Hewitt-Trussville Downs Pell City in Champions Challenge Big School Game

   MONTGOMERY -- Hewitt-Trussville High School junior quarterback Paul Tyson passed for 236 yards and four touchdowns in the first half Friday night to lead the Class 7A Huskies to as 49-10 win over Class 6A Pell City in the final game of the 2017 AHSAA Champions Challenge high school football season-opening series at Cramton Bowl. The Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) hosts the annual event.
    Maplesville beat Fyffe 20-7 in the first game of the series Thursday night. Both games, televised live by the Raycom Network, were considered preseason contests.
    Tyson completed 11-of-12 attempts for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter. He connected with senior Logan Pitts for a 34-yard touchdown just two minutes into the game and followed two minutes later with a 21-yard strike to senior running back Elliott McElwain for the Huskies’ second score. McElwain capped a six-play, 76-yard drive later in the quarter with a 2-yard TD run, and Malachi Moore hauled in a 5-yard pass in the right flat for the final score of the opening period with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
    Pell City slowed the Huskies in the second quarter with some offense of its own. Coach Keith Etheredge’s Panthers used up more than four minutes with a 10-play, 57-yard drive late in the period to finally get on the scoreboard. Senior Sergio  Alvarez kicked a 28-yard field goal to cut the lead to 28-3.
   Coach Josh Floyd’s Huskies struck quickly as Tyson directed a six-play, 65-yard drive that culminated with Lee Reagan getting behind the Pell City defense and Tyson delivered with a perfect 27-yard TD connection as Hewitt took a 35-3 lead into the half. Tyson finished the first half 15-of-18 passing for 236 yards, four TDs, and also tacked on 15 yards rushing on two carries. He did not play in the second half.
    Antonio Reed  scored on a 29-yard run early in the third quarter for the Huskies’ fifth score and Sean Jackson bulled in from the 4 for the final Hewitt TD with 9:37 to play in the fourth quarter. Parker Colburn kicked six of the seven extra points. Joseph Seagle booted the last one.
    Pell City’s Maleek Robinson scored on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Jackson Burkhalter with 3:20 remaining to close out the scoring for Pell City.
    Hewitt-Trussville finished with 24 first downs, 231 yards rushing and 279 passing for 510 total yards.  Myles Mason had 45 yards on three carries and Red had 44 on three to lead the Huskies’ running game. McElwain had five catches for 66 yards and Reagan had 67 on four receptions.  Dazalin Worsham also had three catches for 52 yards.
    Pell City had 15 first downs, 84 rushing yards and 80 passing for 164 total yards. Burkhalter was 5-of-13 passing for 58 yards. Darius Garrett and Andrew Crow had two receptions each. Brett Staples’ 10 tackles led the Panthers’ defense. Trevor Sisk had seven tackles and an interception to pace the Huskies.

