The AHSAA is saddened to learn of the death of long-time high school teacher and football coach Jerry Partridge, 80. He passed away September 16 after an extended illness.
A 1957 graduate of Leeds High School, Partridge began his teaching and coaching career in 1964 at West End High School. “Jerry Partridge was a major positive influence on the lives of so many,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “He was a leader that led by his life of personal example. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife of 63 years Patricia, his four children, 11 grandchildren and numerous friends.”
He began his teaching and coaching career in the Birmingham City Schools at West End High School in 1964 as an assistant coach, moved to Jones Valley and in 1969 became a head football coach at Phillips High School. After two years, he left to start the football program at Midfield High School in 1971. After two seasons he moved to Huffman as an assistant coach and five years later he became the head coach where he would remain through 1993. He retired from public school education after 1993 and spent six years at Coosa Valley Academy before retiring for good. His 89-80 record at Huffman still ranks him as the school’s all-time winningest football coach. He led the Vikings to the Class 6A state championship game in 1985.
His son David Partridge is the head football coach at Shades Valley High School.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, September 19, at Kilgroe Funeral Home in Leeds from noon until 2 p.m. The memorial service will follow immediately with burial to follow at Forest Crest Cemetery.
A wonderful tribute to his life can be found at the following link:
MONTGOMERY – Seven calls were challenged with one call being reversed during last week’s seven high school football games utilizing DVSport Instant Replay, said AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones. For the season, 20 challenges have been issued with four calls on the field overturned after video evaluation.
Out of seven games this week, five games had challenges. The reversed play came at the Wetumpka vs. Opelika game,” said AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones. “Opelika challenged a play where the Wetumpka quarterback being ruled down prior to fumbling. Upon review, video showed he fumbled and the ball was recovered by Opelika.”
Jones said that later in the same game, Wetumpka challenged a play ruled a successful pass reception, and that play stood as called on the field.
Five other challenges last week stood as originally determined by the officials.
Charles Henderson at Oxford: Charles Henderson challenged a player fumbling prior to being down.
New Smyrna (FL) at Gulf Shores: Gulf Shores, using Instant Replay for the first time, challenged if a catch called on the field had been made.
Prattville at Central-Phenix City: Prattville also challenged a catch made.
Lee-Montgomery at Auburn: Auburn challenged if a punt return had been muffed. Upon review, the play was confirmed as no muff. In the same contest, Lee-Montgomery challenged a ball breaking the plane of the goal line on two-point conversion and that play also stood as called.
The 20% reversal rate after four weeks of games dropped slightly from last week’s 23.1% season rate. DVSport Instant Replay is in its second year of implementation. The seven challenges were the most in one week this season. The NFHS has granted the AHSAA a three-year period to experiment with instant replay in regular season games.
Jones reported that 20 Instant Replay reviews this fall have consisted of the following:
TYPES OF CHALLENGES (20 reviews with 4 reversals, 20%)
7 Catch or no catch
7 Fumble or no fumble
4 Ball breaking the plan of the goal line (Note: also had 2 fumbles reviewed at same time)
1 Illegal participation
1 Illegal forward pass
1 Touching of a punt
A total of 34 schools have participated in AHSAA contests utilizing Instant Replay this season with seven games scheduled for this Friday. New to the Instant Replay this season will be Childersburg, Dora, Lawrence County, St. Paul’s Episcopal, Scottsboro and Tuscaloosa County. The complete list of games utilizing Instant Replay this week are listed below.
Friday, September 20
Foley at Baker
Opelika at Central Phenix City
Scottsboro at East Limestone
St. Pauls’ Episcopal at Gulf Shores
Childersburg at Handley
Dora at Lawrence County
Tuscaloosa County at Thompson
SCHOOLS IN GAMES WITH INSTANT REPLAY THIS SEASON
Class 7A (11)
Class 6A (9)
Class 5A (5)
Class 4A (5)
Class 3A (1)
Class 2A (1)
New Smyrna Beach (FL)
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director
The issue of vaping has reached a crisis stage across the United States, and leaders in our nation’s schools must take immediate steps to stop the use of these electronic cigarette products by our nation’s youth – particularly the more than 12 million participants in high school athletics and performing arts programs.
