St. Paul’s Episcopal 17, Briarwood Christian 14
TUSCALOOSA – St. Paul’s Episcopal receiver Oliver Willman snagged a 6-yard pass from quarterback Swift Lyle on fourth-and-goal with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter to give the Saints (14-1) a 17-14 victory over previously unbeaten Briarwood Christian (14-1) in the Super 7 Class 5A state football championship game Thursday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium here.
The Willman caught another 6-yard pass one play earlier with Coach Steve Mask’s Saints facing a third-and-10 from the Lions’ 12-yard line. The two pass receptions highlighted a last-ditch 10-play, 78-yard drive that delivered St. Paul’s its third state championship in the last four years and fourth state title overall.
St. Paul’s scored first with a 20-yard field goal by Wilson Beaverstock in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead. Hudson Hartsfield, who finished with five catches for 78 yards, put Coach Fred Yancey’s Lions on top 7-3 with a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Hiers midway through the second quarter. Hiers and Hartsfield hooked up again at 1:07 left in the third period on a 12-yard touchdown connection as the Lions built a 14-3 lead.
The Saints answered that score quickly when Jarrett Eaton hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Lyle just 51 seconds later. The extra-point try failed, however, and Briarwood clinged to a 14-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Briarwood dominated most of the fourth quarter driving to the St. Paul’s 22-yard line with just over four minutes to play. Facing a fourth-and-3, the Lions faked a field-goal try but the pass fell incomplete.
The Saints took then began their final march of the season – driving to the winning touchdown in big part thanks to a 56-yard pass from Lyle to Jalyn Armour-Davis on fourth-and-14 to the Lions 10-yard line with time running out.
Lyle finished 14-of-22 for 236 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors for the Saints. He also rushed for 33 yards on four carries. Eaton had three catches for 74 yards, Armour-Davis had three catches for 55 yards and Willman had three for 29 yards. Jordan Ingram rushed for 44 yards on 16 carries and had two receptions for another 49 yards.
Hiers finished 8-of-18 for Briarwood for 113 yard passing. Luke Prewett had nine rush attempts for 52 yards and J.R. Tran-Reno had 33 yards on four tries.
Daniel Beard had 12 tackles and Gordon Mathers had 10 to pace the St. Paul’s defense. Gabriel Russell had nine stops and Mark Hand had seven for Briarwood.
The 2017 Super 7 State Championships conclude 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. 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 AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting all games across the state. The link is available at www.ahsaa.com.
BIRMINGHAM – Alexandria High School volleyball coach Whitney Welch had the opportunity to play on a state championship volleyball team for the Valley Cubs while a student at the Calhoun County school. After Thursday’s 25-23, 25-16, 25-13 win over Lawrence County in the Class 5A finals of the 46th annual AHSAA State Volleyball Championships at Bill Harris Arena, she has now been able to share that experience with her team as the coach.
The Valley Cubs (44-9), who lost in the5A finals in 2016 to St. Paul’s Episcopal, rolled through the Class 5A state tournament winning three matches without losing a single set. They clicked on all cylinders in the finals with senior outside hitter Taylor Spradley recording 20 kills to earn MVP honors. Fellow senior Aubrey Pope added 14 kills and senior setter Gracie Muncher dished out 40 assists. Junior Mattie Wade had 18 digs.
Coach Robyn Hutto’s Lady Red Devils (59-5) were led by juniors Lauren Mayes and Savannah Graham, who collected 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Setter Laekyn Bennett had 23 assists and Sami Parker had a team-high 13 digs.
The championship was Alexandria’s fourth state volleyball title overall, but the first in Class 5A. The first three (1993, 1994 and 1995) were in Class 4A.
The three remaining state finals will be played today with all being live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
CLASS 5A ALL-STATE TOURNAMENT TEAM
Taylor Spradley, Alexandria (MVP); Gracie Muncher, Alexandria; Aubrey Pope, Alexandria; Mattie Wade, Alexandria; Savannah Graham, Lawrence County; Lauren Mayes, Lawrence County.
THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE/RESULTS
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)
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)
Bottom of Form
OXFORD – Springville High School captured the AHSAA Class 5A state softball championship Monday with a 2-0 win over Scottsboro in a game played at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park. The game was resume at Oxford after inclement weather forced suspension of the contest on Saturday night at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park.
The Tigers (45-11-1) of Coach Brandon Easterwood battled out of the consolation bracket Saturday to beat Scottsboro (44-17), which emerged undefeated in the winner’s bracket to reach the championship game. Springville won 11-1 in the first game, which forced the “if” game Saturday night. Rain interrupted the “if” game in the third inning with Springville leading 1-0.
The contest resumed Monday morning at Choccolocco Park. Springville won its third straight Class 5A softball championship behind a strong pitching performance from MVP Abby Swaney and stellar defense in the 2-0 victory.
Swaney, who was selected the Class 5A state tourney Most Outstanding Player, struck out eight and scattered five hits in the shutout. The defense was superb, including a game-ending double-play when second baseman Courtney Long grabbed a fly ball in shallow left field, and then threw to first base to nab the Scottsboro runner who had strayed too far.
Piper Long drove in the only run during Monday’s play with an infield single while Kaylee Chapman supplied the first RBI in Saturday’s action.
Piper Long and Ashlyn Perrin each had two hits for the Tigers. Lexie Bennett led the Scottsboro offense with three hits.
Swaney also hurled a four-hitter in the five-inning 11-1 Saturday win that forced the final game. Kaley Chapman had a home run and triple and four RBIs, including a home run, and Anderson Nolan had a homer, single and three RBIs to lead the Tigers in that win. Macy Kate Petriske had a single and RBI for Coach Robyn Johnson’ Wildcats.
Springville finished 5-1 in the tournament with win over Marbury (3-0) and Rehobeth (15-7) before falling to Scottsboro 2-1 in the winner’s bracket finals. The Tigers then beat Moody (6-4) to set up the two final contests. Scottsboro posted wins over Faith Academy (3-0), Hayden (10-2) and Springville to reach the championship contests.
All state-tournament boxscores are available on line at www.ahsaa.com. The final was live-streamed and is now archived at www.NFHSnetwork.com.
Class 5A All-State Tournament Team
Abby Swaney, Springville (MOP); McKenzie Brown, Springville; Kaylee Chapman, Springville; Anderson Nolan, Springville; Loren Grider, Scottsboro; Macy Kate Petriske, Scottsboro; Kylie Thackerson, Scottsboro; Shelby Waldrop, Scottsboro.