INDIANAPOLIS, IN — UMS-Wright head football coach Terry Curtis has been named the 2019 National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
He is among 23 high school coaches from across the country who have been selected as sports specific 2019 National Coaches of the Year.
The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in two “other” sports – one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2018-19 school year.
Curtis, who spent the first 17 years of his career as an assistant coach, has compiled a 317-85 career head-coaching record in 31 years as a head football coach – with stops at Shaw and Murphy in Mobile. His last 21 years have been at UMS-Wright, where his teams have compiled an 85-23 playoff record and a 125-11 region record overall, including 50 region wins in a row from 1998-2006. His teams have won eight state titles – including the last three Class 4A championships in a row. The Bulldogs currently own a 33-game winning streak and a 15-game state playoff win streak heading into next season. He ranks second behind Vestavia Hills High School’s Buddy Anderson (342-154) in all-time AHSAA football coaching wins. Anderson was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
"This is quite an honor," said Curtis. "I knew I wanted to be a coach when I was in the eighth grade. I am truly humbled, and am reminded of so many others who have been responsible for our success. I share this recognition with our outstanding assistant coaches, with an administration that has always been so supportive and with players who are committed to playing for a school and a team that they believe in."
Curtis has also been a leader off the court, currently serving as the District 1 representative on the AHSAA Central Board of Control. He is a District 1 officer and member of the AHSAA Legislative Council as well and has held numerous leadership positions, including tenures as president, in the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the Alabama Football Coaches Association (AFCA). He has also served a baseball official at the high school and college level.
Curtis, who was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, is the fourth coach from the AHSAA to receive the National Coach of the Year award. Ann Schilling of Bayside Academy received the 2009-10 Volleyball Coach of the Year; Michael Gunner of Bob Jones High School received the 2016-17 Swimming & Diving Coach of the Year; and Sandra Seals of Winfield was selected the 2017-18 Spirit Coach of the Year by the NFHS Coaches Association.
He is one of three AHSAA coaches that have been named Section 3 Coach of the Year for 2018-19. Vestavia Hills High School’s Brigid Meadow is the Section 3 Girls’ Soccer Coach of the Year, and Drew Bell of James Clemens High School is the Section 3 Girls’ Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the year.
Other recipients of this year’s national awards for boys’ sports are: Glenn Cecchini, baseball, Lake Charles (Louisiana) Alfred M. Barbe High School; J.R. Holmes, basketball, Bloomington (Indiana) South High School; Karl Koonce, cross country, Pearcy (Arkansas) Lake Hamilton High School; James Orcutt, golf, North Platte (Nebraska) High School; Terry Michler, soccer, St. Louis (Missouri) Christian Brothers College High School; David Hanson, swimming and diving, Warwick (Rhode Island) Bishop Hendricken Catholic High School; David Fredette, tennis, Armada (Michigan) High School; William “Bill” Thorn, track and field, Fairburn (Georgia) Landmark Christian School; and James Matney, wrestling, Paintsville (Kentucky) Johnson Central High School.
The recipients of the 2019 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Jack Gayle, swimming and diving, Snellville (Georgia) Brookwood High School; Cherry Roberds, tennis, Miami (Arizona) High School; Desmond Dunham, track and field, St. John’s (District of Columbia) College High School; Valorie McKenzie, volleyball, Scottsdale (Arizona) Horizon High School; Sherri Anthony, basketball, Ponte Vedra (Florida) Nease High School; Dave Van Sickle, cross country, Phoenix (Arizona) Xavier College Preparatory; Dick Bliss, golf, Hopkinton (Massachusetts) High School; Carol Rainson-Rose, lacrosse, Northport (New York) High School; Meredith Messer, soccer, Rockport (Maine) Camden Hills Regional High School; and Deborah Schwartz, softball, Toms River (New Jersey) Donovan Catholic High School.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Stephanie Blackwell of Bixby (Oklahoma) High School. Steven DeAngelis, a cross country skiing coach at Readfield (Maine) Maranacook Community High School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Lois Emshoff, a badminton coach at Chandler (Arizona) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for girls’ sports.
A total of 857 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
Assistant Director of Publications and Communications
Becomes the 38th recipient of the Award since 1982
MONTGOMERY – Lanett High School senior quarterback Kristian Story, who led the Panthers (15-0) to an undefeated season and the Class 1A state title this past season, was named Alabama’s Mr. Football for 2019 on Wednesday in Montgomery.
The announcement was made Wednesday at the Alabama Sportswriters Association’s Mr. Football Awards Luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center here. The Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) hosted the luncheon and AHSAA Corporate Partner Cadence Bank was the presenting sponsor.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Story, who signed with the University of Alabama, is the 38th winner of the award, which started in 1982 with Vigor quarterback Tommy Compton earning the first Mr. Football Award. His high school had coach was his father Clifford Story.
Story is the first Crimson Tide signee to win the award since Daphne running back T.J. Yeldon in 2011, the first player from Lanett to win the state’s top high school football award and the first player from a 1A school to claim the honor since running back Thomas Banks of West Jefferson in 1993.
