SUPER 7 CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS St. Paul’s Episcopal 17, Briarwood Christian 14

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.

CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Alexandria 3, Lawrence County 0

    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.
Taylor Spradley, Alexandria (MVP); Gracie Muncher, Alexandria; Aubrey Pope, Alexandria; Mattie Wade, Alexandria; Savannah Graham, Lawrence County; Lauren Mayes, Lawrence County.

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

Alexandria (44-9)  3, Lawrence County (59-5) 0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-13)
Saint James (36-9) vs. Deshler (43-14), 3 p.m.

Goshen (28-13) vs. St. Luke's Episcopal (33-15), 4:45 p.m.
Bayside Academy (41-10) vs. Montgomery Academy (44-12), 6:30 p.m.  

CLASS 5A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Springville 2, Scottsboro 0

     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.

CLASS 5A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Springville vs. Scottsboro postponed until Monday

     MONTGOMERY – The 2017 Class 5A state tournament softball championship game between Springville and Scottsboro at Lagoon Park Saturday was suspended in the third inning Saturday and will resume Monday at 11 a.m. at Oxford Choccolocco Park. No admission will be charged.
    Scottsboro beat Springville 2-1 in the finals of the to the winners’ bracket, but the Lady Tigers came out of the loser’s bracket to beat the Lady Wildcats 11-1 Saturday to force the “if” game of the double-elimination tournament.
    Springville was leading 1-0 in the top of the third inning when rain forced suspension. The schools agreed to play the rest of the championship contest  Monday at Oxford.
    The NFHS Network, which live-streamed the first championship game Saturday, plans to live-stream the remaining innings Monday.
    The other six classifications completed championship play with Sumiton Christian winning the 1A state title; Hatton in 2A; Pisgah in 3A; Northside in 4A; Hazel Green in 6A; and Buckhorn in 7A.

CLASS 5A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Russellville Wins Game 3 Over Faith Academy 7-4 To Claim Third Straight Class 5A Baseball Title

     MONTGOMERY –Russellville High School beat Faith Academy 7-4 in game three of the AHSAA 2017 Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium to captured the Golden Tigers’ third straight state title. Both teams also met in the finals in 2016.
    Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers (38-10) took 1-0 lead in the series Wednesday night with a 9-1 win over the Rams. However,  Faith Academy (30-8) forced game three with a dramatic 8-7 win in game two at Riverwalk Stadium Thursday morning.
     Russellville took control of the third and final game of the best 2-of-3 series plating four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take control.8-7 win in game two. The Tigers picked up another run in the fourth and led 7-0 with two more runs in the fourth. Coach Matt Seymour’s Rams (30-8) clawed back into the contest with two runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but it was too little too late.
     Starting pitcher Skylar Holland (6-3) pitched six strong innings to get the win for Russellville to get the game three win. He pitched in relief in game two and got the loss. Holland allowed five hits, two runs, walked one and struck out four before he reached his 120-pitch limit for the day.  Judd Ward and Rudy Fernandez hurled the seventh inning to close out the game. Fernandez got the final two outs to get the save.
    Class 5A Championship Series MVP Cody Greenhill, who pitched the 9-1 win in game one, had two hits and two RBIs to earn MVP honors. His clutch hit in the fourth  gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.  Ward, Houston Kitterman and Tom Barkley Scott also had two hits. Colin Garrison also slugged a triple and scored two runs.
     Braxton Bell, who pitched five innings in relief, had a double and single and two RBIs for Faith Academy.  Chris Sargent and Brooks Carlson also had two hits.
    Leading 5-1 Game 2, the Rams gave up six runs in the fifth and sixth inning and trailed Russellville  7-5 heading into the top of the seventh. Faith plated three runs in the top of the inning and blanked the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh to seal an 8-7 win.
     Bell (2-2 pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to get the win. He allowed one hit, walked one and faced just six batters.   Skylar Holland (5-3) pitched the final inning for Russellville and got the loss. Starter Chad Wray went six innings for the Tigers allowing six hits, five runs and striking out nine. Faith starter Gabe Shepard pitched four innings, gave up six hits and five runs and whiffed seven.
       Carlson had a double, single and RBI to pace Faith. Catcher Christian Waltman also had a double. Holland had three hits and three RBIs to pace Russellville. Scott and Garrison also had two hits each. Scott also had two RBIs.
    The Class 6A Championship Series got underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

CLASS 5A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Russellville 9, Faith Academy 1

