MONTGOMERY, AL – Six teams have been selected for the 11th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 18-20 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
The 2016 Champions Challenge, which will kick off the 2016 prep football season, will feature one game at 7 p.m., over three nights with Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa taking on Demopolis in the Thursday night game, according to Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) that hosts the event each year.
Friday’s game will pit 2014 Class 7A semifinalists Hoover and Central-Phenix City, then Saturday’s game will close out the series with Andalusia versus Brooks.
“We are very excited about the three games we have lined up,” Briggs said. “Each of them has storied histories and strong communities that love high school football. We thank the City of Montgomery for helping us make these games possible each year.”
Hillcrest (8-4), coached by Sam Adams, reached the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs last year. The Patriots have high expectations with the return of talented running back Brian Robinson, wh0 set a new Class 6A single-game rushing record last season with 447 yards against powerful Clay-Chalkville. He is considered one of the top running back prospects in the nation in the Class of 2017. Adams, 17-8 in two seasons at Hillcrest, has compiled a 10-2 region record during that span.
Demopolis (10-3) reached the Class 5A quarterfinals in 2015 before falling to eventual state champion St. Paul’s. The Tigers are coached by Stacy Luker, who coached Sweet Water High School to five Class 1A state titles over a seven-year period from 2004-2010. Luker has a 187-74 career record. His 71.6 winning percentage is among the best in the state.
Hoover (10-3) and Central-Phenix City (9-4) each reached the 7A semifinals last year. The schools’ programs are among the most storied in Alabama prep circles and the two coaches are among the most successful.
The Bucs of Coach Josh Niblett have reached the state finals every year under his tutelage except 2015 when they reached the semifinals. Niblett, 106-11 in eight seasons at Hoover and 171-43 overall, guided Hoover to 6A state championships in 2009, 2012 and 2013 and the first AHSAA 7A title in 2014. His teams also finished as state runner-up in 2008, 2010 and 2011. He also guided Oneonta to the state 3A title in 2004 and has coached his teams to 11 or more wins in 16 years as a head coach.
DuBose, 90-35, had head-coaching stops at Susan Moore, Prattville and Florence before taking over Central in 2014. The Red Devils are 19-6 in two seasons. DuBose served as offensive coordinator at Prattville’s 6A state championship teams in 2006 and 2007 and served as head coach for the title runs in 2008 and 2011. The Lions were runner-up in 2009.
Andalusia (11-2) and Brooks (11-2) both reached the Class 4A quarterfinals last season. Andalusia’s storied past includes 58 regular-season wins from 1973-68 with non-losing streak of 35 games, including the playoffs, during that stretch. The streak included a 7-7 tie with Athens in the 1976 Class 3A state finals with Athens.
Coach Trent Taylor moved back to his alma mater in 2015 from Straughn where he had coached for 25 seasons and compiled a 175-107 record. Taylor is 194-123, including a head-coaching stop at Kinston in 1988 and 1989. Taylor’s teams have won 76 games in the last nine seasons.
Brooks, coached by Brad Black, averaged 34.8 points per game en route to a 7-0 region record in 2015 and the Region 8 title. The Lions have gone 41-17 this decade and won nine or more games nine times since 2000.
In last year’s Champions Challenge, Madison Academy beat Leeds 19-14, Gordo downed Glencoe 28-21 and Bob Jones defeated Carver-Montgomery 37-33.
The 2016 Champions Challenge schedule at Cramton Bowl:
Thursday, August 18 – 7 p.m.: Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (8-4) vs. Demopolis (11-2)
Friday, August 19 – 7 p.m.: Hoover (10-3) vs. Central-Phenix City (9-4)
Saturday, August 20 – 7 p.m.: Andalusia (11-2) vs. Brooks (11-2)
Qualifiers have been set for the AHSAA’s first Regional Bowling Championships which get underway Wednesday and Thursday at Foley and Tuscaloosa.
Four boys’ and four girls’ teams qualified from each region for the South and North Regional Tournaments set for Foley’s Gulf Bowl and Tuscaloosa’s Leland Lanes. The schools qualified through head-to-head regular-season competition.