The senior quarterback finished with 110 yards rushing on 13 carries with two touchdowns and was 18-of-23 passing for 249 yards and two more scores in the AHSAA Super 7 Class 1A State Championship at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium in December to earn Class 1A State Championship MVP honors. He finished his senior season 162-of-237 passing for 2,865 yards and 33 touchdowns. Story, who also was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Alabama in 2019, also had 1,151 yards rushing on 116 carries and 17 touchdowns and finished his prep career as the AHSAA record holder in total offense and touchdowns account for.
He accumulated 13,218 total yards with 9,070 passing, 3,618 rushing and 530 receiving from 2016-19 and accounted for 175 touchdowns (119 passing, 48 rushing and 8 receiving). Story’s totals broke records set by Bo Nix of Pinson Valley from 2015-18 (12,497 total yards and 161 TDs accounted for). Story’s 9,070 career passing yards ranks eighth all time and his 119 TD passes ranks third. He also quarterbacked Lanett to the Class 2A state football title in 2017 and helped the Panthers win three state basketball titles from 2016-18. He finished with 29 interceptions on defense.
The Mr. Football selection was made by the ASWA’s committee of member prep sportswriters across the state. The top 12 vote-getters regardless of position earned a spot on the ASWA’s prestigious All-State Super 12 Team.
Those 12 included, in order, were: Kristin Story, Lanett QB; Kris Abrams-Draine, Spanish Fort QB; Jalen White, Daleville RB; Roydell Williams, Hueytown RB; Sawyer Pate, Thompson QB; Demouy Kennedy, Theodore, LB; Dee Beckwith, Florence WR; Rontarius Wiggins, Jacksonville RB; Jackson Bratton, Muscle Shoals LB; Seth Brown, St, John Paul II Catholic QB; Trey Higgins, Oxford QB; Will Breland, UMS-Wright, LB.
A total of 48 prep football standouts and their families attended the luncheon. Three finalists for Back and Linemen of the Year in each class were recognized. The Back and Lineman of the Year award winners included:
ASWA Players of the Year
Back of the Year: Kristian Story, Lanett
Lineman of the Year: Mack McCluskey, Mars Hill Bible
Back of the Year: Jalen White, Daleville
Lineman of the Year: Arian Gregory, Luverne
Back of the Year: Daquan Johnson, Flomaton
Lineman of the Year: Deontae Lawson, Mobile Christian
Back of the Year: Rontarius Wiggins, Jacksonville
Lineman of the Year: Will Breland, UMS-Wright
Back of the Year: Zyquez Perryman, Pleasant Grove
Lineman of the Year: Trent Howard, Briarwood Christian
Back of the Year: Kris Abrams-Draine, Spanish Fort
Lineman of the Year: Jackson Bratton, Muscle Shoals
Back of the Year: Sawyer Pate, Thompson
Lineman of the Year: Demouy Kennedy, Theodore
Back of the Year: Cephus Cleveland, Macon-East
Lineman of the Year: Eli Richey, Southern Academy
The top 12 vote-getters in the Mr. Football voting
AWSA MR. FOOTBALL SELECTIONS, 1982-2019
2019: Kristian Story, Lanett, QB
2018: Bo Nix, Pinson Valley, QB
2017: Asa Martin, Austin, RB
2016: La’Damian Webb, Beauregard, RB
2015: Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort, QB
2014: Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy, RB
2013: Roc Thomas, Oxford, RB
2012: Jeremy Johnson, Carver-Montgomery, QB
2011: T.J. Yeldon, Daphne, RB
2010: Jamal Golden, Wetumpka, QB
2009: Coty Blanchard, Cherokee County, QB
2008: Clint Moseley, Leroy, QB
2007: Julio Jones, Foley, WR
2006: Larry Smith, Prattville, QB
2005: Andre Smith, Huffman, OL
2004: Jarod Bryant, Hoover, QB
2003: Chris Nickson, Pike County, QB
2002: JaMarcus Russell, Williamson, QB
2001: Brandon Cox, Hewitt-Trussville, QB
2000: Carnell Williams, Etowah, RB
1999: Cory Whisenant, Springville, RB
1998: DeMarco McNeil, Blount, DL
1997: Mac Campbell, Alexandria, RB
1996: Antoneyo Williams, Central-Tuscaloosa, RB
1995: Gorman Thornton, Jeff Davis, DL
1994: Dawud Rasheed, Shades Valley, RB
1993: Thomas Banks, West Jefferson, 1A
1992: Freddie Kitchens, Etowah, QB
1991: Robert Davis, Homewood, RB
1990: David Palmer, Jackson-Olin, RB/QB/WR
1989: Steve Coleman, Pike County, RB
1988: Darrell Williams, Vigor, RB
1987: Robert Jones, Parker, RB
1986: Larry Ware, Lee-Montgomery, RB
1985: Pierre Goode, Hazlewood, RB
1984: Rod Green, Gardendale, WR
1983: Freddy Weygand, Emma Sansom, WR
1982: Tommy Compton, Vigor, QB
According to Central-Phenix City Superintendent of Schools Randy Wilkes, during a team meeting of players this morning, Tuesday, January 7, Central High School Head Football Coach Jamey DuBose announced his retirement from the State of Alabama.
