Friday, September 20, 2019






Author: David Holtsford

David Holtsford's Article

NFHS Joins Bag Tags, Inc. and Crisis Text Line to Provide SAFE Tags






NFHS Joins Bag Tags, Inc. and Crisis Text Line to Provide SAFE Tags


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Contact: Elliot Hopkins


           INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 19, 2019) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), Bag Tags, Inc. and Crisis Text Line have collaborated to create the “SAFE Tag” – a luggage tag designed to offer emergency contact information for students experiencing any kind of emotional crisis.

           The luggage tag shows the contact information to Crisis Text Line – a national not-for-profit organization that provides free and confidential support to those experiencing emotional crises. Bag Tags, Inc., which specializes in event credentials and has been a corporate partner of the NFHS since 2014, produced the luggage tag to help the NFHS address issues such as bullying, hazing and other social issues in schools.

           Conveniently affixable to a student’s backpack, the SAFE Tag connects students to Crisis Text Line, which has processed more than 117 million messages and completed more than 27,000 active rescues across the country. By texting ‘SHIELD’ to 741741, individuals begin a conversation with a trained Crisis Counselor, who offers support and helps to de-escalate the crisis.

          “We are pleased to be involved in this important service to students with Bag Tags, Inc. and Crisis Text Line,” said Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “In many cases, students don’t have anyone to talk to them when these events occur, so having someone who will listen is a great opportunity for young people.”

           With the help of the NFHS and its access to 19,500 high schools and more than 12 million athletics and activities participants through its 51 member state high school associations, the ultimate goal is to have the SAFE Tag attached to all students’ backpacks, and for its assortment of vibrant colors to become synonymous with protection, and act as a deterrent for those looking to cause harm to someone else.

          “Bag Tags, Inc. is honored and excited to promote SAFE Tags alongside the NFHS and Crisis Text Line,” said Jeff Jones, Director of National Sales at Bag Tags, Inc. “We not only know that Crisis Counselors will help any student that reaches out, we also know that as long as students are provided with SAFE Tags, they will feel comfortable to reach out through the texting environment that Crisis Text Line has created.”

           “Crisis Text Line is thrilled to partner with two incredible and genuine organizations – the NFHS and Bag Tags, Inc. – to bring SAFE Tags to life,” said Maggie Farah, Senior Manager of Business Development for Crisis Text Line. “The program has a massive opportunity to cast a safety net for students across the country. We’ll be here 24/7 to support their crises.”

           SAFE Tags can be purchased from Bag Tags, Inc. for 99 cents apiece plus shipping and handling, with 50 percent of the proceeds going back to Crisis Text Line to support its efforts. More information, including order details, can be found here: .

          “We would urge school leaders to purchase SAFE Tags for all students in their particular school,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services. “This would help to ensure that students are equipped with someone to contact when a crisis does occur.”




About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at


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

                                                  National Federation of State High School Associations




Class 1A Schools Mars Hill Bible, South Lamar Lead AHSAA Scoring Leaders after Week 3