Regions 1 through 4 will compete at Foley Jan. 20-21, and Regions 5 through 8 will compete at Tuscaloosa, Jan. 21-22. Only two schools competed in girls’ competition in Region 2.
Region champions in the boys’ competition include: Mary Montgomery (Region 1), Fairhope (Region 2), Prattville (Region 3), Spain Park (Region 4), Vestavia Hills (Region 5), Hewitt-Trussville (Region 6), Etowah (Region 7) and Huntsville (Region 8). Girls’ region champions are: Mary Montgomery (Region 1), Foley (Region 2), Northview (Region 3), Spain Park (Region 4), Vestavia Hills (Region 5), Pinson Valley (Region 6), Etowah (Region 7) and Bob Jones (Region 8).
First-day competition will consist of three traditional 10-pin games to determine seeding for day two. The second-day competition will place schools in eight-team brackets with teams competing in elimination rounds consisting of one traditional and five Baker games each.
The top eight boys’ and girls’ teams from each regional tournament will advance to the AHSAA state bowling championships to be played at Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham, Jan. 28-29. The state tournament will follow the same two-day format.
The qualifying teams are listed:
AHSAA REGIONAL BOWLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
South Regional Qualifiers, Foley (Gulf Bowl)
No. 1: Mary Montgomery
No. 2: Baker
No. 3: Alma Bryant
No. 4: Satsuma
No. 1: Fairhope
No. 2: Foley
No. 3: Daphne
No. 4: Baldwin County
No. 1: Prattville
No. 2: Northview
No. 3: Benjamin Russell
No. 4: Valley
No. 1: Spain Park
No. 2: Stanhope Elmore
No. 3: Thompson
No. 4: Oak Mountain
No. 1: Mary Montgomery
No. 2: Satsuma
No. 3: McGill-Toolen
No. 4: Alma Bryant
No. 1: Foley
No. 2: Spanish Fort
No. 3: Bye
No. 4: Bye
No. 1: Northview
No. 2: Valley
No. 3: Beauregard
No. 4: Benjamin Russell
No. 1: Spain Park
No. 2: Thompson
No. 3: Pelham
No. 4: Indian Springs
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association is saddened to learn of the death of Talladega High School head baseball coach Andy Blair.
Blair died January 9 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
“Our prayers go out to the family of Coach Blair and to the players, students, teachers and community of Talladega,” Savarese said. “He has been a tremendous influence on the lives of children.”
Blair, in his 10th year as a teacher and coach, served as head coach at Coosa Central High School before becoming head coach at Talladega. He was Class of 2000 graduate of Fayetteville High School and graduated Auburn University in 2005.
The memorial service was January 12.
Auburn civic leader Ron Anders is one of 23 individuals selected to receive national recognition by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
Anders, who helped spearhead the current AHSAA concept of rotating the Super 7 state high school football championships between the cities of Auburn and Tuscaloosa, has been selected to receive the NFHS Coach Contributor Award. This award is presented to one individual annually who has gone above and beyond in the coaching profession by exemplifying the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and moral character, and who carries the endorsement of his or her respective state high school association.
Anders, an Auburn city councilman and long-time leader in youth sports in east Alabama, envisioned the championships at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium – an idea the AHSAA member schools have embraced with much enthusiasm since the rotation began in 2009. From 1996-2008, the state football championships were played at Legion Field in Birmingham. Prior to 1996, the championships in all classes but 6A were played at home sites.
Anders helped coordinate the rotation that has since seen AHSAA football championships played each year at the site not hosting the Iron Bowl, the Auburn-Alabama game, arguably the top rivalry in college football. Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama hosted the championship in 2009, 2011, 2013 and last December (2015). Auburn and Auburn University have hosted the games in 2010, 2012, 2014 and will host again in 2016.
“Ron Anders is a civic leader who uses every spare moment to find a way to help youth in Auburn and around the state of Alabama,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “His tireless efforts have helped hundreds of student-athletes have life-long memories of what is right and good about high school education-based athletics.
“His vision for our state championships has created an opportunity of a lifetime for out student-athletes to play on the same fields where Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan coached and played. Other state associations have studied the AHSAA format and several have now adopted similar championship formats in their states. We thank Ron Anders for his leadership in helping the AHSAA provide cherished memories for its student-athletes.”