Coach DuBose will reportedly accept a head football coaching position outside of the state in the near future. Coach DuBose acknowledges that this is one of the most difficult decisions that he has ever had to make due to the support of Central High School and Phenix City Schools. The relationships forged with players, parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members is something he will fondly remember for a life-time. Coach DuBose’s desire is to continue those relationships and noted that “once a Red Devil, always a Red Devil.”
In six years as Central High School’s head football coach, Coach Dubose led the Red Devils to one state championship, one state runner-up, two final-four appearances, six consecutive regional championships, and compiled a record of 66-11.
Phenix City Schools appreciates Coach DuBose’s commitment to excellence both on and off the playing field, noting the significant amount of emphasis DuBose placed on character, grade point averages, and ACT scores. According to school officials, Coach DuBose went above and beyond in seeking scholarships for players as evidenced with last year’s signing class of 20 student-athletes and this year’s early signing of seven players to Division I scholarships.
MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, including two teams that went undefeated in the 2019 regular season, have been selected to participate in the 2020 AHSAA Kickoff Classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
Pike Road meets Montgomery Catholic at Cramton Bowl on Thursday night, August 20 to officially kick of the 2020 prep season. Wetumpka and Prattville, two long-time powers in Class 6A and 7A, respectively, will play in the Kickoff Classic’s second game on Friday, August 21 at Cramton Bowl. Both games will begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network and live-streamed over the NFHS Network. AHSAA TV partner WOTM will produce the game for the NFHS Network / AHSAA TV Network.
“We are very excited two games of this magnitude lined up for the 2020 Kickoff Classic,” said Jamie Lee, Director of the AHSADCA and the coordinator of the annual Classic. “Pike Road and Montgomery Catholic are two up-and-coming programs coming off their best seasons ever, and the Wetumpka-Prattville matchup is considered one of the top rivalries in Central Alabama. All four teams play an exciting brand of football and all four have excellent community support.”
Pike Road (11-1) finished 7-0 to win the Class 3A, Region 3 title last season. It was just the second varsity season for the Patriots since the school shut down its program in 1933. Pike Road was opened in 1918 and continued as a high school through 1944. From 1945-1971 it served as a junior high school but remained closed from 1971 to 2015. The school was opened as part of the Pike Road City School System. The 2019-20 school year is the first year the school system has been a complete system. It is continuing to grown at a rapid pass.
Coach Patrick Browning’s Patriots, moving to Class 5A next season, reeled off 11 straight wins, four by shutouts, and outscored opponents 515-116. Mobile Christian, which reached the 3A finals, ended Pike Road’s win streak with a 28-10 win in the second round of the state playoffs.
Ironically, Montgomery Catholic High School opened its doors in 1945, the same year Pike Road was scaled down to a junior high. Coach Aubrey Blackwell’s Knights (12-1) won its first 12 games, including two Class 4A playoff games, before falling to eventual state champion UMS-Wright 21-0 in the quarterfinals.
Blackwell’s team won Class 4A, Region last season with a 6-0 slate. Catholic outscored its opponents 402-140 for the year and registered three shutouts. The school drops to Class 3A in the 2020 season. Catholic is 42-16 under Blackwell’s direction with three straight years in the state playoffs. The 10-0 regular season was the first for Catholic since 1979. The 12 wins set a single-season school record.
The Friday battle next August between Class 7A Prattville and Class 6A Wetumpka pits two big rivals with storied programs. The two teams had their first encounter in 1922 with Wetumpka winning 25-6. Prattville, coached by Caleb Ross, won the 2019 meeting 31-13. The Indians of Coach Tim Perry hold a slight 28-27-2 edge in the series heading into the Kickoff Classic next August – which will be the 58th game in the series. The teams are 4-4 over the last eight seasons.
Ross, 57-27 as a head coach, returned to his alma mater in 2018 and quickly turned the Lions program, which was 5-13 in the two previous seasons, into a playoff team. Prattville was 7-4 in his first year and 9-3 last year. The Lions are 567-397-26 over 102 seasons with Class 6A state titles in 1994, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. Ross guided McGill-Toolen to the 2015 Class 7A state crown and also had head-coaching stops at Thompson and Opelika. Prattville is 70-40 from 2010-2019 but was an amazing 124-12 in the previous decade (2000-2009).
Wetumpka is coming off a 6-6 season – and its seventh straight year in the playoffs. The Indians have compiled a 59-37 record in Perry’s eight seasons as head coach. The Indians were 13-2 in 2017 reaching the Class 6A state finals. Perry’s 2018 team reached the 6A semifinals before falling by one point to Saraland. Perry, who spent 14 seasons as head coach at Alabama Christian, recorded the 200th win of his prep coaching career in 2019.
Wetumpka is one of the state’s oldest football programs, beginning in 1902. The school has a 558-453-33 record overall with a 71-46 slate from 2010-19 and 67-46 from 2000-09.
Hoover beat Central-Phenix City 17-14 and Montgomery-Carver nipped city rival Jeff Davis 18-13 in the 2019 Kickoff Classic.
