MONTGOMERY, AL – Coaches and players from Sweet Water, Clarke County, Thompson and James Clemens high schools gathered Thursday at the 2018 AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic press conference at the AHSAA Office here. The season-opening games are set for Aug. 23-24 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
Coaches addressed the large contingent of media on hand for the AHSAA’s annual Media Day, each discussion their excitement for the upcoming football season and the opportunity to participate in the 13th annual Champions Challenge.
Clarke County and Sweet Water kick off the season on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Cramton Bowl. Class 7A top-10 teams Thompson takes on James Clemens in the big-school game on Friday night, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. Raycom Media will televise the game live, the NFHS Network will live-stream the game and the AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the game over its statewide network.
Clarke County Coach Stacy Luker, who is the only head coach in the 13-year history to compete in the season-opening football classic at three different schools, said his team is glad to play in the opening game versus his alma mater Sweet Water. “I have been here twice before,” Luker said, “and the first two times was pretty tough.”
Luker, who won five state championships while serving as head coach at Sweet Water, participated in the 2011 Champions Challenge versus Hamilton and then brought Demopolis in 2016 to face Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. Hamilton beat Sweet Water 38-35 in ’11 and Hillcrest beat Demopolis 42-7 in ’16.
“We got beat pretty good in 2016,” he said.
He has no regrets, however. His Demopolis team rebounded to win five in a row and finished 7-4 – losing two games to 7A schools. His Sweet Water team rebounded from a 38-35 loss to 4A Hamilton to win 10 games before falling in the Class 1A semifinals. His Clarke County squad is coming off an 11-3 season and reached the Class 3A semifinals for the first time in school history in Luker’s first season at the helm. The Bulldogs, moved up to 4A this season, is ranked ninth in the ASWA preseason rankings.
Pat Thompson coached with Luker as an assistant at Thomasville and Sweet Water before he ascended to head coach in 2014 when Luker left. The Bulldogs, ranked second in the ASWA preseason rankings behind Lanett, are riding a 13-game winning streak heading into this season after claiming the school’s 10th Class 1A state championship overall. Lanett moved down to from 2A this season after winning the state title last year with a 15-0 season.
Sweet Water’s defense should be strong with linebackers Jacory Brown, Chance Broussard and JahDarrius McIntosh returning. All three were on hand at Thursday’s press gathering. Clarke County was represented Thursday by returning starters Jake Anderson, Javon Ivory and Avant Law.
Thompson (12-1), coached by Mark Freeman (186-41), won the Class 7A, Region 5 regular-season championship last season going 7-0. The Warriors lost in the semifinals to Region 5 runner-up Hoover, which won the state championship the next week. Freeman’s team features one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects, Taulia Tagovailoa, who passed for a state-leading 3,820 yards and 36 TDs last season as a junior. Shad Byrd returns at running back after rushing for 1,167 yards and 18 scores. Both were on hand Thursday along with linebacker Will Conner and defensive end Eric Mizell.
James Clemens (3-7) is the state’s youngest Class 7A school, opening its doors for the first time in 2012. Coach Wade Waldrop has coached the Jets to a 30-35 overall record, including going 10-2 in 2015 and 8-4 in 2016. James Clemens fell to 3-7 season but is expected to challenge for the Class 7A, Region 8 championship in 2018.
The Jets return 2018 starting quarterback Conner Cantrell, who was forced into action when expected starter Jamil Mohammad suffered a season-ending injury. Mohammad is back and at full strength giving Waldrop what he describes as “Two great quarterbacks. That is the position that probably has the most depth heading into this season.”
Both were in attendance Thursday along with defensive lineman Daevion Davis and running back Austin McGhee.
Also on hand at the press conference was Montgomery Catholic senior cross country standout Amaris Tyynismaa, her head coach Ed Wright, Goshen volleyball coach Amy Warrick and Bob Jones swimming coach Wade Thaxton.
The three coaches discussed those seasons, which also get underway Aug. 23, and discussed their own teams’ outlooks. Tyynismaa, the most decorated AHSAA girls’ distance runner in more than 40 years, comes into the 2018 season with four straight Class 4A/5A state girls’ cross country titles and holds the record for the fastest girls’ finish in state-meet history, 17:03.4, a state record she set as an eighth grader.