Maplesville Beats Fyffe 20-7 in Champions Challenge Battle at Cramton Bowl

  MONTGOMERY --  Maplesville’s Nate Watson struck for big plays on three of his four first-half touches as the defending Class 1A state champs downed Class 2A defending state bchampion Fyffe 20-7 in the first game of the 2017 Champions Challenge season-opening football series at Cramton Bowl Thursday night.
    The AHSAA’s  12th annual Champions Challenge, hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), will conclude Friday night with Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville taking on Class 6A Pell City in the large-school game at Cramton Bowl at 7 p.m. Raycom Media is televising the contest live over its stations in Alabama. Check out www.pathtotheplayoffs.com  for local TV information. The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting the contest over the internet and its network of radio affiliates.
     Both teams rolled into the preseason contest with winning streaks of 23 and 15 games respectively after winning state titles at the AHSAA 2016 Super 7  State Championships at Auburn last December. The game will count on neither team’s record, however, since it was scheduled as a jamboree contest.
   Watson, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior already verbally committed to Mississippi State, scored on the first play of the first and second quarters, taking the opening kickoff at his own 22-yard line and speeding untouched up the middle for a 78-yard score to start the game. He hauled in a 57-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Thomas Schoener on the first play of the second quarter for a 14-0 Red Devils lead. Late in the second period, he got open once again and raced 73 yards with a pass thrown by freshman quarterback Jackson Abbott  for his third TD of the game.
    In between Watson’s spectacular plays Fyffe kept the ball for almost 15 minutes but saw an untimely penalty and some big defensive plays by Coach Brent Hubbert’s defense to keep them from establishing any real momentum.
    Fyffe kept the ball for 14:51 of the first half to Maplesville’s 9:09. However, the 1A team had 146 yards passing and 219 total yards on 20 plays. Fyffe’s 2A Red Devils had 89 total yards – 82 rushing and 7 yards passing.
    Coach Paul Benefield’s team from DeKalb County cut the lead to 20-7 in the third period when Brody Dalton made an exceptional catch of Payton Stoner’s 24-yard pass for the TD with 6:51 left in the third period. Both teams played their reserves the rest of the game.
    Maplesville had 323 total yards on the night. Watson finished the game with 131 yards receiving on his two catches, had 78 yards on kick returns and seven yards rushing for 216 total yards. Abbott was 4-of-6 passing for 79 yards and a TD, and Schoener was 3-of-5 for 65 yards and a TD – all in the first half. Ryan Morrow was the game’s leading rusher with 100 yards on 15 carries, and Abbott had 32 on seven rushes.
    Fyffe rushed for 207 yards on 44 attempts and passed for 31 for 238 total yards. Payton Anderson and Cage Cochran each rushed for 34 yards on 12 and 4 carries, respectively.  Dalton’s 24-yard catch led the receivers.
    Stoner had an interception he returned for 31 yards on defense for Fyffe.  Dalton had seven tackles and Luke Martin had six. Maplesville linebacker Tristen Thetford had 10 tackles and teammates Jakavian McKenzie and Noah Walls had six stops. Latrell Wilson also returned an interception 25 yards.

Teams Set For 2017 Champions Challenge At Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Aug. 24-25

      MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, including two defending state champions,  will officially kick off the 2017 AHSAA high school football season Thursday and Friday at Cramton Bowl in the 12th annual Champions Challenge football classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
       The head coaches and selected players gathered at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Tuesday for the Champions Challenge press conference. Media on hand came in early for the annual Media Day. Montgomery Department of Leisure Services Director Scott Miller was on hand to officially welcome the teams and media to the city. Enterprise High School volleyball coach Janie Wiggins and Auburn High School cross country/track coach Dan Norton were also on hand to discuss the start of those two fall sports as well.  
       Three-time defending Class 1A state champion Maplesville (14-0) and defending 2A state champion (15-0) Fyffe will meet in the small-school game Thursday night at 7 p.m. Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville (11-1) and Class 6A Pell City (6-5) will play in the large-school game Friday night at 7.
     Both games will be televised live across the start by Raycom Media. WVUA Sports Director Gary Harris will handle the play-by-play and former University of Alabama standout Mike Johnson will be the color commentator. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over its statewide radio network.
    Benefield, 256-52 overall with 210 wins at his alma mater, saw his team record just four turnovers (four fumbles) in last season’s 15-0 season. He said his team is looking forward to the trip from DeKalb County. “I’ve been coaching 36 years and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” said Benefield. “I’ve never felt that I had to work a day in my life since I’ve been coaching.”
    He predicts the challenge will be difficult.
      Coach Brent Hubbert’s Maplesville team met Fyffe last year in a jamboree game to start the season with the contest ending in a 7-7 tie. His team lost a solid senior class but has another one returning, he said.
    “Each year we go through an identity change,” said Hubbert. “This group is growing. We’ve had a summer of growth as individuals. We aim to help make these young men better human beings off the field and, we (also) want to teach them to prepare for adversity.”
      Pell City (6-5) reached the Class 6A state playoffs in Coach Keith Etheredge’s first season at the helm in 2016. He moved to Pell City from Leeds where he served as head coach for 10 seasons compiling a 113-39 record and capturing four state championships. Etheredge’s teams have been known for their explosive offenses and smothering defenses.
    Floyd finished his third season at Hewitt-Trussville leading the Huskies (11-1) to a 10-0 regular season record for the first time in the school’s 92-year football history.  Hewitt-Trussville also won the Class 7A, Region 8 title and outscored opponents 552-289 on the year.
   Floyd came to Trussville from Shiloh Christian (Ark.) where he led the school to a 99-21 record over 10 seasons with four state titles in five trips to the Arkansas state high school finals.
    The former prep quarterback’s high school coach was current Auburn University Coach Gus Malzahn.
    “Winning championships are great,” said Etheredge. “I’ve won four (at Leeds) and every one was very, very special to me. But coaching and teaching is about building relationships. That’s the most important part of coaching. If I can touch one life as a coach, I feel I’ve done my job. But, I want to do a lot more.”
     Floyd said he also understands there is much, much more to coaching than just X’s and O’s.
    “I’m a younger coach, but I know there’s so much more about this game than just playing on the football field,” he said, “There’s nothing more fulfilling as a coach than a few years down the line getting messages from those kids you coached. They will tell you, ‘Coach, we remember things you said when you didn’t even know we were listening.’”
    Andalusia beat Brooks 34-13, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa downed Demopolis 42-7 and Hoover topped Central-Phenix City 23-7 in last year’s Champions’ Challenge.