     MONTGOMERY – Defending Class 5A state champion Russellville slugged 11 hits in the AHSAA Class 5A State Baseball Championship Series game at Paterson Field to beat Faith Academy 9-1 Wednesday night.
     The Golden Tigers (37-9) take the 1-0 lead into game two Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium. Faith Academy and Russellville will play game two of the best 2-of-3 series at 10 a.m., with game three set to start 30 minutes later if needed. The series is a rematch from last year’s Class 5A finals.
     Senior first baseman Skylar Holland had three hits and an RBI, junior shortstop Landon Ezzell had a double, single and two RBIs and senior Cody Greenhill  had a double and two RBIs for Coach Chris Heaps’ Tigers. Colin Garrison also scored two runs, had two RBIs and one hit as the lead-off hitter for Russellville.
      Greenhill (12-2) did the rest, pitching a complete-game two-hitter and striking out 11 to get the win.
      Faith Academy (29-7), coached by Matt Seymour,  got its only run in the sixth inning when  Jackson Bell scored on Brooks Carlson’s sacrifice fly. Bell and Christian Waltman had one hit each for the Rams. Starting pitcher Reece Ewing (5-4) hurled 5 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits eight runs and struck out two to get the loss.
    The Class 6A Championship Series gets underway Thursday night at Paterson Field with game one between Cullman and Helena set for 6 p.m. The 6A series will move to Riverwalk Stadium Friday morning at 10 a.m. Class 7A begins its championship series at Paterson Field Friday night at  6 p.m. Hoover and Auburn will then close out the 7A series Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with game two of the best 2-of-3 series.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.

Class 5A State Championship Series Russellville beat Faith Academy Twice to Claim Title

    MONTGOMERY –  Senior left-hander Austin Bohannon (14-1) hurled a one-hitter in game 2 and senior right-hander Austin Kitterman (10-1) pitched a complete game in the game 3 as defending state champion Russellville beat Faith Academy 3-0 and 5-3 Friday to capture the Class 5A State Baseball Championship at Riverwalk Stadium.
    Faith Academy (36-6) won game one on Thursday night at Paterson field 9-1.
    Bohannon had a no-hitter until Brooks Carson tripled with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.  Bohannon finished with three walks and three strikeouts as he faced just 25 batters and threw only 94 pitches to get the shutout win.
    That set the stage for Kitterman, who suffered a life-threatening injury in a four-wheeler accident in 2014, pitched a gritty game in the finals allowing nine hits, striking out six and walking none. His head coach Chris Heaps said just having Kitterman’s presence on the team was “a miracle.”
     Kitterman threw 92 pitches to notch the 5-3 championship game win. 
     Landon Oliver had two hits and two RBIs – driving in two runs in the bottom of the first in game three to help Russellville (48-7) take a 3-0 lead. 
      Christopher Sargent’s two-run double in the top of the second cut the lead to 3-2 for Faith Academy (36-7), coached by Matt Seymour.  Will Freeman, who pitched game one win for the Rams, had a double and game-tyng RBI in the third.
     The Golden Tigers took the lead when Judd Ward, who had two hits, tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth. The team added an insurance run on Colin Garrison’s single in the sixth.      Faith Academy pitcher Gabe Shepard (8-2) pitched all six innings for the Rams. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out five.
GAME 2:  Russellville 3, Faith Academy 0
     Bohannon’s pitching performance in game two kept the Golden Tigers’ championship hopes alive. He earned Class 5A State Championship Series MVP for his effort.
    Rams starter Reece Ewing (7-2) also had a no-hitter until the Golden Tigers bunched three hits together in the bottom of the fifth to plate two runs.  The big hit was a bases-loaded single by shortstop Reed Smith to plate pinch runner Tom Barkley and Landon Ezzell. Smith walked and scored in the first inning on a wild pitch to put Russellville up 1-0 early.
     Ewing went 4 1/3 innings allowing three hits, three runs and striking out three. Michael Morris hurled the final 1 1/3 innings for the Rams of Coach Mike Seymour.
     Russellville left just two runners on base. Smith also turned in two big plays defensively in game two and another in game 3.

