MONTGOMERY – Six of the seven defending state football champions and 18 unbeaten teams advanced to the first round of the 2017 Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) State Football Playoffs. First-round games are scheduled for Nov. 9 and Nov. 10.
The first round of the playoffs was set Saturday morning at the AHSAA Coaches’ Playoff A total of 28 games are being scheduled for Thursday night, Nov. 9. The remaining 72 games are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10. Several schools will be closed Friday in observation of Veterans Day which prompted the Central Board to approve Thursday games next week.
The AHSAA is asking all host schools to have a program honoring veterans prior to the playoff contest at each stadium in the first round. Instructions have been provided to each host school to assist them in honoring the veterans during a special pre-game program. All games are set to kick off at 7 p.m.
The seven defending state champions include Class 1A Maplesville (9-0); Class 2A Fyffe (10-0); Class 3A Piedmont (9-1); Class 5A Beauregard (8-1); Class 6A Ramsay (6-4); and Class 7A Hoover (7-3). Handley, the 2016 state champion, did not reach the state playoffs this season.
Unbeaten teams by class in the playoffs include: (Class 1A) Georgiana (10-0); Lynn (10-0); Maplesville (9-0); Wadley (9-0); (Class 2A) Fyffe (10-0); Lanett (10-0); (Class 3A) Fultondale (10-0); (Class 4A) Rogers (10-0); Saks (10-0); Class 5A: Briarwood Christian (10-0); Carroll (10-0); (Class 6A) Austin (10-0); Oxford (10-0); Pinson Valley (10-0); (Class 7A) Central-Phenix City (9-0); Hewitt-Trussville (10-0); McGill-Toolen Catholic (10-0); and Thompson (10-0).
Class 3A Colbert County, the fourth qualifier from Region 8, is making its 41st appearance in the 51 years of the AHSAA playoffs, which started in 1967. That is the most of any member school. Sweet Water (1A) is making its 38th appearance while Fyffe (2A), Brantley (1A), Thomasville (4A) and Oxford (6A) have now reached the playoffs 37 times. Class 2A Mars Hill Bible (7-3) is making its first appearance.
This week’s games kick off the state playoffs which will culminate with the 2017 Super 7 State Championships on the University of Alabama campus at Bryant-Denny Stadium Dec. 6-7-8. Class 7A.
JEFF DAVIS AT McGILL-TOOLEN IN RAYCOM MEDIA PLAYOFF GAME OF THE WEEK: Raycom Media, which plans to televise one playoff game over the five playoff rounds, announced Saturday the Class 7A first-round battle between Jeff Davis and McGill-Toolen Catholic at Lipscomb Athletic Complex in Mobile Friday night will be the first-round Raycom Game of the Week. The NFHS Network also plans to live-stream several games produced by member schools belonging to the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program. Those games will be announced early next week and will be listed at www.nfhsnetwork.net.
AHSAA 2017 Football Playoffs
(All games Nov. 10 unless otherwise noted)
Millry (5-5) at Isabella (9-1)
Pleasant Home (5-5) at Wadley (9-0)
Highland Home (7-3) at Marengo (7-3), Dixons Mills, Thursday, Nov. 9
Winterboro (5-5) at Georgiana (10-0)
Houston County (8-2) at Talladega County Central (6-3)
Linden (7-3) at Maplesville (9-0)
Ragland (5-5) at Brantley (7-3)
Notasulga (5-5) at Sweet Water 8-1)
Hubbertville (3-6) at Addison (8-2), Thursday, Nov. 9
Woodville (5-5) at Hackleburg (9-1), Thursday, Nov. 9
Decatur Heritage (8-2) at South Lamar (7-3), Millport
Waterloo (4-5) at Cedar Bluff (6-3), Thursday, Nov. 9
Coosa Christian (4-6) at Cherokee (7-3), Thursday, Nov. 9
Holy Spirit Catholic (4-6) at Lynn (10-0)
Phillips (6-4) at Spring Garden (6-3)
Meek (7-3) at Pickens County (8-2), Reform
J.U. Blacksher (6-4) at Luverne (9-2)
Samson (4-6) at Aliceville (6-4)
Elba (8-2) at Leroy (8-2)
R.C. Hatch (4-6) at Ariton (9-1)
Geneva County (6-4) at Thorsby (7-2)
Southern Choctaw (4-5) at Goshen (9-1)
Keith (6-4) at Abbeville (8-2)
New Brockton (5-5) at St. Luke’s Episcopal (8-1), Mobile, Baker High School