AHSAA Mourns Death of Boaz High School Coach Eric Whaley


     The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of Boaz High School Coach Eric Whaley. Whaley, who resigned as head football coach last winter, died Sunday after battling cancer.  Whaley, 39, is survived by his wife Alison, children Addie Grace and Tyler.
     “He fought a courageous battle that has inspired us all,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “I experienced first-hand the impact Coach Whaley has made to those around him through his leadership as a coach and teacher. He always strived to use the opportunity to teach his players the important life lessons that can be learned from playing a high school sport as well as living his life based on his strong faith and Christian principles.
    “He has meant so much to the students, teachers and children of Boaz because of the example of his daily walk.  On behalf of the AHSAA, I offer our most sincere condolences to his family and the entire Boaz community."
      A celebration of life service will be held, Tuesday, August 15 at 7 p.m. at Boaz High School’s gymnasium. The family will receive friends from 4 until 7 prior to the service. The Funeral service will be Wednesday at 2 p.m., at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Boaz with visitation from noon until 2. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.
     In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Eric Whaley Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Snead State Community College.


Boaz Coach Eric Whaley in ICU

   The AHSAA is asking its member school family to join us in praying for Boaz High School Coach Eric Whaley who is currently in ICU at a Birmingham hospital in grave condition battling an illness.
    The AHSAA appreciates the contributions of our men and women like Coach Whaley who make a difference in the lives of so many entrusted to them. As a family, our AHSAA member schools are quick to support their colleagues in times of need.
    Thank you for keeping Coach Whaley and his family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.

Record $2 Million in Revenue Sharing for Schools Approved by AHSAA Central Board of Control

     MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning a record $2 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan. The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
        The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday.
        The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, has returned $11.8 million to its member schools over the last seven years. The formula for the distribution of funds includes a differential between classifications and the number of sports played by non-football-playing schools. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
         The Central Board of Control also approved waiving membership dues for member schools for the 25th straight year – a cost savings of more than $83,000 in 2016-17 and more than $2 million in savings to our member schools since 1992.
         “Returning $2.0 million to our schools through our revenue-sharing plan is certainly important to the financial well-being of our schools,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are proud to have now returned almost $14 million to our schools through the Revenue Sharing Plan and the waiving of school dues. I thank our Central Board for its strong leadership, especially the Central Board Finance Committee, and thank our valued corporate partners for their commitment to our member schools, our student-athletes and our educational based programs.”
        AHSAA Assistant Director Denise Ainsworth previewed the AHSAA Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2017-22 and discussed the five major goals the strategic plan – and its theme: “Building Leaders through Athletics.”
Direct Communications, a public relations group, was approved to be hired to assist the AHSAA in promoting the association goals and mission.
        New president John Hardin, who served as vice president the last two years, was also welcomed to his new position. Hardin is principal at Hackleburg High School in District 7. He replaced Mike Welsh, Spring Garden principal and president in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
        The Board also approved recommendations by the AHSAA’s Sports Committees and Competition, including an item by the Baseball Committee that games added or deleted from a school’s schedule after the area play begins will NOT count toward tie-breaker issues. The board also approved the committee’s recommendation to eliminate the coin toss in the “if needed” game three in all rounds of the state playoffs except the finals. The home team will be the home team for the game in all preliminary rounds. A recommendation was approved that had was submitted by the Basketball Committee to allow the AHSAA to set each quadrant for each class after sub-regional play results are determined. This would allow a school that qualifies boys and girls for the regional tournament to have the games scheduled back to back to avoid long delays between the two.
    The Central Board reviewed and approved 2017-18 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2017-18 AHSAA Sports Book. The Legislative Council also met and approved the AHSAA publications Wednesday afternoon and heard a review of the Central Board’s action.