AHSAA SUPER 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Class 5A Finals: St. Paul’s Episcopal 41, Mortimer Jordan 26

   TUSCALOOSA – Senior running back Ostin McPherson pounded out 155 yards rushing on 27 carries Thursday night and scored two touchdowns to spark St. Paul’s Episcopal to a 41-26 victory over Mortimer Jordan to claim the Saints’ second consecutive Class 5A state football championship.
     McPherson scored the game’s first touchdown on a 5-yard run in the opening period and closed out Saints night with a 2-yard TD run in the fourth period to earn Class 5A Championship Game MVP for the second time. He was named MVP last year as St. Paul’s won the 5A crown at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
      The win at Bryant-Denny gave the Mobile school a championship at each of the venues that have been hosts of the AHSAA’s Super 6 and now Super 7 football championship series. The Saints won its first state title at Legion Field in 2007.
     The 2015 AHSAA Super 7 state championships will conclude Friday with state finals for Classes 2A, 4A and 6A. Defending 4A champ Leeds (12-2) faces Fayette County (10-4) at 11 a.m., followed by defending 2A champion Fyffe (13-1) vs. Elba (13-1) in a rematch from 2014 at 3 p.m., and defending Class 6A state champ Clay-Chalkville (14-0) vs. Spanish Fort (14-0) at 7 p.m.
     Coach Steve Mask’s Saints (13-2) gained 278 yards on the ground on 50 attempts and limited Mortimer Jordan (13-2) to just 65 yards rushing. Coach Dusty Goode’s Blue Devils did gain 211 yards passing as Duncan Hodges completed 30-of-36 passes for one touchdown.
     B.J. Edmonds scored twice in the second quarter – on a 1-yard run and on a 36-yard interception return from his free safety position. He led the Saints with nine tackles. Quarterback Miller Mosley, who rushed for 81 yards on 10 carries, scored on a 6-yard run in the first quarter added the final TD on a 1-yard sneak in the third period.
     Andrew Wing and Noah Michael had eight tackles each, and Tamaurice Smith also had an interception for St. Paul’s.
    Spencer Brown scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards for the Blue Devils. Hodges sneaked in from the 1 for another score and completed a 13-yard pass to Jacob Dean for the final score with 26 seconds remaining in the game.
   Colby Moon, who had nine tackles on defense, also led Mortimer Jordan with 43 yards on 10 carries. Dean caught 10 passes for 123 yards and Walker McCleney had four kickoff returns for 79 yards. Nick Mann also had eight tackles and Preston Wilson had six stops and an interception. Conner Bruce also picked off one pass.

Class 5A State VB Championship

Randolph 3, Lawrence County 1
  Randolph High School of Huntsville rallied from a 1-0 deficit Thursday afternoon to beat Lawrence County 3-1 to claim the school’s first AHSAA state volleyball championship since 1985.
    Coach Mindy Spalding’s Raiders (19-20) won 21-25, 25-10, 25-17, 25-13 at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena in the finals to capture the school’s first Class 5A state championship. Randolph won the 1A state title in ’84 – 30 years ago.  Spalding, in her first season as head coach after spending a year as the assistant, saw her team save its best for last as Randolph reeled off seven wins in eight post-season matches.
     Class 5A MVP Victoria Fennell had 25 kills to lead Randolph in the championship match. She also had eight digs and two service aces.  Libby Gold had eight kills, three aces and eight digs, and Julia Shoemake had seven kills and 11 digs. Setter June Harriman had 41 assists.
    Lawrence County (61-9), coached by Robyn Hutto, was paced by senior Rachel Childress’s 13 kills, 14 assists and 13 digs. Ali Grace Shelton also had 14 assists and Tori Smith added six kills. The Red Devils had played Randolph twice before this season and won 2-0 in a regular-season tournament and 3-0 in last week’s North Super Regional tourney.
    Finals for Classes 2A and 1A will conclude the 45th   AHSAA State Championships today. All finals matches are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network. Subscriber information can be found at www.nfhsnetwork.com.
Class 5A All-Tournament Team
Victoria Fennell, Randolph (MVP); Libby Gold, Randolph; Julia Shoemake, Randolph; June Harriman, Randolph; Rachael Childers, Lawrence County; Tori Smith, Lawrence County; Jaylyn Feldes, Springville.


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
Mountain Brook (57-6) 3, McGill-Toolen Catholic (49-8) 0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-16)
Class 6A Finals
Spanish Fort (55-5) 3, John Carroll Catholic (34-10) 2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11)
Class 4A Finals
Brooks (44-10) 3, Saint James (32-9) 1 (25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 25-19)
Class 5A Finals
Randolph (19-20) 3, Lawrence County (61-9) 1 (21-25, 25-10, 25-17, 25-13)
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.