    MONTGOMERY – Defending Class 1A state football champion Mars Hill Bible is averaging 59.7 points per game (ppg) heading into week four’s games to lead the AHSAA in points scored per game. South Lamar High School tops the state’s defenses with three shutouts in three games thus far.
    The Panthers (3-0) of Coach Darrell Higgins scored 732 points in 15 games last season (48.8 ppg) en route to the school’s first state football state title in 2018. Class 4A North Jackson’s 56.4 ppg last season on the way to an 11-1 overall record led the AHSAA last year. Mars Hill was second. Two other Class 1A schools are right on their heels this season, however. Brantley (3-0) is averaging 56.3 ppg and Isabella (3-0) is averaging 53.3.
    South Lamar (3-0), which is currently ranked fourth in Class 1A with 49.7 ppg, yielded just 13.6 ppg last season on the way to a 12-1 record. Coach Clay Gilliam’s Stallions is at home versus Hubbertville Friday in a key Region 6 contest. Mars Hill is on the road at Cherokee in a Region 8 battle.
    Defending Class 2A state champion Fyffe (3-0) yielded a field goal in last week’s 24-3 win over Collinsville and is averaging 1.0 points per game allowed thus far this season to rank second behind South Lamar. The Red Devils of Coach Paul Benefield notched the school’s 18th consecutive victory in the process. Fyffe goes on the road Friday to take on Asbury in a Region 8 contest. 
    Isabella and Class 2A Ranburne (3-0) are tied for third (2.3 ppg) allowing only one touchdown in three games thus far this season. The Mustangs   face a difficult task this week hosting last year’s Class 1A state runner-up Linden on Friday. Ranburne’s Bulldogs, coached by Stephen Bailey and averaging a 2A-leading 50.7 ppg on offense, hosts Cleveland in Class 2A, Region 6 action this week. The Panthers (1-2) are averaging 36.6 ppg.
    In addition to Mars Hill Bible (1A), other class scoring leaders this week are Class 2A Ohatchee and Ranburne (50.7 ppg); Class 3A Pike Road (53.3 ppg); Class 4A Brooks (51.3 ppg); Class 5A Etowah (45.3 ppg); Class 6A Muscle Shoals (46.3 ppg); and Class 7A Vestavia Hills (46.3 ppg).
    Defensive scoring leaders in each class, in addition to South Lamar, include Class 2A Fyffe (1.0 ppg); Class 3A Pike County (6.7 ppg); Class 4A Williamson (4.7 ppg); Class 5A Jasper (6.3 ppg); Class 6A Paul Bryant (6.3 ppg); and Class 7A McGill-Toolen Catholic (8.3 ppg).
    This week’s up-to-dare football standings including scoring averages are attached along with scoring leaders in each classification. AHSAA live standings can be found at the in-season box located on the front page of Each class has its own link. For Class 1A, click on:
Class 1A      
Class 2A     
Class 3A     
Class 4A     
Class 5A     
Class 6A     
Class 7A     

This week’s Top 10 scoring leaders include:

AHSAA Scoring Leaders (Offense)
1. Mars Hill Bible (3-0)    1A           59.7
2. Brantley (3-0)                1A           56.3
3. Isabella (3-0)                 1A           53.7
4. Pike Road (4-0)             3A           53.3
5. Brooks (3-1)                   4A           51.3
6. Ohatchee (3-0)             2A           50.7
6. Ranburne (3-0)             2A           50.7
8. South Lamar (3-0)       1A           49.7
9. Westbrook Chr. (4-0) 2A           48.8
10. Pickens Co. (3-0)       1A           48.7

AHSAA Scoring Leaders (Defense)
1. South Lamar (3-0)       1A           0.0
2. Fyffe (3-0)                      1A           1.0
3. Isabella (3-0)                 1A           2.3
3. Ranburne (3-0)             2A           2.3
5. Williamson (2-1)           4A           4.7
6. Escambia Co. (3-0)      4A           5.0
7. Paul Bryant (3-1)          6A           6.3
7. Jasper (3-0)                    5A           6.3
7. Maplesville (3-0)          1A           6.3
10. Pike County (3-0)      3A           6.7
10. UMS-Wright (3-0)     4A           6.7

Saint James Senior Lucy Edwards Sets AHSAA Match Record with 27 Aces in Win over Valley

AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight for Week 4

    MONTGOMERY – Lucy Edwards, a senior at Saint James, set an AHSAA record serving 27 aces in the Lady Trojans’ 3-0 victory over Valley September 10.  Her effort captured the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight for Week 4.
Her total also ranked sixth nationally. The 5-foot-3 setter for Coach Karen Lee scored 36% of her team’s points from the service box with the aces as Saint James won in straight sets 25-6, 25-2, 26-5.
    The single-match national record, accord to the NFHS Record Book, is 36, established by Maura Kelly of Caldwell High School vs. Newark West Side on September 19, 2003. The New Jersey prep standout’s record has stood for 16 years. Katie DeLay of Chattanooga’s Boyd Buchanan High School (2013), Lauren Deaton of Harding Academy (2017) in Memphis and Minnesota high schooler Mackenzie Luce of Lundington (2017) each had 32 services aces in a match to share second place.  Andrea Nachtrieb of Aurora Gateway High School in Colorado ranked fifth all-time with 28 in a match.
     The AHSAA previous record (10) was set by Lexie Bradley of Wilson in a match versus Central-Florence in 2013.

