McGill-Toolen’s Collins, Hoover’s Jones Leads Decathlon, Heptathlon after Day 1

HOOVER – McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Graham Collins totaled 3,736 points Monday in five events to take the first-day lead in the 55th annual AHSAA State Decathlon Championships being held at Hoover High School.
    Hoover’s own Genesis Jones accumulated 2,690 points in the 31st ASHSAA Girls’ Heptathlon competition lead James Clemens’ Audriana Blakely (2,646) by 44 points heading into Tuesday’s final round.
    Collins leads Stone Shellnut of Hewitt-Trussville (3,320) by 416 points with five events remaining in the Tuesday’s final round. He is well on his way to posting the best score in the Decathlon since Bo Jackson of McAdory totaled more 8,340 points in the 1981 Decathlon.
    Collins had the fastest time in the 100-meter dash (10.97 seconds) amongst the 47 competitors, had the top long jump (22-03.5), best high jump (6-01.5), and also won the 400-meter dash competition with a time of 49.59. Events remaining are the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.
    Rounding out the top five Monday were: 3. Collier Robinson, James Clemens (3,153); 4. Edwin Rainey, Northridge (3,050); and Noah Williams, Hoover (3,034). Shane Denman of Oxford won the shot put competition with a toss of 38-11.75.
       Jones finished third to Hoover teammate Chakiya Plummer (14.92)  in the 110-meter hurdles and won the high jump (5-04.5).  Lanaiya Coney of Bob Jones won the shot put (30-10.5) and Plummer won the 200-meter dash (25.17).
     Filling out the Top 5 from day one’s heptathlon competition were Hoover’s Plummer (2,550), Erin Long of Pelham (2,514) and Jade Johnson of Northridge (2,506).
    The state record was set by Shelly Spires of St. Paul’s Episcopal (5,000) in 2014.
     Complete first-round results can be found at: www.ahsaa.com.

CLASS 2A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES GAME 1: G.W. Long 7, Mars Hill Bible 6 (11 innings)

GAME 1: G.W. Long 7, Mars Hill Bible 6 (11 innings)iHillHillh

MONTGOMERY -- G.W. Long junior catcher Slade Simmons delivered a bases-loaded single to drive in Braeden Paramore in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Rebels (30-12) to a 7-6 victory over Mars Hill Bible (30-11) in the opening game of the AHSAA Class 2A Baseball Championship Series at Paterson Field Monday night.
   The two teams move to Riverwalk Stadium Tuesday for game two at 10 a.m. The best two-of-three series’ game three, if needed, will follow 30 minutes following should Mars Hill win game two.
   Game one was a tale of two games -- the first one almost won by the Panthers of Coach Jay Mitchell in regulation. Leading 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Mars Hill gave up two runs when Long’s Kamryn Faria delivered a bases-loaded single to plate two runs to tie the game.
    Mars Hill reliever Cade Parrish, who hurled 4  1/3 strong innings of relief, robbed Caison Long of a game-winning hit when he stabbed the left fielder’s hard-hit liner back up the middle for the third out.
    From that point on, both teams played exceptionally well as Parrish hurled three shutout innings for the Panthers and Faria, Coach Drew Miller’s fifth pitcher of the night, pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to get the win.
    Starting pitcher Matt Snell hurled 5 1/3 innings, allowed eight hits and struck out nine before leaving the game after reaching his pitch limit.  Mars Hill starter Colt Smith hurled six strong innings, struck out six and gave up six hits -- leaving the game with a two-run lead.
     The Rebels finished with 14 hits with Paramore, Dylan Register and Faria collecting three hits. Faria had a double and three RBIs.
    Sam Ragan had had three hits and an RBI, Brooks Thompson and Cade Parrish had two hits each for Mars Hill, which finished with 10 hits.
    The Class 4A series plays game one at Paterson Field Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Hokes Bluff takes on Andalusia. The NFHS Network is live-streaming all game of the AHSAA Baseball Championships and all finals of the AHSAA Softball Championships. Lagoon Park hosts the softball tournament Wednesday through Saturday.

