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.
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The Super 7 football championship games at Bryant-Denny Stadium will be televised live today over Raycom Media’s network of affiliates. The games will be on their D.2 Bounce channels. In Mobile, WKRG TV 5’s D.3 channel will televise the games. Tonight’s 6A finals between Wetumpka and Pinson Valley is currently still planned to be shown live over WSFA TV 12’s main channel in Montgomery.
Raycom’s production is also being live video streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber platform and over YouTube. For up-to-date TV information and local cable channel options, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch.”
The AHSAA Radio Network is broadcasting all games live over its statewide radio network and over the internet. A link is provided at www.ahsaa.com
St. Paul’s Episcopal 17, Briarwood Christian 14
TUSCALOOSA – St. Paul’s Episcopal receiver Oliver Willman snagged a 6-yard pass from quarterback Swift Lyle on fourth-and-goal with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter to give the Saints (14-1) a 17-14 victory over previously unbeaten Briarwood Christian (14-1) in the Super 7 Class 5A state football championship game Thursday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium here.
The Willman caught another 6-yard pass one play earlier with Coach Steve Mask’s Saints facing a third-and-10 from the Lions’ 12-yard line. The two pass receptions highlighted a last-ditch 10-play, 78-yard drive that delivered St. Paul’s its third state championship in the last four years and fourth state title overall.
St. Paul’s scored first with a 20-yard field goal by Wilson Beaverstock in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. Hudson Hartsfield, who finished with five catches for 78 yards, put Coach Fred Yancey’s Lions on top 7-3 with a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Hiers midway through the second quarter. Hiers and Hartsfield hooked up again at 1:07 left in the third period on a 12-yard touchdown connection as the Lions built a 14-3 lead.
The Saints answered that score quickly when Jarrett Eaton hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Lyle just 51 seconds later. The extra-point try failed, however, and Briarwood clinged to a 14-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Briarwood dominated most of the fourth quarter driving to the St. Paul’s 22-yard line with just over four minutes to play. Facing a fourth-and-3, the Lions faked a field-goal try but the pass fell incomplete.
The Saints took then began their final march of the season – driving to the winning touchdown in big part thanks to a 56-yard pass from Lyle to Jalyn Armour-Davis on fourth-and-14 to the Lions 10-yard line with time running out.
Lyle finished 14-of-22 for 236 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors for the Saints. He also rushed for 33 yards on four carries. Eaton had three catches for 74 yards, Armour-Davis had three catches for 55 yards and Willman had three for 29 yards. Jordan Ingram rushed for 44 yards on 16 carries and had two receptions for another 49 yards.
Hiers finished 8-of-18 for Briarwood for 113 yard passing. Luke Prewett had nine rush attempts for 52 yards and J.R. Tran-Reno had 33 yards on four tries.
Daniel Beard had 12 tackles and Gordon Mathers had 10 to pace the St. Paul’s defense. Gabriel Russell had nine stops and Mark Hand had seven for Briarwood.
The 2017 Super 7 State Championships conclude Friday with three games: UMS-Wright (12-2) meeting Fayette County (12-2) at 11 a.m., in the 4A championship, Lanett (14-0) versus Leroy (12-2) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Wetumpka (13-1) facing Pinson Valley (14-0) in the 6A finals at 7 p.m. All games are being televised live by Raycom Media over its Raycom/AHSAA Network of affiliates and D-2 stations. The games are also being live video-streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based network and on You Tube. For more TV information, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch.”
The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting all games across the state. The link is available at www.ahsaa.com.