MONTGOMERY – All seven defending state football champions and 20 unbeaten teams are among the 208-team state playoff field announced by the Alabama High School Athletic Association Saturday morning.
The state football playoffs get underway Thursday night, Nov. 3, with two Class 6A first-round games, and 102 games are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4. All contests are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.
State champions will be crowned in seven classifications with 32 schools competing in Classes 1A through 6A through five rounds of play, and 16 competing in four playoff rounds in Class 7A. The ultimate goal of each is to compete in the Super 7 State Football Finals at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
The playoffs began in 1966 with just four teams competing for the Class 4A state title. The playoffs expanded to four classifications in 1967, to six in 1984 and seven in 2014. This will be the third year of competition in seven classes.
This year’s playoffs mark the 51th anniversary of the AHSAA’s storied playoff completion. One school, Sidney Lanier, competed in the first playoff in 1966 that featured four schools and will be in the field for the 2016 playoffs.
AHSAA TV partner Raycom Media will for the second straight year telecast the Raycom / AHSAA Playoff Game of the Week over the next four weeks, culminating with Raycom televising all seven state championship games at Auburn. Next Friday’s Game of the Week will be Auburn (7-3) versus Davidson (9-1) in Class 7A first-round battle at Ladd-Peebles Stadium at 7 p.m. Coach Fred Riley’s Warriors will be home team finishing second to McGill-Toolen Catholic in Region 1. McGill beat Davidson 39-36 in overtime
The seven defending state champions include Class 1A Maplesville (9-0); Class 2A Elba (8-2); Class 3A Piedmont (10-0); Class 4A Leeds (8-2); Class 5A St. Paul’s Episcopal (7-3); Class 6A Spanish Fort (8-2); and Class 7A McGill-Toolen (10-0).
Piedmont head coach Steve Smith notched the 200th win of his prep coaching career earlier this season, His Bulldogs won the AHSAA’s current longest football winning streak (20) heading into the 3A playoffs. McGill-Toolen, coached by Caleb Ross, has a 19-game winning streak and Maplesville, coached by Brent Hubbert, is currently riding an 18-game streak.
In addition, 17 other unbeaten schools head into the state playoffs including Carroll-Ozark (10-0). The Eagles, coached by Roger McDonald, finished 10-0 in the regular season for the first time since 1930 after going just 1-9 in 2014. Class 4A Rogers (10-0), coached by Randall Martin, recorded its first unbeaten regular season in school history.
Montgomery’s newest high school Park Crossing, coached by Smitty Grider, is undefeated a 10-0 in just its third season.
Unbeaten teams by class in the playoffs include: (Class 1A) Maplesville (9-0); Georgiana (10-0), Linden (10-0), Wadley (9-0), Addison (10-0); (Class 2A) G.W. Long (9-0); Fyffe (10-0); LaFayette (10-0); (Class 3A) Gordo (10-0); Piedmont (10-0); (Class 4A) Rogers (10-0); Class 5A: Carroll (10-0); Scottsboro (10-0); (Class 6A) Park Crossing (10-0); Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (10-0); Oxford (10-0); (Class 7) McGill-Toolen Catholic (10-0); and Hewitt-Trussville (10-0).
The NFHS Network plans to live-stream selected games each week with several member schools planning to live-stream contests over the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program as well.
All games will be listed at www.ahsaa.com as well www.nfhsnetwork.com. More than 50 first-round games are expected to be broadcast by local radio stations as well. The AHSAA Radio Network will also host a statewide scoreboard show during the state playoffs. Check the AHSAA website for more details.
Second-round playoff games are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11, followed by the quarterfinals on Nov. 18, the semifinals Nov. 25.