Anders will receive the award at the AHSAA Championship Coaches Awards Banquet at the conclusion of the 2016 AHSAA Summer Conference in July. The banquet will be held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center on Friday, July 22 at 6 p.m.
The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in one “other” sport that is not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2014-15 school year.
Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are: Cooper Henderson, football, Artesia (New Mexico) High School; Tom Millbrooke, track and field, Canby (Oregon) High School; Britt Cooper, basketball, Roswell (New Mexico) High School; Dom Cecere, baseball, Eastchester (New York) High School; Thomas Walston, soccer, Wendell (North Carolina) Corinth Holders High School; Tim Berrier, wrestling, Tucson (Arizona) Ironwood Ridge High School; Arnie Miehe, cross country, Darlington (Wisconsin) High School; Larry Faulkner, tennis, Glenview (Illinois) Glenbrook South High School; Brennan Torgerson, golf, Buhler (Kansas) High School; and Linda Wiginton, swimming and diving, Altus (Oklahoma) High School.
The recipients of the 2015 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Linda Richter, track and field, Cameron (Texas) C.H. Yoe High School; Anthony Pappas, basketball, Waterloo (Iowa) West High School; Paula Toney, volleyball, Burns (Oregon) High School; Lucas Kollross, soccer, Weston (Wisconsin) D. C. Everest High School; Cheri Ritz, softball, Wayland (Michigan) Union School; Kristin McWilliams, cross country, Winter Park (Florida) High School; Judith Hehs, tennis, Bloomfield Hills (Michigan) Academy of the Sacred Heart; Marty Keating, swimming and diving, Pittsford (New York) Central Schools; Stacie Butler, golf, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney High School; and Jessica Battle, lacrosse, Coronado (California) High School.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Natalie Horton of Valley Center (Kansas) High School, and Karen Kuhlmann of Holmen (Wisconsin) High School was chosen in the other sports category for Girls Gymnastics.
The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and one “other” category.
A total of 537 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.
MONTGOMERY – Spanish Fort’s Tyler Johnston was named the 34th recipient of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Mr. Football Award on Wednesday at the ASWA’s annual Player of the Year Awards luncheon, presented by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association. The annual luncheon was held at the Alabama Activity Center in Montgomery.
Johnston – a 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior quarterback – threw for 3,619 yards this season, completing 193 of 286 passing with 39 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Johnson also had 129 carries for 750 yards for 13 touchdowns. Johnston was 35-0 as a starter, leading the Toros to state championships in 2013 and 2015 but missing most of the 2014 season with an ACL injury.
Johnston finished with 148 points and eight first-place votes from the ASWA’s prep committee, while Clay-Chalkville senior quarterback Ty Pigrome, the 2014 runner-up, had 139 points with four firsts. Gordo senior linebacker Ben Davis was third with 80 points, Clay-Chalkville senior wide receiver TJ Simmons was fourth (69) and Austin senior offensive lineman Deonte Brown was fifth (68).
Johnston was named the ASWA Class 6A Back of the Year and was chosen to the group’s Super 12 team. He participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and is a verbal commitment to UAB. He was also an ASWA first-team all-state selection at quarterback in 2013. He also played the last game and a half this season with a torn ligament in his elbow.
Johnston becomes the first quarterback to win the Mr. Football award since Carver-Montgomery’s Jeremy Johnson in 2012 and the seventh from the Mobile area, joining Tommy Compton (Vigor, 1982), Darrell Williams (Vigor, 1988), DeMarco McNeil (Blount, 1998), JaMarcus Russell (Williamson, 2002), Julio Jones (Foley, 2007) and T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, 2011).
