Monday, February 17, 2020






Baldwin County Repeats as Unified Champions

                                               By CHRIS MEGGINSON

     AUBURN – A 119-yard passing performance by T.J. Caraway guided the Baldwin County School System Bandits to their second straight AHSAA/Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game 26-18 victory  Wednesday in a 26-18 win over Vestavia Hills High School at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game, which is a partnership between the AHSAA and Special Olympics Alabama, kicked off the 2018 AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships.
     Baldwin County athlete Caraway completed 11-of-25 passes and had three touchdowns in the win, a near repeat performance from his 2017 performance of 16-of-26 passing for 121 yards and three touchdowns against Vestavia in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Caraway also completed and caught an extra point pass.
     Trey Morrissette caught two passes in the game, each 35-yard touchdowns, to lead the Bandits’ receiving corp. The first TD catch came with 15 seconds remaining in the first half to give Baldwin County a 13-12 halftime lead. The halfback pass from Jacob Bankster was the only pass he threw on the game.
    Baldwin County, coached by Mike Conner, took a 7-0 lead midway through the first half on an 8-yard TD from Caraway to Jaron Hyatt. The Rebels answered with a 32-yard touchdown run by Weyman Prater and a 35-yard touchdown down rush down the sideline by Winston Bosworth. Both extra point passes failed.
    The Bandits created some distance, 26-12, with another 8-yard connection between Caraway and Hyatt with four minutes to play. The Rebels, coached by Terry Tingle, cut the score to 26-18 with 29 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Austin Ballard to Bosworth, but the extra point pass failed. Bosworth followed the touchdown catch by intercepting Caraway with 14 seconds to play, but time expired before Vestavia ran out of time on the final drive.
      Dayne Howard led Baldwin County with six tackles, including one for a loss and had one break up on defense. Jacob Bankster had three pass breakups and three tackles, including two on Vestavia’s final drive. Mack Brock applied pressure on Ballard with five quarterback hurries.
     Davis Spain led Vestavia’s defense with seven hurries, while Bosworth finished with three tackles, followed by two stops each by Prater and Parker Turner.
    The 63rd annual AHSAA football playoffs will feature seven finals with Thompson meeting Central-Phenix City in the 7A championship Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Thursday’s schedule kicks off at 11 a.m. with Piedmont and Flomaton the 3A championship, followed by Linden and Mars Hill Bible in the 1A final at 3 p.m. and Vigor versus Central-Clay County for the 5A title at 7 p.m.
   The Super 7 will conclude Friday with UMS-Wright meeting Deshler in the 4A title game at 11 a.m., Fyffe and Luverne meet at 3 p.m. for the 2A championship and Pinson Valley will battle Saraland for the Class 6A championship at 7 p.m.
    The NFHS Network live-streamed the Unified game Wednesday. Raycom Sports, the AHSAA TV partner, will televise all seven AHSAA state championship game over its affiliate network d-2 channels and the Bounce Channel. Local cable information can be found at The NFHS Network will also live-stream the Raycom telecast over the NFHS Network subscriber-based platform. For more information, go to

Boaz, T.R. Miller Tie for Boys 1A-5A Title; Huntsville wins 6A-7A Boys UMS-Wright, Westminster Christian Claim AHSAA Girls’ Swimming Crowns

AUBURN – UMS-Wright High School’s girls captured the AHSAA Class 1A-5A State Swimming championship and Westminster Christian captured the Class 6A-7A girls’ state crown Saturday as the 2018 State Swimming and Diving Championships concluded at James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the Auburn University campus Saturday.
   Boaz and T.R. Miller tied with 161 points each to share the Class 1A-5A boys’ state title, and Huntsville captured the Class 6A-7A championship for the third year in a row.
    UMS-Wright totaled 285 points to claim the first girls swimming crown since 1997. Whitesburg Christian was second with 209 points and Scottsboro was third at 149. Madison Academy finished fourth with 130 points and Briarwood Christian was fifth with 106.  Sarak Kate Sligh, of St. Michael’s Catholic, won gold in the 50 Free and 100 Breatstroke PARA events.
    In the girls’ Class 6A-7A competition, Westminster Christian posted 265 points to win its thirst consecutive crown. The Wildcats won the Class 1A-5A state championship in 2016 and 2017 but moved up to Class 6A-7A this season.  Spanish Fort finished second with 198 points, followed by Grissom (163), James Clemens (162) and defending champion Auburn (150) to round out the top five finishers.
    The 1A-5A boys’ state championship was the first for Boaz and T.R. Miller. St. Michael Catholic was third with 149 points, Jasper was fourth (140.50) and Scottsboro (122) finished fifth. Huntsville totaled 309 points to win the 6A-7A boys’ state title. The championship was the Panthers’ 15th overall, tying the state record set by Grissom from 1984-1999. Huntsville has also won the AHSAA crown five times in the last seven years. Daphne was second with 262 points, Auburn was third with 216, followed by Spain Park (179) and Davidson (164).
     Several records fell in AHSAA’s 59th State Championships in the 6A-7A division but no records fell in the 1A-5A division.
    Among them:

Class 6A-7A Boys
200-Yard Medley Relay:
Daphne set a Class 6A-7A record in the prelims clocking 1:35.81 and then topped that mark in the finals with a 1:1:35.07. The team was comprised of senior Will Robinson, junior Trey Sheils, senior Graham Jenkins and senior Tyler Bailey.
100-Yard Breaststroke: Daphne’s Sheils set a new all-time record in the prelims swimming a 55.39 time, and he then topped that mark in the finals with a 55.34.
50-Yard Freestyle: Wen Zheng of Northview broke the record he set as a sophomore in 2016 (20.56) with a 20.47 time in Saturday’s finals.
100-Yard Freestyle: Zhang also broke the 6A-7A record (44.78) he set in 2016 with a winning time of 44.24 in Saturday’s finals.
500-Yard Freestyle: Spain Park junior Ward Lockhart set the 6A-7A record with a 4:37.02 time in the prelims. He won the finals by breaking that mark clocking 4:36.87.

