MONTGOMERY – Three defending state champions and four schools Making their first AHSAA Super 7 championship game appearance are among the 14 schools that have advanced to the 51st AHSAA State Football Championships at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium Nov. 30-Dec. 1-2.
The Super 7 format, which began in 1996 while the AHSAA had six classifications, is in its 21st year of having all football championships in one location.
Maplesville (13-0) beat previously unbeaten Linden (13-1) in the Class 1A semifinals 36-14 to move into the Class 1A state finals for the fourth straight year. Coach Brent Hubbert’s Red Devils will be going for third state title in a row Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. against Pickens County (11-3), a 23-6 winner over Addison (13-1) in the other semifinal game. The Tornadoes were the last 1A school to beat Maplesville in the playoffs – posting a 38-18 win over the Red Devils in 2013 state finals.
Hubbert’s squad has compile a 99-8 record since 2009, currently owns a 22-game winning streak and has won 41 of its last 42 games.
Defending Class 7A state champion McGill-Toolen Catholic (13-0) will be facing perennial powerhouse Hoover (11-2) in the 7A championship game Wednesday night at 7 p.m., and defending Class 3A state champion Piedmont (14-0) , coached by Steve Smith, are riding a 24-game winning streak into Thursday’s 11 a.m. game versus Mobile Christian (13-1). Coach Ronnie Cottrell’s Leopards are one of four teams making their first Super 7 appearance.
Birmingham city schools Wenonah (11-2) and Ramsay (12-2) and Class 5A Beauregard (12-1) are in Super 7 Championships for the first time. The Dragons of Coach Ronald Cheatham avenged their only region loss of the year beating Briarwood Christian 14-8 to set up Thursday night’s Class 5A finals versus Beauregard. Coach Rob Carter’s Hornets jumped on Jackson early 24-0, then fell behind 25-24 before rallying to win their semifinal battle 45-25.
Ramsay, which played football from 1939-1976, disbanded its program for 38 years before hiring Coach Reuben Nelson away from Midfield to start the program back from scratch in 2014. Now, three years later the Rams are 12-2 and in the 6A state finals Friday night, Dec. 2, to face powerful Opelika (13-1) at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs of Coach Brian Blackmon downed Park Crossing (13-1) in the semifinals 41-23.
The remaining championship matchups include: Fyffe (14-0) and Aliceville (13-1) in Class 2A; Handley (12-2) and Madison Academy (11-3) in Class 4A.
The third annual Unified Sports flag football game, in a partnership with Special Olympics Alabama, will feature Lee County and Vestavia Hills Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Raycom Media will televise all seven state championship games over its affiliate stations in the Raycom/AHSAA TV Network. Opelika High School’s NFHS School Broadcast Program team will live-stream the Unified Sports game. The AHSAA Radio Network will broadcast all seven championships over its statewide network of radio stations.
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 2009 when the AHSAA began a rotation between Tuscaloosa and Auburn.
In 2014, 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. Ticket information can be found at: www.preptix.com/ahsaa.
21ST ANNUAL SUPER 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn University
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 30
Vestavia Hills vs. Lee County, 3:30 p.m.
McGill-Toolen Catholic (13-0) vs. Hoover (11-2), 7 p.m.
THURSDAY, DEC. 1
CLASS 3A FINALS
Piedmont (14-0) vs. Mobile Christian (13-1), 11 a.m.
CLASS 1A FINALS
Pickens County (11-3) vs. Maplesville (13-0), 3 p.m.
CLASS 5A FINALS
Wenonah (11-2) vs. Beauregard (12-1), 7 p.m..
FRIDAY, DEC. 2
CLASS 4A FINALS
Madison Academy (11-3) vs. Handley (12-2), 11 a.m.
CLASS 2A FINALS
Fyffe (14-0) vs. Aliceville (13-1), 3 p.m.
CLASS 6A FINALS
Ramsay (12-2) vs. Opelika (13-1), 7 p.m.