On Tuesday, CBS News reported that Kansas health officials confirmed the first death in that state linked to vaping. The CBS News release stated that last week, officials in Indiana, California and Minnesota reported deaths in their states linked to vaping. Previous deaths had been reported in Illinois and Oregon.
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that public health officials confirmed two people in Idaho had developed a serious lung disease linked to vaping. The outbreak of vaping-related lung disease has sickened about 450 people in at least 33 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), causing the CDC to urge people to consider stopping vaping as the number of cases of severe lung illnesses continues to rise.
In February 2019, the CDC reported a 78 percent increase in high school students vaping from 2017 to 2018. Youth e-cigarette use has been called an epidemic by major public health officials.
Students in our nation’s schools have been sold a false bill of goods that vaping is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking – particularly by industry giant JUUL, which held a 76 percent share of the e-cigarette market at the end of 2018 and has wooed the youth market with its products that contain flavors such as cotton candy, chocolate, gummy bear, strawberry and many others.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving e-cigarette companies until sometime next year to demonstrate that their products can help people stop smoking cigarettes, leaders in our nation’s school activities programs must do everything possible to stop the use of these products by our nation’s youth now – not in 2020.
One educational tool that schools can use immediately is the online course “Understanding Vaping and E-Cigarettes” created by the NFHS with support from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. The free course is available on the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
Several articles related to vaping will appear in the September issue of High School Today, which will be posted this week on the NFHS website (www.NFHS.org).
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is beginning 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.
The AHSAA is proud to partner with the Jason Foundation, which works together with schools across the nation for the awareness and prevention of youth suicide.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month; Sept. 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week; and Tuesday, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.
The Jason Foundation reports that the latest CDC WISQARS National Data (2017) shows suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-14 in Alabama and third leading cause of death for ages 12-18 (middle and high-school age) and college-age youth in the state.
To learn more about recognizing risk factors or for other information, go to the Jason Foundation website found at:
http://jasonfoundation.com/ or call 615-264-2323.
Also, we want to thank University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban for providing public service videos concerning this important topic. Please feel free to use these PSAs in your school and to send out over your school’s social media platform. If your school or school system participates in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program or with any other broadcast program, please consider incorporating these videos into your school broadcast package. The link to the PSAs can be found at:
Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes at your school, especially concerning this important topic.
If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact the AHSAA office.
234 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Sept. 4 – Sept. 12
MONTGOMERY – Two Birmingham neighbors, Minor and Jackson-Olin high schools, will square off in the AHSAA TV Network’s Football Game of the Week Thursday night as the prep season moved to Week 2.
In addition, the NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream a record 234 events over the Sept. 4-Sept. 12 time period with 111 football games, 122 volleyball matches and on swim meet scheduled already.
Jackson-Olin (1-1) and Minor (0-2) will grab the spotlight Thursday night, however, as the e second installment of the AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. The Class 6A, Region 5 battle will be produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM under the direction of executive producer Vince Earley. The game will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the WOTM Network in Alabama. Tommy Wood and Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM/NFHS Network production.
Jackson-Olin’s Mustangs rolled to the school’s first perfect 10-0 regular season in 2018. Coach Tim Vakakes’ squad won the Region 5 title with a 6-0 record before losing 35-32 in the first round of 6A state playoffs to Decatur. The 10 regular-season wins surpassed the previous best established by Jackson-Olin in 1990. That team was anchored by future University of Alabama and NFL star David Palmer, who earned the state’s Mr. Football honors for that season. Leading this year’s team is Alabama commit Quandarrius Robinson, a 6foot-5, 230-pound linebacker rated among the top defensive prospects in the nation.