Class 6A-7A Girls
200-Yard Freestyle:
Sophomore Rebekah Hamilton of Westminster Christian swam the distance in 1:49.45 to set the mark for 6A-7A. She set the 1A-5A division record (1:50.35) in 2016 and now holds both marks.
200-Yard IM: Letitia Sim, a sophomore from Spanish Fort, set a new Class 6A-7A and record with a 2:01.64 time. Mallory Underwood of Athens set the record previously with a 2:03.60 time in the 2016 state meet.
100-Yard Breaststroke: Sim set her second record of the 2018 meet with a 1:01.64 time in the breaststroke race. The old mark (1:02.13) was set by Megan Molnar of Auburn in 2010.
50-Yard Freestyle: Sophomore Eboni McCarty of Westminster Christian set a record (22.86) in the prelims Friday and topped that mark in the finals swimming a 22:81 time.
100-Yard Freestyle: McCarty clocked 50.41 seconds to set a new mark in the 6A-7A division.

    Complete results can be found at:


Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, is one of eight selected to be inducted into the State of Alabama Sports Hall of  Fame.  The Board of Directors of the ASHOF announced the Class of 2019 Wednesday morning. The class will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame at its induction banquet on April 27, 2019.

The Class was selected by ballot through a statewide selection committee; votes were tabulated by the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.


The newly elected inductees for the Class of 2019 are as follows:


















Starting with the first class in 1969, this will be the 51st Class inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The eight newly elected inductees will bring the total number of inductees to 361.


The 51st Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on April 27, 2019. For more information please contact the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum at (205) 323-6665.

Savarese is being inducted in the administrator category. Others with AHSAA ties include football standouts Tommie Agee, who is a Maplesville High School graduate, and Antonio Langham, who graduated from Hazlewood High School in Town Creek; former coach Bill Burgess, a Banks High School graduate; track Olympian Willie Davenport of Troy; and soccer star Catherine Reddick Whitehill, who attended Briarwood Christian School in Shelby County.

Savarese was born October 16, 1952 in Glencoe, NY.  Savarese grew up in Leeds, Alabama and graduated from Southwestern College in Kansas. After a very successful high school coaching career for more than three decades, he became just the fourth AHSAA Executive Director in the history of the AHSAA serving in that capacity since 2007.

He introduced several major changes at the AHSAA including rotating the Super 7 State Football Championships between Auburn and Tuscaloosa; expanding other championship sports such as softball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, cross country and golf to include regional/sectional competition leading to more opportunities for participation for student-athletes. He introduced a revenue-sharing plan and sportsmanship initiatives that have made a significant impact on high school sports in the State of Alabama.

He currently serves on the NFHS Board of Directors and is chairman of the NFHS Network Board of Directors. Before joining the AHSAA, he coached a high state football championship in Kansas (Douglass) in 1978, in Alabama (Daphne) in 2001 and had successful tenues at Ensley, Benjamin Russell and McGill-Toolen as well.

Bios of of all the inductees are below:



TOMMIE AGEE | FOOTBALL  Born February 22, 1964 in Maplesville, AL.  Agee played football at Auburn University where he was a four-year starter at fullback as lead blocker for Bo Jackson. He finished his college career with 356 carries, 1,733 rushing yards, and 13 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 5th Round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played one year for the Seahawks, one year for the Kansas City Chiefs, and five years for the Dallas Cowboys. While he was with the Cowboys, they won two consecutive Super Bowl Championships (Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII).

Born January 26, 1941 in Birmingham, AL. Burgess was a letterman at fullback for Auburn University in 1962. He began his coaching career as a football assistant at Banks High School in Birmingham before accepting the head coach position at Woodlawn High School in 1966. Following his time at Woodlawn he coached the Oxford Yellow Jackets to nine playoff appearances, four area titles, and four regional titles. In 1985, he was named head coach at Jacksonville State University. Under Burgess, JSU won the 1988 Gulf South Conference and the 1992 NCAA Division II National Championship. Burgess was honored as the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year three times and was named the 1992 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. His tenure as head coach at Jacksonville State spanned 12 seasons from 1985-1996; and he finished his college career with an 84-49-4 record. He has been inducted into the Jacksonville State University Athletic Hall of Fame and the NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame.


WILLIE DAVENPORT | TRACK & FIELD  Born June 8, 1943 in Troy, AL.  Davenport competed in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics. After the 1964 Summer Olympics, he enrolled at Southern University and won the AAU outdoor title outright in 1965, 1966, and 1967; he tied for first place in 1969. At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, he won a gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles.  Eight years later, he won the bronze medal in the same event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.  At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Davenport and one of his bobsled teammates, Jeff Gadley, became the first two African-Americans to represent the United States at any Winter Olympics. Davenport is one of only ten Americans to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1982 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1990.