AHSAA Mourns Death of Coach Jack Powell

     The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of former Eufaula High School basketball coach Jack Powell and joins with its member schools in offering condolences and to his family

      Powell, 96, died Saturday in Abbeville.
      Powell spent 18 of his 20 years in high school coaching at Eufaula where his teams compiled a 364-178 record, advanced to the state tournament nine times and won a state championship in 1953. He also coached at Livingston State University.
      Powell was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. The old Eufaula high school gym named in his honor serves as home of the Jack Powell Youth Basketball League. He is a graduate of Pleasant Home High School and Auburn University.
          Funeral services will be Saturday at First Baptist Church in Eufaula with visitation from noon to 2 p.m., followed by the service.


Mountain Brook’s Sargent, Randolph’s Morard Each Shoot 64 to pace the 80th AHSAA State Golf Tourney

    MUSCLE SHOALS  – Mountain Brook shot a blistering 19-under 269 as a team Monday at the Robert Trent Jones Shoals Golf Club’s “Fighting Joe” course to take an 11-stroke lead over defending  Class 7A state champion Spain Park after the first round of the 80th annual AHSAA State Golf Championships.
    Gordon Sargent fired an 8-under 64 for the best round of the day -- and tying for the second lowest round in the tournament’s long history. John Hilliard Cantanzaro of Westbrook Christian shot a 63 last year and Kyle Cornelius of St. Paul’s Episcopal had a 63 in 2016 for the low rounds.
     On the girls’ side, sophomore Michaela Morard equaled Sargent’s low round with a girls’ state tourney record 64 in the Class 4A/5A girls’ division.  Morard, who was low medalist for Huntsville in the 7A tourney in 2015 and 2016, sat out last season after transferring to Randolph School.
     The Spartans were red hot with William Wann and Reynolds Lambert shooting 67 and Mac Scott a 1-under 71 to round out the Mountain Brook’s top four. Ethan Hagood shot a 67 and Nick Dunlap 70 to pace the Jaguars.  McGill-Toolen was third at 4-over 292 and Auburn was three back at 295.
    Price Brown shot a 69 for McGill. Thirteen of the 24 golfers shot par or better with the highest score of the day just 79.
    The 36-hole state tourney for all classes concludes Tuesday.

Class 6A Boys
    Defending state champion Muscle Shoals totaled 8-over 296 Monday to take the first day lead at the Class 6A state tourney at The Shoals. Homewood was two strokes back at 298, Fort Payne shot 311 and Benjamin Russell 313 to round out the team scoring.
   Fort Payne’s Dawson Garrett shot 5-under 67 for the low round of the day in Class 6A. Patrick Minor of Jasper was three shots back at 2-under 70, Muscle Shoals’ Thomas Regan and Homewood’s Jack Goldasich were 3 strokes back at 1-under 71.

Class 5A Boys
    Russellville’s Josh Boutwell and Brooks’ Justin Olive each fired 4-under 68 Monday to lead the field after day one of the AHSAA’s Class 5A boys golf tournament being held at the Robert Trent Jones Shoals Golf Club’s Schoolmaster Course in Muscle Shoals.  St. Paul’s Episcopal’s Will McFadden was one shot back with a 3-under 69 and Saints teammate Blake Bahos carded an even par 72.
   Defending St. Paul’s shot 11-over 299 to take the first-day lead of the 36-hole tournament which concludes Tuesday. Russellville was nine strokes back at 308, followed by Briarwood Christian (318) and Scottsboro (318).
   Classes 7A, 6A, 4A and 3A boys and all girls’ divisions were still on the course Monday afternoon at 2:30.

Class 4A Boys
    Oneonta’s Cole Davidson fired a 6-under 66 to take the individual lead after the first round of the 36-hole Class 4A state tourney. Andrew Graves of UMS-Wright had a 3-under 69 to help the defending state champion Bulldogs shoot a 10-over 298 to take a 15-stroke lead over White Plains (313). Madison Academy (332) was third and Haleyville (351) fourth after the first day in the team rankings.
    Grant Smith of Montgomery Catholic also shot below par with a 1-under 71, and UMS-Wright’s Gregory Jones was 1-over at 73.

Class 3A Boys
    Houston Academy grabbed a 12-shot lead over arch Dothan rival and defending state champion Providence Christian Monday with a team 4-over 292. Providence shot 305, Glencoe 405, and Pleasant Valley 463.
    Thomas Ponder’s 3-under 69 was the low round for the 3A contingent. The PCA golfer grabbed a 1-stroke  individual lead. Hal Dove and Jake McDonald each shot 70 for Houston Academy. Emmett Lee of the Raiders and Matt Smith of Clements were four shots back at 1-over 73.