In other Central Board action:

– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.

– Approved the 2017-18 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2016-17 audits for each group.

-- Approved a restitution plan for Washington County High School.

-- Approved the Scorebird Program and Dragon Fly document uploading program being made available to member schools in the coming school year.

-- Was updated about the AHSAA insurance coverages and School Audit Program.

Six Honored with Distinguished Service Awards AHSAA Closes Summer Conference With Officials’ Awards Luncheon

     MONTGOMERY – Six officials with a combined 173 years of officiating experience received the Greg Brewer Distinguished Service Award at Saturday’s AHSAA Officials Awards Luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. Receiving the AHSAA’s highest officiating honor were Larry Galloway (38 years) of Hartford; Don Hudson (37 years) of Oxford); Bill Young (35 years) of Dadeville; Jimmy Isbell (34 years) of Tuscumbia; Gwyn Morgan (34 years) of Moulton; and Gary Knight (32 years) Dothan.
    Longtime contest official, district director and volunteer Gary McGriff of Holly Pond was also recognized McGriff received the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) National Contributor Award.
    He has been a visionary, always providing opportunities for officials to grow technologically, he continues to be a state leader with regard to communication, not only between officials, but most importantly our Association.  According to Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the AHSAA, “The greatest compliment I could provide Gary is to describe Gary as a servant, dedicating his life to serve the AHSAA through officiating.” 
   More than 370 attended the luncheon that recognized all contest officials who officiated in state championship events in 2016-17 as district and state officials of the year. Wright Waters, former Sun Belt Conference Commissioner who became the first executive director of the Football Bowl Association, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon that officially closed the 2017 AHSAA Summer Conference and Coaching School.
    State Officials of the Year: Selected AHSAA State Officials of the year in their respective sports were: Doug Baxter of Montgomery (Baseball); Katrina Evans of Mobile (Basketball); Pete Gonzalez Montgomery (Soccer); Jeff Bridges of Dothan (Softball); Keith Wilemon of Hartselle (Track); Jim Kirkpatrick of Huntsville (Volleyball); and Justin Miller of Decatur  (Wrestling).
   ASOF Scholarship Recipients: The Alabama Sports Officials Foundation also presented xx scholarships to children of officials in honor of the dedication and sacrifice families make to support the service of the state’s contest officials. To be eligible, the student must be planning attend a post-secondary school in Alabama.
    Those selected for the grants were: Cora Addison Bryan, Troy; Michael Evan Shaddix, Fort Payne; Andrew David Hester, Decatur; Matthew William Hrabovsky, Daphne; Tessa Faith Ivey, Nauvoo; Moriah Lee Brundidge, Brewton; Carly Alana Westmoreland, Addison; Abigail Faye Howard, Oxford; and Patrick Joseph Callahan, Hoover.