St. James (7-9) beat Valley and Beauregard last week as Lucy Edwards set a state record with 27 aces the win over Valley.

Edwards had 34 aces for the week, adding 25 assists and 11 digs while Danielle Greene had 18 kills.
     Edwards’ art of serving edged a couple of other top serving efforts for this week’s AHSAA Spotlight. Lincoln senior Taylor Lett served 25 straight points with eight aces during the stretch in a 25-0, 25-5 win over Childersburg. She finished the week with 11 aces as the Bears (21-7) went 4-0. Teammate Morgan Allison added 25 service aces. And at Horseshoe Bend, Kate Lewis had 15 service aces, 77 assists and 19 kills as the Generals won seven matches on the way to winning the Wadley Invitational tourney title.
      AHSAA teams had great success against out-of-state schools with Mountain Brook winning the 66-team Rocky Top Classic invitational at Sevierville (TN). McGill-Toolen Catholic also won the Catholic Cup tourney beating two defending state champions from Louisiana and one from Georgia in the process; and Thompson was 6-0 en route to the River City Classic tourney at Jacksonville (FL).


HALEY PALMER, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Earned MVP honors as the Dirty Dozen captured the Catholic Cup Tournament going 6-0 with wins over defending state champions Teurling Catholic (LA), St. Pius X (GA) and Mt. Carmel (LA) along with Father Ryan (TN), St. Joseph's (LA) and St. John Paul II of Huntsville. She had 59 kills, 34 digs, eight blocks and five service aces in the six wins.
KELSEY TANGLE, THOMPSON: Helped the Warriors win six matches, including the championship match at the River City Classic tourney in Jacksonville (FL), with 127 assists and 10 service aces.
GRACE CARR, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Totaled 111 kills, 103 digs and 15 aces as the Spartans (27-5) won the 66-Team Rocky Top Classic tournament at Sevierville (TN). Teammate Ann Vandevelde also had 257 assists and Liz Vandevelde had 128 digs.
MACKENZIE YOAKUM, HOMEWOOD: Led Homewood (18-5) to eight straight wins, including the Husky Challenge tourney championship at Trussville. She had 43 kills and a 33.4% hitting percentage.
AVERY RODGERS, SPANISH FORT: Totaled 83 kills, 12 blocks and 37 digs as Spanish Fort (27-5) won nine matches last week. Among the victories were seven wins en route to the championship of the Battle of the Bay tourney. The Toros downed host and defending 4A state champion Bayside Academy in the finals. Teammate Kayla Keshock also had 159 assists, 66 kills, 59 digs, 21 blocks and nine service aces.
MARY BETH LONG, G.W. LONG: Had 114 kills, 41 digs, 15 blocks and seven aces as the Rebels (15-2) went 6-2 and reached the finals of the Enterprise Invitational tourney. Makenna Long dished out 260 assists for G.W. Long.
MACKENZIE MORRISON, GULF SHORES: Had 232 assists, 33 digs and 12 aces as the Dolphins (17-5) won the Battle of the Bridge tournament. Teammate Lauren Quigley had 123 kills, 84 digs, 20 blocks and 14 aces.
GRACE LEIGHTON, HARTSELLE: Had 115 assists and 31 digs as the Tigers (25-4) went 6-0 to win the Eddie Prueitt Invitational tourney. Hartselle beat Madison Academy in the championship match. Tori Hughes also had 90 digs.
GRAYSON EVANS, CURRY: Had 82 kills, 52 digs and 12 blocks to earn MVP honors as Curry went 6-1 on the week and won the Walker County Tournament.
ALLI WILLIAMS, ATHENS: Had 116 kills and seven blocks as Athens (14-8) went 7-2 in nine matches. The only loss came to East Limestone in the Elkmont Invitational tourney.
JESSICA CROSS, BROOKWOOD: Led the Panthers (11-3) to six wins, including going 4-0 in the McAdory Invitational to win the title. She had 28 kills, 14 blocks and 20 assists.

