Sunday, January 26, 2020






AHSAA TV Network (WOTM) to Broadcast Class 6A Opelika – Spanish Fort Battle in Semifinals    

AHSAA TV Network/NFHS Network Game of the Week
Opelika (11-1) vs. Spanish Fort (8-4)



AHSAA Football Playoff Game of the Week
AHSAA TV Network (WOTM) to Broadcast Class 6A Opelika – Spanish Fort Battle in Semifinals


     MONTGOMERY – Coach Erik Speakman of Opelika (11-1) isn’t fooled by Spanish Fort’s No. 4 seed label in the 2019 AHSAA State Football Playoffs. The Bulldogs cross paths annually with teams from Region 1 and all play like No. 1 seeds in the post-season – especially the playoff-tough Toros (8-4).
    The two teams square off Friday night at Spanish Fort in the Class 6A semifinals at 7 p.m., in the AHSAA TV Network / NFHS Network Game of the Week produced by WOTM TV. The AHSAA TV Network’s other featured game this week will be Collinsville (12-1) at defending state champion Fyffe (13-0) in the Class 2A North semifinals.
    Executive producer Vince Earley pegged this game quickly after Coach Ben Blackmon’s squad knocked off  another strong No. 4 seed Park Crossing 28-21last week in the quarterfinals.  Opelika, the No. 1 seed in Region 3, beat powerful Hueytown, a No. 1 seed in Region 4, 45-24 to move to the semifinals.
    Regular season records go out the door when it comes to the state playoffs. Opelika knows that as well as anyone. In 2012, the Bulldogs, coached then by Brian Blackmon, the older brother of Spanish Fort’s Ben Blackmon, took a 6-4 Bulldogs team into the playoffs as a third seed and led the team to three road wins in the playoffs en route to a berth opposite powerful Hoover in the 6A finals. That Super 6 final produced the largest single crowd in Super 7 history with more than 30,000 fames estimated in attendance in the finals at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
    This year’s Bulldogs, 42-28 overall in 29 trips to the playoffs, are 2-2 in semifinal games. This year’s team features a powerful running attack anchored by senior Eric Watts. He had 302 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 27 carries last week.
    Spanish Fort
has reached the state playoffs 12 times in the Tors’ 14-year history – with four state titles and a 39-7 playoff record in the playoffs. Friday’s semifinal will be the seventh for Spanish Fort, which holds a 4-2 record in the previous six. The Toros emerged as a No. 3 seed in the Class 5A playoffs to win the program’s first state title in 2010.
    Spanish Fort’s emergence this season came in part with the move of senior wide receiver Kris Abrams-Draine to quarterback earlier this season. Abrams-Draine has rushed for 1,331 yards and 15 touchdowns and thrown eight TD passes since moving into his new role. Selected to the Alabama All-Star Team to face Mississippi in December as a wide receiver, he has been able to open up the running lanes for the other Toros’ talented backs Johnny Morris (136 carries, 1,142 yards, 10 TDs) and Chico Hixon (87 carries, 690 yards, 8 TDs).
    All 12 semifinal games are slates to be shown on the NFHS Network this week. The AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week can be found on the NFHS Network and on the growing cable network of channels put together by Earley. The AHSAA TV Network / NFHS Network will produce all seven state finals at next week’s Super 7 championships at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. Thompson (11-1) and Central-Phenix City (12-1) clinched berths in the 7A semifinals last week. The Warriors beat Hoover 35-21 and the Red Devils downed Auburn 38-0.
Defending state champions Pinson Valley (6A), Central of Clay County (5A), UMS-Wright (4A) and Mars Hill Bible (1A) have semifinal battles ahead of them Friday. o
     The NFHS Network also has 135 boys’ and girls’ basketball games set for live-streaming this holiday week through next Monday. Two wrestling events are also scheduled.
    The schedule of football playoff games set for live-streaming Friday can be found at the following link:

  The schedule of basketball games set for the NFHS Network can be found at:

    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 football game availability, got to the following link and on the chart below:

2019 AHSAA State Football Playoffs
Semifinal Pairings (Classes 1A/6A)


Lanett (12-0) at Sweet Water (11-1)
Mars Hill Bible (13-0) at Pickens County (11-2), Reform

Leroy (11-2) 35 at Reeltown (12-1)
Collinsville (12-1) at Fyffe (13-0)

T.R. Miller (9-4) at Mobile Christian (8-4)
Walter Wellborn (12-1) at Piedmont (12-1)

Andalusia (10-3) at UMS-Wright (12-0), Mobile
Anniston (9-4) at Jacksonville (11-2)

Pleasant Grove (12-1) at Briarwood Christian (12-1)
Central-Clay County (11-2) at Mortimer Jordan (11-2), Kimberly

Opelika (11-1) at Spanish Fort (8-4)
Pinson Valley (10-2) at Oxford (12-1)

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