AHSAA District Officials of the Year

East Central:
Larry Stubbs, Jacksonvillle
North Central: Raymond Crawford, Dora
Northeast: Bobby Scheppler, Huntsville
Loyd Potter, Decatur

South Central: Doug Baxter, Montgomery
Brian Cross, Andalusia
Tim Naber, Theodore
West Central:
Danny Matherson, Moundville


East Central:
Rusty Burroughs, Jacksonville
North Central: Scott Richards, Homewood
Northeast: Marvin Wesley, New Market
Brandon Oaks, Hartselle

South Central: Bobby Tindal, Auburn
Reginald Franklin, Dothan
Katrina Evans, Mobile
West Central: James Sewell, Linden


East Central:
Johnny Brothers, Southside-Gadsden
North Central: Kevin Sutton, Birmingham
Northeast: Willis Jackson, Harvest
Gene Dickinson, Decatur

South Central: Frank Parsons, Montgomery
Ricky Morgan, Geneva
Ken Atkins, Demopolis
West Central: Fred Cody, Northport

East Central:
Charles Stanley, Guntersville
North Central: John David Nicholson, Vestavia Hills
Northwest: “Ed” Tate Wallace, Hartselle

South Central: Pete Gonzalez, Montgomery
Ben Davis, Andalusia
Ryan Campbell, Spanish Fort

East Central:
Nick Higdon, Albertville
North Central: Tessa Ivey, Nauvoo
Northeast: Aaron Golden, Madison

Northwest: Scottie Nichols, Sheffield
South Central:
Eric Morris, Montgomery
Jeff Bridges, Dothan
Tim Porter, Mobile
West Central: Carolyn Roshell, Holt

East Central:
Earl Lewis, Sylacauga
North Central: Stan Blakemore, Vestavia Hills
Northeast: Jeff Bradshaw, Madison

Northwest: Keith Wilemon, Hartselle
Darrell Houston, Daphne
Sheila Crenshaw, Mobile,

East Central:
Anthony Dupree, Leesburg
North Central: Anissa Smith, Birmingham
Northeast: Jim Kirkpatrick, Huntsville

Northwest: Walter Young, Moulton
South Central:
Walter Crosby, Millbrook
Michael Clayton, Dothan
Dwight Charley, Butler
West Central: Chris Cummings, Jasper

East Central:
Brent Helms, Southside
North Central: Mark Snider, Trussville
Northeast: Joe Stephenson, Union Grove