RYLEIGH HAMM, WETUMPKA: Had 47 kills and 65 digs as the Indians played six matches and won the Stanhope Elmore Invitational tourney.

ALY DURBAN, HOOVER: Had 166 assists in seven matches for the Bucs (13-9).
MORIAH SEAY, PRATTVILLE: Had 56 kills, 25 blocks and 14 aces as the Lions won seven of nine matches last week.
JUANITA MONTERIO-PAI, BOB JONES: Had 26 kills and 17 digs in two wins over Buckhorn and James Clemens for Bob Jones (12-6).
ANNA GRACE DAVIS, BUCKHORN: Had 95 digs as the Bucks (19-9) went 6-3 in nine matches. Five of the wins came over out-of-state teams.
BLISS BROWN, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Had 121 assists as the Panthers went 7-3 on the week. Southside lost to tourney champion Homewood in the semifinals of the Husky Challenge tourney.
ADLEIGH MAYES, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Had 146 assists, 49 digs and 13 aces as the Eagles (21-3) went 7-1. Providence’s only loss was to 7A Enterprise at the Enterprise Invitational.
SAVANAH FREE, DANVILLE: Totaled 159 assists, 33 digs, 10 kills and eight aces as the Hawks went 5-1 on the week.
ANN COBERN CHAPMAN, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY: Helped the defending Class 3A state champion Eagles (19-4) win five of seven matches last week notching 40 kills and

Spain Park, Grissom Set to Defend Championships as AHSAA Begins Second Year of esports Competition

Esports platform partners with AHSAA to offer students school-sanctioned esports, providing access to premier game titles and college scholarship opportunities

     PlayVS, the company bringing varsity esports to high schools across the country, today announced the start of the Fall 2019 season. Last year, 37 schools participated in the AHSAA, with Hoover’s Spain Park High School (16-2) winning the League of Legends championship and Huntsville’s Grissom High School (27-0) taking home the Rocket League crown. The current waitlist to build an interscholastic esports program with PlayVS is over 13,000 schools long -- 68% of all high schools -- and spans across all 50 US states. This puts esports on par with traditional programs like football, which is available in 14,247 schools.
     “The AHSAA is looking forward to the 2019-20 Esports season with PlayVS.  We are excited to be partnered with a great organization who promotes educational-based opportunities for our student-athletes,” said Marvin Chou, AHSAA Assistant Director who oversees Esports for the member schools. “We are on track to almost double the number of participating schools from our first year. This increase in numbers is proof that we are reaching a group of students that
may not be participating in any other traditional sport or activity.”   
    Member schools are embracing the newest AHSAA-sanctioned activity with 414 students participating in AHSAA competition in the first year.
      “Esports has had a profound impact on our student body and faculty,” said Justin Tolbert, the Esports coach at Baker High School. “Students from all backgrounds are buying into our program, and in the process, creating friendships that they wouldn't normally have. Our faculty has even shown great support for our program, asking students about their matches and offering words of encouragement to us coaches. All of this has contributed to legitimizing our sport and building respect for our students as true athletes.”
    During the first year of PlayVS’ ‘Seasons,’ esports teams nationwide had an average of 15 players per program, with one in three players participating in their first-ever school activity. More than 70% of the students who participated said they found a community to connect with, and more than 40% plan on using their esports experience to apply for colleges and universities. 
    “It is clear the impact esports has already had on these student-athletes,” said Dr. Clint Kennedy, Director of Education & Acquisition at PlayVS. “We are excited to continue to partner with teachers and schools to empower students to pursue their dreams.” 
      The deadline for schools to register for this upcoming Fall season is October 11th.
     For more information on PlayVS, please visit


PlayVS is the premier high school esports provider, in partnership with the NFHS and 17 state associations. Its product is the single destination where players come together to compete, fans gather to spectate and coaches manage their programs. Through partnerships with top game publishers, PlayVS powers inclusive league and State Championship play across the nation. For more information, visit






The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions. Currently, there are 414 senior high members and 287 junior high and middle school members with more than 113,000 students participating in the program. Major aims of the AHSAA are to serve the needs of its member schools in conducting their interscholastic athletic programs and to assist member schools in reaching the educational objectives as established by the membership and their school systems.