Reeltown (6-4) at Falkville (7-3)
Westbrook Christian (5-5) at Sulligent (9-1), Thursday, Nov. 9
Cleveland (7-3) at LaFayette (8-2)
Sheffield (4-6) at Fyffe (10-0), Thursday, Nov. 9
Ider (6-4) at Lamar County (6-4), Vernon
Ranburne (4-6) at Tarrant (7-2), Center Point High School, Thursday, Nov. 9
Mars Hill Bible (7-3) at Sand Rock (8-2)
Tanner (3-7) at Lanett (10-0)
Mobile Christian (7-3) at Pike County (8-2), Brundidge
Providence Christian (6-4)at Gordo (9-1)
Southside-Selma (7-3) at Clarke County (8-2), Grove Hill
Midfield (4-5) at Wicksburg (9-1)
Slocomb (5-5) at American Christian (7-3), Tuscaloosa
Bayside Academy (5-5) at Montgomery Academy (8-2)
Oakman (7-3) at Daleville (6-4), Thursday, Nov. 9
Prattville Christian (3-7) at Hillcrest-Evergreen (9-1)
Ohatchee (8-2) at Sylvania (9-1)
Holly Pond (7-3) at West Morgan (9-1), Trinity, Thursday, Nov. 9
North Sand Mountain (8-2) at Randolph County (9-1), Wedowee, Thursday, Nov. 9
Colbert County (6-4) at Fultondale (10-0)
Locust Fork (4-6) at Colbert Heights (9-1), Thursday, Nov. 9
Weaver (6-4) at Plainview (9-1), Rainsville
Lauderdale County (6-4) at J.B. Pennington (8-2), Blountsville, Thursday, Nov. 9
Geraldine (4-6) at Piedmont (9-1)
Thomasville (7-3) at Tallassee (9-1)
Dale County (7-3) at Bibb County (9-1), Centreville
Leeds (7-3) at UMS-Wright (8-2), Mobile
Sipsey Valley (4-6) at Montgomery Catholic (9-1)
Alabama Christian (8-2) at Northside (9-1), Samantha
W.S. Neal (5-5) at Munford (9-1)
West Blocton (6-4) at Saint James (7-3), Montgomery
Childersburg (5-5) at Andalusia (9-1)
Hokes Bluff (8-2) at Madison Academy (7-3)
Haleyville (4-6) at Rogers (10-0)
Randolph (6-4) at Jacksonville (7-3)
West Limestone (4-6) at Fayette County (8-2), Fayette, Thursday, Nov. 9
Cordova (4-6) at Wilson (9-1)
Cherokee County (4-6) at Sardis (7-3)
Deshler (7-3) at Dora (8-2)
Westminster Christian (6-4) at Saks (10-0), Anniston
Jackson (5-4) at Calera (6-4)
Greenville (5-4) at Beauregard (8-1)
Marbury (5-5) at St. Paul’s Episcopal (9-1), Mobile
Talladega (6-4) at Carroll (10-0), Ozark
Charles Henderson (6-4) at Central-Clay County (7-3)
Williamson (7-3) at Demopolis (8-2), Thursday, Nov. 9
Sylacauga (8-2) at Eufaula (8-2), Thursday, Nov. 9
Jemison (5-5) at Vigor (7-3), Prichard Memorial Stadium, Thursday, Nov. 9
St. Clair County (7-3) at Guntersville (9-1), Thursday, Nov. 9
Corner (5-5) at Mae Jemison (9-1), Huntsville, Milton Frank Stadium, Thursday, Nov. 9
Alexandria (8-2) at Wenonah (8-1), Birmingham, Thursday, Nov. 9
Lawrence County (5-5) at Mortimer Jordan (8-2), Kimberly, Thursday, Nov. 9
West Point (6-4) at Brooks (7-2), Killen, Thursday, Nov. 9
Pleasant Grove (5-5) at Etowah (9-1), Attalla, Thursday, Nov. 9
Lee-Huntsville (7-3) at Hayden (5-5), Thursday, Nov. 9
Crossville (4-6) at Briarwood Christian (10-0), Thursday, Nov. 9
Saraland (7-3) at Benjamin Russell (7-3), Alexander City
Stanhope Elmore (5-5) at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (7-3)
Opelika (7-3) at Daphne (8-2)
Bessemer City (4-6) at Park Crossing (9-1), Montgomery, Cramton Bowl
Carver-Montgomery (4-6) at McAdory (6-4), McCalla
Blount (6-4) at Wetumpka (9-1)
Paul Bryant (6-4) at Sidney Lanier (9-1), Montgomery, Cramton Bowl, Thursday, Nov. 9
Pelham (5-5) at Spanish Fort (9-1)
Shades Valley (7-3) at Pell City (6-4), Thursday, Nov. 9
Carver-Birmingham (7-3) at Austin (10-0), Decatur, Shorty Ogle Stadium
Cullman (7-3) at Ramsay (6-4), Birmingham, Huffman Stadium
Florence (4-6) at Pinson Valley (10-0)
Gardendale (6-4) at Muscle Shoals (8-2)
Hueytown (5-5) at Oxford (10-0), Thursday, Nov. 9
Athens (5-5) at Clay-Chalkville (8-2)
Fort Payne (6-4) at Homewood (9-1)
AUBURN – Attendance at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium for the 2016 AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships was up more than 4,000 over the 2015 Super 7 and up more than 8,000 over the 2014 Super 7, according to attendance figures released today.