South Central: Justin Miller, Decatur
Rob Hazenwinkel, Pensacola, FL

Seven Receive “Making A Difference” Awards At AHSAA 2017 Coaches’ Awards Banquet

MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals were recognized Friday night at the AHSAA’s 21st annual Coaches’ Awards Banquet as recipients of the prestigious “Making A Difference” Award as the 2017 AHSAA Summer Conference concluded at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
    The week-long conference, which attracted approximately 5,000 administrators, coaches and other support personnel from AHSAA member schools to Montgomery, was hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). It included 10 North-South all-star competitions during the week – for the sports of baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, volleyball and football. The North beat the South 14-13 in the 58th playing of the North-South football all-star game to close out all-star play Thursday night.
    Friday’s awards banquet recognized a total of 112 state championship coaches who led teams to state titles in the AHSAA’s championship programs in 2016-17 as well as honoring several others for outstanding service or accomplishment.  Among them was Jim Tate of St. Paul’s Episcopal High School in Mobile. Tate, who has been enshrined into the Alabama High School Hall of Fame and National High School Hall of Fame, directed the Saints to the Class 5A state girls’ cross country and Class 4A/5A girls’ state indoor track titles  in 2016-17 to become the first head coach in AHSAA history to capture 100 state crowns. Since 1983, he has led St. Paul’s track and cross country teams to 101 titles overall in his legendary career. His teams have also recorded 51 runner-up finishes.
    Jack Doss also became the first boys’ basketball coach in the AHSAA to capture 10 state titles with Mae Jemison winning the 5A state championship last March at the BJCC. Doss has won state championships at four different schools since 1981. He directed Butler to five championships, Hayes and J.O. Johnson to two each.
    Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner was the keynote speaker.
   The highlight was the “Making A Difference” Award, however, now in its seventh year. One AHSAA member school coach or administrator was honored in each classification for their contributions to their schools and communities that help change lives in daily in a positive way.
    The recipients were: head football coach Alan Beckett, Winterboro High School (1A); recently retired Associate Superintendent Lamar Brooks, Dale County Schools (2A); principal Bobby Tittle, Ohatchee High School (3A); athletic director Charles McCaleb, Bibb County High School (4A); head football coach Richard Dutton, Lawrence County High School (5A); athletic director Janeice Calhoun, Chelsea High School (6A); head softball coach Alvin Rauls, Buckhorn (7A).
Several other special awards were presented including AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year presented to McGill-Toolen Catholic AD Bill Griffin. The ADSADCA Past President’s Award was presented to former Opelika football coach Brian Blackmon.
    Swimming Coach Michael Gunner of Bob Jones High School was also recognized as the NFHS National Swimming Coach of the Year.  Student-athletes Hasaan Hawthorne of Pelham High School and RaKavius Chambers of Opelika high School were also recognized at NFHS Section 3 “Spirit of Sport” and “Heart of the Arts” Award recipients. Hawthorne, who had both legs amputated when he was an infant, graduated in 2016 and is now attending college in Idaho. He captured the Class 6A 145-pound state wrestling championship at 38-0 – Section 3 includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Chambers, also the recipient of the Watkins Award as the top black student-athlete in the nation, is a Duke University football signee. He was an All-America prep football standout who also shared a passion for the arts – participating in theatre, show choir and symphonic band in high school. He was also selected the 2017 Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the AHSAA.
NFHS Section 3 Coaches of the Year: Six AHSAA coaches were named 2016 NFHS Section 3 Coaches of the Year, including: Stanley Johnson, Lawrence County (girls’ cross country); Meridy Jones, UMS-Wright (girls’ tennis); Brigid Littleton, Vestavia Hills (girls’ golf); Steve Reaves, Winfield (boys’ track & field); and Bobby Wright, Central-Phenix City (boys’ basketball).
NFHS State Coaches of the Year: Fourteen AHSAA coaches were selected 2016 NFHS state coach of the year in their respective sports: Emanuel Bell, Wenonah (girls’ basketball); Gretchen Boykin, Spanish Fort (volleyball); Eddie Brundidge, T.R. Miller (girls’ track & field); Claborn Campbell, Cold Springs (boys’ cross country); Isabella Coffell, Sparkman (girls’ bowling); Jeff Dellinger, Auburn (girls’ swimming); Dan DeMasters, Oak Mountain (boys’ soccer); Susan Farlow, Mountain Brook (boys’ tennis); Stephen Gaydosh, Vestavia Hills (wrestling); Cindy Hawthorne, Brantley (softball); Stephen Hobbs, Vestavia Hills (boys’ bowling); Emory Latta, Providence Christian (boys’ golf); Clifford Pate, St. John Paul II Catholic (girls’ golf); and Steve Smith, Piedmont (football).
AHSADCA Coaches’ Children Scholarship Recipients: Ten students, each a child of an AHSADCA member coach or administrator, also received the AHSADCA’s Coaches’ Children Scholarships. They were: Heaven Rozier, Jackson High School; Alexandria Wiggins, Enterprise High School; Bailey Ryan Price, Chilton County High School; Jessica Norris, LAMP Magnet High School; Bailee Simmons, Elmore County High School; Mary Elizabeth Laatsch, Helena High School; Shelby Hicks, Oxford High School; Reagan MaKinley Smothers, Addison High School; Michael Drew Statom, Deshler High School; and Jadie Burney, Huntsville High School.
Eight Receive al.com Sportsmanship Grants: Eight high schools that attended Friday’s 10th annual Media Group as recipients of a $1,000 al.com Sportsmanship Grant.  Al.com, in support of good sportsmanship, has provided $80,000 over the last 10 years – proving one scholarship to a fine and ejection-free school each from all eight of the AHSAA’s districts.
   The recipients this year were: Blount (District 1); Red Level (District 2); Linden (District 3); Holtville (District 4); Pleasant Grove (District 5); Ranburne (District 6); Hubbertville(District 7); and West Point (District 8).  The schools were selected from the 107 that completed the 2016-17 school fine and ejection free.
   A total of 107 high schools finished the year with no fine or ejection and were recognized at Friday’s luncheon, up from 32 from 2015-16 when 75 reached that goal. Chris Heaps, the head baseball coach at Russellville High School, was the keynote speaker. Russellville, which has won the Class 5A state baseball championship the last three seasons, was one of the schools recognized for its outstanding sportsmanship record of no fines or ejections.
AHSAA Welcomes New Sportsmanship Sponsor: The AHSAA also welcomed a new sponsor for the annual Sportsmanship Banquet Friday, Patterson Properties which produces high school preseason football magazines for Georgia and Alabama.
Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Lifetime Achievement Award: Longtime head football coach Randy Ragsdale was recognized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with its most prestigious award Thursday at the annual FCA Luncheon. Ragsdale who compiled a 242-86 career record in 28 seasons as head coach at Trinity Presbyterian in Montgomery received the Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime commitment to serving his faith and serving young people. The award is named in honor of Scott, former AHSAA Executive Director. Scott helped bring FCA to Alabama schools more than 40 years ago. Scott is now deceased.