Travel Ball Parents: Better Option is School-based Sports

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director

Recent articles have documented the rising costs of club sports, with one noting that about 62 percent of “travel ball” parents will go into debt to involve their kids in year-round sports.

            A USA Today article in 2017 suggested that travel baseball or volleyball could cost a family upwards of $8,000 a year, with soccer running about $5,000 on the high end. A study by TD Ameritrade suggested some parents were spending about $100 to $500 a month to fund their kids’ participation on a club team, with about 20 percent spending $1,000 a month.

            Why? In some cases – unquestionably the minority – students are in the elite category from a skills standpoint and could benefit from a higher level of competition in preparation for college. In most cases, however, it is a case of parents spending beyond their means with the hope that playing club sports will be the difference-maker in their children receiving an athletic scholarship to an NCAA Division I school.

            It is, in fact, true that an overwhelming majority of NCAA Division I athletes played club sports. According to an NCAA survey, 92 percent of women and 89 percent of men played club basketball, and 91 percent of women’s volleyball players competed on a non-school team in high school. At the other end, however, only 24 percent of football players competed on a club team.

            Herein lies the difference. There are more than 540,000 boys who played high school basketball last year and fewer than 6,000 who played basketball at the NCAA Division I level where most of the scholarships are available. Stated another way, about one percent of high school boys basketball players will play at the NCAA Division I level. About 2.8 percent of the one million-plus boys in high school 11-player football will play at the Division I level.

            The answer? Parents should encourage their kids to play multiple sports for their high school teams and save the money they would spend on club sports for college tuition if scholarship money does not materialize. Even in those situations where students are charged a modest fee to participate, school-based sports remain an incredible bargain when compared to club sports.

In many cases, Division I football and basketball coaches are looking to recruit multiple-sport athletes. While there are a few sports where non-school competition is crucial, college coaches will find those athletes who excel in school-based sports.

            High school-based sports have more interest, more media coverage and more fans than club sports, and the kids have more fun because they are representing their team and their community.

            Playing one sport in the fall, another during the winter and yet another in the spring is the best route to future success – whether that success is on the playing field or court, or in a boardroom.   





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.



AHSAA Mourns the Passing of Veteran Coach Jerry Partridge

   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:

One Call Reversed in 7 Challenges at Contests Using Instant Replay Last Week

    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

Class 7A (11)

Central-Phenix City
Gadsden City
Jeff Davis
Smiths Station
Class 6A (9)
Gulf Shores
Sidney Lanier
Class 5A (5)
Charles Henderson
East Limestone
Madison County
Class 4A (5)
Good Hope
West Limestone
Class 3A (1)
Carbon Hill
Class 2A (1)
Class 1A
Out-of-State (2)
Callaway (GA)
New Smyrna Beach (FL)

Enterprise Runners Dominate Eastgate Meet to Sweep Boys’ and Girls’ Championships




AHSAA Cross Country Week 4 Spotlight

      MONTGOMERY – Enterprise High School runners took three of the top four spots in the girls’ 5,000-meter featured race. The EHS boys took first and fourth-place to win both team titles at The Eastgate Cross Country Invitational held in Dothan last week.
      The sweep by the Wildcats, who are coached by wife and husband Christina and Chris Rodgers, landed Enterprise in the AHSAA Cross Country Spotlight this week.
      Wildcats runner Natalie Warner cross the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Providence Christian’s Grace Crim to win the girls’ race with teammates Kayleigh Riordan and Mirna Thompson taking third and fourth place. Enterprise runners Alaura DeHoyos and Amadeua Thompson were sixth and seventh.
     In the boys’ race, Enterprise’s Tyler Rathburn (18:13.30) topped two Providence Christian runners – Robert Woodall (18:26.19) and Clay Suddarth (18:29.79) – for first place. Wildcats Henry Templin (18:36.96), Brett Tessay (18:59.36) and William Kim (18:59.39) were fourth through sixth. 