The Mustangs had a 12-game regular-season win streak snapped last week in a 38-12 loss to Shades Valley. Vakakes, now in his seventh season, took over a struggling program in after 2013 and has seen his team go from 1-9 the first year to last year’s 10-1 finish.
Coach Adrian Abrams is in his second season as head coach at Minor. He led the Tigers to the 6A state playoffs last season. Minor dropped a close 10-7 decision to Muscle Shoals in the first round. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Ramsay 21-18 in the 2019 season opener and fell 20-7 last week to Paul Bryant in another hard-fought game. Minor won the region title in 2016 with a perfect 6-0 mark and 11-2 overall record. Among the Tigers’ standouts is all-purpose back Jamari Jemison, a big-play man on offense in the backfield and at receiver.
Four varsity games are set for Thursday night with Wenonah vs. Woodlawn and Lee-Montgomery vs. Jeff Davis both set for the NFHS Network’s live-stream events. On Friday, 55 football varsity games are scheduled including five games in Class 1A; three in Class 2A; four in Class 3A; five in Class 4A; four in Class 5A; 18 in Class 6A; and 16 in Class 7A. Another NFHS Network record will be set Monday, Sept. 9 when 25 junior-varsity and nine freshman football games are live-streamed.
Volleyball is also setting records on the NFHS Network with 122 matches set over the weekend and early next week. Thursday’s slate is the largest ever for the AHSAA with 24 varsity matches and 22 junior-varsity matches for a total of 46 events planned by AHSAA member schools in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
Among the top matches will be Addison at Hatton, Enterprise at Auburn, John Carroll Catholic at Mountain Brook and Pelham at Brewer. The 234 total surpasses last week’s previous record-setting total (177) by 57 events.
The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 12 can be found at the following link:
A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:
For information concerning the AHSAA TV Network’s cable availability, got to the following link:
177 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Aug. 29-Sept. 5
Hueytown vs. Helena Tonight in AHSAA Game of the Week
MONTGOMERY – The NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream six varsity football games tonight, including Helena at Hueytown in the AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. The game, produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM, will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the Network in Alabama.
Hueytown (1-0) hosts Helena (1-0) in tonight’s AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. Tommy Wood and Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM/NFHS Network production.
Sixty-five varsity football games will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network Friday and Saturday with 105 varsity, junior varsity, freshman and middle school games planned from tonight through next Thursday. Varsity games make up 77 of that total.
In addition, 70 varsity and junior varsity volleyball contests are scheduled to be live-streamed through Sept. 5, one cross country meet and one swim meet for a total of 177 events for the week. Schools will be live-streaming seven varsity and seven junior varsity volleyball matches tonight.
AHSAA member schools live-streamed 47 events last year during that same time span, we are seeing a whopping increase of 361%. The NFHS Network also live-streamed 55 events last week for a total of 232 events in the first two weekends of the 2019-20 school year.
The AHSAA ranked eighth nationally in the NFHS Network last school year with 2,762 events live-streamed – an average of approximately 230 events per month. With last weekend’s totals and this week’s totals, AHSAA member schools will have surpassed last year’s average by Sept. 1.
“A big reason for the amazing increase we are seeing is the NFHS Network’s push to provide schools with Pixellot cameras at a very reasonable cost,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “The special camera can be mounted permanently in a stadium or gymnasium and can video any events in those stadiums automatically. Several of our school systems took advantage of the offer and signed up all their schools.”
The NFHS Network School Broadcast Program provides excellent exposure for school programs as well as opportunities for students to participate in AHSAA events as members of the broadcast production team at each school. Schools can also generate much-needed revenue from advertising sold as well as subscriptions to the Network.
“Schools tell us the most important reason they participate in the NFHS Network’s School Broadcast Program is because it allows those who are unable to attend the games a chance to see their children and grandchildren participate,” Savarese said. “We have received testimonials from our soldiers stationed around the world and from and others who are telling us how much they appreciate this service which allows them to watch the games live. We are extremely proud of how our schools have made the NFHS Network their own.”
