MONTGOMERY – The football teams for Spain Park and McGill-Toolen high schools will be meeting for the first time in AHSAA history Wednesday night as the two Class 7A powers clash in the Class 7A state football championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Five defending state champions will be in Tuscaloosa Thursday and Friday as the 50th AHSAA State Football Playoffs conclude with state championships in Class 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A at Bryant-Denny Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama. This is the 20th year with all championships at the same site.
Wednesday’s schedule starts at 3:30 p.m. with Lee County and Hewitt-Trussville playing in the second annual Unified Sports state game. The AHSAA partners with Special Olympics Alabama to present this contest, a flag-football game that will be livestreamed over the NFHS Network by Hillcrest High School’s NFHS School Broadcast Program team.
Raycom Media will televise all seven state championship games over its affiliate stations in the Raycom/AHSAA TV Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will broadcast all seven championships over its statewide network of radio stations.
Spain Park (12-1), coached by Shawn Raney, comes into the 7A battle with a 12-game winning streak after falling 38-35 in three overtimes in the season opener to Austin in August. The Jaguars knocked off three-time defending state champion Hoover 7-6 in the semifinals – and also beat the Bucs 17-0 in the regular season to win the Region 3 title. Raney’s team has given up just 23 points in three playoff wins this season.
McGill-Toolen (12-1), coached by Caleb Ross, currently has an eight-game winning streak. The Yellow Jackets lost week five to Blount 17-14. Ross’ squad has scored 98 points in three playoff wins.
Thursday’s schedule starts at 11 a.m. with Bayside Academy (11-3) taking on Piedmont (13-1), followed by defending Class 1A state champion Maplesville (12-1) versus Cedar Bluff (13-1) at 3 p.m., and defending 5A state champ St. Paul’s Episcopal (12-2) versus Mortimer Jordan (13-1) at 7.
Friday’s schedule begins with defending Class 4A state champion Leeds (12-2) taking on Fayette County (10-4) at 11 a.m., defending 2A champ Fyffe (13-1) facing Elba (13-1) in a rematch of last year’s finals at 3 p.m., and closing out with unbeaten Spanish Fort (14-0) taking on defending 6A champ Clay-Chalkville (14-0) at 7 p.m. The Cougars are currently riding a 29-game winning streak – longest live streak in the AHSAA.
The AHSAA state football playoffs began in 1966 with four schools in the largest class (4A) playing semifinals and finals. Sidney Lanier beat Lee-Montgomery 9-7 in the first championship game. The next year, state championships were conducted in all four classes with Marengo County (1A), Lamar County (A), Russellville (3A) and Sidney Lanier (4A) posting wins.
That format continued until 1984 with six classifications were instituted. The AHSAA moved all championships at one site in 1996 at Birmingham’s Legion Field where the “Super 6” was born. The playoffs continued with that format until 2008 when the AHSAA began a rotation between Tuscaloosa and Auburn.
Last year, the six-class format was replaced by the seven-class format, hence, the “Super 7” championships. In conjunction with Special Olympics Alabama, the first Unified Sports flag football game was also played for the first time in 2014 at Auburn.
Tickets for all championships can be purchased online at www.preptix.com/ahsaa.
To find the station and channel locally televising the Super 7 championships, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and check for your location.