LUIS GONZALEZ | BASEBALL  Born September 3, 1967 in Tampa, FL. Gonzalez attended the University of South Alabama where he was named to Baseball America’s All-Freshman Second Team. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 4th Round of the 1988 MLB Draft.  He played 18 seasons for seven different teams. In 2001, he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ only World Series championship team to date. His game-winning hit in Game 7 clinched the title for the Diamondbacks. He was a five-time All-Star, and won the Home Run Derby and Silver Slugger Award in 2001. He ended his career with a .283 BA, .479 SLG, .845 OPS, and 354 home runs. His No. 20 was the first Diamondback number to be retired. In 2005, he won the Branch Rickey Award for his community service after Hurricane Katrina. He was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2011.


BUD MOORE | FOOTBALL - COACHING  Born October 16, 1939 in Jasper, AL.  He played collegiately at the University of Alabama in both football and baseball.  After his college career, he had coaching stints at Alabama, Kentucky, Texas A&M and North Carolina.  In 1975, he became Head Coach at the University of Kansas and was named Big Eight Coach of the Year by the AP and UPI after taking the Jayhawks to a 7-5 record.  He was named District Six Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.  In 1996 he was named recipient of the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award.

 Born July 31, 1972 in Town Creek, AL.  Langham played collegiately at the University of Alabama, where he was a three-year starter at left cornerback for the Crimson Tide.  He holds the school record with 19 career interceptions. As a junior, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. His senior season he was a consensus First-Team All-American and won the Jim Thorpe Award and the Jack Tatum Trophy, both of which are awarded to the nation’s top defensive back.  Drafted in 1994 in the 1st Round (9th overall) by the Cleveland Browns, he was named 1994 NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year. He played two seasons with the Browns and also played with the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots over a seven-year career.


STEVE SAVARESE | ADMINISTRATION  Born October 16, 1952 in Glencoe, NY.  Savarese grew up in Leeds, Alabama and graduated from Southwestern College in Kansas. After a very successful high school coaching career for more than three decades, he became just the fourth AHSAA Executive Director in the history of the AHSAA serving in that capacity since 2007. He introduced several major changes at the AHSAA including rotating the Super 7 State Football Championships between Auburn and Tuscaloosa; expanding other championship sports such as softball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, cross country and golf to include regional/sectional competition leading to more opportunities for participation for student-athletes. He introduced a revenue-sharing plan and sportsmanship initiatives that have made a significant impact on high school sports in the State of Alabama. He currently serves on the NFHS Board of Directors and is chairman of the NFHS Network Board of Directors. Before joining the AHSAA, he coached a high state football championship in Kansas (Douglass) in 1978, in Alabama (Daphne) in 2001 and had successful tenures at Ensley, Benjamin Russell and McGill-Toolen as well.

Born February 10, 1982, in Richmond, VA. She started her soccer career at Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, AL. She played four seasons at the University of North Carolina where she won four national championships and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team four times. She was named NCAA Final Four Defensive MVP twice, NSCAA First-Team All-American twice and First-Team All-ACC three times. In 2003, her final season at UNC, she won the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy and the Honda Sports Award, both of which are awarded to the best female player in college soccer. She played for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2000-2010 where she scored 11 goals in 134 appearances. Whitehill played professional soccer in the United States from 2009-2015. She has also established a successful career in broadcasting, serving as a color commentator on television broadcasts.

14 Teams set for Semifinals of Class 1A/6A Football Playoffs Scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30

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

AHSAA State Football Playoffs
Semifinal Pairings
(All games Nov. 30, 7 p.m. kickoff)
Maplesville (11-1) at Linden )12-0)
Pickens County (9-4) at Mars Hill Bible (12-1), Florence

Luverne (12-1) at Highland Home (12-1)
Aliceville (11-2) at Fyffe (13-0)
Providence Christian (12-1) at Flomaton (10-3)
Randolph County (12-1) at Piedmont (11-2)
Andalusia (9-4) at UMS-Wright (12-0), Mobile
Oneonta (10-3) at Deshler (8-5), Tuscumbia
Vigor (12-1) at Greenville (11-2)
Central-Clay County (10-3) at Mortimer Jordan (12-1), Kimberly
Saraland (12-1) at Wetumpka (11-2)
Clay-Chalkville (12-1) at Pinson Valley (11-1), RAYCOM Game of the Week
(Finals, Dec. 5, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn)
Central-Phenix City (13-0) vs. Thompson (12-1)

AHSAA State Football Playoffs
Third-Round Results

Maplesville 29, Lanett 6
Linden 44, St. Luke’s Episcopal 43
Mars Hill Bible 41, South Lamar 27
Pickens County 13, Spring Garden 0


Luverne 26, Leroy 7
Highland Home 28, Ariton 14
Fyffe 21, Ohatchee 13
Aliceville 38, Addison 22


Flomaton 12, Pike County 10
Providence Christian 23, Gordo 20
Piedmont 27, Westminster Christian 26
Randolph County 19, Saks 8


Andalusia 28, Hillcrest-Evergreen 21
UMS-Wright 21, American Christian 19

Oneonta 29, Good Hope 8
Deshler 20, Hokes Bluff 14

Greenville 27, Ramsay 13
Vigor 27, Demopolis 7
Central-Clay County 35, Etowah 13
Mortimer Jordan 41, Jasper 21

Saraland 24, Opelika 19
Wetumpka 21, Spanish Fort 17
Pinson Valley 48, Homewood 7
Clay-Chalkville 45, Oxford 9