Among the school systems that joined the NFHS Network this summer are Mobile County and Jefferson County schools systems.
The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 5 can be found at the following link:
A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:
NFHS reports National Participation has 1st decline since 1988-89
MONTGOMERY – Participation in high school sports declined in 2018-19 for the first time in 30 years, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). However, participation in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) rose by 1.7% in 2018-19 over the previous year’s totals.
The AHSAA saw a total of 146,446 students participating on team rosters in 2018-19, an increase of 2,489 student-athletes over the 143,957 reported in 2017-18. The leader was football, which saw a 4.8% rise from (30,882 in 2017-18 to 32,366 in 2018-19 – up 1,484 students. The biggest sports percentage participation increase was reported in girls’ soccer, which rose from 5,021 to 5,434 over the two-year period, a change of 413 student-athletes and an 8.2% increase.
The NFHS, which gathers data from all 51 state associations, which includes the District of Columbia, showed the 2018-19 total of 7,937,491 participants is a decline of 43,395 from the 2017-18 school year when the number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time record high of 7,980,886. The latest year’s data was still the third-highest ever and consisted of 4,534,758 boys and 3,402,733 girls, according to the figures obtained. The last decline in sports participation numbers occurred during the 1988-89 school year.
“The AHSAA’s increase in participation is a credit to our coaches and administrators for providing an environment conducive to educational athletics resulting in programs where parents want their children involved,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are proud of our schools and believe in our mission.”
The AHSAA’s totals for 2018-19 showed 89,626 boys’ participants and 56,820 girls’ participants, up 0.6% and 3.6%, respectively, from 2017-18. Sports with the highest participation in the AHSAA were: 1. Football (32,366); 2. Baseball (14,100); 3. Boys’ Basketball (13,648); 4. Volleyball (10,310); 5. Softball (9,752); 6. Girls’ Basketball (8,559); 7. Boys’ Outdoor Track (8,317); 8. Cheer (7,885); 9. Boys’ Soccer (6,916); 10. Girls’ Outdoor Track (5,962).
The top gain in AHSAA boys’ sports came in wrestling, where 167 more student-athletes participated for an increase of 5.7%. Cheer, which instituted regional competition for the first time in 2018-19, saw a 7.9% rise with 574 more students participating. Boys’ soccer showed a 5.0% increase and girls’ indoor track had a 6.1% increase. Only two sports showed a decrease, baseball and boys’ tennis. Baseball, which ranked second in participation in both years, had a 712-student decrease resulting in a 11.4% drop in participation. Boys’ tennis saw a 3.5% decrease in numbers from 1,559 to 1,504.
“We know from recent surveys that the number of kids involved in youth sports has been declining, and a decline in the number of public school students has been predicted for a number of years, so we knew our ‘streak’ might end someday,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director addressing the national decline. “The data from this year’s survey serves as a reminder that we have to work even harder in the coming years to involve more students in these vital programs – not only athletics but performing arts programs as well.”
The biggest contributors to the decline were the two longstanding and popular sports of football and basketball. Participation in boys’ 11-player football declined by 30,829 participants to 1,006,013 – the lowest mark since 1,002,734 in the 1999-2000 school year.
Although the actual number of participants in boys’ 11-player football dropped for the fifth consecutive year nationally, the number of schools offering the sport remained steady. The survey indicated that 14,247 schools offer 11-player football – an increase of 168 from last year. A comparison of the figures from the past two years indicates that the average number of boys involved in 11-player football on a per-school basis dropped from 73 to 70, which would include freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams.
While participation in boys’ 11-player football dropped in all but seven states, participation in 6-player, 8-player and 9-player gained 156 schools and 1,594 participants nationwide, with the largest increase in boys’ 8-player football from 19,554 to 20,954. In addition, in the past 10 years, participation by girls in 11-player football has doubled – from 1,249 in the 2009-10 school year to 2,404 last year.