She said her goal this season is to get under 17 minutes, a feat she accomplished at last year’s Footlocker national competition. Catholic’s boys and girls finished second last season. Warrick’s Goshen team finished 28-14 and was Class 2A state volleyball runner-up last season, the best finish in school history. Thaxton’s young girls’ Bob Jones swimming team had a fourth-place finish last season in Class 6A/7A, and the boys finished seventh.
AHSAA CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE HISTORY
Hewitt-Trussville 49, Pell City 10
Maplesville 20, Fyffe 7
Andalusia 34, Brooks 13
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 42, Demopolis 7
Hoover 23, Central-Phenix City 7
Bob Jones 37, Carver-Montgomery 30
Gordo 28, Glencoe 21
Madison Academy 19, Leeds 14
Spanish Fort 42, Stanhope Elmore 14
Opelika 20, Carver-Montgomery 16
Dadeville 14, Piedmont 8
Benjamin Russell 28, Walker 14
Straughn 35, Walter Wellborn 26
Bob Jones 23, Enterprise 20
Spanish Fort 33, Muscle Shoals 22
Central of Clay County 25, Beauregard 13
McGill-Toolen 27, Northridge 0
Hueytown 36, Thomasville 27
Hamilton 38, Sweet Water 35
Daphne 24, Clay-Chalkville 21
Opelika 34, Greenville 6
Auburn 30, Spain Park 3
Jackson 30, Trinity 8
Prattville 37, Carver-Montgomery 0
T.R. Miller 27, Leeds 7
Hoover 32, Oxford 27
Prattville vs. Oxford, canceled due to inclement weather
Prattville 36, North Gwinnett, Ga. 3
Hoover 38, UMS-Wright 0
Clay-County 41, Addison 6
ALL TIME RECORDS (2006 – 2017)
SCHOOL DIS. CL. W-L PTS OPP
Bob Jones D-8 7A 2-0 60 50
Hoover D-5 7A 2-0 61 7
Opelika D-4 6A 2-0 54 22
Spanish Fort D-1 6A 2-0 75 36
Andalusia D-2 4A 1-0 34 13
Auburn D-4 7A 1-0 30 3
Benjamin Russell D-4 6A 1-0 28 14
Central, Clay County** D-6 5A 1-0 25 13
Clay County** D-6 3A 1-0 41 6
Dadeville D-4 4A 1-0 14 8
Daphne D-1 6A 1-0 24 21
Gordo D-7 3A 1-0 28 21
Hamilton D-7 4A 1-0 38 35
Hewitt-Trussville D-5 7A 1-0 49 10
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa D-5 6A 1-0 42 7
Hueytown D-5 5A 1-0 36 27
Jackson D-1 5A 1-0 30 8
Madison Academy D-8 3A 1-0 19 14
Maplesville D-3 1A 1-0 20 7
McGill-Toolen Catholic D-1 7A 1-0 27 0
Prattville* D-3 7A 1-0 36 3
Straughn D-2 3A 1-0 35 26
Oxford D-6 6A 0-0 0 0
Addison D-7 1A 0-1 6 41
Beauregard D-4 5A 0-1 13 25
Brooks D-7 4A 0-1 13 34
Central, Phenix City D-4 7A 0-1 7 23
Clay-Chalkville D-5 6A 0-1 21 24
Demopolis D-3 5A 0-1 7 42
Enterprise D-2 7A 0-1 20 23
Fyffe D-8 1A 0-1 7 20
By Lucas Nunn, Special for AHSAA
VESTAVIA HILLS – From the volleyball court to the international mission field, Hannah Vines’ extracurricular life is nothing short of exciting.
Hannah is a rising senior at Vestavia Hills High School and has played on the varsity volleyball team since her sophomore year. She is also a member of the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association Student Leadership Group, one of two members chosen to represent the state at a national conference in Indianapolis this month.
On the court, Hannah has had success both in school and club volleyball. Vestavia Hills reached the super regionals last season, and just last month her club team – Southern Performance Volleyball Club – placed second at the national tournament.
While her athletic achievements are impressive, it is Hannah’s desire to serve her community that sets her apart from the rest.
The 17-year-old is one of thousands of AHSAA athletes who give of themselves to their communities during their summer break, as well as spending many hours the rest of the year as they juggle sports, homework, family and volunteer time.
Hannah has been an active member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills since she was 5 years old, and the church is her favorite place to serve the community. “I really like to work with kids through my church,” she said.