Central-Phenix City 34, Lee-Montgomery 27
Thompson 31, Hoover 28

Former All-Stars Roman Harper, Wallace Gilberry Returning to Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game

MONTGOMERY – Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, announced Thursday that former National Football League players Roman Harper and Wallace Gilberry will take part in the 2018 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game festivities in December.
   The 32nd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic will be played on Monday night, Dec. 17, at Cramton Bowl with a 6:30 p.m., kickoff. Raycom Sports will televise the game live over its affiliate stations in Alabama and Mississippi as well as selected stations in Tennessee and Georgia.
     “We are extremely proud to have Roman Harper and Wallace Gilberry taking part in this year’s Alabama-Mississippi Classic,” Lee said. “Both are alumni of the All-Star Classic and both had outstanding college and NFL careers, which make their participation even more special.”
    Harper, a former Prattville High School and University of Alabama standout, will be the guest speaker at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star players dinner set for Saturday, Dec. 15. He played eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints and his final two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He played in the 2009 and 2015 Super Bowls.
    Gilberry, a Baldwin County High School standout who played in the 2003 Alabama-Mississippi Game, will serve as the Alabama All-Star Team honorary captain. He will speak at the banquet set for Sunday, December 16th. Named to the All-SEC Coaches Team in 2007, he spent nine years in the NFL.
    Both will take part in the Alabama-Mississippi Game festivities.
WALLACE GILBERRY, Alabama All-Star 2018 Honorary Captain & Banquet Speaker
      Not recruited heavily out of high school and undrafted out of college, Gilberry spent nine seasons in the NFL, playing in 124 games, registering 34 sacks and scoring a touchdown on a 25-yard fumble return against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
      Despite a senior season with 76 tackles and seven sacks, the defensive lineman wasn't recruited by any SEC football program coming out of Baldwin County High School in Bay Minette, but his performance during the Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic on June 7, 2003, earned him a second look.
       The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game as Gilberry tells it, “Changed my life.” Alabama had one scholarship remaining and signed him. He then embarked on an outstanding college career at a defensive end for the Crimson Tide from (2004-2007).
     He became a starter in his sophomore year and played in 50 games during his college tenure with the Crimson Tide. He had 188 tackles with 60.5 stops resulting in minus-223 yards, had 38 quarterback hurries, forced five fumbles and recovered three. He was named to the All-SEC Coaches’ Football Team in 2007
     He was an undrafted free agent in 2008, signing with the New York Giants, was released prior to the season and was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs. He also had stints with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL.
    His best year was 2009 when he had 20 tackles, two assists and 4.5 sacks for the Chiefs. While playing for the Bengals in 2012, he scooped up a fumble and ran it into the end one for the first and only touchdown of his career.

ROMAN HARPER, Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Guest Speaker
Roman Harper was born and raised in Prattville where he led the Lions to a 9-2 season as a senior in 2000 as the team’s quarterback. He played in the 2001 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
    The All-State standout went on to sign with the University of Alabama where he was a four-year letterman and three-year starter in the defensive backfield. He finished his college career with 302 tackles, five interceptions and four fumble recoveries. He had 114 tackles as a sophomore, second on the team, and was named All-SEC (second team) as a junior and All-SEC (first team) as a senior.
    He entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick of the Saints in 2006. He played eight seasons with New Orleans, including the Saints' Super-Bowl winning campaign of 2009. Harper was a Pro Bowl safety that year and repeated that honor the next season. Harper spent 2014 and 2015 with the Carolina Panthers, helping the team win the NFC title and reach the Super Bowl for the 2015 season.
   The two-time Pro Bowl defensive back selection played 11 NFL seasons and started 140 of the 156 games in which he participated. His career totals included 11 interceptions with two returned for touchdowns, 819 tackles and 18 sacks – from his safety position. He helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV (SB 44) and also helped the Panthers reach Super Bowl L (SB 50).
   He received the NFL’s prestigious Ed Block Courage Award in 2007.

Tyson Directs Hewitt-Trussville to Dramatic Come-from-Behind Win over James Clemens

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:

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 a
fter 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 ( 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).

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.

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.
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.

Jasper Goes 8-0 to Claim Heffstrong Tourney Title and AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight This Week

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 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:

Recorded 265 assists to surpass 2,000 for her career, and also had 40 kills in Athens Bible’s nine matches last week.

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.

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.
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.

Grace Carr’s Performance Leads Mountain Brook To AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight and Tourney Title

MONGOMERY – Junior hitter Grace Carr turned in an all-around MVP performance to earn most-valuable-player honors as Mountain Brook (16-3) went undefeated to win the Back to the ‘Boro high school volleyball tournament championship at Siegel (TN) last weekend.
     Carr registered 108 kills, 12 service aces and 77 digs to earn MVP honors as the Class 7A Spartans (16-3) were 7-0 with wins over Tennessee teams Page, McGavock, Nashville Christian, Cookeville, Nolensville and AHSAA schools Hazel Green and Jasper to win the title and capture the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight for last week.
      Coach Vickie Nichols also got outstanding play from junior setter Amy Vandevelde, who dished out 217 assists and had 76 digs. Ellie Dayhuff had 20 blocks and 43 kills, Greer Golden contributed 15 blocks, and Liz Vandevelde added 116 digs and 12 aces.
    The Spartans’ performance led by Carr beat out several tournament championship efforts by Pelham (Hartselle Invitational), McGill-Toolen Catholic (Catholic Cup), Baker (Battle of the Bay), East Limestone and Lexington (Metro First Tourney), Ariton (Charles Henderson Invitational and Pleasant Valley (Etowah County Tourney).
    McGill-Toolen, the defending Class 7A state champ, finished 7-0 to win the Catholic Cup tourney title at Mobile with wins over St. Joseph’s Academy and Mt. Carmel from Louisiana, Cardinal Mooney (FL), St. Pius X (GA) and AHSAA schools John Carroll Catholic and St. John Paul II Catholic. Coach Kate Wood got superb performances from setter Lilly Fromdahl (143 assists); Kenya McQuirter (66 kills); and Haley Palmer (33 kills).
Other top performances reported include:

Powered the Class 6A Panthers (15-2) to seven wins, including the Hartselle Invitational tourney title, with 71 kills, 73 digs and nine aces. Teammate Sarah Guthrie added 62 kills, 61 digs and 22 aces.
RACHEL MORRISETTE, BAKER: Had 39 kills, 16 blocks and 14 service aces to lead the Hornets to the Battle of the Bay tournament championship. Baker (9-5) finished 6-1 – avenging an earlier loss to Thompson with a victory over the Warriors in the finals.
KOLBI REED, THOMPSON: Had 62 kills and 12 service aces as the Warriors rolled to a 7-1 record and a runner-up finish at the Battle of the Bay tournament.
MAEGAN MILLIGAN, WEST MORGAN: Led West Morgan (20-6) to eight wins in 11 matches with 126 kills. Teammate Aaliyah Wallace had 165 assists and 10 aces.
ALYSSA DUTTON, CARBON HILL: Paced Carbon Hill (24-3) to a 7-1 record last week with 86 kills, 59 digs, nine blocks and 20 aces.
CARSON ANN CROW, SAINT JAMES: Had 89 kills, 45 digs and eight aces as the Trojans (13-4) rolled to a 7-1 record on the week. Saint James lost to East Limestone in the First Metro Tourney hosted by Muscle Shoals.
JASMINE BROOKS, SPARKMAN: Totaled 67 kills as the Senators (16-8) finished 5-2 on the week.
SKYLAR HAMMOND, LEXINGTON: Had 103 kills and 16 blocks as Lexington (16-3) won seven matches. The Bears captured the Muscle Shoals First Metro Tournament lower-division title beating Winston County in the finals. Teammate Anna Sims had 171 assists.
SAIGE BLANTON, WINSTON COUNTY: Had 69 kills, 18 digs and 11 aces as Winston County (14-7) went 5-2 – including reaching the finals of the Muscle Shoals First Metro Tourney lower division.
SKYLER BENSON, PRICEVILLE: Had 93 kills and 11 blocks in 10 matches as the Bulldogs won the Silver Bracket title of Muscle Shoals' First Metro tournament.
MARY BETH LONG, G.W. LONG: Helped the Class 2A Rebels go 5-2 on the week with 84 kills as Long had four wins over 5A schools and one win over a Class 4A school. Makenna Long added 173 assists.

Posted 193 assists, 44 digs and eight service aces as Pelham (15-2) won seven matches on the week – including winning the championship of the Hartselle Invitational.
KIARA ROBINSON, EAST LIMESTONE: Had 185 assists and 92 digs to lead the Indians (12-7) to an 8-2 record for the week and the Upper Division championship of the First Metro Tourney at Muscle Shoals. Teammate Jenny Renfroe also had 90 kills and 92 digs.
ANN MARGARET KEENER, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: Had 171 assists, 66 digs and 20 aces in six matches for Central-Florence (12-7).
ERIN CHEEK, FAITH CHRISTIAN: Led her team to the Donoho Classic championship recording 152 assists and 14 aces as Faith (15-4) won six matches including a win over Meek in the finals.
EMMA NESTER, WILSON: Recorded 135 assists for Wilson (16-6) to lead her team to a 5-2 record for the week.
STEPHNIE SHARP, BUCKHORN: Had 153 assists as the Lady Bucks (25-11) won 7 of 10 matches.
EMILEY STEVENS, ARITON: Had 128 assists to lead the Purple Cats (9-0) to six wins en route to the championship of the Charles Henderson Invitational at Troy. The finals match was the second win of the tourney for Ariton over arch-rival G.W. Long.
MADELYN DIZON, LINDSAY LANE: Had 118 assists as Lindsay Lane (15-6) went 7-1 for the week.
AMIYAH KING, HOOVER: Had 52 assists in the Bucs’ wins over James Clemens and Mountain Brook.
BEATRICE LINDQUIST, MARY MONTGOMERY: Had 48 assists, 23 digs and seven service aces as the Vikings (9-7) went 2-1 for the week.
KAYLAY KESHOCK, SPANISH FORT: Led the Toros (19-2) to two wins with 40 assists and two blocks.

Led the Hornets (19-4) to a 7-1 record and the championship of the September Slamfest Tournament recording 104 digs and 21 service aces in eight matches.
P.G. GARRISON, HELENA: Recorded 51 digs and 10 kills in two matches for the Huskies (9-6).
MAGGIE HEDGEPATH, PLEASANT VALLEY: Turned up the defense with 66 digs as Pleasant Valley (14-6) won four matches to win the Etowah County tournament.
COLEY KRIEG, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Managed 65 digs and 12 aces as the Saints (12-4) went 4-2 on the week.