1982 Tommy Compton, Vigor
1983 Freddie Weygand,
1984 Roderick Green, Gardendale
1985 Pierre Goode, Hazlewood
1986 Larry Ware, Lee-Montgomery
1987 Robert Jones, Parker
1988 Darrell Williams, Vigor
1989 Steven Coleman, Pike Co.
1990 David Palmer, Jackson-Olin
1991 Robert Davis, Homewood
1992 Freddie Kitchens, Etowah
1993 Thomas Banks,
1994 Dawud Rasheed,
1995 Gorman Thornton, Jeff Davis
1996 Antoneyo Williams, Central-Tuscaloosa
1997 Mac Campbell, Alexandria
1998 DeMarco McNeil, Blount
1999 Cory Whisenant, Springville
2000 Carnell Williams, Etowah
2001 Brandon Cox, Hewitt-Trussville
2002 JaMarcus Russell, Williamson
2003 Chris Nickson, Pike Co.
2004 Jarod Bryant, Hoover
2005 Andre Smith, Huffman
2006 Larry Smith, Prattville
2007 Julio Jones, Foley
2008 Clint Moseley, Leroy
2009 Coty Blanchard, Cherokee Co.
2010 Jamal Golden, Wetumpka
2011 T.J. Yeldon, Daphne
2012 Jeremy Johnson,
2013 Racean Thomas, Oxford
2014 Kerryon Johnson,
2015 Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort
Back/Lineman voting lists top 3 vote getters only; Super 12/Mr. Football voting is top 12 only; 33 players received votes on the ASWA Super 12. Vote totals for the AISA were not available.
Class 1A Back
Terence Dunlap, Maplesville, 36
Grayson Wakefield, Decatur Heritage, 26
Tommy Spivey, Brantley, 23
Class 1A Lineman
Cameron Longmire, Georgiana, 19
Tanner Swinney, Hackleburg, 15
Devan Wallace, Maplesville, 14
Class 2A Back
Chadarius Townsend, Tanner, 66
Dilan Kilpatrick, Fyffe, 63
Peyton Gilliland, Cleveland, 50
Class 2A Lineman
Austin Lewter, Tanner, 63
Blaine Hudson, Elba, 50
Ethan Jones, Fyffe, 44
Class 3A Back
Taylor Hayes, Piedmont, 78
Kearvae Qualls, Colbert Co., 65
Pace Ozmint, Glencoe, 55
Class 3A Lineman
Ben Davis, Gordo, 53
Austin Troxell, Madison Acad., 41
Neonta Alexander, Piedmont, 29
Class 4A Back
Kaleb Barker, Priceville, 78
Tre’ Nation, Leeds, 68
Noah Ard, Cordova, 48
Class 4A Lineman
Josephus Smith, Leeds, 68
Dee Nalls, Fayette Co., 46
Sterling Jones, St. James, 36
Class 5A Back
Jordan Bentley, Guntersville, 55
Ostin McPherson, St. Paul’s, 47
Demarcus Williams, Jackson, 39
Class 5A Lineman
Marlon Davidson, Greenville, 69
Quinnen Williams, Wenonah, 59
Darius Whitfield, St. Paul’s, 45
Class 6A Back
Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort, 79
Ty Pigrome, Clay-Chalkville, 75
TJ Simmons, Clay-Chalkville, 45
Class 6A Lineman
Deonte Brown, Austin, 81
Lyndell Wilson, Carver-Montgomery, 56
Thomas Johnston, Spanish Fort, 51
Class 7A Back
La’Mical Perine, Theodore, 20
Henry Ruggs III, Lee-Montgomery, 13
Kyriq McDonald, James Clemens, 10
Class 7A Lineman
Labryan Ray, James Clemens, 17
Walter Pritchett, Central-Phenix City, 15
Carlton Martial, McGill-Toolen, 11
Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort, 148
Ty Pigrome, Clay-Chalkville, 139
Ben Davis, Gordo, 80
TJ Simmons, Clay-Chalkville, 69
Deonte Brown, Austin, 68
La’Mical Perine, Theodore, 65
Marlon Davidson, Greenville, 38
Lyndell Wilson, Carver-Montgomery, 37
Jordan Bentley, Guntersville, 37
Quinnen Williams, Wenonah, 32
Kaleb Barker, Priceville, 25
Kyriq McDonald, James Clemens, 25
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Mr. Football luncheon to be held at the Montgomery Activities Center will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network Wednesday – a first in the 34-year history of the annual award.
The broadcast, which is being produced by Prattville High School’s School Broadcast Program, can be accessed over the NFHS Network at the following link: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/4ad6062ebf
Viewers can click on the link directly or go to www.ahsaa.com and click on the NFHS Network icon.