Class 1A/2A Boys
    Donoho shot a 308 team total Monday at the Robert Trent Jones Shoals Golf Club’s Schoolmaster Course to take  20-stroke lead in the 1A/2A boys division into Tuesday’s final round of the 80th annual AHSAA State Golf Championships.
     Defending state champion Westbrook Christian was second at 328, Vincent third with a 354 and Brantley was fourth at 380.
    Jake Lecroy led the Falcons of Coach Garett Burgess with a 3-under 69. The Donoho golfer was tied with Red Bay8’s Codey Cleveland, who also shot a 69 Monday. Kinston’s Dylan Moulton was three shots back at par 72, followed by Westbrook’s William Wethington, 73, J.U. Blacksher’s Adam Ikner and Cedar Bluff’s Nick Sawyer, with 3-over 75 each.
     The 1A/2A golfers combined for 173 pars, 35 birdies and two eagles in the first round Monday.

Class 4A/5A Girls
    Michaela Morard’s 8-under 64 included 10 birdies, seven pars and a double bogey on the first hole to set the pace for Randolph, which totaled  21-over 237 to trail Northside, whichshot 18-over 234 for the the best round of the day for girls’ teams in all classes. Morard’s 64 was the best competitive round for her prep career -- bettering her previous best of 65. The round also broke the previous state tourney record of 66, which was carded twice by Fairhope’s Virginia Green in 2017 and by Brooke Sansom of Park Crossing, also at the 2017 tourney.
    Morard has now averaged 67.4 in five state-tournament rounds since 2015.
    Erika Allen led Northside with a 1-under 71 and teammate Kadee Allen shot 76.
    White Plains was third in the team rankings at 246 and Trinity Presbyterian was fourth with a 76.

Class 6A Girls
    Defending state champion Muscle Shoals shot a 23-over 239 total to take an eight-stroke lead over Hartselle (248) after the  first round of the AHSAA Class 6A State Golf Championships. The girls played on the RTJ Shoals “Schoolmaster” course.
Mikayla Dubnik of Hartselle shot even par 72 for the low round. Muscle Shoals’ Anna Margaret Hays and Northridge’s Caroline MacVicar each shot 2-over 74.
    Oxford was in third place at 281 and Homewood in fourth with as 299.

Class 1A/3A Girls
   Providence Christian, the defending champs, shot 239 to take a 10-stroke lead over Bayside Academy (249) after 18 holes Monday. Allison Howard of PCA shot 2-over 74, Tori Roush of Bayside and Lauren Thompson of PCA each shot 75 to trail the leader by one stroke.
   Clements (285) and Glencoe (317) rounded out the team scoring at third and fourth.

