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SUPER 7 CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Pinson Valley 31, Wetumpka 10

Pinson Valley 31, Wetumpka 10
 
    
TUSCALOOSA – Junior quarterback Bo Nix passed for one touchdown and rushed for two others as Pinson Valley (15-0) battled from a 10-7 halftime deficit to beat Wetumpka 31-10 in the 2017 Super 7 Class 6A State football championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The 6A game closed out the three-day championship extravaganza attended by 35,921 for the week.  Final day attendance was 11,659.
    The championship was the first football title in Pinson Valley history and the perfect 15-0 season was also a first – all coming in Coach Pat Nix’s first season as head coach.
     Wetumpka (13-2), coached by Tim Perry, marched 58 yards on nine plays on the game’s opening drive to take a 3-0 lead on Robert Stewart’s 24-yard field goal.  Pinson Valley responded with a 10-play, 67-yard march that culminated with Khymel Chaverst’s 1-yard touchdown run. Aiden Campbell’s extra-point kick gave Pinson a 7-3 lead.
     Wetumpka got the first big break of the game when linebacker Colton Adams intercepted a pass at the Pinson 9-yard line early in the second quarter. Two plays later senior running back Kovosiey Smoke scored from the 4-yard line and Wetumpka took the lead back 10-7. That’s how it stood at the half – thanks in part to the punting of Wetumpka quarterback J.D. Martin, who had two kicks downed inside the Pinson Valley 5-yard line.
    The second half belonged to Pinson Valley, however. Bo Nix, son of the head coach, earned 6A Game MVP honors completing 13-of-25 passes for 223 yards and rushed nine times for 22 yards – with touchdown runs covering 1 and 13 yards in the Indians’ 24-point second half.  Aiden Campbell’s 33-yard field goal midway through the third period tied the game at 10-10. Campbell followed with an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff – recovering it himself at the Wetumpka 49-yard line – a momentum changer that Wetumpka never recovered from.
    Pinson marched quickly to the go-ahead touchdown with Nix sneaking in from the 1 with 2:35 left in the quarter to give Coach Nix’s team a 17-10 lead. Bo Nix connected with LiAllen Dailey for a 23-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 24-10 and Nix added his final TD run with 4:53 to play to close out the scoring.
    Pinson Valley finished with 151 yards rushing and 223 passing for 374 total yards. Wetumpka had 114 yards rushing, 52 passing and 166 total yards. The Pinson defense limited Wetumpka to only six total yards in the second half.
    Dilan Henderson led Pinson with 72 rushing yards on 10 carries and Chaverst added 57 on 18 attempts. Dailey had five catches for 93 yards, Demarion Holloman caught had four receptions for 86 yards and Henderson had two for 37.  In addition to his quarterbacking duties, Nix averaged 41.5 yards on two punts.
    Wetumpka, playing in the state finals for the first time in the school’s 117-year football history, was led by Smoke’s 66 rushing yards on 16 carries. Junior quarterback J.D. Martin had 30 yards on 14 carries and was 8-of-13 passing for 52 yards. Smoke also had two receptions for 31 yards and Keedrick Adams had four for 13 yards. Martin also punted five times for a 38.4-yard average with three kicks downed inside the Pinson 10-yard line. The 13 wins set a school record for Perry’s Indians  as well as the 613 points scored.
    Colton Adams had nine tackles and an interception to anchor Wetumpka’s defensive effort. Nicholas Turner and David Adams also had eight tackles each. Turner also had an interception.
    Jaylun Gulley and Eric Rogers had nine tackles each for Pinson Valley. Demarco Harris had seven tackles and Desmond Scott had six tackles and 1 ½ sacks – accounting for 14 yards in losses.  Ga’Quincey McKinstry made an interception.

CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Pelham 3, Jasper 2

    BIRMINGHAM – Pelham captured the school’s third state volleyball championship and the first since 1997 winning an incredible 25-20, 26-24, 22-25, 25-27, 17-15 victory over Jasper in the Class 6A finals of the 2017 AHSAA State Volleyball Championships at Bill Harris Arena Thursday.
    Both teams clawed back time and time again with Coach Perry Robinson’s Panthers (41-9) rallying from a 24-19 deficit in game two 26-24.  The Vikings (57-5) of Coach Bobby Daniel rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win games 3 and 4 and force the fifth game.
     Emorie Long had 17 kills to lead Pelham and earn MVP honors.  Four teammates also had 10 or more kills in a contest that had 63 for the Panthers and 62 for Jasper. Sarah Guthrie also had 13 kills and 16 digs, Kaytlyn Maddox and Jamila Wilson had 11 kills each and Erin Long had 10 for Pelham. Setter Georgia Stonicher also had 56 assists and Grace Nolen, 19 digs. Guthrie also had three service aces.
    Walker had four girls with 12 or more kills with McKinley Fergerson totaling 18, Tameyah Griffin and Morgan McClendon, 13 each, and Alex Oliver 12. Ferguson and Khloe Kimbrell had 29 and 25 assists, respectively. Temperance Chatman also had a match-high 30 digs and four ace serves.
    The five remaining state finals will be played today with all being live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
CLASS 6A ALL-STATE TOURNAMENT TEAM
Emorie Long, Pelham (MVP); Sarah Guthrie, Pelham; Georgia Stonicher, Pelham; McKinley Ferguson, Jasper; Tameyah Griffin, Jasper; Shyan Flack, Brewer.

THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
At Bill Harris Arena
(All matches lived-streamed by the NFHS Network)
CLASS 1A
Addison (51-8) 3, Meek 1 (46-18) (26-28, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19)
CLASS 6A
Pelham (41-9) 3, Jasper (57-5) 2 (25-20, 26-24, 22-25, 25-27, 17-15)
CLASS 2A

Goshen (28-13) vs. St. Luke's Episcopal (33-15), 4:45 p.m.
CLASS 3A
Bayside Academy (41-10) vs. Montgomery Academy (44-12), 6:30 p.m.  
CLASS 4A
Saint James (36-9) vs. Deshler (43-14), 3 p.m.
CLASS 5A
Lawrence County (59-4) vs. Alexandria (43-9),1:15 p.m.
CLASS 7A
Bob Jones (42-10) vs.  McGill-Toolen Catholic (46-7), 11:30 a.m.

CLASS 6A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Helena Claims Class 6A State Crown With Two Clutch Wins at Riverwalk Stadium over Cullman

     MONTGOMERY – Helena High School built a four-run lead thanks to the clutch pitching of junior Landon Green in final game three of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series at Riverwalk Stadium Friday, and then managed to hold at the end to win 5-4.
    Helena forced game three with a dramatic 3-2 win in game two Friday morning at Riverwalk Stadium thanks to another strong pitching performance by Troy Cordrey in game two. The Huskies (38-6), coached by P.J. Guy, fell behind 1-0 after one inning in the finale, but tied the game in the top of the fourth when Nick Ragsdale scored on a Cullman error.
      In the bottom of the inning, Green (11-0) turned the momentum in a big way by striking out the Bearcats’ No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters on nine pitched strikes. Helena then rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth to build a 5-1 lead. Riley Davis, Sam Praytor and Brooks Brophy each got hits and then the wheels fell off Cullman’s defense as two wild pitches and an infield error led to the four runs.
   Green, who pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing just two hits and striking out five, ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh hitting three batters as Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats (38-9) scored a run and  loaded the bases. Reliever Brooks Brophy walked the first two batters he faced to make it a one-run game, but he got Carter Bowen to fly out to deep left for third out to end the game.
        Cordrey, who earned MVP honors, had one RBI in the third game. Davis and Green each had two hits.  Lovell had an RBI single and Grayson Taylor stroked a double to pace Cullman.
     In first game Friday at Riverwalk, Cullman took the lead 2-0 in the top of the fourth on Carter Bowen’s two-run single. Helena got a run back in the bottom of the inning and tied the game in the sixth. Left fielder Nick Ragsdale doubled to left to lead off the bottom of the seventh for the Huskies. Pinch runner Lawson Peoples got to third on a sacrifice by Brandon Moss and scored the winning run on pinch hitter Colton Hood’s fielder’s choice to end the game.
     Cordrey (11-2) hurled a three-hitter and struck out six to get the win for the Huskies. Will Morris (10-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and also struck out six for the Bearcats.
      Hoover and Auburn started the Class 7A Championship Series Friday night with a single game at Paterson Field at 6 p.m. The two teams will close out AHSAA State Baseball Championship Series Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. All games are live-streamed by the NFHS Network.