The luncheon is set to begin at 11:45 a.m. Former Hazlewood High School standout Pierre Goode, Mr. Football in 1986, will be the guest speaker, and the awards presentations will follow.
The 2015 Mr. Football Award will be presented to one of 48 finalists, three linemen and three backs, selected in each of the seven AHSAA classifications and AISA by the ASWA All-State Committee. All 48 players, their coaches and families will be attending the luncheon. A back and lineman of the year will be announced in each classification.
Mr. Football, considered as the state high school player of the year, is selected from the class back and line winners by the ASWA. Last year’s Mr. Football recipient was Kerryon Johnson of Madison Academy, now a freshman at Auburn University.
The Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association is host of the luncheon.
The ASWA announced the finalists in December. Those representing AHSAA member schools are listed below.
Alabama Sports Writers Association
2015 Mr. Football Finalists
BACK: Kyriq McDonald, James Clemens, DB; La’Mical Perine, Theodore, RB; Henry Ruggs III, Lee-Montgomery, WR.
LINEMAN: Carlton Martial, McGill-Toolen, LB; Walter Pritchett, Central-Phenix City, DL;
Labryan Ray, James Clemens, LB.
BACK: Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort, QB; Ty Pigrome, Clay-Chalkville, QB; T.J Simmons, Clay-Chalkville, WR.
LINEMAN: Deonte Brown, Austin, OL; Thomas Johnston, Spanish Fort, LB; Lyndell Wilson, Carver-Montgomery, LB.
BACK: Jordan Bentley, Guntersville, RB; Ostin McPherson, St. Paul's Episcopal, RB;
Demarcus Williams, Jackson, QB.
LINEMAN: Marlon Davidson, Greenville, DL; Darius Whitfield, St. Paul's Episcopal, OL;
Quinnen Williams, Wenonah, DL.
BACK: Noah Ard, Cordova, QB; Kaleb Barker, Priceville, QB; Tre' Nation, Leeds, RB.
LINEMAN: Sterling Jones, St. James, LB; Dee Nalls, Fayette County, OL; Josephus Smith, Leeds, DL.
BACK: Taylor Hayes, Piedmont, QB; Pace Ozmint, Glencoe, DB; Kearvae Qualls, Colbert County, RB.
LINEMAN: Neonta Alexander, Piedmont, LB; Ben Davis, Gordo, LB; Austin Troxell, Madison Academy, OL.
BACK Peyton Gilliland, Cleveland, QB; Dilan Kilpatrick, Fyffe, RB; Chadarius Townsend, Tanner, athlete.
LINEMAN: Blaine Hudson, Elba, OL; Ethan Jones, Fyffe, OL; Austin Lewter, Tanner, OL.
BACK: Terence Dunlap, Maplesville, RB; Tommy Spivey, Brantley, WR; Grayson Wakefield, Decatur Heritage, QB.
Cameron Longmire, Georgiana, LB; Tanner Swinney, Hackleburg, OL; Devan Wallace, Maplesville, OL.
ASWA Mr. Football
Past winners (1982-2014)
Racean “Roc” Thomas
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), in accordance with AHSAA bylaws, has rescinded the restrictive probation placed on Thompson High School’s wrestling program, effective immediately.
In November, the AHSAA fined and placed Thompson High School on restrictive probation for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year for numerous violations of Contest bylaws in its wrestling program. The violations were self-reported. The school could apply for relief from that penalty by meeting several conditions set forth by the AHSAA.
Based on a review of evidence provided by the school’s administration, as of Jan. 4, the administrators and coaches of THS had met all requirements for reinstatement as outlined by the AHSAA and have demonstrated a commitment to an ongoing process to ensure that compliance and success of the THS wrestling program and all other athletic programs will be fully aligned with the rules, guidelines, goals, and direction of the AHSAA.
“The AHSAA is pleased with the cooperation of THS for fulfilling all obligations as outlined within the restrictive probation period,” Executive Director Steve Savarese said.
The restrictive probation has been replaced with a period of non-restrictive probation for a period of one year. Should any similar violations occur in the future, additional restrictive sanctions will be assessed.