Her service for others also goes well beyond the walls of the church. This past spring, Hannah spent her school break on a mission trip to Guatemala. She worked with children there and assisted in putting on a Bible School for them.
“The trip was amazing. Spanish is one of my passions, I have been taking Spanish since I was in the seventh grade, so going down there was great,” Vines said. “It was just another way to connect with the kids and hear about their lives talking about the differences in culture between the U.S. and Guatemala.”
In March, Hannah was one of 18 student-athletes from around Alabama selected for membership in the AHSAA Student Leadership Conference, and she was thrilled to learn she and Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby were chosen to represent the state at the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Student Leadership Summit in Indianapolis. The NFHS Summit wrapped up this week.
“I was really excited when I heard about it,” Vines said. “The goal is to come back and be better leaders on our teams and in our communities.”
Upon graduation, Hannah plans to continue serving her community through her church, as she continues her volleyball career at Samford University.
Last year, Hannah was also featured in the AHSAA #MoreThanAGame social media campaign. Watch her video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fayZMkAkY
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 – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control has approved allowing modification of the kicking game rules for non-varsity football competition beginning this fall and approved regional sites for softball and bowling for the coming school year. The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday.
AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones recommended modification of the kicking rules for non-varsity contests due to current health and safety concerns and limited time to devote to the kicking game for the non-varsity programs.
Beginning in the 2018 season, the Central Board of Control will allow schools to choose one of three options for a non-varsity football contest. The two competing schools may choose Option 1 (simulation of kicks); Option 2 (no kickoffs or punts allowed); and Option 3 (utilizing all aspects of the kicking game in accordance with NFHS rules).
If the two schools cannot agree, then Option 1 will be the default choice. In Option 1, teams will be allowed to conduct simulated kickoffs and punts, but with no blocking or contact, including no rushing the kicker and no kick returns. Receiving teams may fair catch a kick but after the non-contact kickoff, the ball will be placed at the receiving team’s 35-yard line to begin the offensive series. After the no-rush and non-contact punt, the ball will be placed 30 yards from the line of scrimmage but not inside the 20-yard line of the receiving team.
Should both teams agree to Option 2, no kickoffs or punts will be attempted. A series will start at the receiving team’s 35-yard line following a touchdown. In lieu of a punt, the ball will be placed 30 yards from the line of scrimmage, but not inside the receiving team’s 20-yard line.
Option 3 will be conducting kickoffs and punts without modification. Field goals and extra points will not be modified and will be live under all three options.
The Central Board of Control approved waiving membership dues for member schools for the 27th straight year – a cost savings of more than $83,000 in 2017-18 and more than
$2.2 million in savings to our member schools since 1992. The Board also approved a Revenue Sharing Plan $2 million payout for the 2017-18 school year but put the distribution to schools on hold until the AHSAA’s current litigation has concluded.
The Board selected Camelia Lanes in Mobile and Vestavia Bowl in Vestavia Hills as the sites for the South and North Regional bowling tournaments in 2019. The AHSAA State Bowling Championships will return to Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham for the third straight year.
Florence and Oxford were also selected as new sites for regional softball competition for the next two years (2019 and 2020). Florence will host the North Regional which has been held in Huntsville since regional tourneys began for softball in 2009. The South Central Regional, held in Troy from 2009-18, will move to Oxford and will be renamed the East Central Regional. Tuscaloosa will remain the host of the North Central Regional, which is being renamed the West Central Regional, for 2019 and 2020. Gulf Shores, which has two years remaining on its current contract, will once again host the South Regional. Lagoon Park is still under contract to host the State Tourney.
In another softball item, the board, upon recommendation of the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee, approved allowing the team emerging from the winner’s bracket to choose whether they will be the home team or visiting team in all championship games in area and state tournament play. Several recommendations from other sports committees were also approved by the Central Board. Those changes can be found at www.ahsaa.com.
The Central Board reviewed and approved 2018-19 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2018-19 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 drafts of the 2018-19 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2017-18 audits for each group.
-- Removed fines for middle /junior high declarations.
-- Approved the purchase of six new wrestling mats for State Championship and Duals competition and also approved moving all wrestling duals tournament finals to the same day.
-- Approved new officials’ fee for state wrestling and track championships and discussed the schools’ current scratch list policy concerning officials.