North Defense Leads Team to 14-13 Win over South in 58th Annual North-South Football Game

   MONTGOMERY – The North All-Star defense came up with the big plays Thursday night en route to a 14-13 football win over the South in the 58th playing of the AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game at Cramton Bowl.
    The game closed out the 2017 All-Star Sports Week competition with the North sweeping baseball,  boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ and girls’ basketball and volleyball while splitting a doubleheader in softball to go 11-1 in contests for the week.
     The victory was the third in a row for the North and closed the South’s edge in the series to 30-26-2. The South’s last win came in 2014 in a 20-12 win. The North won the first game played in 1948 at Tuscaloosa, 33-0.
    The North struck first Thursday night when Connor Landers scooped up a South fumble and rambled 46 yards into the end zone for a touchdown at 7:57 in the first quarter. The fumble was caused by North linebacker Will Evans of Haleyville, a University of North Alabama signee, when he jarred the ball loose from South receiver Maurice Young of Wetumpka.  Evans finished with 11 tackles and was named the North MVP.
    The South responded quickly, marching 67 yards on seven plays and scored when Jeff Davis receiver Tyler Wesley hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Warren of Leroy and tied the game at 7-7 on C.J. Roberts’ extra point kick with 5:08 left in the quarter.
    Evans blocked a South punt early in the second period and recovered at the South 2 to set up the North’s final TD. After a loss back to the 11, Trevor Oakes of Hartselle connected with Florence receiver Jakobi Byrd two plays later for a 6-yard TD pass. Cullman place-kicker Tristian Skinner booted the all-important extra point to give the North a 14-7 lead with 7:35 left in the half.
    The South defense, which also played well all night, provided the big play late in the third quarter when Clifton Robbins of Dothan sacked North quarterback Koy Chapman of Gordo for a six-yard loss at the South 41 and caused a fumble that was recovered by South teammate Taryon Edwards of Lee-Montgomery.
     It took just five plays for the South to reach the end zone – the TD coming on a 31-yard pass from Warren to Wesley with 8:12 left in the fourth period. South head coach Scott Horne of G.W. Long, who had both his team’s place-kickers unavailable due to injuries, elected to go for two but the play failed and the South trailed 14-13.
      The North drove to the South 3 later in the period but turned the ball over on a fumble forced by Enterprise linebacker Keonte White’s tackle of Scottsboro running back Dekarlos Billingsley near the goal line.
    The South couldn’t mount another threat, however.
    The North, coached by Parker’s Andre Robinson, finished with only seven first downs, 69 yards rushing and 41 passing for 110 yards. The South had 16 first downs, 68 yards rushing and 175 passing for 243 yards.
     Billingsley led all rushers with 64 yards on 14 carries for the North. Charles Blackmon of Linden had 35 yards on eight carries and Roberts of Carroll-Ozark had 29 on six carries for the South. Warren was 10-of-14 passing for 124 yards and two TDs for the South and Wesley, the South MVP, had four catches for 66 yards and two scores. T.R. Miller quarterback Caleb Winton was 5-of-13 passing for 51 yards. Oakes and Chapman combined to complete six passes for 41 yards.
     Josh Hatcher of Handley had 13 tackles for the North and Evans had 11. White had seven to lead the South.