Thursday, February 20, 2020






Thompson – Central-Phenix City Kick Off AHSAA State Football Championships at Jordan-Hare

     MONTGOMERY – Thompson High School and Central-Phenix City High School meet for the second year in a row in the AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium Wednesday night.
     The Class 7A championship game kicks the 2019 Super 7 finals – seven state championship games Dec. 4-6-7.
           The Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, is a partnership between the AHSAA and Special Olympics Alabama. Vestavia Hills and Baldwin County will be playing in the game or the third straight year. Baldwin County won last year 26-18.
      Central downed Thompson 52-7 last year. Coach Jamey DuBose’s Red Devils (12-1) opened the 2019 season with a 17-14 loss to Hoover in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. Central has reeled off 12 straight wins since, including a 38-0 victory over Auburn in the semifinals. Thompson (11-1) beat Hoover 35-21 in the semifinals. The Warriors have gone 34-4 the last three seasons and the Red Devils have compiled  37-2 record during that same span.
     Thompson, coached by Mark Freeman, is anchored on offense by quarterback Sawyer Pate. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior was the back-up to last year’s starter Taulia Tagovailoa, now a freshman at Alabama. Pate was forced to step in when Taulia was injured in last year’s finals.
    This year, Pate has been the starter in all 12 Thompson games and has responded by completing 214-of-284 passes for 2,885 yards and 39 touchdowns. His passing accuracy (75.4%) is one of tops in the nation this season. Senior receiver Mike Pettway has hauled in 61 receptions for 1,106 yards and 16 TDs.  Running back Samuel Gaiters is the team’s leading rusher with 902 yards on 120 carries. He has four TDs. Linebacker Jeremiah Alexander paces the Warriors’ defense with 73 tackles, including 7.5 sacks.
    Central senior quarterback Tucker Melton has also been exceptional this season completing 108-of-188 passes for 1,427 yards and 18 touchdowns. Back-up QB Trey Miles is 56-of-82 for 729 yards and nine TDs – and no interceptions. Senior E.J. Williams, one of the top prep receivers in the nation, has 40 catches for 703 yards and 11 touchdowns. Robert Marsh has 37 catches for 433 yards and three scores and Peter Jakes has 29 receptions for 402 yards with nine TDs. Leading rusher Joseph McKay has 1,263 yards on 178 carries and has rushed for 20 touchdowns. Zion Morris also has 668 yards and six TDs on 109 carries. P.J. Ramsey and Jaden Richardson each have 98 tackles this season.
      Thursday’s Super 7 schedule features state finals in Class 3A, 1A and 5A. Piedmont (13-1) meets Mobile Christian (9-4) at 11 a.m., in the 3A championship battle. Lanett (13-0), led by senior quarterback Kristian Story, faces defending state champion Mars Hill Bible (14-0) in the 1A finals at 3 p.m. Story, the son of Panthers head coach Clifford Story, has passed for 8,821 yards and 117 touchdowns in his prep career and has rushed for 3,508 yards and 46 TDs. His career total yards (12,859) and touchdowns accounted for (171) are both AHSAA all-time records. He also has 28 career interceptions on defense. Story is 144-of-214 this season for 2,616 yards and 26 TDs and has rushed for 1,041 yards and 15 scores.
     Mars Hill Bible (14-0), coached by Darrell Higgins, rolls into the finals riding a 24-game winning streak. Thursday’s 5A finals has defending Class 5A state champion Central, Clay County (12-2) facing Pleasant Grove 13-1) at 7 p.m.
     Friday’s schedule has UMS-Wright (13-0) taking on Jacksonville (12-2) in the 4A finals at 11 a.m. The Bulldogs won the 2017 and 2018 state titles and will be going for the school’s ninth state football championship overall. UMS-Wright also comes in with a 32-game winning streak on the line. Friday’s slate features defending 2A state champion Fyffe (14-0) versus Reeltown (13-1) at 3 p.m., and the Super 7 Championships conclude Friday night at 7 p.m., with Spanish Fort (9-4) meeting Oxford (13-1) in the 6A title game.  Fyffe currently has a 29-game winning streak.
    All seven championships will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network of cable affiliates and will also be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. WOTM TV is producing the games.
    Play-by-play announcer Tommy Wood and color analyst Coach Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the Class 7A, 6A, 4A and 3A games while Mickey Shadrix and Gethard Methangani will be the announcers for the 1A and 2A games. Christina Chambers of WBRC TV 6 will be the sideline reporter for all telecasts.
    The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all seven championship games over its network of radio affiliates and the internet.  Central-Phenix City’s NFHS Network School Broadcast Program will live-stream the Unified Game for the NFHS Network.

AHSAA Super 7 Championships
At Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn

(Home team listed second)
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game

Baldwin County vs. Vestavia Hills, 3:30 p.m.
Thompson (11-1) vs. Central-Phenix City (12-1), 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 5

Mobile Christian (9-4) vs. Piedmont (13-1), 11 a.m.

Mars Hill Bible (14-0) vs. Lanett (13-0), 3 p.m.

Central Clay County (12-2) vs. Pleasant Grove (13-1), 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 6

Jacksonville (12-2) vs. UMS-Wright (13-0), 11 a.m.

Fyffe (14-0) vs. Reeltown (13-1), 3 p.m.

Oxford (13-1) vs. Spanish Fort (9-4), 7 p.m.

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