HATTIESBURG (MS) – The week of preparation is over for Alabama and Mississippi All-Star football teams as both teams completed their seventh practice of the week Friday morning. The two teams square off Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi Classic all-star football game at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M/M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi here.
Raycom Media will televise the game over its network of affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi with most of the stations, including WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery, showing the game over the main channel. Some of the affiliates will show the game over Raycom’s Bounce channel. To check availability, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch” or click on the following link for a story detailing the available at each affiliate: http://www.ahsaa.com/News-Articles/ArticleId/928/31st-alabama-mississippi-all-star-football-game-to-be-televised-on-main-channel-of-7-raycom-affiliates-saturday
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama has 22-8 edge
MONTGOMERY -- The 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game, which kicks off at noon Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, will be televised live in both states by Raycom Media.
According to Rich Michaelson of Raycom’s Broadview Media, the game can be seen on the main channel of four of the six affiliates carrying the contest in Alabama and on three of the six stations carrying the game in Mississippi/Tennessee. It will be on the Bounce Channel of four of the other Raycom stations. The game will be on the MyNetwork D.2 channel at WTOK TV in Meridian (MS).
MOBILE: Mobile area viewers will find the game on WFNA TV 55 at the following channels: Comcast Cable (channel 235); Cox Cable (channel 1015); U-Verse (channel 1012); Mediacom – Mobile County (channel 804); Mediacom – Baldwin County (channel 817); Dish Network (channel 55); Direct TV (channel 55).
Handling the play-by-play will be Mississippi announcer Russ Robinson and Gary Harris of WVUA TV 23 in Tuscaloosa will be the color commentator. Rachel Richlinski will be the sideline reporter.
Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will be in the radio booth for the AHSAA Radio Network’s live broadcast Saturday as well.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME TV/RADIO INFORMATION
TV INFO: Raycom Media will televise the game beginning at 12 noon Saturday over its statewide network of affiliates either on the station’s main channel (available on cable or satellite) or the D.2 Bounce Channel (available on cable only or antenna TV only). In Mobile, the game will be available on WFNA TV (Bounce Channel).
Raycom will also live-stream the game with links at each affiliate and on You Tube. To find the cable channel in your area, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on Where to Watch or go to www.ahsaa.com and click on the nearest location. Raycom affiliates and partner stations include:
Birmingham WBRC TV Fox 6 (Main Channel)
Dothan WDFX TV Fox 34 (Main Channel)
Huntsville WAFF TV NBC 48 (Main Channel)
Mobile WFNA TV 55 D.3 (Bounce Channel)
Montgomery WSFA TV NBC 12 (Main channel)
Columbus WTVM TV ABC 9 (Bounce Channel)
Biloxi WLOX TV ABC/CBS 13 (Bounce Channel)
Hattiesburg WDAM TV NBC 7 (Main Channel)
Jackson WLBT TV NBC 3 (Main Channel)
Meridian WTOK TV ABC 11 (MyNetwork)
Tupelo WTVA TV NBC 9 (Main Channel)
Memphis WMC TV NBC 5 (Bounce Channel)
RADIO INFO: The Alabama Radio Network will carry the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game over its network. Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will handle the announcing and Michael Forehand is the producer. The broadcast can be accessed at www.ahsaa.com or at the following link: http://mixlr.com/ahsaaradio/
MONTGOMERY – Hoover High School opened the 2017-18 indoor track season in stride with victories in the first two meets of the season at the Birmingham CrossPlex to grab the first AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight of the season.
Hoover’s boys and girls, the defending Class 7A state indoor champions, won the team competition at the Magic City Classic indoor track meet held Dec. 6 at the Birmingham CrossPlex over a field of 50 boys’ teams and 44 girls’ teams. Coach Devon Hind’s boys’ team had 144.50 points and runner-up Winfield had 86. Hind’s girls won with 96 points and St. Paul’s Episcopal was a close second with 89.
The Bucs also swept the boys’ and girls’ championships at the Holiday Invitational Dec. 9 at the CrossPlex with 107 and 93 points, respectively. Homewood was second with 63.50 points in the boys’ competition and 76 points in the girls’ division. Twenty-four schools participated overall.