AHSAA Kickoff Classic History
Hoover 17, Central-Phenix City 14
Carver-Montgomery 18, Jeff Davis 13
Clarke County 20, Sweet Water 14
Thompson 38, James Clemens 7
Hewitt-Trussville 49, Pell City 10
Maplesville 20, Fyffe 7
Andalusia 34, Brooks 13
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 42, Demopolis 7
Hoover 23, Central-Phenix City 7
Bob Jones 37, Carver-Montgomery 30
Gordo 28, Glencoe 21
Madison Academy 19, Leeds 14
Spanish Fort 42, Stanhope Elmore 14
Opelika 20, Carver-Montgomery 16
Dadeville 14, Piedmont 8
Benjamin Russell 28, Walker 14
Straughn 35, Walter Wellborn 26
Bob Jones 23, Enterprise 20
Spanish Fort 33, Muscle Shoals 22
Central of Clay County 25, Beauregard 13
McGill-Toolen 27, Northridge 0
Hueytown 36, Thomasville 27
Hamilton 38, Sweet Water 35
Daphne 24, Clay-Chalkville 21
Opelika 34, Greenville 6
Auburn 30, Spain Park 3
Jackson 30, Trinity 8
Prattville 37, Carver-Montgomery 0
T.R. Miller 27, Leeds 7
Hoover 32, Oxford 27
Prattville vs. Oxford, canceled due to inclement weather
Prattville 36, North Gwinnett, Ga. 3
Hoover 38, UMS-Wright 0
Clay-County 41, Addison 6
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director
Dates of some tragedies are etched in our memories forever. On September 11, we pause to remember the thousands who perished in 2001 as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Many individuals remember where they were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 and/or when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on April 4, 1968.
Unfortunately, in the past 20 years, there are several dates stamped in our memories because of shootings in our nation’s schools, such as the ones at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018.
And on December 14, 2012, the nation wept when 26 people, including 20 children, were killed during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While this tragedy tore the hearts of people nationwide, it was profoundly personal to me.
I was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and, on that day, was attending a meeting with the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. The commissioner was interrupted to take a private call, left immediately, and shortly thereafter the news of a “school shooting” reached the nation.
Suddenly, what previously was important became insignificant as we were all shocked at yet another senseless act of violence. As details of the shooting rampage were released, the incident became more and more horrific. The principal of Sandy Hook Elementary at the time, Dawn Hochsprung, was one of the six adults who perished that day. She was a personal friend of mine.
So, like millions of Americans this past weekend, I was overcome with emotion when Newtown High School won the CIAC Class LL State Football Championship – seven years to the exact day of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Newtown won the state title on the last play of the game as Jack Street – a fourth-grader at Sandy Hook in 2012 – threw a touchdown pass just as the fog lifted enough to be able to see downfield.
Once again, high school sports, and football in particular, was a unifying activity for a community. Amid the sorrow of the day, this incredible storybook finish by the Newtown High School football team gave everyone in the community – at least for a moment – the strength to continue the healing process.
We have seen time after time when high school sports provided students, parents and those in our communities a means to come together, to band together and to rise above struggles arm in arm. This was but the latest example.
The grieving process will continue for those people who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook tragedy, but this amazing effort by these high school football players brought smiles and tears of joy to a community that has not had many of those emotions for the past seven years.
Bobby Pattison, the Newtown High School football coach, had the following to say after the state title:
“The great thing about football and sports in general, moments like this bring people together,” Pattison said. “These guys had an outstanding year. To win a state championship, to win on the last play, it’s been a tremendous accomplishment. And these boys deserve it. They’re a great bunch.”
The value of high school football for communities across America? We would suggest what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, last weekend says it all.
Online link to article: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/the-nfhs-voice-football-championship-helps-healing-process-in-newtown-connecticut/
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is in her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.
HATTIESBURG (MS) – Mississippi All-Star Armondous Cooley of Wayne County blocked Alabama’s extra-point try in overtime to preserve a 17-16 come-from-behind Mississippi victory in the 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi campus Saturday.
With the game tied at 10-10 at the end of regulation, Mississippi, coached by Brad Breland of Union, scored first in overtime. Janari Dean of South Panola grabbed an outlet pass from Will Rogers of Brandon and out-legged an Alabama defender to the left pylon to score the go-ahead TD. Place-kicker Gavin Gaudin kicked the extra point to give Mississippi the led for the first time 17-10.
Alabama quarterback Logan Smothers of Muscle Shoals connect fired a pass to Thompson receiver Mike Pettway in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown to set up the final play.
The extra-point try by Alabama place-kicker Evan McGuire, who had field goal blocked late in the fourth quarter, was deflected by Hopkins to keep Mississippi’s current three-game win streak alive. Mississippi is also still unbeaten in three games at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
Alabama, coached by Spain Park’s Shawn Raney, holds a 22-11 edge in the series, which dates back to 1988.
The overtime game was the first since Alabama’s two-overtime 24-17 win in 2010 at Mobile and was the fifth overtime contest in the series overall. Alabama was 4-0 in overtime games until Saturday’s setback – winning 24-21 in three overtimes in 1988, 24-21 in four overtimes in 1989 and 21-14 in one overtime in 1990.
Alabama took the early lead marching 69 yards on 11 plays to take go up 7-0 in first possession of the game. Lanett’s Kristian Story had two strong runs and Thompson quarterback Sawyer Pate had completions of 42 yards to Eddie Williams of Central-Phenix City and 11 yards to story to set up St. Paul’s running back Jordon Ingram’s 2-yard TD run with 6:10 left in the opening period. Thompson’s Evan McGuire booted the extra point.
