
AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones recommended modification of the kicking rules for non-varsity contests due to current health and safety concerns and limited time to devote to the kicking game for the non-varsity programs.
Beginning in the 2018 season, the Central Board of Control will allow schools to choose one of three options for a non-varsity football contest. The two competing schools may choose Option 1 (simulation of kicks); Option 2 (no kickoffs or punts allowed); and Option 3 (utilizing all aspects of the kicking game in accordance with NFHS rules).
If the two schools cannot agree, then Option 1 will be the default choice. In Option 1, teams will be allowed to conduct simulated kickoffs and punts, but with no blocking or contact, including no rushing the kicker and no kick returns. Receiving teams may fair catch a kick but after the non-contact kickoff, the ball will be placed at the receiving team’s 35-yard line to begin the offensive series. After the no-rush and non-contact punt, the ball will be placed 30 yards from the line of scrimmage but not inside the 20-yard line of the receiving team.
Should both teams agree to Option 2, no kickoffs or punts will be attempted. A series will start at the receiving team’s 35-yard line following a touchdown. In lieu of a punt, the ball will be placed 30 yards from the line of scrimmage, but not inside the receiving team’s 20-yard line.
Option 3 will be conducting kickoffs and punts without modification. Field goals and extra points will not be modified and will be live under all three options.
The Central Board of Control approved waiving membership dues for member schools for the 27th straight year – a cost savings of more than $83,000 in 2017-18 and more than
$2.2 million in savings to our member schools since 1992. The Board also approved a Revenue Sharing Plan $2 million payout for the 2017-18 school year but put the distribution to schools on hold until the AHSAA’s current litigation has concluded.
The Board selected Camelia Lanes in Mobile and Vestavia Bowl in Vestavia Hills as the sites for the South and North Regional bowling tournaments in 2019. The AHSAA State Bowling Championships will return to Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham for the third straight year.
Florence and Oxford were also selected as new sites for regional softball competition for the next two years (2019 and 2020). Florence will host the North Regional which has been held in Huntsville since regional tourneys began for softball in 2009. The South Central Regional, held in Troy from 2009-18, will move to Oxford and will be renamed the East Central Regional. Tuscaloosa will remain the host of the North Central Regional, which is being renamed the West Central Regional, for 2019 and 2020. Gulf Shores, which has two years remaining on its current contract, will once again host the South Regional. Lagoon Park is still under contract to host the State Tourney.
In another softball item, the board, upon recommendation of the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee, approved allowing the team emerging from the winner’s bracket to choose whether they will be the home team or visiting team in all championship games in area and state tournament play. Several recommendations from other sports committees were also approved by the Central Board. Those changes can be found at www.ahsaa.com.
The Central Board reviewed and approved 2018-19 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2018-19 AHSAA Sports Book. The Legislative Council also met and approved the AHSAA publications Wednesday afternoon and heard a review of the Central Board’s action.
In other Central Board action:
– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
– Approved drafts of the 2018-19 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2017-18 audits for each group.
-- Removed fines for middle /junior high declarations.
-- Approved the purchase of six new wrestling mats for State Championship and Duals competition and also approved moving all wrestling duals tournament finals to the same day.
-- Approved new officials’ fee for state wrestling and track championships and discussed the schools’ current scratch list policy concerning officials.
-- Was updated about catastrophic insurance and approved AHSAA insurance coverages.
-- Discussed Mandatory Summer Meeting Requirement for administrators.
MONTGOMERY – Six officials with a combined 257 years of officiating experience received the Greg Brewer Distinguished Service Award at Saturday’s AHSAA Officials Awards Luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. Receiving the AHSAA’s highest officiating honor were: Eugene Reynolds (46 years); Warren Bowron (45 years); Wayne Carden (42 years); Jimmy Chaffin (40 years); Larry Short (40 years); and Jack Minshew (36 years).
More than 400 attended the luncheon that recognized all contest officials who officiated in state championship events in 2017-18 as well as those selected district and state officials of the year in each AHSAA sport. Laird Hayes, a veteran of 22 years as an NFL official, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon that officially closed the 2018 AHSAA Summer Conference and Coaching School.