The next high school meet at the CrossPlex is Saturday, Dec. 16, with the USTF Invitational. The Hoover Alumni Invitational is scheduled for Dec. 30, the Icebreaker Invitational, Jan. 5-6, the MLK Classic, Dec. 15 and the Last Chance Invitational, Jan. 25-26. The AHSAA Indoor State Championships will be at the CrossPlex Feb. 2-3.
Highlights from the first two indoor meets of the season at the CrossPlex include:
OKHEME MOORE, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Broke the Magic City Classic meet record in the Class 6A/7A division 400-meter dash finals with a time of 48.72 seconds – bettering the 49.55 record set by Xavier Rogers of Stanhope Elmore in 2016. However, Clinton (MS) sprinter Kristopher Moore won the race with an even better record-setting time of 48.14 seconds in the photo finish. Okheme Moore also won the Holiday Invitational 60-meter dash in 6.95 seconds and bettered his 400-meter time to 48.02 seconds. Clinton’s Kristopher Moore, however, won the event with a 47.89 time – setting a new record for the Holiday Invitational. Xavier Rogers of Stanhope Elmore, who set the previous record (49.95) last year, finished third with a time of 48.45, which also beat his 2016 time. A total of 86 runners competed in the 400-meter event.
JAMES COURSON, HOOVER: Won the Class 6A/7A pole vault at the Magic City Classic clearing 15 feet, 7 inches – and winning the event by 2½ feet over the closest competitor.
CARL NESBITT, VESTAVIA HILLS: Cleared 6-06 to win the Holiday Invitational high jump, tying the meet record set in 2015 by Drew Willilams of Mountain Brook, in the process.
J’MARRI McCALL, HOOVER: Set the Holiday Invitational meet record in the long jump with a winning distance of 21-06. The old mark of 21-05.75 was established by Daryl Bowden of Sparkman in 2016.
AHSAA Basketball Spotlight
Nothing Plain about Plainview High School’s Record-Setting 3-Point Shooting Ability
MONTGOMERY – Plainview High School boys’ basketball coach Robi Coker is a big proponent of the 3-point shot. And for good reason.
The Bears finished 31-5 last season reaching the Class 3A state finals by taking a state-record 972 3-point shots. Plainview fell to Midfield 60-46 in the championship game at the BJCC but not before closing the season with 314 made three’s on the year.
The unbeaten Bears (9-0) have been on an even faster pace this season making 25-of-54 shots behind the 3-point arc in a recent 119-55 win over North Sand Mountain. Coker’s Bears set an AHSAA single-game record for treys made, attempted and for the number of players contributing. The sharp-shooting display thrust Plainview into the AHSAA’s first Basketball Spotlight of the season.
Several records fell in that game including most 3-point shots attempted (54) and most 3-point shots made (25) by one team and most 3-point goals (33) made by both teams. North Sand Mountain was 8-of-31 as both teams combined to make 33-of-85 treys attempted.
Ten different players for Coker’s Bears sank at least one 3-pointer with Koby Tinker nailing 7, Caden Millican 4, Haden White 3, Cade Willingham 3, Jeffery Armstrong 2, Clay Cooper 2, Sebastian Long, Dane Haymon, Levi Lusk and Bailey Dukes with 1 each. The Bison had six players sink at least one 3-point goal with Hunter Vest and Dylan Gentry making 2 each, Russell Marr, Jayden Culpepper, Benjamin Beasley and Kristian Walsh, 1 apiece for a total of 16 players contributing to yet another state record. Hayden and Cleveland high schools held the record with 11 players sinking treys in last season’s 101-74 win by the Wildcats last season.
Plainview picked up four big wins over the last seven days beating 3A arch-rival Sylvania (95-49), three-time defending 1A state champion Sacred Heart (100-90), Class 5A Talladega ((89-77) and Class 6A Oxford (70-66). The Bears averaged 88.5 points in the four wins.
Topping the AHSAA girls’ basketball highlights were two outstanding performances by point guards Aleigha Walden of Montgomery Catholic and Abby Hester of Vina.
Walden handed out 10 assists in a 49-30 win by Catholic (4-3) over LAMP last week to set the school career assist record with 551. She started the season with 513 and now has 44 this season after seven games for 557 total. She had 13 in a win over Elmore County and 14 in a win over John Carroll Catholic last season. Already this season she has had double digit assists in three games with 11, 10 and 10, respectively, in wins over Bullock County, Alabama Christian and LAMP. Michelle DeLongchamp set the school mark with 550 from 1987-90.