CLASS 6A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Cullman 9 Helena 1

     MONTGOMERY –  Cullman High School downed Helena 9-1 in a lightning-delayed first game of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series Thursday night at Paterson Field to take a 1-0 advantage into game two of the best 2-of-3 series that resumes Friday at Riverwalk Stadium at 10 a.m.
    All games in the AHSAA State Baseball Championships are being live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
    Coach Brent Paterson’s Bearcats (38-7) scored five runs in the first two innings to build a 5-1 lead. The lead stretched to 6-1 before a lightning delay stopped the game for more than an hour.
    Cullman added two more runs once play resumed and coasted to the triumph – collecting 10 hits and taking advantage of eight Helena errors.
     Winning pitcher Jacob Heatherly (10-1)  pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing only two hits and one unearned run. Michael Myers got the final two outs for the Bearcats. Riley Davis (7-1) got the loss. There no strikeouts registered by either team .  Senior center fielder Owen Lovell slugged a double and plated two runs for Cullman. Caleb Lipsey had three hits and scored twice, Trent Price had two hits and an RBI and lead-off hitter Noah Fondren had a single and scored two runs.
Nash Adams had a double and Davis had a single for Coach P.J. Guy’s Huskies.
    Hoover and Auburn will start the Class 7A Championship Series Friday night with a single game at Paterson Field at 6 p.m. The two teams will close out State Baseball Championship Series Saturday at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 10 a.m.


CLASS 6A STATE SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP Finals: Hazel Green 4, Daphne 2

     MONTGOMERY – Hazel Green rolled through the winner’s bracket undefeated at 3-0, then rebounded from a 4-0 setback to Daphne to win the AHSAA Class 6A state softball championship 4-2 in the finals Thursday night at Lagoon Park.
     Daphne, 5-2 in the state tourney, rebounded from a loss to Gardendale in the second round to win four straight games – including the win over the Lady Trojans that forced the “if” game.
     Winning pitcher McKenzie Newcomb allowed nine hits but only two runs to lift Hazel Green to title. She also was 3-for-3 with an RBI. Hannah Hayes also had three hits while Maddie Cartron had a double and single to drive in one run.  Kelsey McPeters and Audrey Lewis added two hits each.
   Four players had two hits for Daphne – M.C. Sweatt, McKenna Pierce, Karsen Pierce and Jessica Stevens. McKenna and Karsen Pierce each had a double.
   The state tourney continues Friday and Saturday at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 6A All-State Tournament Team
McKenzie Newcomb, Hazel Green (MOP); Hannah Haze, Hazel Green;  Catherine Crabb, Hazel Green; Aubrey Lewis, Hazel Green; MaKenna Pierce, Daphne; Kennedy Cronan, Daphne; Lauren Ledbetter, Daphne.

Class 6A Softball Championships Chelsea beats Oxford 3-1 in finals

     MONTGOMERY – Winning pitcher Sarah Cespedes hurled a complete-game four-hitter and struck out four to lead Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Area 10 rival Oxford  Friday night in the finals of the 2016 Class 6A State Softball Championships played at Lagoon Park.
     The Hornets (23-14) of Coach Russell McCartey went undefeated with four straight wins including identical 3-1 wins over Oxford  in the winner’s bracket finals and the championship game.
     Oxford led 1-0 after one inning when Taylor Ellison singled and scored on Sarah Howell’s single.   Chelsea tied the score in the top of fourth when one run and sealed the victory with two runs in the top of the seventh on Mallory Bradford’s home run.
      Alex Smithson added three hits, including a double, and scored a run. Tristan Ziannis also had two hits and Lexi Preisendorfer had one hit and an RBI.
     Howell had two hits and Oxford’s only run batted in.
    Chelsea beat Dothan (6-2), Southside-Gadsden (6-3) and Oxford twice to win its first state title since 2012.