“The survey certainly confirms that schools are not dropping the sport of football, which is great news,” Niehoff said. “Certainly, we are concerned about the reduction in the number of boys involved in the 11-player game but are thrilled that states are finding other options by starting 6-player or 8-player football in situations where the numbers have declined.
“While we recognize that the decline in football participation is due, in part, to concerns about the risk of injury, we continue to work with our member state associations, the nation’s high schools and other groups to make the sport as safe as possible. Every state has enacted rules that limit the amount of contact before the season and during practices, and every state has concussion protocols and laws in place, so we continue to believe that the sport is as safe as it has ever been.
“We also are working with groups such as USA Football to reduce contact and teach proper tackling skills at the youth levels to increase the interest level as kids reach junior high school and high school.”
The NFHS survey showed that combined basketball participation was down 23,944 (13,340 girls and 10,604 boys), and the girls basketball total of 399,067 is the lowest since the 1992-93 school year. However, the decrease in girls’ basketball participation from 430,368 in 2016-17 to 399,067 in 2018-19 is largely attributable to a 25,000 drop in Texas during that two-year period. Dismissing the Texas numbers, girls’ basketball numbers have been steady in the range of 430,000 for the past seven years.
AHSAA basketball participation rose 1.1% from 13,386 to 13,532 for boy’ basketball and girls’ basketball rose 2.2% from 8,314 to 8,494.
Four of the top 10 boys’ sports registered increases in participation the NFHS survey reported, topped by track and field with an additional 5,257 participants. Other top 10 boys’ sports that added participants last year were soccer (2,715), wrestling (1,877) and tennis (1,163). Among girls’ top 10 sports, volleyball was the front-runner with an additional 6,225 participants, followed by soccer (3,623) and lacrosse (3,164).
The most significant increases from last year were registered in the adapted and Unified sports programs. The various adapted sports sponsored by schools across the country gained 4,102 participants, while Unified sports participation increased 2,938.
With 1,006,013 participants, 11-player football remains the No. 1 participatory sport for boys in high school by a large margin. Outdoor track and field is No. 2 with 605,354 participants, followed by basketball (540,769), baseball (482,740), soccer (459,077), cross country (269,295), wrestling (247,441), tennis (159,314), golf (143,200) and swimming/diving (136,638).
Outdoor track and field continues to lead the way for girls with 488,267 participants, followed by volleyball (452,808), basketball (399,067), soccer (394,105), fast-pitch softball (362,038), cross country (219,345), tennis (189,436), swimming/diving (173,088), competitive spirit (161,358) and lacrosse (99,750).
While some of the traditional sports such as football, basketball and baseball have remained steady and/or experienced slight declines in the past seven years, other sports have registered significant gains since 2012. Girls’ and boys’ soccer gained 70,668 participants since 2012 (a nine percent increase) and now has a combined 853,182 participants nationwide.
The top 10 states by participants remained the same in 2018-19. Texas and California topped the list again with 825,924 and 824,709 participants, respectively, followed by New York (369,266), Ohio (339,158), Illinois (333,838), Pennsylvania (316,429), Florida (308,173), Michigan (292,947), New Jersey (281,058) and Minnesota (240,487). Only Texas, California and Minnesota reported higher figures than the previous year.
The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971 through numbers it receives from its member state associations. The complete 2018-19 High School Athletics Participation Survey is available via the following link:
# # #
AHSAA Media Contact: Ron Ingram, 334-263-6994
AHSAA Director of Communications
NFHS 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
25% of Calls Challenged Were Reversed in First year
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Instant Replay program designed and administered by DVSport concluded its first season last year with 23 calls reversed from 96 challenges.
