SUPER 7 CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Hillcrest-Evergreen 26, Randolph County 14

    TUSCALOOSA -- Hillcrest-Evergreen  blanked Randolph County in the second half to capture a 26-16 come-from-behind victory in the AHSAA 2017 Super 7 Class 3A state championship game Thursday at the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium.
   The state title was the first in Hillcrest football history.
   Randolph County (13-2), coached by Pat Prestridge,  marched 67 yards on 11 plays to take the lead in the first quarter when Aaron Knight scored on a 5-yard run.  Jordan Heard booted the extra point and the Tigers led 7-0. Hillcrest (14-1) scored six plays later on a 7-yard pass from junior quarterback Ryan Nettles to Kobe Bradley. A try for two points failed and the Jaguars trailed 7-6. The Tigers tacked on a 49-yard TD pass from Brody Wortham to Tre’ Terrell in the second quarter and Hillcrest responded with a 66-yard TD connection from Nettles to Brandon Rudolph, but the Jags still trailed at the half 14-13.
    Nettles, who completed 15-of-24 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, directed two more scoring drives in the second half with running back Andray  Pope scoring on a 2-yard run and a dazzling 71-yard run, and the Hillcrest defense did the rest.
    Smith’s Jaguars finished with 16 first downs, 154 yards rushing and 226 passing for 380 yards. Randolph County had 100 yards rushing and 187 passing for 287 yards. Pope finished with a game-high 108 yards rushing on 12 carries and Tyson Nicholson added 43 on 11 carries for Hillcrest. Nettles connected with Joshua Jackson five times for 49 yards and Bradley had four catches for 59 yards. Rudolph also finished with three receptions for 91 yards.
    Wortham was 6-of-16 passing for 187 yards for the Tigers. Knight had 100 yards rushing on 22 carries and caught three passes for 86 yards. Trenton Lane added 27 rushing yards on seven carries.
    Cortez Betts led the Hillcrest defense with nine tackles. Desmond Mitchell added eight stops and Cameron Riley had seven, including two sacks for 28 yards in losses. Riley also had an interception.
    Pacing the Tigers’ defense was E.J. Clark with 10 tackles Andrew Prestridge and Jai Wright, eight each, and Richard Bledsoe with six. Bledsoe also had a sack resulting in a 10-yard loss.
    The Super 7 State Championships continue today with Sweet Water (12-1) facing Pickens County (12-2) in the Class 1A finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 3 p.m., and the Class 5A championship game between St. Paul’s Episcopal (13-1) and Briarwood Christian (14-0) at 7 p.m. All games are being televised live by Raycom Media over its Raycom/AHSAA Network of affiliates and D-2 stations. The games are also being live video-streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based network and on You Tube. For more TV information, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch.”
   The Super 7 closes out Friday with three games: UMS-Wright (12-2) meeting Fayette County (12-2) at 11 a.m., in the 4A championship, Lanett (14-0) versus Leroy (12-2) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Wetumpka (13-1) facing Pinson Valley (14-0) in the 6A finals at 7 p.m.

CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Bayside Academy 3, Montgomery Academy 2

    BIRMINGHAM – It took five grueling sets before Bayside Academy emerged victorious over Montgomery Academy Thursday night as the Class 3A finals closed out the AHSAA’s 46th State Volleyball Tournament at Bill Harris Arena.
    Coach Ann Schilling’s squad extended their current state championship winning streak to 16 in a row in the process with the 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 15-13 victory. Bayside Academy came into the finals riding the string of 15 consecutive state championships dating back to 2002. Montgomery Academy had four state titles to its credit with the most recent coming in 2013.
     Pacing  Bayside was 3A State Tourney MVP Brandley Rhodes. The senior had 24 kills and six service aces. Setter Ansleigh Daily had 51 assists and 11 digs, Jacque Martn had 15 digs, 13 kills and four aces, Ella Dawson had 10 digs and seven kills, Ella Broadhead had nine kills and Kaitlyn Morris posted 14 digs.
    Coach Julie Gordon’s Eagles were paced by senior hitter Caroline Kirkham’s 52 kills and five blocks. Margaret Head had 29 kills and four blocks. Setter Morgan Karst had 70 assists and Ann Lucas Merrick had 36 digs.
Brandley Rhodes, Bayside Academy (MVP); Ansleigh Dailey, Bayside Academy; Jacque Martin, Bayside Academy; Caroline Kirkham, Montgomery Academy; Ann Lucas Herrick, Montgomery Academy; Margaret Head, Montgomery Academy.