Class 6A State Championship Series Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa Beats Cullman 1-0 To Capture 6A State Baseball Championship

     MONTGOMERY –  Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa junior shortstop Cole Frederick found himself at the plate with the bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday’s first game of the AHSAA Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series and delivered the game-winning hit as the Patriots of Coach Mark Garner won game one of the best-of-three series 4-3  versus defending state champion Cullman.
     Saturday afternoon, he found himself on the mound in the bottom of the seventh with his team clinging to a 1-0 lead and runners on second and third with the two outs and the Bearcats’ best hitter Owen Lovell at the plate.
     Lovell slammed a deep fly to center field which Jake Presley hauled in for the third out and Hillcrest (40-10) won its first state title since 2007 with the 1-0 win to sweep the series 2-0.
     Frederick, who played shortstop for five innings as starter and winning pitcher Noah Barnette (7-2) struck out one, walked two and limited the Bearcats’ tough lineup to four singles and no runs, pitched the final two innings allowing one hit, walking two and striking out two to get the save. Frederick earned 6A Series MVP for his effort.
     Cullman (40-13) got an outstanding pitching effort from starter Will Morrison (8-3), who hurled 6 1/3 innings, allowed four hits, one unearned run and struck out six. He yielded the game’s only run in the top of the sixth when Tyler Turner singled for Hillcrest’s first hit off the Cullman pitcher. Tyler moved all the way to third when Morrison’s pick-off attempt got by his first baseman. Turner then scored on Blake Robbins reached safely on a throwing error.
      Hillcrest loaded the bases in the seventh and Coach Brent Patterson brought in reliever Levi Thomas, who faced one batter getting the Patriots’ hitter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
   Turner, Pope, pinch hitter Michael Garner and Presley each had singles for the Patriots.
   Noah Fondren had two hits, Lovell, Trent Price and Jacob Heatherly had one each for the Bearcats.
   The 6A championship closed out the 2016 AHSAA Baseball Championships as Decatur Heritage (1A), Mobile Christian (2A), Madison Academy (3A), UMS-Wright (4A), Russellville (5A) and Hewitt-Trussville (7A) also won state titles this week.

Class 6A State Championship Series Class 6A: Game 1 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 4, Cullman 3

     MONTGOMERY –  Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Cullman 4-3 Friday night at Paterson Field in game one of the Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series. Game two moves to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday at 4 p.m. Game three will follow at approximately 7 p.m. if needed.
    Cullman (40-12) took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Hillcrest tied the game to set up the exciting finish. Coach Brent Patterson’s Bearcats took the lead again 3-2 in the top of the seventh before Coach Mark Garner’s Patriots scored twice to win.
     Michael Garner pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing three hits and three runs for Hillcrest. Reliever Tyler Frederick (5-1) got the final two outs in the seventh to get the win in relief. He faced three batters and struck out one.
    Cullman’s Jacob Heatherly pitched six innings allowing four hits and striking out four. Carter Bowen and Levi Thomas pitched in the seventh. Bowen (5-4) got the loss.
      Blake Robbins had a single and two RBIs for the Patriots. Frederick also had a hit, scored a run and drew a crucial walk. Sage Bailey also had a hit and scored a run, and Walt Bailey had two hits.
     Kolby Robinson had three hits as leadoff hitter for Cullman. Ben Smith had a pinch-hit single and RBI.
    All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.


AHSAA SUPER 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Class 6A Finals: Spanish Fort 31, Clay-Chalkville 28

