23rd Super 7 State Football Championships Start Wednesday
MONTGOMERY – All pairings are set for the AHSAA’s seven classification championship games and Unified Game as the 23rd annual Super 7 State Football Championships get underway Dec. 5 at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Alabama Unified Game, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, is partnership between the AHSAA and Special Olympics Alabama. Vestavia Hills and Baldwin County will be playing in the game or the second straight year.
The Class 7A state championship game will kick off the Super 7 finals at 7 p.m., Wednesday night with Thompson (11-1) facing Central-Phenix City (13-0).
Thursday’s finals include Class 3A Piedmont (12-2) vs. Flomaton (11-3) at 11 a.m., followed by the Class 1A championship game featuring Linden (13-0) versus Mars Hill Bible (13-1) at 3 p.m. Vigor (13-1) and Central-Clay-County (11-3) play in the 5A finals at 7 p.m.
Friday’s schedule includes the Class 4A finals at 11 a.m., with defending state champion UMS-Wright (13-0) meeting Deshler (9-5) at 11 a.m., followed by the 2A finals pitting Fyffe (14-0) versus Luverne (13-1) at 3 p.m., and concluding with defending Class 6A state champion Pinson Valley (12-1) facing Saraland (13-1) at 7 p.m.
Mars Hill Bible, coached by Darrell Higgins, is making its first appearance in the Super 7 Championships, which began at Legion Field in 1996 as the Super 6. The games moved from Birmingham to a rotation between the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn in 2009. The 23rd Super 7 Championships marks the 10th year of that memorable rotation. The AHSAA state football playoffs, now in its 53rd year, began in 1966.
Higgins’ Panthers began varsity play in 2016 finishing 0-10. Now in their third season, the only loss was a one-point setback to Class 4A Brooks in the regular season. Other schools making first appearances in the Super 7 are Class 3A Flomaton, Class 5A Central-Clay County and both Class 7A finalists – Thompson and Central-Phenix City.
While Central of Clay County is making its first appearance, the two schools that merged in 2012 to form Clay County’s only current high school, Lineville and Clay County (Ashland), squared off in the first Super 6 Class 2A championship game at Legion Field in 1996 with Clay County winning 42-0. Clay County’s win was part of a state-record 55-game winning streak.
The two schools met 102 times in the series judged one of the nation’s Top 10 rivalries by USA Today in the 1990s. Lineville held a 55-43-4 edge in the series with only 108 points separating the two schools in the 102 games played. Danny Horn was coach at Clay County from 1989-2008 compiling a 225-40 record in that 20-year span with six state titles in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2005. He moved to Benjamin Russell from 2009-2017 and returned as head coach for Central-Clay County this season. His overall coaching record is 298-86 in 30 seasons.
UMS-Wright, coached by the AHSAA’s newest 300-game winner Terry Curtis (302-85), is making its eighth appearance in the Super 7 Championships. Fyffe, coached by Paul Benefield (281-53), is making its fourth Super 7 appearance in the last five years, and Piedmont, coached by Steve Smith (232-72), is making its fourth Super 7 appearance since 2009. The Bulldogs won state titles in 2009, 2015 and 2016 in its previous appearances.
Raycom Network is producing all seven AHSAA championship games with station information available at www.pathtotheplayoffs.com. Graham Dunn will handle play-by-play and Mike Peacock will serve as color analyst for Wednesday night’s 7A game and all three Thursday games. Chris Blackshear and Gary Harris will handle the broadcast duties for Friday’s three games. Sideline reporter for all games will be Christina Chambers of WBRC TV Fox 6. Executive producer is Rich Michaelson.
The NFHS Network will also live-stream the Raycom production over its subscriber-based NFHS Network platform. The Unified Game is being produced by the Opelika High School NFHS Network School Broadcast Program. Students A.J. Fields, Amy Lowery and Jerry Ballas will be the photographers and Tracy Tidwell is the producer. Becky Brown is executive producer.
The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all championship games over its statewide network of radio and internet affiliates. Producers Randy Lee and Brett Pritchard will use a variety of some of the state high school radio announcers from around the state in the radio booth all week.
Instant Replay will be used in all seven state finals for the first time in AHSAA Super 7 state history.
The Super 7 pairings:
AHSAA Super 7 Championships
At Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn
(Home team listed second)
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 5
Vestavia Hills vs. Baldwin County, 3:30 p.m.
Central-Phenix City (13-0) vs. Thompson (12-1), 7 p.m.
THURSDAY, DEC. 6
Piedmont (12-2) vs. Flomaton (11-3), 11 a.m.
Linden (13-0) vs. Mars Hill Bible (13-1), 3 p.m.
Vigor (13-1) vs. Central-Clay County (11-3), 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, DEC. 7
UMS-Wright (13-0) VS. Deshler (9-5), 11 a.m.
Fyffe (14-0) vs. Luverne (13-1), 3 p.m.
Pinson Valley (12-1) vs. Saraland (13-1), 7 p.m.
AHSAA State Football Playoffs
Linden 16, Maplesville 8
Mars Hill Bible 20, Pickens County 12
Luverne 30, Highland Home 12
Fyffe 49, Aliceville 8
Flomaton 34, Providence Christian 33
Piedmont 26, Randolph County 21
UMS-Wright 24, Andalusia 3
Deshler 35, Oneonta 20
Vigor 38, Greenville 16
Central-Clay County 20, Mortimer Jordan 17
Saraland 22, Wetumpka 21
Pinson Valley 28, Clay-Chalkville 20
(Played Nov. 23)
Central-Phenix City 34, Lee-Montgomery 27
Thompson 31, Hoover 28