-- Was updated about catastrophic insurance and approved AHSAA insurance coverages.
-- Discussed Mandatory Summer Meeting Requirement for administrators.
MONTGOMERY – Six officials with a combined 257 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: Eugene Reynolds (46 years); Warren Bowron (45 years); Wayne Carden (42 years); Jimmy Chaffin (40 years); Larry Short (40 years); and Jack Minshew (36 years).
More than 400 attended the luncheon that recognized all contest officials who officiated in state championship events in 2017-18 as well as those selected district and state officials of the year in each AHSAA sport. Laird Hayes, a veteran of 22 years as an NFL official, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon that officially closed the 2018 AHSAA Summer Conference and Coaching School.
The Alabama Sports Officials Foundation (ASOF) also presented nine 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: Gary Shirley III, Rainbow City; Jalon Jimmerson, Douglas; Jonah Trotter, Oakman; Peyton Luker, Thomasville; Danielle Covert, Arab; Anna Grace Murphy, Southside; Delandrion Woods, Hillsborough; Emma Mayer, Maylene; Allyson Phelps, Meridianville.
AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones also recognized two AHSAA officials, Joe Mangone and Mark Russell, who received national honors from the NFHS. Mangone, the AHSAA soccer rules interpreter and State Finals director of officials, received the NFHS Citation for Officials for 2018 as national official of the year, and Russell was chosen one of eight Section recipients of the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award. He was selected from Section III, which includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Jones also announced that AHSAA football official Anthony Jeffreys has just been selected to become an NFL football official.
AHSAA Officials of the Year were also selected from in each officiating district and one official was also chosen state official of the year in each sport.
Among those honored were:
State Officials of the Year: Phillip Winslett (Baseball); Anthony Dupree (Basketball); Eddie Carr (Football); Bill Presor (Soccer); Mike Heath (Softball); Joey Lauderdale (Track); Willie Moore (Volleyball); and Heath Williamson (Wrestling).
AHSAA District Officials of the Year included:
East Central: John Ewing
North Central: Chris Pike
Northeast: Bill Ward
Northwest: Roger Crafts
South Central: Mike Stewart
Southeast: Philip Winslett
Southwest: Greg Fairchild
West Central: Tommy Colvin
East Central: Anthony Dupree
North Central: Mike Pretnar
Northeast: Matt Driver
Northwest: Andy Pruitt
South Central: Eric Morris
Southeast: Ronnie Burnett
Southwest: Elicia Lynch
West Central: Charlie McCant
East Central: Cecil Garrison
North Central: Anthony Jeffries
Northeast: Ben Smith
Northwest: Amel Drake
South Central: Garnett Ray
Southeast: Philip Thomas
Southwest: Eddie Carr
West Central: Jeff Halcomb
East Central: no selection
North Central: Luis Mendez
Northwest: Jeff Edwards
South Central: Bill Presor
Southeast: Garrett Franklin
Southwest: Coral Grubler
West Central: no seletion
East Central: Steve Nelson
North Central: Larry Jordan
Northeast: Michael Tidmore
Northwest: Phillip Pugh
South Central: Bruce Arnold
Southeast: Mike Heath
Southwest: Tim Porter
West Central: Michael Mullally
TRACK & FIELD
East Central: no selection
North Central: Joey Kyle
Northeast: Joey Lauderdale
Northwest: Willie Ray
South Central: Tony Reaves
Southeast: no selection
Southwest: Wayne Kulakowski
West Central: no selection
East Central: Connie Higgins
North Central: Willie Moore III
Northeast: Phillip Mosley
Northwest: Anthony Gunn
South Central: Kevin Foley
Southeast: Morris Murphy
Southwest: Maureen McKannan
West Central: Kimberly Dailey
East Central: Adam Pierce
North Central: Jeff Saxon
Northeast: Matt Smart
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 $88,000 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: Choctaw County (District 1); Dothan (District 2); Trinity Presbyterian (District 3); Central Coosa (District 4); Jackson-Olin (District 5); Ragland (District 6); Covenant Christian (District 7); and Fyffe (District 8). The schools were selected from the 75 that completed the 2017-18 school fine and ejection free.
Former major leaguer Todd Jones was the guest speaker at the Sportsmanship Luncheon. Jones, who spent 15 years pitching in the majors, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association was saddened to learn of the death of long-time AHSAA contest official Stewart Stephenson of Decatur.