Hester dished out 19 assists in Vina’s 80-32 win over Waterloo earlier this season, second best in AHSAA history. Tara Tuck of Danville had 20 in a 72-63 win over R.A. Hubbard last season. Hester finished with 10 points, including two of her team’s 15 treys. Teammate Kaitlyn King sank eight 3-pouinters to finish with 34 points in the win.
In other top performances reported:
JAYCE WILLINGHAM, CORDOVA: Scored 56 points, including 17-of-18 at the foul line, and had 19 rebounds as the Blue Devils knocked off South Lamar 102-93. Sixteen of his points came in the overtime period. Teammate Isaac Chatman added 24 points and 19 rebounds and followed up with 29 points, 16 boards and seven blocked shots in an 82-58 win over Fayette County. Chatman scored 50 in a victory over Fayette County last year.
TOMMY MURR, LINDSAY LANE: Scored 54 points in a 79-70 win over Athens Bible and followed with 40 in a 68-35 victory over Paint Rock Valley.
NALIJAH HEARD, HORSESHOE BEND: Scored 36 points as the Generals beat two-time defending Class 2A state champion Lanett in the Panthers’ season opener 64-58 in overtime last week. Lanett, coached by Richard Carter, saw its 11-game winning streak that ended last season broken in the process. Carter said he dressed only five players for the game, and he had no guards. The rest Lanett’s players were on the school’s football team preparing for the Class 2A state football championship game won by the Panther 26-14 over Randolph County three days later.
JAKE LEWIS, ENTERPRISE: Scored 30 points, hitting 10-of-15 3-pointers attempted to lead the Wildcats (7-1) past Red Level 72-36.
BROOKS BARNHIZER, ALMA BRYANT: Tallied 32 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in a 77-75 win by the Hurricanes (9-2) over B.C. Rain.
NELSON HASKIN, DEMOPOLIS: Had a triple double with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in a recent 51-36 win over Keith.
TRENT LAWRENCE, BUCKHORN: Scored 21 points, had 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in a 68-61 win over Columbia. The Bucks improved to 10-2.
VINCENT DOUGLAS, BAKER: Scored 27 points as the Hornets (7-7) nipped McGill-Toolen Catholic 68-65.
JEREMIAH LITTLEPAGE, McADORY: Nailed a jumper with 2.7 seconds remaining to give the Yellow Jackets (7-4) a 41-39 win over previously undefeated Helena (11-1). Littlepage scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.
TRENDON WATFORD, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Had 30 points and 12 rebounds as the Spartans (9-1) beat Parker 74-52.
COLLIER CANTRELL, HACKLEBURG: Had 37 points to lead the Panthers past Tharptown 93-56.
TITUS GRIFFIN, COVENANT CHRISTIAN: Totaled 29 points as Eagles beat Sheffield 52-45 and had 20 in 67-59 win over Colbert Heights.
JAKE BAXTER HALL, SHOALS CHRISTIAN: Led the Flame to a 74-70 win over Vina with 27 points.
TRACE HILL, HARTSELLE: Scored a game-high 23 points on Friday in a win against Priceville, and he scored 17 in a win against Florence.
FABIAN BELL, AUSTIN: The senior guard continues to average a double-double on the season as he led Austin to a pair of Class 6A, Area 16 wins against Hartselle and Decatur. Against Decatur, Bell led Austin with 19 points and nine rebounds. Earlier in the week, he scored nine points with 11 rebounds against Hartselle.
RIVER BALDWIN, PLEASANT HOME: The 6-foot-5 center had 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots as the Eagles (6-2) beat Straughn 45-41.
ADIYA MATTHEWS, ALMA BRYANT: Had a triple double with 41 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals in a 53-47 win over B.C. Rain.
LATASCYA DUFF, SAMSON: Had 38 points, eight rebounds and six steals as Samson (11-1) beat Cottonwood 59-34.
SARAH SUTTLE, BUCKHORN: Had 30 points, 10 steals, six rebounds and five assists as Buckhorn (9-6) beat Columbia 70-36. She followed with 21 points in a 47-38 win over Lincoln County (TN).
AUDRA PUTMAN, LINDSAY LANE: Had 30 points in a 65-15 win over Athens Bible and teammate Madelyn Dizon had 26 points, including six 3-pointers, in a 58-21 win over Pain Rock Valley.