      Other top showings in last week’s cross country competition across the state include Auburn High’s sweep of the Spain Park Classic in Hoover, with Samantha Rogers, Harper McGowan and Sangie Lincoln-Velez finishing 1-2-4 in the girls’ event. Mackenzie Culpepper of Spain Park finished third. Auburn topped Hoover and Spain Park for the title. Walker Cole of Oak Mountain won the boys’ race, ahead of Brady Barton of Helena, Jack Lowe of Pell City and Owen Marquardt of Hoover, as Auburn outpaced Hoover and Spain Park for the team crown, with Aubrey Lake and Parker Draughon taking sixth and seventh as the Tigers took six of the top 12 spots.

     In the Titans Trail Challenge at Gadsden’s Noccalula Falls C4 Course, Rodrigo Patino of Albertville outpaced a pair of Southside-Gadsden runners, Ryan Maudsley and Mason Williamson, for the boys’ title. Southside-Gadsden was the team champion over Albertville and Pleasant Valley. Camryn Davis of Southside-Gadsden finished first in the girls’ race, ahead of Albertville’s Belinda Franco and Southside’s Zoie Menk. Pleasant Valley topped Southside and third-place Albertville for the title. The Raiders were led by fifth- and sixth-place finishers Eva Bryant and Trinity Roberts. Emma Hood also finished in the top 10 at eight for Pleasant Valley.
     Alabama teams fared well at the Gulf Coast Classic at Pensacola last weekend with Scottsboro’s boys and St. Paul’s Episcopal girls each finishing second in the team competition. Saints senior Isabel Valenzuela was third overall with a time of 19:56.50. Scottsboro junior Cooper Atkins was third in the boys’ competition with a 16:32.80 time.
     Among the top races this coming weekend will be the TCBY Invitational hosted by American Christian at Tuscaloosa’s Sokol Park on Saturday, Sept. 21, and the Southern Showcase at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park, also set for Saturday. Huntsville High School will be the host school.
     Results of all the AHSAA 5,000-meter races reported last week include:




Eastgate Park, Dothan (Host: Providence Christian School)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Enterprise 27; Houston Acad. 66; Providence Chr. 66
1. Tyler Rathburn, Enterprise  18:13.30
2. Robert Woodall, Providence Chr   18:26.19
3. Clay Suddarth, Providence Chr      18:29.79

4. Henry Templin, Enterprise              18:36.96



GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Enterprise 21; Providence Chr 34; Dothan 90



1. Natalie Warner, Enterprise  23:05.58
2. Grace Crim, Providence Chr           23:35.72
3. Kayleigh Riordan, Enterprise         24:23.09

4. Mirna Thompson, Enterprise           24:31.49

Noccalula Falls C4 Course, Gadsden (Host: Gadsden City High)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Southside-Gadsden 38; Albertville 50; Pleasant Valley 74
1. Rodrigo Patino, Albertville             18:10.09
2. Ryan Maudsley, Southside-Gadsden         18:26.57
3. Mason Williamson, Southside-Gadsden     18:57.34

4. Cayden Nelson, Pleasant Valley                 19:08.53



GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Pleasant Valley 44; Southside-Gadsden 50; Albertville 60



1. Camryn Davis, Southside-Gadsden           22:38.14
2. Belinda Franco, Albertville                        22:48.16
3. Zoie Menk, Southside-Gadsden                 23:19.41

4. Michaela Watts, Alexandria                       24:03.23




Veterans Park, Hoover (Host: Spain Park High)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Auburn 38; Hoover 59; Spain Park 112

1. Walker Cole, Oak Mountain           16:53.89
2. Brady Barton, Helena                     17:03.70
3. Jack Lowe, Pell City                       17:17.17