The Alabama Sports Officials Foundation (ASOF) also presented nine scholarships to children of officials in honor of the dedication and sacrifice families make to support the service of the state’s contest officials. To be eligible, the student must be planning attend a post-secondary school in Alabama.
Those selected for the grants were: Gary Shirley III, Rainbow City; Jalon Jimmerson, Douglas; Jonah Trotter, Oakman; Peyton Luker, Thomasville; Danielle Covert, Arab; Anna Grace Murphy, Southside; Delandrion Woods, Hillsborough; Emma Mayer, Maylene; Allyson Phelps, Meridianville.
AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones also recognized two AHSAA officials, Joe Mangone and Mark Russell, who received national honors from the NFHS. Mangone, the AHSAA soccer rules interpreter and State Finals director of officials, received the NFHS Citation for Officials for 2018 as national official of the year, and Russell was chosen one of eight Section recipients of the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award. He was selected from Section III, which includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Jones also announced that AHSAA football official Anthony Jeffreys has just been selected to become an NFL football official.
AHSAA Officials of the Year were also selected from in each officiating district and one official was also chosen state official of the year in each sport.
Among those honored were:
State Officials of the Year: Phillip Winslett (Baseball); Anthony Dupree (Basketball); Eddie Carr (Football); Bill Presor (Soccer); Mike Heath (Softball); Joey Lauderdale (Track); Willie Moore (Volleyball); and Heath Williamson (Wrestling).
AHSAA District Officials of the Year included:
East Central: John Ewing
North Central: Chris Pike
Northeast: Bill Ward
Northwest: Roger Crafts
South Central: Mike Stewart
Southeast: Philip Winslett
Southwest: Greg Fairchild
West Central: Tommy Colvin
East Central: Anthony Dupree
North Central: Mike Pretnar
Northeast: Matt Driver
Northwest: Andy Pruitt
South Central: Eric Morris
Southeast: Ronnie Burnett
Southwest: Elicia Lynch
West Central: Charlie McCant
East Central: Cecil Garrison
North Central: Anthony Jeffries
Northeast: Ben Smith
Northwest: Amel Drake
South Central: Garnett Ray
Southeast: Philip Thomas
Southwest: Eddie Carr
West Central: Jeff Halcomb
East Central: no selection
North Central: Luis Mendez
Northwest: Jeff Edwards
South Central: Bill Presor
Southeast: Garrett Franklin
Southwest: Coral Grubler
West Central: no seletion
East Central: Steve Nelson
North Central: Larry Jordan
Northeast: Michael Tidmore
Northwest: Phillip Pugh
South Central: Bruce Arnold
Southeast: Mike Heath
Southwest: Tim Porter
West Central: Michael Mullally
TRACK & FIELD
East Central: no selection
North Central: Joey Kyle
Northeast: Joey Lauderdale
Northwest: Willie Ray
South Central: Tony Reaves
Southeast: no selection
Southwest: Wayne Kulakowski
West Central: no selection
East Central: Connie Higgins
North Central: Willie Moore III
Northeast: Phillip Mosley
Northwest: Anthony Gunn
South Central: Kevin Foley
Southeast: Morris Murphy
Southwest: Maureen McKannan
West Central: Kimberly Dailey
East Central: Adam Pierce
North Central: Jeff Saxon
Northeast: Matt Smart
Eight high schools that attended Friday’s 10th annual Media Group as recipients of a $1,000 al.com Sportsmanship Grant. Al.com, in support of good sportsmanship, has provided $88,000 over the last 10 years – proving one scholarship to a fine and ejection-free school each from all eight of the AHSAA’s districts.
The recipients this year were: Choctaw County (District 1); Dothan (District 2); Trinity Presbyterian (District 3); Central Coosa (District 4); Jackson-Olin (District 5); Ragland (District 6); Covenant Christian (District 7); and Fyffe (District 8). The schools were selected from the 75 that completed the 2017-18 school fine and ejection free.
Former major leaguer Todd Jones was the guest speaker at the Sportsmanship Luncheon. Jones, who spent 15 years pitching in the majors, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
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