Williams finished with six key receptions for 98 yards to earn MVP honors for Alabama. Mississippi MVP was George County defensive lineman McKinley Jackson.
The Alabama and Mississippi defenses took control in the second quarter making first downs hard to come by. Late in the first half, however, Mississippi reached inside the Alabama 20 but was turned away when defensive tackles Daniel Foster-Allen of St. Paul’s and Decarius Hawthorne of Center Point sacked Mississippi quarterback Jimmy Holliday of Madison Central in the final minute to stop the hosts’ best scoring opportunity of the first half.
Alabama’s offensive attack picked up steam in the third period, thanks to the strong running of Story and McGill-Toolen’s C.J. Evans and a big pass connection from Logan Smothers of Muscle Shoals to Keyonteze Johnson of Pinson Valley set up McGuire’s 30-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0 with 8:02 to play in the quarter.
Mississippi drove inside the Alabama 5-yard line late in the third quarter, but Reeltown linebacker Eric Shaw sacked quarterback Jimmy Holiday of Madison Central on the last play of the quarter to stall the drive. Mississippi’s Gavin Gaudin of Northwest Rankin booted 31-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut Alabama’s lead to 10-3.
Mississippi got the ball back deep in Alabama territory a few minutes later, but the defense came up big once again when Pinson Valley defensive back intercepted a pass in the end zone for a touchback with just over eight minutes to go.
That’s when the Alabama wide receiver Eddie Williams stepped to the forefront with two big catches to move the ball inside the Mississippi 10-yard line. The drive stalled, however, with two straight incomplete passes and a 25-yard field goal try that was wide to the right with 6:14 to play.
Mississippi tied the game at 10-10 late in the quarter on a 70-yard, 11-play drive that ended with Tupelo receiver Trip Wilson snaring 12-yard TD pass from Will Rogers of Brandon with 2:04 remaining and Gaudin’s extra point.
Thompson’s Pate connected with Warriors teammate Mike Pettway on a 28-yard pass play that eventually led to a 25-yard field goal try by McGuire that was blocked Olive Branch defensive end Javon Banks to send the game into overtime.
Alabama finished with 260 total yards with 40 yards rushing on 27 tries and 220 yards passing. Pate finished 7-of-13 for 127 yards and Smothers was 7-of-9 for 93 yards. Story was the leading rusher for Alabama with 37 yards on eight carries. Pettway caught two passes for 37 yards and a TD and Johnson caught three for 40 yards.
Defensively, Alabama got an outstanding effort across the board with Xavier Morrow recording eight solos and one assist, Jackson Bratton of Muscle Shoals, five stops and two assists, and Daniel Foster-Allen of St. Paul’s Episcopal had six tackles total. Shaw had two sacks and three tackles overall.
Mississippi had 177 total yards with 88 rushing and 123 passing. Dean was the leading rusher with 66 yards on 19 carries. Rogers was 10-of-16 passing for 66 yards and Jaden Walley of D ’Iberville was their leading receiver with four catches for 27 yards.
Jackson had three tackles for Mississippi. Emmanuel Forbes of Grenada led the hosts with eight stops and Cooley had four tackles.
Alabama All-Stars Face Mississippi Saturday at USM
MONTGOMERY – Alabama All-Star head football coach Shawn Raney figured one major obstacle in preparing a group off 40 all-star players from differing backgrounds and programs would be the teaching terminology used.
His offensive coordinator Jamey DuBose of Central-Phenix City resolved that issue.
“That certainly was a challenge since each coach has his own twist on how he calls plays,” Raney said Thursday. “It has taken an adjustment no doubt. Coach DuBose came up with a wrist band that allows each player to translate a play called into the terminology they are used to. I think that idea has been a great one.”
Alabama’s All-Stars went through two practices Thursday at Camp Shelby, a National Guard base located near Hattiesburg. Saturday’s 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic will kick off at noon at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday, December, 14.
The AHSADCA, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) administers the all-star game each year.
Alabama lost to Mississippi 24-20 last year at Cramton Bowl but still holds a 22-10 edge in the series heading into this year’s game. Raney has been the head coach at Spain Park for seven years, compiling a 48-29 record with the Jaguars during that span. He guided Spain Park to the 2015 Class 7A state finals before falling to McGill-Toolen 14-12. His team won the Region 3 title in 2015 a 7-0 record.
“This week has been a really special week for myself, our coaching staff and the players,” said Raney, who served as defensive coordinator on the 2018 Alabama All-Star coaching staff and also was an assistant in the 2013 game.”
The Alabama All-Star staff also includes DuBose, serving as offensive coordinator, and Adrian Abrams of Minor, the All-Star squad’s defensive coordinator. Rounding out the staff are Darrell Higgins, Mars Hill Bible; Ben Berguson, Homewood; Jon Clements, Corner; Adrian Abrams, Minor; Doug Vickery, Flomaton; Tim Vakakes, Jackson-Olin; and Brian Maner (scout coach), Spain Park.