“We pray God will sustain the Stephenson family in their time of need,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.
Visitation will be Tuesday, July 17 from 3:30 to 6 p.m., at the Church of Stone River, in Decatur. A memorial service will immediately follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Church of Stone River or the Committee on Church Cooperation.
CHICAGO, IL – Coach Dovey “Buddy” Anderson, the winningest high school football coach in Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) state history, was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Hall of Fame Monday night a banquet at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Hotel that closed the 99th Summer Meeting.
Anderson, who is beginning his 41st season as head football coach at Vestavia Hills in August, became the 12th individuals from Alabama be enshrined in the nation’s National Hall of Fame. He was enshrined along with 11 others from across the U.S., including track athlete Dick Fosbury (Oregon); former Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne (athlete); former WNBA and Stanford basketball star Nicole Powell (Arizona), distance runner Carrie Tollefson (Minnesota); soccer coach Miller Bugliari (New Jersey); swimming coach Jeff Meister (Hawaii); basketball coach William O’Neil (Vermont); contest official Roger “Smokey” Barr (Iowa); retired Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Executive Director Richard Neal; and choral coach William Zurkey (Ohio).
Anderson’s wife Linda, their children and grandchildren where among a large contingent on hand Monday night for the induction. He has compiled a 329-146 overall head-coaching record in 40 seasons at Vestavia Hills winning the Class 4A state title in 1980 and the Class 6A state championship going 15-0 in 1997. His teams have advanced to the state playoffs 30 times with a 47-28 playoff mark and have won nine or more games 22 times in the AHSAA’s large-school class. Anderson’s father Dovey Anderson was 182-81-5 as a prep head football coach in 31 seasons, all at Thomasville.
Both dad and son are in the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and won 511 football games between them, most in state history. Both attended Samford University (dad when the school was Howard College) and Dovey, Sr., competed in the first game ever played at Legion Field in 1927.
Buddy was hired as an assistant coach at Vestavia in 1972 and was elevated to head coach in 1978.
“Buddy Anderson is a man of faith and character who has been an important mentor to many others along the way,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “He is a shining example of the kind of positive impact coaches have on the lives of the student-athletes they serve.”
Anderson, who received the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s “Frank ‘Pig’ House Award in 2014 and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Award in 2016, was humbled by the Monday night’s induction.
“I was very fortunate to grow up in a coach’s home,” he said. “My father was a high school a high school football coach for 31 years. I saw the relationship my dad had with his players, his fellow coaches and teachers. I just went to my own 50th high school reunion and picked right up where I left off with my classmates and those I played sports with. Seeing them, all now in their sixties, and seeing the kind of men they grew unto reminded me of the coaches I worked with (at Vestavia Hills), most of them for more than 30 years and the many players I have had the opportunity to coach. It also reiterated that we are in the relationship business.”
Anderson, the only coach in AHSAA history to win 300 games at one school, is the second AHSAA football coach from the state to be enshrined in the National High School Hall of Fame. Glenn Daniel, who was the AHSAA’s first 300-game winner (at Pine Hill and Luverne), was inducted in 1999. Track coach Jim Tate of St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile, was the last coach from Alabama to be enshrined (2013). Basketball coach Mickey “Guy” O’Brien, a Dadeville native who coached at Geraldine and Scottsboro, was inducted in 1992.
Alabamians currently in the NFHS HOF include:
ALABAMIANS IN THE NFHS NATIONAL HALL OF FAME
Year Name High School College
1987: Cliff Harper Moore Academy (Pineapple) Birmingham-Southern
1990: Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Autauga County (Prattville) Troy State
2011: Dan Washburn LaFayette Chattanooga
1992: Mickey “Guy” O’Brien Tallapoosa County (Dadeville) Auburn 1999: Glenn Daniel A.A. Parrish (Selma) Livingston
2013: James “Jim” Tate UMS (Mobile) Citadel
2018: Dovey “Buddy” Anderson Thomasville Samford
1989: Bart Starr (Athlete) Sidney Lanier (Montgomery) Alabama
2012: Pat Sullivan (Athlete) John Carroll (Birmingham) Auburn
2014: Ozzie Newsome (Athlete) Colbert County (Leighton) Alabama
1988: Dan Gaylord Central (Phillips, B’ham) Howard College
2007: Sam Short West End (B’ham) Western Kentucky