DAISHA BRADFORD, LEFLORE: Scored 24 points in a 52-46 win over Fairhope to keep the Lady Rattlers unbeaten at 11-0.
RAVEN BURKS, GRISSOM: Sank a clutch 3-point goal with one second left to give the Tigers a 37-34 win over Madison County.
DESTINY RAMOS, FAITH ACADEMY: Scored 26 points to lead the Rams (9-3) to 46-40 win over Daphne.
ABBY DAVIS, PHIL CAMPBELL: Davis scored 20 points and surpassed 1,000 points for her career in 67-25 win over Lamar County.
MORIAH TAYLOR, HARTSELLE: The guard amassed 57 points in three games last week, leading the Tigers to wins against Austin, Florence and Priceville. Taylor scored 23 in a win against Austin on Tuesday, and then tossed in 11 on Thursday in a win against Florence. She finished the week with 23 points in a win against Priceville.
ALLIE CRAIG CRUCE, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Totaled 52 points in wins over Colbert County and West Limestone.
NEELY JOHNS, MARS HILL BIBLE: Sank seven 3-point goals and finished with 30 points in a 57-31 win over Hatton.
HATTIESBURG (MS) – Alabama All-Star football team head coach Steve Smith praised the effort of his players after completing their fourth workout in 36 hours Wednesday. Alabama’s 40-man team of current seniors will face Mississippi Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football classic at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), is making its second appearance in Mississippi after playing the first 28 games in Alabama beginning in 1988. Mississippi won the 2015 game 28-21 at Hattiesburg. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
“We had a very good morning practice,” Smith said. “We dragged a little in the afternoon workout, but that is to be expected a little. The players who just finished their season have been fine, but a lot of these guys finished their season much earlier in the playoffs.”
He was very pleased with the work of his eight offensive linemen, especially Robert E. Lee’s Cameron Hill and Spanish Fort’s Grant Betts. “Both of these guys were tackles on their teams and they are also working at center right now for us,” Smith said. “They are showing their versatility.” H-back Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook is the long snapper.
He said Beauregard Coach Rob Carter, who is working with the offensive line this week, has been happy with the players’ eagerness to work at different positions.
“With only eight offensive linemen, they need to be versatile,” Smith said. “They have really stood out this week.”
Smith said quarterbacks James Foster of Sidney Lanier and Jack West of Saraland have shown steady improvement in the first four workouts. “We have a tremendously talented group of receivers, maybe the best I have ever seen in this game,” Smith said. “The quarterbacks and receivers seem to be getting a little better day with their timing.”
He said Paul Bryant’s Seth Williams, Hoover’s Shedrick Jackson, Central-Phenix City’s Justyn Ross and Bob Jones’ Damontrez Brown are all capable big-play receivers. “Nathaniel Watson of Maplesville is also one of the best athletes on the team and Anquaevious Pollard of Lanett is a big, talented player at 6-foot-7,” Smith said. “Our tight end Michael Parker (of Westminster Christian) is also 6-6. This is a good-looking group of guys.
“I think our receivers will make some big plays for us on Saturday. Defensively, our front rotation is also looking good.”
He said the secondary, linebackers and front rotation of linemen are really coming together. Smith said the coaches expect another solid practice Thursday morning at 9, and will then scale back to work more on the mental aspects of the game and special teams in tomorrow’s afternoon practice.
Both squads were scheduled to go to Hattiesburg Country Club Wednesday night for a dinner and program. Temple Baptist Church hosted both teams Tuesday night. While two practices are set for Thursday, Alabama will go through only one workout on Friday morning at 9 a.m., and will participate in a community service project Friday afternoon.
TELEVISION: The 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Classic will be televised live over Raycom’s network of stations in Alabama and Mississippi. Kickoff is set for noon.
RADIO: The AHSAA Radio Network will live-stream the audio over the internet and will also carry the game live over its network of radio stations across the state.
Contact: Mike Perrin | 205-969-1331 | 205-540-7721 | email@example.com
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Mark Jones, the Alabama High School Athletic Association Director of Officials, is a former city councilman in Jacksonville, Ala. His political career began for the same reason as his time as a high school sports official.