Raney said the players are getting high marks everywhere they go. “We hear nothing but praise for how they are acting on and off the field,” he said. “I can see them coming together as a team. We haven’t had much time together but they are working hard to become one unit.”
He said linebacker Jackson Bratton of Muscle Shoals has had an outstanding week and has lived up to his billing. The Trojans linebacker had 126 tackles in 13 games this season with seven sacks, 13 tackles for losses, five passes broken up and three fumble recoveries. He scored two TDs, one on a kickoff return and the other as a running back. Bratton closed his prep career with 464 tackles, which ranks 15th all-time in the AHSAA Record Book. Among those ahead of him are Thomas Johnston of Spanish Fort, the state’s all-time leader with 675 tackles, Blount’s Demarco McNeil (622); Matthew Forester of Briarwood Christian (612); Anfernee Jennings of Dadeville (484); and C.J. Mosley of Theodore (474) – all who played in the Alabama-Mississippi Classic. Johnston is a junior at UAB. McNeil is a member of the University of South Carolina coaching staff. Mosley is in his sixth year in the NFL – playing his first season with the New York Jets after five years with the Ravens. Jennings is expected to be a high pick in the NFL draft next spring and Forester, a former Samford University standout who is just finishing his first year as head coach at Briarwood, has a player in this year’s game – recent Clemson commitment Trent Howard.
Raney said both quarterbacks, Sawyer Pate of Thompson and Logan Smothers of Muscle Shoals, had a great practice Thursday afternoon. “They are really beginning to grasp our offense,” he said. Smothers, a Nebraska commit, finished his career at Muscle Shoals with 10,428 total yards and 100 touchdowns accounted for and passed another former Alabama All-Star quarterback Jameis Winston of Hueytown to rank sixth in the AHSAA Record Book. Winston had 9,853 yards in high school, then won the Heisman Trophy in college at Florida State and is currently in his fifth season in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Bucs where he has thrown for 18,743 yards and 114 touchdowns in his pro career already. Smothers was 622-of-920 passing for 7,489 yards and 65 touchdowns and rushed for 2,848 yards and 34 TDs on 450 career carries. He also caught two passes for 91 yards and another TD. His
Pate was 228-of-306 for 3,124 yards and 4! Touchdowns in 2019 in leading Thompson to its first Class 7A title in school history and the first since 1982. Smothers and Pate finished their seasons ranked 2-3 all-time in season pass completion percentage, with rates of 76.5% and 74.5%, respectively.
Raney also praised Thompson’s Evan McGuire, who will be handling all punting and kicking duties. “He is really outstanding, a great talent,” Raney said.
Both teams will have on workout Friday morning with Alabama spending most of its time going over special teams’ assignments. The players will participate in a community service project Friday afternoon and then attend the Parents/Players Banquet Friday night. Honorary game captains Jerraud Powers (Alabama) and Harry Harrison (Mississippi) will address the players at the banquet.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI GAME ON TV: In Alabama, viewers will be able to pick up the game live over the AHSAA TV Network of cable affiliates put together by network producer Vince Earley of WOTM TV. The game will also be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The cable affiliate list is available at: http://www.ahsaa.com/Portals/0/WOTM-Coverage-2019_1.jpg
The NFHS Network link for the contest is: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/mhsaa-ms/gam52db494a27
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI GAME ON RADIO: The Alabama Radio Network will broadcast the game live over its group of affiliate as well. The broadcast can be accessed via the internet at the following link: http://mixlr.com/ahsaaradio/
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama holds a 22-10 lead.
HATTIESBURG (MS) – Alabama’s All-Star football squad reported to Hattiesburg Monday and began preparations for Saturday’s 33rd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic set for the University of Southern Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon with the AHSAA TV Network broadcasting the game over its network of cable affiliates in Alabama. The game will also be live-streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform.
Alabama All-Star head coach Shawn Raney of Spain Park High School said while the talent on the squad has caught the entire coaching staff’s attention, “I think how they are handling themselves and how they are beginning to bond as a team is even more impressive,” he said. “We had to work out inside some because of the weather Tuesday, but we had a great day of practice (Wednesday).”
He made a turnover challenge with the offense and defense, he said after Wednesday’s afternoon practice, and “the defense won Tuesday with five turnovers, but the offense had none today.”
Raney said two offensive linemen were added to the team Wednesday in place of Hewitt-Trussville’s Logan Self and Central-Phenix City’s Joshua Jones. Both were stepped down due to injuries. Mars Hill Bible senior Mack McCluskey, 6-4, 285, and Chase Little of Montgomery Catholic, 6-6, 305), were added to the squad.
Quarterbacks Logan Smothers of Muscle Shoals and Sawyer Pate of Thompson made big strides Wednesday, said Raney. “Both are very talented and showed signs of really picking up our offensive schemes (today).”
Lanett’s Kristian Story, an Alabama commit who set the AHSAA career total offense and touchdowns accounted for en route to leading the Panthers to a 14-0 season and the 1A state title, was named to the team in the “athlete” position. Smothers said Story worked out with the running backs Wednesday but will work with the quarterbacks on Thursday. “We plan to use him in a lot of different ways. He’s a really gifted athlete.” Story was named the Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year over the weekend.