Had 29 services in nine matches last week. She also had 61 assists, 17 kills and six blocked shots.
ALEX PRESSNELL, BUCKHORN: Managed 25 service aces and 104 digs for Buckhorn in 10 matches over the week.
SAVANNAH RUTLEDGE, ALBERTVILLE: Had 14 service aces and 34 assists as Albertville (18-4) finished 3-1 for the week.
EMMA JARRETT, BOB JONES: Had seven service aces and 25 kills as the Patriots won three matches over Florence, Hazel Green and Danville.
KENDAL CROWELL, HATTON: Served 20 aces over 10 matches for the Hornets last week.

Hazel Green Sets School Record for Points To Capture AHSAA Football Spotlight

Week 3 Records Several Record Efforts

     MONTGOMERY – Junior Chase Starling accounted for eight touchdowns, five passing and three running, as Hazel Green High School downed Lee-Huntsville 78-35 to grab the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 3 of the 2018 season.
    Coach Smitty Grider, in his first season as head coach after going 38-9 the last four seasons at the Montgomery County Public School System’s newest school, Park Crossing, saw his quarterback etch his name in the AHSAA Record Book for TDs accounted for along with the   Trojans, who set a school record for most points in a single game and combined with Lee-Huntsville to record 113 total points, 27th highest total in AHSAA history.
      Hazel Green (2-2) edged out Hewitt-Trussville’s 56-28 upset win over defending Class 7A Hoover and four quarterbacks who passed their way into the Record Book with 400-yard plus games for this week’s AHSAA Spotlight.
     Starling, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound quarterback, rushed nine times for 84 yards and three touchdowns and completed 13-of-20 passes for 150 yards to lead Hazel Green’s effort. He scored touchdowns on runs of 1, 7 and 20 yards and tossed TD passes covering 24, 6, 38, 9 and 6 yards.
    The Trojans’ previous single-game high was 58 in a win over Sparkman on Oct. 3, 2014. The eight TDs accounted for ties for fourth all-time with seven others. Three before him accounted for nine TDs, including James Raines of Berry, the last to do it when he tossed nine TD passes in a 68-0 win in 2015 over Brilliant. Tommy Haley-Ricks of Hubbertville had nine rushing TDs in a 76-52 win over Vina in 2008, and Brent Gulledge of Victory Christian tossed nine TD passes in a 70-6 win over Lyman Ward in 2004. 
      Kaleb Barker was the last to account for eight TDs with four TD passes and four rushing TDs in Priceville’s 68-41 win over J.B. Pennington in 2015. Barker, now the starting quarterback at Troy University, engineered the Trojans’ 24-19 upset win over Nebraska in NCAA action last Saturday in one of Troy’s biggest Division I wins in its history.
       Hewitt-Trussville’s offense, led by quarterback Paul Tyson and running back Armoni Tyson and an offensive line led by senior Pierce Quick, had 613 total yards and eight touchdowns in the school’s fourth win in a series dating back to 1963. Hoover now holds a 16-4 edge in the series with the last previous Hewitt win coming in 1997. Tyson was 14-of-18 passing for 256 yards and two TDs and Goodwin ran 30 times for 252 yards, with TD runs of 4, 1 and 8 yards.
    Thompson senior Taulia Tagovailoa turned in the first 500-yard passing game of his prep career last Friday with 31 completions in 42 attempts for 507 yards and four TDs as the Warriors beat Oak Mountain 35-21. The victory was the first in Thompson’s new $19.1 million stadium, which was completed just in time for this season. Coach Mark Freeman’s Warriors (3-1) opened 2018 with three road games. Tagovailoa became just the 10th quarterback in AHSAA history to surpass 500 passing yards in a single game. Chris Smelley of American Christian set the state record with 565 yards versus Brantley in 2005. Tagovailoa became just the second player since 2005 to reach the 500-yard mark. He has two games over 400 yards this season and four for his career, most of any player in AHSAA history.
     Three others went over 400 yards last week, including Jacob Jones of West End was 19-of-40 for 475 yards and four touchdowns in a 62-35 loss to Westbrook Christian; Malik Inabinette of Montevallo, who was 16-of-32 for 420 yards and four scores to lead the Bulldogs past Jemison 64-41; and Bo Nix of Pinson Valley, who connected on 30-of-41 passes for 409 yards and three scores as  the defending Class 6A state champs posted a key region win over Clay-Chalkville. Keyonteze Johnson had 17 receptions for 247 yards and all three scores. The 17 catches ties for 10th in a single game and his 247 yards ranks 20th all time.
  Other top performances reported from last weekend’s games:


DIEGO GUAJARDO, DAPHNE: Kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder, to lead the Trojans to a 40-6 win over B.C. Rain. His other kicks covered 25, 30 and 43 yards. The four field goals ties 13 others in the AHSAA Record Book for second-most field goals in a game. The record (5) is shared by five kickers, including Spain Park’s Crosby Gray, who was the last to kick four or more in a single game when he booted five in a 15-14 win over Thompson for all his team’s points in 2015. The 53-yarder by Guajardo ties him five others for the ninth longest distance all time.
JADEN HARRIS, WHITE PLAINS: Had 13 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns on offense and three interceptions on defense to lead the Wildcats past Ashville 32-20. His TD runs covered 80, 3 and 49 yards. It’s the first time since 2014 the Wildcats have won two games in a season and was the first region win for the program since 2014, snapping a 23-game region losing streak.
MATT DIXON, GOOD HOPE: Rushed for 137 yards and four TDs, including a 77-yard dash  to set up his final TD in the second quarter in a 32-0 win over Tanner. The unbeaten Raiders (4-0) were 0-10 in 2016 and 4-6 last year under third-year head coach Alan Scott. The defense preserved the shutout when Walter Perez stopped a Tanner runner on fourth and goal at the 2-yard line with one minute remaining. The start is the best for Good Hope since the Raiders opened with six straight wins in 2000.
BRYCE PALMER, WATERLOO: Passed for 311 yards and four TDs as Waterloo beat Hackleburg 47-34 – the Cougars’ first victory over the Panthers in school after 18 straight setbacks dating back to 1971.
CHRISTIAN COLLINS, BOAZ: Rushed for 191 yards on 38 carries and scored the Pirates’ only two touchdowns in a 14-7 win over Class 5A, Region 6 foe Alexandria. Collins scored on runs of 15 and 4 yards. The win was the first ever for Boaz over Alexandria after 8 losses.


QUINTON JETER, TALLASSEE: Kicked a 27-yard field goal with 52 seconds left to lift the Tigers past Carroll of Ozark – snapping the Eagles’ regular-season winning streak at 25 in a row.
RODERICK SMITH, SIDNEY LANIER:  Nailed a 20-yard field goal as time expired to give the Poets a 22-20 win over Eufaula. He finished with three field goals, including a 36-yarder in the first half a 41-yard boot in early in the fourth quarter.
JAKARI FOSTER, PIEDMONT: Recovered a fumble in the final two minutes to seal the Bulldogs’ 27-22 victory over Randolph County.
HARRY NOGEUDA, SHEFFIELD: Kicked the game-winning field goal in the final minutes of the Bulldogs’ 17-16 win over Hatton.



LEE WITHERSPOON, NORTH JACKSON: Ran for 334 yards and six touchdowns (6, 46, 48, 50, 7 and 66 yards) on 18 carries and returned a kick 80 yards for a seventh score in a 75-41 win over DAR.
HUNTER GRIMES, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Totaled 311 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 28 carries as Westbrook downed West End 62-35. His scoring runs covered 10, 2, 4, 37 and 68 yards.
RASHAWN McALPINE, SARALAND: Rushed for 299 yards and two touchdowns in the Spartans’ 38-10 win over Baldwin County. It was his third straight 200-yard rushing performance this season.
ANTONIO WILLIAMS, SHADES VALLEY: Had 25 rush attempts for 281 yards and three TDs in the Mounties’ 35-18 victory over Huffman.
LUKE ALISON, RANDOLPH: Bolted for 274 rushing yards and five touchdowns (83, 76, 26, 25 and 8 yards) on 10 carries in a 47-21 win over Priceville.
TONY AMERSON, SAINT JAMES: Picked up 260 yards rushing on 30 carries and scooted 80 yards for a TD as the Trojans beat Montgomery Academy 35-13. Teammate Austin Gavin added 126 yards and two TDs on 11 rush attempts.
TY WEBB, DOTHAN: The Tigers running back rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in two and a half quarters helping Dothan to a 30-14 win over Russell County.
IVORY STARR, CEDAR BLUFF: Picked up 242 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in the Tigers’ 26-0 victory at Sand Rock.
EVAN SMITH, OAK MOUNTAIN: Gained 237 yards on 17 rush attempts and scored three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 35-21 loss at Thompson. He also completed 3-of-7 passes for 84 yards and another TD.
RAYSHAWN REYNOLDS, PIKE COUNTY: Rushed for 233 yards on 21 carries with touchdown runs of 52 and 60 yards in the Bulldogs' 27-22 win over Geneva.
TIGER WILBORN, CENTER POINT: Had 13 carries for 228 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-0 victory Munford.
DAQUON KINCEY, ABBEVILLE: Ran for 212 yards three touchdowns on nine carries in a 38-7 win over Geneva County.
RON WIGGINS, JACKSONVILLE: Gained 209 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored five touchdowns in a 56-21 win at Cherokee County. His scoring runs went for 9, 55, 3, 1 and 5 yards.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed 16 times for 204 yards and four touchdowns (5, 85, 22 and 40 yards) in a 49-7 win over Oneonta.
RICHMON SINGLETARY, ELBA: Picked up 203 yards rushing on 11 carries and scored four touchdowns as Elba downed Kinston 38-6.
K’SHUN STOKES, HEADLAND: Accounted for 287 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-13 win over Trinity for the unbeaten Rams (4-0). He rushed for 188 yards on 18 carries with TD runs of 4, 30, 32 and 16 yards and completed 9-of-13 passes for 99 yards and also threw a two-point conversion pass.
DARRELL GIBSON, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Gained 195 yards on rushes and scored twice in the Knights’ 28-8 win over Alabama Christian.
BRADEN McCAIG, COLBERT HEIGHTS: Rushed 9 times for 170 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-34 win over Lauderdale County.
PAYTON ANDERSON, FYFFE: Rushed for 185 yards and five touchdowns on 22 carries and also had 118 yards on two kickoff returns to lead the Red Devils past Collinsville 54-24. He returned on kickoff 97 yards for a TD.
JOHN PHILLIPS, WEST MORGAN: Ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns, threw a TD pass and caught six passes for 74 yards in a 28-24 win over Danville.
DA’VION JOHNSON, WOODVILLE: Picked up 167 yards and four touchdowns on 23 rush attempts in a 34-20 win over Gaylesville.
KAEDON JENKINS, PIEDMONT: Scored the go-ahead TD on a 32-yard run and finished with 150 yards rushing on 15 carries in the Bulldogs’ 27-22 win over Randolph County.
MARKEVIOUS MATTHEWS, TALLASSEE: Ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries and caught two passes for 55 yards in the Tigers’ 24-21 win over Carroll.