“If you think you can do better and make a difference, jump in there and make it better instead of continuing to complain about it,” he said. “That’s one problem I see in our society. We love to complain, but we don’t want to solve the problem.”
Jones, a veteran of more than 35 years as a football, baseball, softball and basketball official, is working with associations across the state to encourage young people to pick up a whistle and get involved – or stay involved – with sports as an official. It’s a tough job with relatively small monetary rewards, but one that can lead to advancement to college or professional positions. At the high school level, a sports official is able to influence young people by teaching sportsmanship and fair play.
“The selling point to getting into officiating is that you really need to have a sense of wanting to give back to sports,” said Ron Baynes of Mountain Brook, who in his 28-year National Football League career officiated in two Super Bowls and retired as the NFL’s Supervisor of Officials. “It’s OK to view it as an opportunity to make a little extra income, but to really make it work, you need to feel a need to get back involved.
“We call officiating a fraternity,” said the longtime Alabama high school coach and administrator. “It’s a group of guys who can relate to each other. Some of the closest friends I have are guys I officiated with. It’s like staying on a team in sports.
“Honestly, it’s not for everybody. My three sons are in big-time officiating (two in the NFL, one in college) and I’ve had others in my family who have tried it. My son-in-law, who I love dearly, tried it and he didn’t like it. When I asked him why, he said, ‘I made a mistake out there.’ I told him we all make mistakes, then he said, ‘I like for people to like me too much to do this.’”
Facing criticism is a difficult part of the job, Jones said. Social media has made it even tougher as hecklers can now take criticism to larger audiences as anonymous trolls.
“The role of the contest official is essential for high school sports to teach the lessons we know it can teach,” said Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the AHSAA. “They work tirelessly to become the best contest officials they can be. We are fortunate in Alabama to have so many who sacrifice so much to become officials. They come from all walks of life. We are thankful for the leadership provided by Mr. Jones and Greg Brewer before him and for our veteran officials who are proving to be such outstanding mentors.
“However, we as a public must do our part and learn to treat them with the respect they deserve. If we don’t, then we will be facing a severe shortage of officials in the future.”
Jones said most officials want to be in the big games, but they must start at the grassroots level.
“A problem we have is that everybody has to start out on the junior high level,” Jones said, “where the play is just not that good. The coaches who are also just starting out sometimes think they are NBA-ready. Lots of them think it’s coaching to yell at the officials. Everybody thinks they should be perfect, so mom and dad start yelling and grandpa starts yelling at the officials. These officials don’t want to be berated all the time, so before they can become a good official, they get out.”
Brewer, who in 2016 retired as the AHSAA’s Director of Officials after three decades, developed a sports officiating class for high schools that was approved as part of the curriculum by the Alabama Department of Education. Those classes are now offered at more than 35 high schools across the state, Jones said.
“The AHSAA is committed to addressing the issue of the declining number of officials,” he said. “It is a nationwide problem and Alabama hasn’t experienced the problem as severely as some other states. Retention of officials becomes an issue as young officials drop out after two to three years and the major factor in retention is verbal abuse. With the expanding use of technology and social media, the expectations of officials have become unrealistic. Officiating is the one profession that individuals are expected to start as perfect and then get better.”
Patsy Burke has been a volleyball official for 20 years, starting only after falling in love with the sport while acting as statistician for her daughter’s teams. “I had some people who thought that maybe I should give it a try,” she said. “I had also done softball scorekeeping and started calling softball, so I thought I’d give it a try. When I decided to do it, I found the first officiating camp that the AHSAA offered and I went. It helped me know what an official is supposed to do. I listened to officials who I had watched officiate and I said that’s what I want to be. I wanted to be the best.”
Burke went all-in, attending camps, talking to officials and reading everything about the game from an official’s point of view. “I listened to those people who had been in it a long time,” she said. “I picked their brain. I have been very fortunate to call volleyball in the Southeastern Conference, in the Ohio Valley Conference and things like that, but my true love has always been high school ball.”
Criticism – often totally unfounded – is what drives young people away from wearing the officials’ stripes, Burke agreed. “The fans have become just irate,” Burke said. “Some parents think they know the game because their kids play, but they don’t know the rules. Volleyball is a mental game for officials. In a three-of-five match, we probably have to make a judgment call on over 500 touches of the ball. I don’t know of any other sport that has to make that quantity of judgment calls.”