Raney also singled out running back Rondarrius Wiggins of Jacksonville, who had rushed for 2,835 yards and 47 touchdowns as a senior on 277 carries, including a 24-cary, 179-yard effort versus UMS-Wright in the Class 4A Super 7 state championship game last week. He scored on a 79-yard run on his third carry of the game. “He certainly stands out,” said Raney.
He said the strength of the team come Saturday may well be the defense. “I have spent a lot of my time with the defensive unit and we have a lot really good players on that side of the ball. They are working well as a unit.”
Among the defenders are linebackers DaQuan Johnson of Flomaton and Demouy Kennedy of Theodore, two of the top-rated players in the game. R
Mississippi’s staff added three players to their roster, skill players Errick Simmons of Greenville, Ashton Nickelberry of Brandon and lineman Austin Wilson of LaFayette.
Both squads attended a dinner at the Hattiesburg Country Club Wednesday night and will conduct two practices at near-by Camp Shelby with the morning workouts getting underway at 9 a.m., and the afternoon practice at 2 p.m. The teams will have a single practice Friday morning at Camp Shelby and will attend the annual player/parent banquet at the USM Thad Cochran Center Friday night.
The squads will attend a Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast at M.M. Roberts Stadium Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m., will participate in the
Meet the Players” activity on the field from 10 to 11 and the game will kick off at noon.
The game is an event hosted by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) and Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) in conjunction with the AHSAA. Alabama’s All-Stars hold a 22-10 edge in the series which began in 1988 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and moved to Cramton Bowl in 2011. It also started a rotation in 2015 with the game being hosted every other year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC).
Mississippi won last year’s game 24-20 at Cramton Bowl and is riding a two-game winning streak heading into this year’s contest. Alabama holds a 22-10 edge in the series.
Oxford 14, Spanish Fort 13
AUBURN – The Oxford Yellow Jackets won their first state championship in 26 years in a cliffhanging Super 7 Class 6A State Championship Game Friday night, edging Spanish Fort 14-13 thanks to a touchdown and extra point with just 23 seconds remaining in the contest at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The 6A finals closed out the 2019 Super 7 State Championships.
The Toros (9-5) had taken a 13-7 lead earlier in the final period after a wild blocked field goal return followed by a fourth-and-inches fumble into the end zone for a score with 6:21 to play.
Oxford, coached by first-year head coach Keith Etheredge, scored the winning touchdown almost six minutes later when sophomore Trequon Fegans scampered 3 yards around right end, crashing through two Spanish Fort would-be tacklers at the goal-line for the tying score, and senior Andrew Warhurst kicked the game-deciding extra point. The TD was the fourth play of a 43-yard drive that started with 1:34 remaining in the game.
Yellow Jackets senior X’Zavian Britt, a starting wide receiver who was forced into action as the backup quarterback when starter Trey Higgins was injured in the third quarter, broke loose for a 24-yard scamper to the 15 and ran 8 more yards to the Toros’ 7 to set winning score. A Britt-to-Roc Taylor lob pass was incomplete in the end zone, but Spanish Fort was flagged for interference gave Oxford the ball at the 3 to set up Fegans’ dramatic score. Britt was named the Class 6A state championship game MVP.
Spanish Fort’s go-ahead score was also remarkable. Linebacker Logan Ganey blocked Warhurst’s 43-yard field goal try and Micah Gaffney sprinted down the left sideline for 63 yards before he was knocked out of bounds at the 2 by Oxford’s Miguel Mitchell.
Toros quarterback Kris Abrams-Draine lost a yard on second-and-goal, but appeared to dive into the end zone from the 3 on third down. A replay challenge overturned the play, showing the quarterback’s knee was down inside the 1. On fourth down, Abrams-Draine tried the left side of the pile again, but the ball popped loose and into the end zone where wide receiver Travis McGowan pounced on it for the score. Tanner Keesee’s PAT went wide right.
The Yellow Jackets’ ensuing 58-yard drive ended at the Spanish Fort 13 when the spot on a fourth-and-inches play was challenged. The ball was re-spotted and a re-measurement showed it inches short with 2:42 remaining.
Oxford’s defense rose to the challenge, however, with leading tackler Tavares Elston (seven solo stops and one assist) and Chanceton Holifield dropping Spanish Fort’s Johnny Morris for a 6-yard loss to the Toros’ 8-yard-line on first down. Two plays netted just 3 yards and the Toros punted on fourth-and-14, setting up the dramatic finish.
The Toros, coached by Ben Blackmon, had been hoping to become the first No. 4 seed to win a state football championship. Spanish Fort was 4-0 in previous runs to the Super 7 finals, winning in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015. Oxford added its first blue championship trophy since 1993 to go along with back-to-back titles in 1988 and ’89. While it was Oxford’s fourth state crown overall, it was the fifth for Etheredge, who guided Leeds to four state titles during his tenure with the Green Wave.
Oxford got the only points in the hard-fought first half on a 13-yard run by Jonovan Carlisle with 2:05 left in the second period. The Yellow Jackets’ scoring drive was only 36 yards following a 24-yard Toros’ punt. Warhurst kicked the point-after.
Spanish Fort tied the score with a 12-play, 62-yard march in the third period. A wide-open Morris caught a 15-yard pass from Abrams-Draine.