TYQUAN RAWLS, WETUMPKA: Completed 10-of-17 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 17 times for 164 yards and another score to lead the Indians (4-0) to a 30-28 win over Opelika. He finished with 374 total yards.
KADEN CUPP, NEW BROCKTON: The Gamecocks’ freshman quarterback completed 13-of-18 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns in a 46-6 win over Central-Hayneville. He threw TD passes of 41 yards to Drew Simon, 13 yards to Bryce Baker, 60 yards to Colton Marsh and 6 yards to Russell Weeks.
LUKE JACKSON, JACKSONVILLE: Completed 8-of-11 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown in a 56-21 win at Cherokee County.
JAYSON JONES, FULTONDALE:  Completed 12-of-18 passes for 191 yards and added 176 yards rushing and four TD runs for 367 total yards in a 35-6 victory over J.B. Pennington.
KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 12-of-25 pass attempts for 202 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 59 yards and a TD on 21 carries in the Panthers’ 54-24 loss to top-ranked Fyffe.
DESHONTAE KIRKLAND, ASHFORD: The Yellow Jackets quarterback accounted for 312 yards and three touchdowns to lead Ashford to a 39-14 win over Dale County. He passed for 134 yards, including an 84-yard TD to Jacorey Underwood, a 35-yard TD toss to Kehion Walker and tacked on 178 yards rushing and another score.
ANDREW PARRIS, EAST LIMESTONE: Was 7-of-13 passing for 197 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 83 yards and a TD on seven carries in a 48-14 win over Madison County.
IAN THIES, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Completed 9-of-15 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 123 yards on eight carries in a 39-0 win over Lexington.
HUNTER MARTIN, SPARKMAN: In his first start at quarterback, the former receiver completed 8-of-13 passes for 181 yards, including the 60-yard game-winning touchdown in a 17-13 triumph over Grissom.


KYLE MINOR, MADISON ACADEMY: Grabbed six receptions for 213 yards and three touchdowns (86, 81 and 9 yards) in a 45-7 win over Brewer.
ELI PEARCE, WEST END: Caught eight passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots’ 62-35 loss to Westbrook Christian.
AUSTIN McGHEE, JAMES CLEMENS: Caught five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns (49 and 44 yards) and scored on a 2-yard run in a 62-19 win over Huntsville.
GEORGE PICKENS, HOOVER: Nabbed four receptions for 130 yards and a 59-yard TD in the Bucs’ 56-28 loss to Hewitt-Trussville.
JEWELS GRAY, JACKSONVILLE: Caught three passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in a 56-21 win at Cherokee County.

DERICKEY WRIGHT, ETOWAH: Scored three defensive touchdowns and one on offense as Etowah (4-0) blanked Sardis 36-0. He returned two an interceptions 34 and 66 yards for scores, ran a fumble 52 yards for a TD, had a 1-yard scoring run and two-point conversion on offense to finish with 26 points.
JELEN LEE, FLORENCE: Swiped two interceptions, including one in the red zone late, as the Falcons beat Bob Jones 39-28.
WILL BRELAND, UMS-WRIGHT:  Intercepted a pair of passes as defending Class 4A state champion UMS-Wright shut out Williamson 19-0.
DAMIEN MILLER, FAIRFIELD: Retuned at interception and kickoff for touchdowns as the Tigers best Wenonah 26-0.
TYLER BENTHEIMER, GAYLESVILLE: Posted 16 tackles in the Trojans’ 34-20 loss to Woodville.
CHAUNCEY LIGHTNER, BARBOUR COUNTY: Totaled 15 tackles in a 35-20 loss to Cottonwood.
BRODERIUS FINK, CITRONELLE: Had 14 tackles and three sacks in Citronelle’s 28-20 victory over LeFlore at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
REGGIE FOWLER, LEE-MONTGOMERY: Had 12 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the Generals’ 21-17 loss to Auburn.
CONNOR GERMAN, HEADLAND: Had 11 tackles, including two sacks, and caused a fumble as the Rams downed Trinity Presbyterian 42-13.
ALEX WASHINGTON, MOUNTAIN BROOK:  Intercepted a pass and scored on a fumble return, both in the second half, as the Spartans rallied for a 24-14 victory over Spain Park.
CARSON EUBANKS, HOKES BLUFF: Recovered an Oneonta fumble on the game's opening kickoff, intercepted pass and recorded three tackles in the Eagles’ 49-7 win over Oneonta.
KENDALL ALLEN, GARDENDALE: Returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the Rockets' 40-21 victory over Pell City.
TRE AUSMER, HOMEWOOD: Returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and caught two TD passes in a 48-6 victory over Helena.
QUINDARIUS ADAMS, MIDFIELD: Had 10 tackles on defense and rushed for 121 yards on 10 carries in and added 10 tackles on defense in a 40-20 victory over Vinemont.

AHSAA Swimming and Diving: ‘It’s All About the Team’

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.