AHSAA Associate Executive Director Tony Stallworth Announces Plans to Retire

Savarese Announces AHSAA Staff Promotions and Hire of Dean

MONTGOMERY --  AHSAA Associate Executive Director Tony Stallworth has announced his plans to retire on July 31 from the position he has held since 2011.  AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese has also announced that current AHSAA Assistant Director Alvin Briggs will be promoted into that position effective Aug. 1.
    Briggs joined the AHSAA as the Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) in 2011. In addition, Mr. Savarese announced that Assistant Director Jamie Lee will become the Director of the AHSADCA and that Montgomery County Public Schools System Athletic Director William Brandon Dean will be joining the AHSAA as an Assistant Director effective June 18.
    “We are saddened on one hand to see Mr. Stallworth retire, but we are also excited for him as he moves into the next phase of his life,” Savarese said. “We thank him, not only for his years of service as the Associate Executive Director, but also for his many years as a high school teacher, coach, and administrator and volunteer. His service has been outstanding to this organization, to the member schools and the state of Alabama.”
    Savarese said he has full confidence in Briggs’ and Lee’s abilities to step into their new positions. “The AHSAA is very fortunate to have such outstanding individuals already on staff who are capable and ready for these new challenges. And too, we are very excited to have Mr. Dean join the AHSAA family. He has served in many volunteer capacities while serving as an officer in the AHSADCA, and his leadership with the Montgomery Public Schools is well documented.”
     Stallworth, a graduate of J.F. Shields High School in Beatrice and Huntingdon College, began his career as a teacher and coach at Lomax-Hannon Community College in Greenville, then began a 32-year career in high school education that took him first to Monroe Senior High School, then to Brantley High School in 1988 where he guided the Bulldogs’ Junior high basketball team to a 48-0 record from 1988-90. He served as the varsity boys’ head basketball coach from 1990-2005 compiling a 298-47 record and guiding Brantley to three straight state championships (1993, 1994 and 1995). He was named 1A Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994 and 2A Coach of the Year in 1995.
      Stallworth served Brantley High School as its principal from 2005-08 and later worked in various roles with the Crenshaw County School System before becoming the Associate Executive Director of the AHSAA in 2011. He was inducted into the Huntingdon College Hall of Fame in 2013 and into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. 
     “I can’t fully express how thankful I am to Mr. Savarese and the Central Board of Control for allowing me the opportunity to serve the AHSAA as Associate Executive Director,” said Stallworth. “I will appreciate forever the relationships that have evolved with administrators and coaches across the state. The AHSAA is highly regarded across the nation, and the AHSAA staff is second to none. They have been extremely supportive of me during my tenure here. This executive staff has been a game changer, and I cherish my time with them as I close out this chapter of my career.”
      Briggs, an outstanding high school student-athlete who played college football at Auburn, served as a college assistant coach and high school head coach and athletic director at his alma mater Greenville and Florence high schools before joining the AHSAA staff. He will become just the fifth Associate Executive Director in the AHSAA’s history.
     “I want to thank Mr. Savarese for his leadership and am very appreciative of the confidence he has in me that I can do the job,” Briggs said. “I also thank Mr. Stallworth for his example and leadership. There have been some great men in this position and I am very humbled for this opportunity.”
     The position was established in 1968 and includes former Associate Executive Directors James Hall, Dr. Jimmie Cal, Joe Evans and Stallworth.
    Lee, who coached basketball and golf and served as a high school math teacher for 22 years, joined the AHSAA staff last summer as Assistant Director for Special Programs. He also assists Briggs with the AHSADCA.
    “I have learned a lot during my time here at the AHSAA and I look forward to working with our coaches, in all sports, as well as our athletic directors to enhance educational-based athletics throughout our state,” Lee said. “I am extremely grateful to Mr. Savarese for giving me the opportunity to lead the AHSADCA. I also thank Mr. Briggs for his leadership and for helping prepare me for this opportunity I look forward to the challenges ahead.”
   Dean, 37, brings a wealth of administrative experience to the AHSAA. A native of Montgomery, he graduated from Alabama State University in 2004, earned a Masters in Educational Administration in 2006 from ASU and an Education Specialist degree from Walden University in 2016. He also received a Master Certification in Athletic Administration from the NIAAA in 2016 and is currently pursuing a Masters in Sports Management at Troy University.
    He has served as District Director of Athletics for the Montgomery Public Schools since 2013, has also served as a principal, assistant principal, curriculum instructional assistant, teacher and coach during his tenure with the MCPS, beginning in 2003. He also served as a head coach for the City of Montgomery Parks and Recreation Department and has been an AHSAA and youth baseball official since 2005.
    “I am extremely grateful to Mr. Savarese for giving me the opportunity to join this wonderful organization,” Dean said. “It has always been a dream of mine to work for this organization. I look forward to working with the great staff at the AHSAA and AHSADCA.”

Exception to Backcourt Violation Approved in High School Basketball Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               Contact: Theresia Wynns

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (May 14, 2018) — An exception to the backcourt violation and a clarification regarding specifications of the ball comprise the changes approved for the 2018-19 high school basketball season.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee recommended the changes at its April 9-11 meeting in Indianapolis, and all changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 9-9-1 states that “a player shall not be the first to touch the ball after it has been in team control in the frontcourt, if he/she or a teammate last touched or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went to the backcourt.”

An exception was approved to note that any player who was located in the backcourt may recover a ball that is deflected from the frontcourt by the defense.

Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials, said the committee approved the exception to ensure that a team is not unfairly disadvantaged on a deflected pass.

The other change approved by the Basketball Rules Committee involved more clearly defining the cover of the ball in Rule 1-12-1c, which now states that the ball “shall have a deeply-pebbled granulated surface . . .”