The AHSAA Instant Replay will be at nine games this week to the start of the 2019 season. Among them are both contests set for the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. DVSport will be on hand for tonight’s Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgomery game which kicks off the Kickoff Classic at 7 p.m. Hoover will play Central-Phenix City Friday night at Cramton Bowl in the second game of the Kickoff Classic. Thar game begins at 7 p.m., as well. Both will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network by WOTM/Broadway Communications and live-streamed over the NFHS Network, which now manages the AHSAA TV Network.
WOTM will provide the video replay feed for both games.
“This will be similar to what we were able to do at last year’s Super 7 State Football Championships,” said AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones. “Twelve challenges were made by teams in the seven championship games with four calls overturned and one other reversal was administered based on an automatic review of a scoring play for a 38.5% reversal rate. All scoring plays and potential scoring plays were reviewed automatically by the reviewed in the championship games.”
For the year, DVSport Instant Replay was utilized by 96 different schools in 103 games for a total of 203 opportunities. The final tally showed 96 challenges and 23 calls on the field overturned – a percentage of 25.0%.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and AHSAA former Director of Officials Greg Brewer began working on implement ting Instant Replay in 2013 – when NFHS rules changed to allow the technology on the sideline for the coaches. The National Federation State High School Associations (NFHS) granted permission to the AHSAA to experiment with instant replay for a beginning with the 2018 season. The AHSAA, thanks in big part to the leadership of current Director of Officials Mark Jones, partnered with DVSport in 2018 to implement instant replay in the regular season as well as post season play. DVSport equipment is required in Alabama for instant replay.
“Our first year of the experiment exceeded our expectations,” Jones said. “It was demonstrated that instant replay can work with the limited camera angles we have available. Most games usually two camera angles: one from the sideline (press box) and the other from the end zone.”
Jones said that during the state championships, the AHSAA was able to utilize the same equipment used by Auburn University during its home games. That equipment is also provided by DVSports. That allowed a review of all scoring or potential scoring plays from the booth without requiring a challenge by either coach.
In addition to the Jeff Davis-Carver game, the Sidney Lanier at Baker and Callaway (GA) at Opelika contests will also be utilizing the DVSport Instant Replay tonight.
The complete slate of games scheduled to for DVSport Instant Replay this weekend include:
Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgoemry, Kickoff Classic, Cramton Bowl.
Sidney Lanier at Baker, Mobile
Callaway (GA) at Opelika
Hoover vs. Central-Phenix City, Kickoff Classic, Cramton Bowl.
Wilcox Central at Auburn
Hartselle at Austin
Carbon Hill at Good Hope
LaFayette at Handley
Munford at Oxford
Dothan vs. Clay-Chalkville, at Thompson HS, 3 p.m.
Davidson at Thompson, 7 p.m.
MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, including two teams ranked in the Sporting News National Top 25 pre-season rankings and two teams that make up one of Alabama’s biggest high school rivalries, will officially kick off the 2019 high school football season Thursday and Friday at Cramton Bowl in the 2019 AHSAA Kickoff Classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
The head coaches and selected players gathered at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Tuesday for the Kickoff Classic press conference. Media on hand came in early for the annual AHSAA Media Day. The two events were broadcast live by WOTM over its new AHSAA TV Network or cable affiliates and live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Jeff Davis and Carver-Montgomery will play Thursday night in game one at Cramton Bowl at 7 p.m., in the 51st contest of a city rivalry that dates back to 1970. Defending Class 7A state champion Central-Tuscaloosa and Hoover, winners of six state championships since 2008 including the 7A crowns in 2016 and 17, meet Friday night in the second game of the Football Classic. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Both games will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network – thanks to a new TV pact announced at Tuesday’s Media Day between the AHSAA, the NFHS Network and WOTM/Broadway Communications. The games will be shown over a network pf cable affiliates and live-streamed over the subscriber-based NFHS Network.