   TUSCALOOSA – The final game of the 2015 Super 7 State Football Championships lived up its expectations Friday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium as Spanish Fort closed out the week with a 31-28 win over defending state champion Clay-Chalkville to capture the Class 6A state title.
    Both teams came in unbeaten at 14-0 and both senior quarterbacks were a combined 63-0 in starts for their careers.
    Senior Tyler Johnston, who had a 34-game personal winning streak heading into the contest, closed out at 35-0 with a stellar performance that garnered him MVP honors. He was 13-of-23 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 79 yards on 21 carries and another touchdown for Coach Ben Blackmon’s Toros (15-0). However, it was his quarterback keeper for a single yard at midfield on fourth-and-one with 54 seconds remaining that netted a first down and sealed Spanish Fort’s fourth state title since 2010 – and its first in Class 6A.
    His performance was equaled by Clay-Chalkville senior quarterback Ty Pigrome, who led the Cougars of Coach Jerry Hood to a 15-0 record in 2014 and 14 straight wins in 2015. Pigrome rushed for 124 yards on 23 carries with a spectacular 51-yard TD run and completed 17-of-32 passes for 214 yards and three more scores. For the season he accounted for 62 touchdowns – 18 rushing and 44 passing. Johnston accounted for 52 TDs for Spanish Fort – 13 rushing and 39 passing.
    The Super 7 Championships closed out with 20,141 in attendance on Friday and 45,229 over the three days. That total was up 3,974 over last year’s Super 7 championships.
    Spanish Fort jumped out to a 14-0 lead with Johnston scoring on a 2-yard run at 6:13 of the first period and Javon Brown adding a 2-yard TD early in the second period.
   Clay-Chalkville’s offense sputtered in the first half, and after two straight 10-yard losses with just over eight minutes to play in the half, the Cougars wars facing a third-and-30 situation trailing by two touchdowns. Pigrome and senior receiver T.J. Simmons changed things in one quick motion. Simmons hauled in a pass from Pigrome on the right side of the field, crossed over to the left and streaked 52 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-7.
   Spanish Fort freshman place-kicker Matt Quinn added a 25-yard field goal with 59 seconds left in the second quarter to send the Toros in at halftime leading 17-7. The kick loomed very big in the end.
     Brown scored on a 6-yard strike from Johnston to open the second half to give Spanish Fort a 24-7 lead. Pigrome shook loose for his 51-yard TD just over a minute later and the rest of the contest turned into a real battle. Nico Collins scored on a 10-yard pass from Pigrome early in the fourth quarter to make it 24-21.
   Johnston answered with a 71-yard pass to Brown two plays later to set up a 17-yard touchdown connection to his senior receiver on the very next snap as the Toros stretched to a 31-21 lead.
    Brandon Berry capped a nine-play, 75-yard Clay-Chalkville march with a 22-yard touchdown reception from Pigrome with 3:12 remaining as the Cougars pulled to within 3. They never got the ball back.
    Brown finished with 76 yards rushing on seven carries and had six catches for 110 yards for Spanish Fort. Collins had five catches for 68 yards and Simmons had three for 87 for Clay-Chalkville.
    Colt Steiner’s 11 tackles and Brady Hall’s two sacks and seven total stops led the Toros defense.  Nick Battle and Armoni Holloway had 12 tackles each for the Cougars. Kenyon Hasberry also had 11 stops.
   

Class 6A State Volleyball Championship

Spanish Fort 3, John Carroll Catholic 2
 
   Spanish Fort High School downed defending Class 6A state champion John Carroll Catholic  3-2 Thursday afternoon at Bill Harris Arena to capture the school’s first state volleyball championship. The Toros (55-5), coached by Gretchen Boykin, won the match 25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11 to finish the season with a school record 55 wins.
     The two teams met in the South Super Regional finals with that match going five sets as well.
    Carley Hamric, the Class 6A State Tournament MVP, had 21 kills, one block and eight block assists for Spanish Fort. Maegan Parrillo added 11 kills, Elise Polio and Anna Claire Whaley, 10 each, as the Toros finished with 57 kills. Taylor Fontenelle had 23 digs, Reilly Vought had 25 assists and Briana Rider had 21. 
     John Carroll (34-10), coached by Ginny McMillan, recorded 64 kills with Kelsi Hobbs notching a game-high 23. Morgan Adamson added 13 and Mary Hart 10. Adamson also had 22 digs, and Kaylee Gilchrist had 27. Anna Runyan had 30 assists.
    
Finals for Classes 5A, 4A, 2A and 1A will  conclude the 45th AHSAA State Volleyball Tournament today. All Matches are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 6A All-Tournament Team

Carley Hamric, Spanish Fort (MVP); Maegan Parrillo, Spanish Fort; Anna Claire Whaley, Spanish Fort; Morgan Adamson, John Carroll; Kelsi Hobbs, John Carroll; Mary Hart, John Carroll; Bailey Powell, Hartselle.