Carlisle led the winners with 93 yards rushing on 18 attempts and Higgins had 70 on 17 before suffering an injury in the third period. Taylor caught four passes for 86 yards while Britt threw for 66 yards on 2-of-4 passing and caught two throws for 16.
Spanish Fort’s Morris had 100 yards on the ground on 18 attempts and Abrams-Draine ran for 83 on 18. Abrams-Draine was also the Toros’ leading receiver catching one of two completed passes for 25 yards. Carlos Johnson led the Spanish Fort defense with nine tackles and one assist.
AHSAA 2019 Super 7 State Championships
Thompson (12-1) 40, Central-Phenix City (12-2) 14
Oxford (14-1) 14, Spanish Fort (9-5) 13
Central, Clay County (13-2) 31, Pleasant Grove (13-2) 27
UMS-Wright (14-0) 28, Jacksonville (12-3) 17
Piedmont (14-1) 26, Mobile Christian (9-5) 24
Fyffe (15-0) 56, Reeltown (13-2) 7
Lanett (14-0) 41, Mars Hill Bible (14-1) 30
Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game
Baldwin County 27, Vestavia Hills 20
Fyffe 56, Reeltown 7
AUBURN – The Fyffe Red Devils rolled to an insurmountable 42-point lead in the opening half and cruised to a 56-7 victory over Reeltown to claim their second straight Class 2A state championship at the 2019 AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Friday.
The Red Devils (15-0) led 28-7 after one period and 42-7 at the half behind quarterback Zach Pyron’s 153 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Pyron threw only one pass in the opening half out of Coach Paul Benefield’s run-oriented hybrid Wing-T offense, a 20-yard score to tight end Brody Dalton. For the game, Pyron gained 171 yards on 27 carries.
Fyffe, coached by Paul Benefield, finished with 325 yards, all but 20 on the ground, on 55 plays to just 51 total yards for Reeltown (13-2), coached by Matt Johnson. The Red Devils’ defensive effort was the second fewest yards allowed in AHSAA Super 7 history dating back to 1996 and secured the school’s fourth state title overall.
A big reason the defense was so dominate was the offense’s ability to keep the ball, with a 30:14 time of possession to the Rebels’ 17:46. The Red Devils also converted 9-of-13 third-down attempts and was 2-of-2 on fourth-down tries while holding the Rebels to 2-of-8 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth downs.
The winners gave up a 90-yard kickoff return to Eric Shaw for Reeltown’s lone score with 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter, making the score 28-7 after Connor Moore’s PAT. That was the only touchdown Fyffe’s first-team unit gave up all season. The Red Devils outscored opponents 639-43 in 15 games and had nine shutouts.
In the opening half, Fyffe’s stifling defense held Reeltown to minus-1 yard rushing and only 5 total yards on just 13 offensive snaps. The Rebels gained 51 total yards in the game, just 20 on the ground on 23 rushes.
Fyffe Linebacker Ty Bell, who recovered a fumble on the kickoff following Dalton’s score, scooped up another loose ball and ran it in for a 7-yard touchdown to put Fyffe up 20-0 with 7:11 to play in the first period. The final Fyffe points – with 1:12 left in the game – also came on a fumble recovery as David McKee grabbed the ball in the end zone after Reeltown’s punter lost it in a scramble for a high snap from center.
After Pyron’s third first-half TD, a 1-yard run with 6:16 left in the second quarter, Ike Rowell punched in another score with just 19 seconds left in the period. Rowell finished with 121 yards on 18 carries in the win.
The third period was scoreless before Malichi Mize scored from 2 yards out to complete an 11-play, 58-yard drive on the first snap of the final quarter. Dalton was 7-for-8 on extra-point kicks while Pyron ran for a two-point conversion to push the lead to 28-0 with 40 seconds remaining in the first.
Cameron Faison was the leading rusher for Reeltown with 20 yards on seven carries. Quarterback Iverson Hooks was 4-of-11 passing for 31 yards with Shaw catching two passes for 19 yards. He also had 114 yards in kickoff returns.
Ike Rowell had five tackles to pace the Red Devils defense. Leading the Rebels was Tra Hughley with a game-leading 10 tackles and two assists. Hooks had eight tackles and Rhasheed Wilson had seven.
Reeltown has been a regular visitor to the AHSAA state championship game, with three titles (1987, 2001, 2009) and six runner-up finishes (1984, 1991, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2019). Fyffe’s other state titles were in 2014, 2016 and 2018 – all at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Red Devils finished second in 2007 and 2015. The coaching win for Benefield was the 297th of his 28-year career. He is now 297-53 overall.
The 24th Super 7 State Championships conclude Friday with defending Oxford (13-1) taking on Spanish Fort (9-4) in the 6A finals at 7 to close out the 2019 Super 7 Championships.
All championship games are being televised over the AHSAA TV Network by the NFHS Network and WOTM, the AHSAA TV partner. The games are available over the NFHS Network live-stream platform and the WOTM network of cable affiliates across the state.
For detailed information concerning the telecasts, go to the following link:
To access the AHSAA Radio Network, which is broadcasting all seven championship games, go to the following link for the internet link:
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