The 2014 Alabama High School Athletic Association’s 2014 Super 7 State Football Championships kickoff today at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium making history on several fronts.
The AHSAA will crown its first Class 7A state champion tonight when perennial state finalist Hoover (11-2) faces Prattville (11-2) at 7 p.m. The AHSAA playoffs consisted of six classifications since 1984 and the finals were dubbed the Super 6 State Championships from 1996-2013.
Last winter the AHSAA approved seven classes - adding16 teams to the playoff field that raised the number from 192 to 208. Tonight’s game will be the culmination of that major change.
In conjunction with Special Olympics of Alabama (SOAL), the AHSAA will also host its first-ever Unified Sports state game today at 3:30 p.m. at Jordan-Hare. The Unified game will be an exhibition between a team comprised of students from Lawrence County High School’s system and a team from Hewitt-Trussville.
The Unified Game is a 5-on-5 flag football game featuring Special Olympic student-athletes and regular student “peer partners.” The lineup consists of three athletes and two partners at all times. The game is being live-streamed over the NFHS Network by Opelika High School’s School Broadcast Program. The link is http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/a1b2bf17e7
and can be found at www.nfhsnetwork.com.
Hoover won the last two Class 6A state titles in 2012 and 2013. The Bucs and Lions have squared off in the finals five times since 2004 with Prattville winning 35-34 in 2011 in the last meeting. Coach Chad Anderson’s Lions hold as 3-2 edge in the championship series.
Coach Josh Niblett’s Bucs lost its first two games of the season to out-of-state powers to snap a 30-game winning streak. Since then Hoover has reeled off 11 straight wins and has not lost a game to an in-state team since that 2011 title game versus Prattville.
Raycom Network is televising tonight’s game live over its vast network of Raycom stations and will also televise the six remaining games Thursday and Friday. Games will be shown teach Raycom station’s main channel or its Bounce channel. Channel listings can be found at: http://www.pathtotheplayoffs.com/tv-channel-listings/
Thursday’s three-game schedule features three schools making their state championship debuts. The action gets underway at 11 a.m. with Dale County (14-0) meeting two-time defending state champion Madison Academy (13-1) in the 3A finals. It is the first state championship appearance for the Warriors and the fourth straight for the Mustangs.
Hubbertville (13-0), also making its first state championship appearance, faces Maplesville (13-0) at 3 p.m. Pleasant Grove (12-2), in its first final, will close out Thursday’s schedule in the 5A finals versus St. Paul’s Episcopal (14-0) of Mobile at 7 p.m.
On Friday, Deshler (13-1) and Leeds (13-1) open play at 11 a.m. in the 4A championship game. Elba (14-0) and Fyffe (14-0) put their unbeaten records on the line in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and in the final game of the Super 7, Saraland (13-1) will meet Clay-Chalkville (14-0) in the 6A finals at 7 p.m. It marks the first time in the finals for the Spartans.
A special fireworks display by TNT Fireworks will be featured after the 7A, 5A and 6A night games.
The AHSAA state football playoffs, in its 49th year, played championships at home sites until 1996 when all state finals were moved to one site with the introduction of the Super 6. Birmingham’s fabled Legion Field served as host until 2009 when the AHSAA switched to a rotation between Alabama and Auburn on alternating years opposite the site of the annual Iron Bowl. Alabama hosted the Super 6 in 2009, 2011 and 2013. Auburn hosted in 2010 and 2012.
The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all games over its network. The on-line link for the audio broadcast is at http://mixlr.com/ahsaaradio/.