At Bill Harris Arena
(All matches lived-streamed by the NFHS Network)
Addison (51-8) 3, Meek 1 (46-18) (26-28, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19)

St. Luke’s Episcopal (34-15) 3, Goshen (28-14) 0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-15)
Bayside Academy (42-10) 3, Montgomery Academy (44-13) 2 (23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 15-13)  
Saint James (37-9) 3, Deshler (43-15) 1 (21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19)
Alexandria (44-9)  3, Lawrence County (59-5) 0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-13)
Pelham (41-9) 3, Jasper (57-5) 2 (25-20, 26-24, 22-25, 25-27, 17-15)
McGill-Toolen Catholic ( Bob Jones (41-11) 0 (25-16, 25-23, 27-25)

CLASS 3A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Pisgah 5, Slocomb 3 (9 innings)

     MONTGOMERY – Pisgah beat Slocomb 5-3 scoring two runs in the top of the 9th inning of the AHSAA Class 3A state softball tournament finals at Lagoon Park Thursday to claim the school’s ninth state title overall and its first since 2013.
    Winning pitcher Kennedy Barron, the Class 3A tourney Most Outstanding Player, went the distance to get the win. She allowed six hits and struck out five.  Losing pitcher Amy Woodham also hurled a complete game allowing seven hits and striking out seven.
      The Red Tops took a 3-2 lead after one inning, but Pisgah tied it up in the top of the second. The teams  were scoreless over the next six innings before the Eagles settled it in the ninth.
     Macy Anderson had a triple and two RBIs to lead Pisgah.  Kaylee Vaught had one hit and scored three runs, Annie Hughes and Lila Kate Wheeler each had a single and RBI.
     Woodham had a single and double for Slocomb. Harleigh Sims and Jaylee Fondren also had a single and RBI for the Red Tops.
      Pisgah was 4-0 in the state tourney beating Wicksburg 12-1, Gordo 13-2 and Slocomb 6-1 to reach the finals.
Class 3A All-State Tourney Team
Kennedy Barron, Pisgah (MOP); Kaylee Vaught, Pisgah; Annie Hughes, Pisgah; Macy Anderson, Pisgah; Amy Woodham, Slocomb; Emma Flournoy,  Slocomb; Amara Myles, Slocomb. 

CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Gordo Sweeps Piedmont with 9-2 Win

    MONTGOMERY – Gordo High School pitchers shut out Piedmont for 11 2/3 innings in the AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship series, but needed a big rally to seal the Greenwave’s 9-2 win in Game 2 and sweep the series and state title at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Series MVP Thomas Langdon hurled a 1-hit shutout in Game 1 Monday night, and junior Nick Ponders shut out the Bulldogs (27-14) for 4 2/3 innings in game two before Coach Matt Deerman’s squad finally rallied for two runs to tie the contest at 2-2. Coach Jonathan Pate’s Greenwave (34-7) wasted little time responding. Gordo posted five runs in the bottom of the fifth – the big hit a bases-loaded triple by junior left fielder Davis Vails that played three of his team’s five runs in that frame. Two more runs in the sixth sealed the victory and the state title – the first baseball crown in school history.
    Pounders (6-0) finished with a six-hitter, allowed just one earned run, walked none and struck out three. Right fielder Collin Herring, another junior, was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Pounders was also 3-for-3 with two RBIs, senior shortstop and lead-off hitter Koy Chapman had three hits and scored twice. He had the game’s only double. Langdon also had a single and RBI. Center fielder Cabel Mullenix hauled in eight putouts in the contest including two sliding catches that robbed Piedmont of possible hits.
     Bailey Graves had two hits for Piedmont, coached by Mark Deerman. Michael Rogers added the big hit in the fifth for the Bulldogs, an RBI triple. Logan Pruitt, Taylor Morrow and senior hurler Taylor Hayes had the other hits. Hayes (10-5), the two-time Class 3A state football championship game MVP, pitched 5 1/3 innings. He allowed 13 hits had five strikeouts – finishing his senior year with 132 whiffs in 87 innings pitched.
    The 2017 Class 2A and Class 4A State Baseball Championship Series, which opened at Paterson Field Tuesday night, will play at Riverwalk Stadium Wednesday. The second game of the 2A series will be at 10 a.m., with the third game to follow 30 minutes later if needed. The Class 4A series resumes with game two at 4 p.m. The third game, if needed, will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 4 o’clock contest.
     All games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. Check it out at www.nfhsnetwork.com.