Wynns said the term “granulated surface” should provide manufacturers a better idea of what a deeply-pebbled cover should look like.

In addition to the two rules changes approved by the committee, several points of emphasis were identified for the coming season, including concussion recognition, proper procedures for blood issues and coaches monitoring injury and research trends.  

“The committee wanted to stress continued education in recognizing signs and symptoms of concussions for coaches, athletes, parents and officials,” Wynns said. “In addition, concern of overuse injuries due to sport specialization should be monitored, and recognition of blood on players and uniforms and the proper procedure for removal of blood and return to play are other areas for education.”

 Wynns noted that coaches have primary responsibility for making sure players are wearing legal uniforms and are legally equipped. She said emphasis will be given to rule enforcement in the areas of traveling, legal guarding position and establishing possession during loose-ball situations.  Lastly, the committee believes officials professionalism and use of proper terminology should be emphasized.

 “Overall, the committee believes the rules of the sport are in great shape.  These changes provide more clarification in areas where there has been inconsistency in interpretation and will help manufacturers in producing basketballs that meet NFHS specifications,” said Francine Martin, NFHS Basketball Rules Committee chair and assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. “The committee evaluated input from the NFHS basketball rules questionnaire, which is available for all coaches and officials to complete and provide input for future rules changes during the meeting. The points of emphasis are geared toward sports medicine issues and consistent interpretation of playing rules.” 

A complete listing of all rules changes is available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Basketball.”

Basketball ranks third in popularity for both boys and girls with 550,305 male participants and 430,368 female participants, according to the 2017-18 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.

2018 Class 6A Girls’ Soccer Championship

John Carroll Catholic 2, Gardendale 0
   John Carroll Catholic’s defense limited Gardendale to only one shot in the Class 6A girls’ state soccer championship match Saturday and the Lady Cavaliers pulled out a 2-0 victory to claim the school’s fifth state girls’ title in school history.
    Coach Robert Crawford’s team stayed on the offensive the entire match, taking 22 shots over and 12 on goal. However, the Rockets defense also played well to stay within striking distance most of the match.
    The girls’ 6A championship match helped close out the 28th AHSAA State Soccer Championships at Huntsville’s John Hunt Soccer Complex.
   Class 6A finals MVP Gabby Bernal gave John Carroll (21-3-1) the lead with a goal at 25:10 in the first half. Claire Davies scored the last goal eight minutes later as the Cavs took a 2-0 lead in at halftime.
   Gardendale (14-6-1), coached by Jennifer Underwood, had a valiant effort on defense led by goalkeeper Lauren Motes. She had 10 saves in the match.
    The championship match was the first in school history for Gardendale. John Carroll won state titles in 2000, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 with state titles four of the last five years.

2018 AHSAA Soccer Championships
John Hunt Soccer Complex, Huntsville
Semifinal & FinalsPairings/ Results

Class 1A/3A 
Montgomery Academy (19-3) 11, Indian Springs (14-5) 1
West Morgan (20-6) 5, Donoho (16-2) 0
Montgomery Academy (20-3) 5, West Morgan (20-7) 0
Westminster-Oak Mountain (22-2-1) 2, Bayside Academy (23-3) 1
West Morgan (21-2) 4, Altamont (16-6-1) 3
Westminster-Oak Mountain (24-2-1) 2, West Morgan (21-3) 0

Class 4A/5A
Trinity Presbyterian (22-2-2) 1, St. Paul's Episcopal (19-5-3) 0
Guntersville (17-1-2) 2, Arab (14-5-3) 0
Trinity Presbyterian (23-2-2) 2, Guntersville (17-2-2) 1 (2 OT, 4-3 in shootout)
Briarwood Christian (23-2-1) 3, St. Paul’s Episcopal (19-5-3) 0
Randolph (15-4-2) 4, Arab (13-3-1) 1
Randolph (16-4-2) 5, Briarwood Christian (23-3-1) 1

Class 6A

John Carroll Catholic (20-3-1) 4, Northview (16-4-1) 0
Gardendale (14-5-1) 2, Southside-Gadsden (17-2-1) 1 (2 OT, 8-7 in shootout)
John Carroll Catholic (21-3-1) 2, Gardendale (14-6-1) 0