The Vols of Coach Lee Carter and Wolverines of Coach James Thompson have opened the season with each other most years. Jeff Davis holds a 36-14 edge in the series after opening with 18 straight wins from 1970 to 1988. Since then, the Vols have held a slim 18-14 edge with Carver winning 10 of the last 13 games. Carver finished last season 8-3 in Thompson’s first season as head coach. Jeff Davis was 3-7 but won its last two games – a positive finish heading into the off-season.
Central and Hoover have played twice, including meeting in the 2016 Champions Challenge – the previous name of the Kickoff Classic. The Bucs won that contest 23-7 and hold a 2-0 edge in the series. However, Central is coming off a perfect 14-0 season and a dominating playoff run that included two shutout wins and culminated with a 52-7 thrashing of highly touted Thompson in the finals. The Warriors opened the 2018 season beating James Clemens 38-7 in last year’s Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl.
Their dominance caught Hoover Coach Josh Niblett’s attention. “There’s got to be a greater cause when you are out there working every day in 95 to 96-degree weather. You’ve got to be working for something greater than yourself,” Niblett said. “When you open with the defending 7A state champions you get our oil checked pretty fast.”
Central Coach Jamey DuBose said his team is honored to play a program with the reputation of Hoover. “What Coach Niblett and his program and teams have has accomplished is just unbelievable,” he said. “You can talk about defending champs, and such, but we have a motto around out place about putting the rings away. It’s not about what you have done in the past but what you are going to do. This is a different team but they have the same dream. You have got to play the best if you are ever going to be the best.”
The media also heard from coaches from other fall sports including cross country coach Luke Robinson of Scottsboro High School, volleyball coach Elissa Morris of Brewbaker Tech High School, swimming coach Anthony Norris of LAMP High School, football coach Don Moore of Dale County High School and football coach Shawn Raney of Spain Park High School. Raney was introduced as the 2019 Alabama All-Star head coach for next December’s 33rd Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Moore explained the importance of having an emergency action plan in place and being prepared to put into action. He and his coaching staff did just that on August 6 when one of the Warriors’ players had a cardiac arrest and the coaches’ quick actions revived him and saved his life. “That young man was back at practice last Wednesday,” said Brooks. “Having him return to watch us practice really put what’s really important into perspective.”
MONTGOMERY – Spain Park High School head football coach Shawn Raney will be the head coach for the Alabama All-Star football squad for the 33st annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game next December. The game will be played at Hattiesburg (MS) on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday, December, 14.
Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) made the announcement at the 2019 Kickoff Classic press conference Thursday at the AHSAA office. 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.
The head football coach at Spain Park High School for the last six years, Raney has compiled a 44-23 record with the Jaguars. 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. As an assistant coach, Raney served as defensive coordinator for three years at Hoover, helping the Bucs win the 6A state title in 2012. Hoover reached the state finals in 2011 and 2010 finishing as state runner-up.
“I am excited and humbled to be selected to serve as head coach of the Alabama all-stars,” said Raney, who served as defensive coordinator on the 2018 Alabama All-Star coaching staff. “Not growing up in Alabama, I was truly humbled when I was asked to coach in the game for the first time in 2013, and even more humbled when Coach (Josh) Niblett asked me to be his defensive coordinator in the game last year. But to be chosen as the head coach is even more humbling.”
Alabama lost 42-7 in Hattiesburg in 2017 and Alabama won 25-14 at Cramton Bowl in 2016. The annual game, which pits the top high school senior players from Alabama and Mississippi, has been played yearly since 1988. Mississippi has won both games played in Mississippi (2015 and 2017). Alabama has a 22-8 edge in all games played in Alabama. Hoover High School’s Josh Niblett was Alabama head coach in 2018.
“Coach Raney is one of our state’s most outstanding high school head coaches,” said Lee. “The rest of the staff is also outstanding. They are already working hard on the player selection process.”
Lee also announced the coaches selected to complete the Alabama All-Star staff. Assistant coaches include Jamey DuBose, Central-Phenix City; 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.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama holds a 22-10 lead.
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