Class 3A Softball Championships Hale County Repeats as 3A State Champs

      MONTGOMERY – Hale County High School downed Pisgah 6-2 Saturday afternoon at Lagoon Park in the finals of the 2016 AHSAA Class 3A State Softball Tournament to win the Wildcats’ third straight state championship.
     Sophomore Savanna Holmes hurled the complete-game championship game victory allowing nine hits, two runs and striking out four to get the win.  Harley Stokes slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to spark a five-run inning as Coach Lori Wyatt’s team took control 5-0.
    The Wildcats got seven hits off Pisgah pitchers Stephanie Schoonover and Leigha Kirby with junior Charlsey Payne collecting two RBIs and one hit. Madalynn Langham also had a double and single for Hale County.
    Pisgah got two hits each from Hannahstaysia Weaver, Macy Anderson and Kennedy Barron. Annie Hughes also had a single and RBI for the Coach Billy Duncan’s Eagles have won eight state titles with the last one coming in 2013 – the year before Hale County started its current run.
   Hale County met Pisgah in the first round of the state tournament winning 4-0. The Wildcats also beat Slocomb (7-2) and Dale County (9-2) to set up the final win over the Eagles.
    Pisgah won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals. The Eagles had wins over Oakman, Plainview, Prattville Christian and Dale County.

Class 3A State Championship Series Madison Academy Beats American Christian Twice to Claim Third Title in a Row

     MONTGOMERY –  Madison Academy (35-16) pounded 12 hits and beat American Christian 10-4 in game two of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium Thursday afternoon and followed with a 6-2 win in the nightcap to capture the Mustangs’ third straight state baseball championship.
      Junior Dylan Murphy (5-3) shut out The Patriots (32-7) on two hits over six innings and struck out four to get the deciding game win.   He earned MVP honors for the 3A Championship Series collecting one hit in each game Thursday and two in Wednesday’s 3-1 setback. He also got the final two outs in game one on the mound – preventing him from going the full seven Thursday night.
      Cody Littlejohn, who got the last two outs in the seventh notch the save, slugged three hits in game three with two triples including a lead-off three-bagger in the sixth inning that started a five-run rally.  He also socked a triple in game 2.
      Coach Mike Good’s Mustangs led 1-0 heading into the top of the sixth as Murphy and Patriots starter John Chaney Hajek hooked up in quite a pitchers’ duel. Hajek (4-2) scattered six hits, three runs and struck out four to get the loss.
      Carson Crowe had two hits, Britt Sparks slammed a seventh-inning double and Cole Fendley drove in a run as Coach Erik Smallwood’s Patriots rallied late to score two runs.
     For Good, the final game was his last as Madison Academy’s head coach and clinched the fourth state title for the Mustangs during his tenure. MA also won state titles in 2009, 2014 and 2015.
Madison Academy 10, American Christian 4
     Madison Academy forced a third game in the championship series winning 10-4 in game played at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday afternoon.
    Center fielder Jack Fulkerson had a single and double and drove in three runs for the Mustangs. Trey Owens also had two hits and two RBIs while teammates Will Acuff and Cody Littlejohn slugged triples.
     Sam King (10-3) started and pitched five innings to get the win. He allowed six hits and struck out three. Cade Morson hurled the final two innings.
     American Christian was led by lead-off hitter Grant Atkins’ three hits and two runs scored. He was 7-of-8 with five runs scored in the first two games. Deacon Medders also had three hits, including a triple, and drove in a run. Carson Crowe also slugged a solo home run. 
     UMS-Wright won over Oneonta 9-3 in the first game of the 4A Championship Series played at Paterson Field Thursday afternoon and defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-7) fell to Faith Academy (36-5)  9-1 in game one of the Class 5A State Championship series.
     UMS-Wright and Oneonta play game two of the 4A series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday at 10 a.m., with game three, if needed, starting 30 minutes later at approximately 1 p.m.   Russellville and Faith Academy play game 2 of the Class 5A series at Riverwalk Stadium at 4 p.m. Game three, if needed will follow at 7 p.m.
    The Class 7A Championship Series featuring Hewitt-Trussville (34-11) and Auburn (32-11) is set for game one at 4 p.m. Friday at Paterson Field. The first game of the Class 6A Championship Series between Cullman (40-11) and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (37-10) will be at 7. The two series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday with 7A at 10 a.m. and 6A at 4 p.m.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 3A: Game 1 American Christian 3, Madison Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Senior Deacon Medders picked up his 12th win of the season Wednesday night scattering six hits and striking out nine as American Christian beat two-time defending state champion Madison Academy 3-1 in game one of the best-of-three AHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Championship Series at Montgomery’s Paterson Field Wednesday night.
    The two teams meet again Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Riverwalk Stadium in game two of the best-of-three series with game three scheduled for approximately 7 p.m., if needed.
     Medders (12-1) also provided some offensive punch for Coach Eric Smallwood’s Patriots (32-5), who remained unbeaten at 9-0 in the 2016 state playoffs. Lead-off hitter Grant Atkins, who finished 4-for-4 and scored all three of his team’s runs, doubled to start the game and scored on Medders’ double off the left-field wall to give American Christian a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  Medders plated Atkins again in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly to notch a much-needed insurance run.
      Atkins, who had two stolen bases to up his season total to 26 in 26 tries, swiped third in the top of the third inning and scored American Christian’s other run on Caleb Squires’ single. Squires finished with single and double. Atkins also had an outstanding catch from his center field position to rob Luke Mordecai of a sure extra-base hit in the second inning.
      Dylan Murphy had two hits for Madison Academy 33-16) and Trey Owens had a single and RBI.  Starting pitcher Jake Christa (8-2) pitched six solid innings allowing seven hits, one earned run and striking out seven for Coach Mike Good’s Mustangs.
     J.U. Blacksher (26-11) takes a 1-0 edge into Thursday’s 10 a.m. second game of the Class 1A State Championship Series versus Decatur Heritage (26-13) at Riverwalk Stadium. 
     The Class 4A and 5A series are set to play game 1 of each series at Paterson Field Thursday night. Class 4A Oneonta (30-10) meets UMS-Wright (31-9) at 4 p.m., followed by defending 5A state champ Russellville (46-6) and Faith Academy (35-5) at 7.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