Allen Gilbert is a professor of sports management at Jacksonville State University who called college basketball for 17 years as well as high school basketball and football. He teaches football and basketball officiating classes and said he encourages his students to get involved. “The good part of being an official is the relationships you build,” he said. “You actually have a good relationship with the coaches, too, but sometimes it’s hard to see that.
“It seems the only time kids see officials is when something bad happens – breaking up a fight or coaches or spectators yelling at them. Otherwise, officials are invisible. When they see the bad things, they think, ‘I don’t want to put up with that.’”
Burke said she would like to see parents get more connected to the sportsmanship component of high school sports in the same way their children are. “We can do something about sportsmanship for coaches and players,” the longtime official said, “but we can’t say that to parents. Some club associations require the parents to sign a form that says they will show good sportsmanship. They are required to sign. I know that doesn’t stifle every parent from showing poor sportsmanship, but it might make them think about how they are acting.”
Baynes, an Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee who played football, basketball and baseball at Auburn University, also touted the health benefits of being an official. “I left Auburn weighing 225 pounds,” he said. “I got into coaching and I worked out some with the kids, but I got up to 245 pounds. The night I worked my first game as an official, I was probably not as fit as I should have been. I was not headed down a healthy path. As an official, you’re motivated to work out because you know you put yourself in the public eye. When you get to higher levels, you better be fit or you’ll get run over and get killed! I’m 74 years old now and I weigh less than I did when I played at Auburn.”
Those interested in pursuing officiating can start by visiting ahsaa.com/Officials/Officials-Home or highschoolofficials.com.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions.
MONTGOMERY – Alabama All-Star head coach Steve Smith greeted Alabama’s 40-man All-Star football team Monday morning at the AHSAA Office in Montgomery. After strong pep talks from AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Director Alvin Briggs, Smith and his coaching staff loaded the players on a charter bus and headed to Hattiesburg (MS) for Saturday’s annual All-Star Game.
The 31st game in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), will be played Saturday at noon on the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg at Carlisle Faulkner Field and will be televised live over the Raycom Media Network of affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the game via the internet and over its network of radio stations in Alabama.
Alabama’s team won last year’s game 25-14 to increase its record in the series to 22-8. Alabama has won eight of the last nine games but are 0-1 in the only game played in Mississippi, a 28-21 loss in 2015.
Smith and Briggs confirmed that six players were added to the Alabama roster as replacements for a half-dozen original players. The players stepped down due to injuries or sickness.
Two players from Wetumpka High School who played in last weekend’s Class 6A state championship game were added to the team. Running back Kadosiey Smoke replaced Beauregard running back La’Damian Webb, who was injured in the playoffs, and linebacker David Chase Adams replaced Sidney Lanier linebacker Ladedric Jackson. Matthew Flint of Madison County was originally selected to replace Jackson. Smoke rushed for 1,522 yards and 28 touchdowns this season for the Indians (13-2) and caught 17 passes for 194 yards. He also was 4-for-4 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Adams had 98 tackles on the season.
Other players added to the squad include linebacker Kenneth “K.J.” Robertson of Thompson and defensive back Jamias Presley of Opelika, replacing Decatur’s Josh Marsh and St. Paul’s Episcopal’s Jalyn Armour-Davis; and defensive linemen Charles Coleman of Mae Jemison and Jalen Cunningham of St. Clair County, who replaced Allen Love of Huffman and Coynis Miller of Jackson-Olin.
Smith said he and coaching staff are eager to get to work with such a talented squad.
“This is such an incredible experience for the players and us coaches,” he said.
Smith’s staff include Enterprise’s David Faulkner, serving as offensive coordinator, and Fyffe’s Paul Benefield, who is serving as defensive coordinator. Rounding out the staff are Maplesville’s Brent Hubbert, Handley’s Larry Strain, Ramsay’s Rueben Nelson, Beauregard’s Rob Carter and Austin’s Jeremy Perkins. Piedmont assistant coach James Blanchard will serve as the scout coach while Billy Odom, Michael Summers and Randy White will serve as administrative coaches.
The players reported today at 2:30 p.m., had pictures made for the game-day souvenir program and were scheduled to have squad meetings. Alabama will practice Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m., and again from 2 to 4 p.m., at Oak Grove High School. Mississippi is practicing at Hattiesburg High School.