4. Owen Marquardt, Hoover              17:38.50



GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Auburn 19; Hoover 73; Spain Park 86



1. Samantha Rogers, Auburn              19:35.89
2. Harper McGowan, Auburn 20:30.13
3. Mackenzie Culpepper, Sp.              20:36.94

4. Sangie Lincoln-Velez, Auburn       20:37.23




Fairview (Host: Fairview High)

1A-4A BOYS TEAM WINNER: White Plains 37; St. Bernard 109; Fairview 109
1. Jake Moore, White Plains   16:42.77
2. Christian Myles, Anniston  17:06.88
3. Ethan Lemons, Vinemont   17:09.35

4. Wyatt Knight, Ashville       17:11.43



1A-4A GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Ashville 66; J.B. Pennington 79; White Plains 83



1. Camilla Chambers, Holly Pond      19:16.58
2. Madilyn Kerber, St. Bernard          21:10.98
3. Olivia King, Jacksonville                21:17.58

4. Meghan McCarthy, Ashville           21:33.88



5A-7A BOYS TEAM WINNER: Bob Jones 31; Lawrence Co. 72; Decatur 86
1. Steele Joiner, Lawrence Co.           16:45.70
2. Luke Sanders, Arab                        17:03.87
3. Jean Pierre LeRoux, Bob Jones      17:17.66

4. James Garrison, Bob Jones 17:44.17



5A-7A GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Lawrence Co. 24; Arab 45; Boaz 104



1. Emily Daniel, Lawrence Co.                       19:48.02
2. Beth Ann Tucker, Springville                     20:06.66
3. Savannah Williams, Lawrence Co.             20:54.36

4. Jaya Coats, Columbia                                 21:01.77





















Wetumpka & Buckhorn Square off Thursday at JSU in AHSAA TV/NFHS Network GOW

wetump buck.JPG

189 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Sept. 17-23

MONTGOMERY – Buckhorn High School and Wetumpka High School will meet Thursday night at Jacksonville State University’s Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in the AHSAA TV Network/NFHS Network Football Game of the Week.
     In addition, the NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream a 189  events over the Sept. 17-23 time period with 103 football games and 86 volleyball matches already scheduled on the NFHS Network live-stream portal.
     The Bucks (3-1) and Indians (2-2) met for the first time in school history last year at JSU with Wetumpka winning 23-7. The Class 6A, non-region battle between two teams located five hours apart 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.
      Earley also announced the lineup of AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week pairings for the two following Thursdays. Class 1A Spring Garden vs. Class 2A Sand Rock will be the featured game Sept. 26, and Class 7A Hoover will travel to Tuscaloosa County for the AHSAA Game of the Week on Thursday, Oct. 3.
      Coach Tim Perry’s Indians are coming off a heart-breaking 33-32 loss to Region 3 rival Opelika last week, and Coach Keith Henderson’s Bucks are riding a two-game win streak with a 36-35 win over Hazel Green and a 24-7 win over Albertville and currently sit atop the Region 8 standings tied with Fort Payne (4-0) with a 2-0 region record.
      Wetumpka, which was 13-2 in 2017 and reached the Class 6A state finals, is currently 1-1 in Region 3.  The Indians were 11-3 last season falling to Saraland in the Class 6A semifinals 22-21. Perry, now in his ninth season as head coach, has compiled a 55-33 record during that tenure – leading the Indians to the school’s 500th win in his first season in 2014 and to their 550th win last year. He recorded his 200th career coaching win last season.
    Wetumpka, which started football in 1902, is 552-449-33 in its storied history – which includes tenures of outstanding coaches such as Jack Ray, Stokely Bazemore, Sheldon Darnell and John Maddaloni.
      Buckhorn finished 2-8 last season but has started hot this season with its only loss coming to Class 7A Florence. Henderson, a veteran head coach who has also had head-coaching stints at Grissom and Sparkman, has the Bucks off to their best start since 2015 – the last year Buckhorn made the state playoffs.
      Quarterback Tyquan Rawls is the offensive leader for Wetumpka. He stepped in last year with big play after big play all season long to lead the Indians to the semifinals. He rushed for 220 yards and passed for 101 last week versus Opelika with a touchdown run covering 82 yards.
     Buckhorn quarterback Brandon McNeal has been the leader on offense. The Bucks also have a strong senior presence with 27 this season. McNeal passed for 282 yards in Buckhorn’s one-point win over Hazel Green. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
    The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 23 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:

Mars Hill’s Peyton Higgins Returns Two Kicks for TDs over a Span of Three Plays

AHSAA Special Teams Spotlight

MONTGOMERY – Mars Hill Bible High School 5-foot-9, 165-pound junior Peyton Higgins turned in a very “special” performance Friday night to earn the AHSAA Football Special Teams Spotlight for week 3.
    In a span of three plays in the first quarter of the Panthers’ 70-14 win over Phillips, Higgins returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and three plays later returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown for the defending Class 1A state champions. He broke past eight defenders on the punt return to reach the open field on the amazing punt return. He also had four rush attempts for 87 yards including a TD run of 51 yards.
    Mars Hill Coach Darrell Higgins was also amazed. His son returned five kicks for touchdowns last season as Mars Hill (3-0) rolled to a14-1 record and the school’s first Class 1A state football championship. None were as exciting as last Friday’s punt return, however. Higgins fielded the punt just inside the 10-yard line, sped up the middle, and then to his left as the Bears tried to corral him. He cut back to his right and finally got loose in Phillips territory and coasted the rest of the way.
    The victory was the Panthers’ 13th in a row since losing to Class 4A Brooks 36-35 on Sept. 28, 2018. Mars Hill will face Cherokee this week and then have its rematch with the Lions the following Friday.
    Several outstanding efforts were reported for special teams from last weekend’s games.

ANTION LEEK, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned a punt blocked by teammate Ethan Hammock for a touchdown with 37 seconds left in the second quarter of the Tigers' 14-7 overtime win against Sand Rock. The win was the first for Coach Jonathan McWhorter over Cedar Bluff’s Cherokee County rivals at home at L.D. Bruce Field in five tries.

JAMICHAEL ROGERS, BESSEMER CITY: Punted for a 43-yard average as Bessemer City (3-0) beat McAdory 15-7. He also had nine tackles, including a sack, and caught two passes in the win.
HUNTER PERRY, ENTERPRISE: Connected on field goals of 34 and 45 yards in the second half to help the Wildcats beat Smiths Station 27-24. He also booted all three extra-point attempts for 11 total points in the win and punted three times for a 39.7 average.
ALEX McPHERSON, FORT PAYNE: Had a field goal of more than 50 yards for the second week in a row to help Fort Payne beat Mae Jemison 31-30. He kicked a 57-yarder versus Albertville last week and nailed a 56-yarder in the one-point win over the Jaguars. He also was 4-for-4 on extra-point kicks.
DAVIS WINGATE, EUFAULA: Kicked field goals of 26 and 46 yards and made three extra points in Eufaula's 27-13 win over Sidney Lanier.

JACKSON LANDERS, VINA: Ran back a punt 64 yards for a touchdown, added rushing TDs of 34 and 51 yards and fired a 47-yard pass to Braden Moomaw for a fourth score in a 58-18 win over Cherokee.
SEAN YOUNG, PIEDMONT: Blocked a punt and recovered a fumble in the Bulldogs' 27-15 comeback win over Randolph County.

JASON PEREZ, COLLINSVILLE: Kicked a 41-yard field goal for the Panthers’ only points and also had a big defensive play with a fumble recovery to stop one Fyffe drive in a 24-3 loss to the defending Class 2A state champion Red Devils.
MEES DuCROO de JONGH, SCOTTSBORO: The junior kicker was 6-of-6 on extra points, giving him 12-of-12 on the season, to help Scottsboro beat Guntersville 42-14.
KARMICHIAEL CATTLING, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Returned a kick 90 yards for one score and rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the Warrior’ 63-20 win over West End.
WILL EDWARDS, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Was 8-for-8 on extra points in the Warriors’ 63-20 win over West End.