AHSAA SUPER 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Class 3A Finals: Piedmont 44, Bayside Academy 7

   TUSCALOOSA – Piedmont High School piled up 350 total yards Thursday at Bryant-Denny Stadium on the University of Alabama campus and beat Bayside Academy 44-7 to claim the second Class 3A state championship in school history.
    The Bulldogs (14-1) of Coach Steve Smith led 23-7 at the half and then iced the title with three touchdowns in the third quarter. Bayside (11-4), coached by Phil Lazenby, finished with 130 yards rushing and 98 passing for 228 yards.
    Piedmont quarterback Taylor Hayes rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns and completed 6-of-10 passes for 126 yards and one TD to earn 3A MVP honors.  He connected with Bayley Blanchard for a 45-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter to jump-start the Bulldogs offense. Bayside quarterback Connor Sirmon and receiver Wil Cox tied the game at 7-7 three minutes later with a 58-yard touchdown hookup.
    Darnell Jackson returned the ensuing kickoff 71 yards to set up Hayes’ 1-yard sneak to put the Bulldogs ahead for good at 1:48 left in the period.  Easton Kirk kicked a 29-yard field goal and Hayes raced 48 yards for another score as Piedmont led 23-7 at the half. Jackson scored two touchdowns in a 58-second span early in the third quarter on runs of 25 and 20 yards, and Cardavion Myers dashed 46 yards for the final score later in the period to close out the scoring.
    Myers finished with 61 yards on three carries, and Jackson had 61 on seven runs. He also had 107 yards on two kickoff returns.  Blanchard had four catches for 97 yards.
    Cox led the Admirals with 75 yards rushing on 18 carries and had two catches for 67 yards. Sirmon was 4-of-10 passing for 92 yards.
         Trey Snyder led Piedmont on defense with 10 tackles. Myers and Neonte Alexander added eight stops each. Jackson White had six tackles and Landon Johnson had four including one sack for a 10-yard loss for Bayside.
       Piedmont won its first state championship in 2009.

Class 3A Volleyball State Championship

Bayside Academy 3, Madison  Academy 0
     Bayside Academy used a strong inside lineup to beat Madison Academy 25-19, 25-16, 25-18 to capture its 14th straight AHSAA state volleyball championship Thursday morning at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena.
     Coach Ann Schilling’s Lady Admirals (40-7) recorded 39 kills with Ariel Dulaney leading with 15 and Lauren Chastang adding 11. Chastang  also had eight digs to earn MVP honors for the second year in a row.
    Madison Academy (35-22), coached by Wendy Rucker, was led by Olivia Knott’s six kills. Sydney Chandler and Emma Wade had eight assists each.
    Bayside, which  now owns a state-record 24 state titles, also got 15 digs from Julia Martin and 30 assists from Ansleigh Dailey.
Class 3A All-Tournament Team

Laura Chastang, Bayside Academy (MVP); Ariel Dulaney, Bayside Academy; Ansleigh Dailey, Bayside Academy; Julila Martin, Bayside Academy; Olivia Knott, Madison Academy; Abby Brooks, Madison Academy; Annie Homan, West Morgan.



Bill Harris Arena
Class 3A Finals
Bayside Academy (40-7) 3, Madison Academy (35-22) 0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-18)
Class 7A Finals
McGill-Toolen Catholic (49-7) vs. Mountain Brook (56-6), 10 a.m.
Class 6A Finals
Spanish Fort (54-5) vs. John Carroll Catholic (34-9), noon
Class 4A Finals
Brooks (43-10) vs. Saint James (32-8), 2 p.m.
Class 5A Finals
Randolph (18-20) vs. Lawrence County (60-8), 4 p.m.
Class 1A Finals
Meek (39-13) vs. Donoho (46-8), 6 p.m.
Class 2A Finals
Providence Christian (51-5) vs. Addison (51-13), 8 p.m.