Homewood (23-0-2) 4, Northview (11-10-1) 0
Fort Payne (19-3-3 7, Pell City (13-6-2) 0
Homewood (24-0-2) 3, Fort Payne (19-4-3) 0

Class 7A 

McGill-Toolen Catholic (20-2-3) 6, Enterprise (9-9-2) 0
Vestavia Hills (21-3-1) 2, James Clemens (14-4-2) 1
Vestavia Hills (22-3-1) 2, McGill-Toolen Catholic (20-3-3) 1
Auburn (14-4) 1, McGill-Toolen Catholic (13-9-5) 0
Vestavia Hills (18-5-1) 1, Mountain Brook (21-6-3) 0
Auburn (15-4-0) 2, Vestavia Hills (18-6-1) 1

2018 Class 7A Boys’ Soccer Championship

Auburn 2, Vestavia Hills 1
Auburn High School junior goalkeeper Peyton Segrest posted a state-tournament high 18 saves in the Class 7A Boys’ State Soccer Championship match versus Vestavia Hills Saturday, and the Tigers’ defense did the rest en route to a 2-1 victory and the school’s second state title in school history.
     Segrest earned MVP honors for the 7A championships with an incredible performance. Coach Bill Ferguson’s Tigers (15-4-0) took an early 1-0 lead with Avery Atkins scoring on a pass from Liam Weikart at 16:36 of the first half.  Auburn made is 2-0 midway through the second half on Andrew Cornett’s goal. Josh Storbeck got the assist.
    Vestavia Hills (18-6-1) finally got a shot past Segrest with 11:30 to play to close the gap to 2-1. The Rebels, which had 19 shots on goal, were unable to score the rest of the way.
    Auburn, by contrast, had just three shots on goal. Rebels’ keeper Brooks Bailey had one save.
    The Tigers’ first state championship came in 2012. Saturday’s title closed out the 28th annual AHSAA State Championship at John Hunt Soccer Complex.

2018 Class 7A Girls’ Soccer Championship

Vestavia Hills 2, McGill-Toolen Catholic 1
Faith Hauberg and Taylor Korn each scored goals Saturday to lift Vestavia Hills to a 2-1 victory over defending state champion McGill-Toolen Catholic in the finals of the 28th annual AHSAA Class 7A Girls’ State Soccer Championships at John Hunt Soccer Complex Saturday.
    Hauberg, a junior midfielder, earned MVP honors of the 7A girls’ finals.  Her goal came at 25:33 in the first half for Coach Brigid Littleton’s Rebels (22-3-1). Chloe Martin tied the match for Coach Cheryl Flores’ Jackets (18-3-3) early in the second half, but Korn tacked on the winning goal a few minutes later.
    Goalkeeper Anna Woodson had five saves for Vestavia, and Bailey Dixon had seven saves for McGill-Toolen.
    The championship was the fifth in school history for the Rebels and the first since 2016. McGill-Toolen beat Vestavia 2-0 in last year’s state finals to claim the school’s first-ever state girls’ soccer crown.

2018 Class 6A Boys’ Soccer Championship

Homewood 3, Fort Payne 0
Homewood scored two goals in a two-minute stretch late in the second half to seal a hard-fought 3-0 victory over Fort Payne in the AHSAA Class 6A Boys’ State Soccer Championship match at Huntsville’s John Hunt Soccer Complex Saturday.
   The Patriots (24-0-2), coached by Sean McBride,  took the lead 1-0 early in the second half when senior forward Eric Hepp scored on an assist from Connor Smith. Hepp, who earned Class 6A state championship MVP, added his second goal at 68:02 driving past two Wildcats defenders to score. Jackson Wallace tacked on the third goal less than two minutes later.
    Fort Payne (19-4-3), coached by Mario Limon, had several good shots on goal thanks to its strong passing and on offense.  Christian Hernandez had three shots on goal, one from 30 yards out on a free kick that hooked just over the front bat of the goal that almost tied the match at 1-1 late in the second half.
    Homewood goalkeeper Ian Myers had four saves for the Patriots and Luis Ramirez of Fort Payne had one save.  The two teams met once earlier in the season and finished in a tie.
      The championship was the fifth in school history for Homewood and the first since 2014. Fort Payne  won state titles in 2011 and 2015.