The total attendance for the three-day series was 49,353 with Friday’s total of 26,754 the big difference. The largest crowd of the seven championships was clearly the Opelika vs. Ramsay Class 6A finals Friday night.
The total attendance for 2015 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa was 45,229, and the 2014 attendance at Jordan-Hare was 41,255.
AHSAA Super 7 Attendance Figures
Ramsay 21, Opelika 16
AUBURN – Ramsay High School head football coach Rueben Nelson wasn’t even born the last time a Birmingham city school won an AHSAA state football championship.
In fact, he was born the very year that football was discontinued at Ramsay, a school that had its first team in 1930, had its first unbeaten team in 1934, its last unbeaten team in 1941 and let the sport remain dormant for 36 years.
In 2012, Nelson was asked to resurrect the sport at the school cradled in the shadow of the Vulcan statue located atop Red Mountain. Friday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Nelson coached the Rams to the Super 7 Class 6A state football championship.
Talk about irony.
The Rams (13-2), with left-handed senior quarterback Baniko Harley leading the team, took control of the 2016 Super 7 championship game finale in the first half and then held on at the end to beat Opelika 21-16. Harley rushed for 158 yards on 21 carries and was 8-of-18 passing for 132 yards and two scores.
Opelika (13-2), coached by Brian Blackmon, struck first when Weldrin Ford scored on a 1-yard run at 7:46 of the first quarter to cap a nine-play, 45-yard Bulldogs drive to take a 7-0 lead.
On the next series, Harley ignited the Rams with a dazzling cross-the-field 69-yard run that set up the Rams’ first score – his 9-yard pass to Genori Parrish. The extra point was blocked and Ramsay trailed 7-6 at 5:53 of the quarter. Harley and Parrish hooked up in the second quarter at 5:22 with the 8-yard connection for the TD closing out a 12-play, 85-yard march.
Ramsay got one more chance before the half and Joshua Horn kicked a 25-yard field goal to give Rams a 15-7 lead. The Rams defense recovered an Opelika fumble on the opening series of the third quarter and Harley turned it into six points with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kordell Jackson just 2½ minutes into the second half to take a 21-7 lead.
Opelika, playing without starting quarterback J.D. Worth due to a first-half shoulder injury, marched 89 yards on 10 plays with sophomore quarterback Cade Blackmon at the throttles to cut the lead to 21-14 with 11:42 to play. Talik Jackson got the TD on a dazzling 40-yard run.
The Bulldogs got another break with 5:13 left when the ball was snapped over the Ramsay punter’s head out of the end zone for a safety to cut the lead to 21-16. That good fortune turned around quickly, however, when Opelika fumbled the ball on the free kick return at the Ramsay 30-yard line and Deshaun Oliver recovered for the Rams.
Oliver also converted a fourth-and-27 fake punt at the Rams’ 14-yard line earlier in the quarter when he told Harley, the punter, to pass him the ball instead of kicking. Harley did it and Oliver gained 29 yards to the 43 for a first down.
The last five minutes turned out to be nail-biting as both teams battled to the end. Opelika, facing a fourth-and-1 at its own 40-yard line with just over a minute to play, came up short when Joshua Adams stopped Ford shy of the first-down mark. The Rams then ran out the clock.
Ramsay finished with 403 total yards on 76 plays and Opelika had 254 on 57 plays. Harley accounted for 290 yards with his passing and running. Teammate Thomas Hirabowski added 70 yards rushing on nine carries. Parrish finished with three catches for 30 yards.
Ford led Opelika with 97 yards rushing on 23 carries. Blackmon was 5-of-10 passing in the second half for 40 yards and Caleb Florence had four receptions for 34 yards. Punter Austen Blackmon had three kicks for a 40.7-yard average.
Zachery Yancey had 14 tackles and four assists to lead Opelika’s defense. Jackson also had seven tackles and four assists.
Kordell Jackson led Ramsay with six stops.
It was the first state football crown in Ramsay history and just the third in Birmingham City Schools history since the playoffs began in 1966. Banks won back-to-back titles in 1972 and 1973. Opelika has now finished runner-up twice (2012 and 2016).