Tuesday, July 16, 2019

 

                                            


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CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Pinson Valley 26, Saraland 17

Pinson Valley 26, Saraland 17

    AUBURN  – Pinson Valley High School held off Saraland in the second half to beat the Spartans 27-16 and claim its second consecutive Super 7 Class 6A state football championship Friday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The 6A finals closed out the 2018 Super 7. Attendance for all the finals 51,651 with 22,435 on hand for the 7A finals on Wednesday night, 16,012 in attendance on Thursday and 13,204 on hand for Friday’s three games. The total was up more than 15,000 from 2017.
     Senior quarterback Bo Nix completed 25-of-35 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 15 times for 66 yards and another TD to earned MVP honors for his dad Coach Patrick Nix’s Indians (13-10 for the second straight year. 
     It was his keeper for two yards on fourth down at the Saraland 31-yard line with just under a minute remaining that sealed the hard-fought victory over Coach Jeff Kelly’s Spartans (13-2).
      Nix teamed up with receiver Geordian Pollard for the longest touchdown pass in Super 7 Class 5A championship-game history on an 83-yard connection early in the second quarter to give Pinson a 12-3 lead at halftime. The pass was also the second longest in Super 7 history over all. The record, an 85-yard TD connection, was set earlier in the week by Mars Hill Bible in its 1A win over Linden. That pass eclipsed the Super 7 record set, ironically, by future NFL receiver Chad Jackson on a Hoover flanker pass in a 48-21 loss to Daphne in the 2001 Super 7 Class 6A finals.
     Saraland took the early lead with a 32-yard field goal by Cole Robitzch late in the first quarter. The Indians drove 64 yards on six plays on the ensuing drive to take a 6-3 lead on Nix’s 2-yard run with 40 seconds left in the opening period.  Spartans defensive  back Shawn Byrd blocked both extra-point kicks following Pinson’s two first-half touchdowns. He also had two interceptions on defense, forced a fumble and recorded a game-high 13 tackles to keep Saraland in striking distance.
    His second pick was the catalyst that led to the Spartans’ first touchdown, a 3-yard run by Rayshawn McAlpine which came at 2:40 in the third quarter and cut the Indians’ lead to 12-10.
Pinson answered quickly, however, driving 62 yards on 10 plays in the next three minutes to take a 19-10 lead on Nix’s 2-yard TD pass to Demarion Holloman with 11:21 to play. Saraland stormed right back scoring on quarterback Brett Nezat’s 11-yard TD pass to Jay Williams to pull within two 19-17 with just under nine minutes to play.
    Is was Pinson’s defense that came up with the biggest play of the final period, however, when Kendall Thornton intercepted a Saraland pass and sped 32 yards into the end zone for the final score of the game with 5:03 to play.
    Pinson Valley had 21 first downs, 94 yards rushing and 306 passing for 400 total yards. Saraland had 18 first downs, 221 yards rushing, 106 passing and 327 total yards.  Nix, who became the state’s all-time career total offense leader in the Indians’ semifinal win over Clay-Chalkville, finished the season 267-of-445 passing on the year for 3,795 yards and 49 touchdowns with just eight interception. He finished his career with 161 touchdowns accounted for with 126 passing touchdowns and 35 rushing touchdowns to set a new AHSAA career state record.
    McAlpine led Saraland with 158 yards rushing on 28 carries and Karie White had 65 on five runs.  Nezat was 8-of-21 passing for 106 yards with Jay Williams hauling in four receptions.
    Dorian Henderson and Antone Williams each had 11 tackles to pace the Indians defense.

2018 Super 7 State Championship Results
Class 1A
Mars Hill Bible 53, Linden 26
Class 2A
Fyffe 21, Luverne 19
Class 3A
Flomaton 23, Piedmont 12
Class 4A
UMS-Wright 52, Deshler 0
Class 5A
Central-Clay County 43, Vigor 42
Class 6A
Pinson Valley 26, Saraland 17
Class 7A
Central-Phenix City 52, Thompson 7



CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Fyffe 21, Luverne 19

Fyffe 21, Luverne 19
    AUBURN  – Fyffe High School (15-0) downed Luverne 21-19 Friday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium to claim the Red Devils’ third AHSAA Super 7 Class 2A state football championship since 2014.
      Senior running back Payton Anderson rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries to earn Class 2A championship game MVP for Coach Paul Benefield’s team. It was the Fyffe defense’s time to shine as well – turning back a strong Luverne bid early by forcing two field goals in the red zone. The outcome wasn’t decided, however. Trailing 21-19 with 1:25 left to play, Luverne (13-2) mounted a drive that began at its own 13 and ended at the Fyffe 28-yard line when Tigers quarterback Dionte Brantley’s completed pass to Edward Thomas ended 26 yards shy of the end zone as time expired to seal the Fyffe win.
       Fyffe took the lead with 8:56 remaining in the first half when senior Payton Anderson scored on  7-yard run to cap a 15-play, 99-yard drive and Brody Dalton’s kick gave the Red Devils a 7-0 lead.
       Luverne marched 57 yards on 12 plays on the ensuing march to cut the lead to 7-3 when Chase White booted a 31-yard field goal. Four minutes later,
 Luverne appeared to take the lead on a 17-yard pass play that was ruled a touchdown.  The scoring play, which was automatically reviewed, was also challenged by Fyffe High School and upon review, it was ruled an incomplete pass and Luverne settled for a 28-yard field goal by White one play later. That reversal was the third challenge to be successful in the Super 7 state finals and became the first in AHSAA history to erase a touchdown in a state championship game. The DVSport Instant Replay protocol used by member schools all season is being used in state championship games for the first time.
    Fyffe led 7-6 at the half and extended the lead on Anderson’s 33-yard run that capped a 77-yard, eight-play drive late in the third quarter. Coach Scott Rials’ Tigers struck back quickly going 73 yards on 10 plays in just 3:02 to pull to 14-12 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Luverne’s try two points came up short. 
     Receiver Payton Stoner stretched the Red Devils’ lead to 21-12 with a 19-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Zach Pyron with 4:18 remaining. Brantley, who finished 18-of-36 passing for 237 yards and rushed for 111 yards on 27 carries, drove Luverne quickly to a touchdown – keeping on a 1-yard sneak with 2:34 left to cut the lead to 21-19.
    The Tigers defense got the ball a minute later, but Luverne’s final drive just ran out of time.
    Fyffe finished with 14 first downs, 192 yards rushing and 72 passing for 264 yards. Luverne had 26 first downs, 202 yards rushing and 237 passing for 439 yards. The Tigers kept the ball for 81 offensive plays and 27:40 while Fyffe had 44 offensive plays and 20:20 of the time clock.
     Pyron finished 3-pof-4 passing for Fyffe for 72 yards. Stoner had two catches for 43 yards – both coming on the final Red Devils’ TD march.
     Ellian Harris added 77 yards rushing on 13 carries for Luverne. Edward Thomas was the team’s top receiver with 11 catches for 132 yards, and Sayler Wilson added five receptions for 93 yards.
     Tyler Kinard had 10 tackles and Kyle Dukes had nine to lead the Fyffe defense. Harris had 13 tackles and Arian Gregory had 10 for the Tigers. Neither team had a turnover.
     Pinson Valley (12-1) faced Saraland (13-1) in the Class 6A finals Friday night at 7 p.m., to close out the 2018 Super 7 Championships.
      All games are being televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.

CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP UMS-Wright 52, Deshler 0

UMS-Wright 52, Deshler 0
    AUBURN  – Junior wide receiver Keyshawn Woodyard set a Super 7 Class 4A state championship game record with four touchdown receptions to lead UMS-Wright (14-0) to a 52-0 victory over Deshler (9-6) Friday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the first of three games for the final day of the 2018 state championships.
     He had TD receptions of 7, 7, 15 and 17 yards – from three different passers and finished the game with nine receptions for 128 yards to earn Class 4A game MVP.
    Tailback Symon Smith, who rushed for 33 yards on seven carries, tossed a halfback pass to Woodyard for the first TD. Quarterback Skipper Snypes threw the second two TDs in the first half and left-handed wide receiver Richard Brinson fired a 17-yard strike in the third quarter for the other TD.
    William Percy booted a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to up the Bulldogs’ lead to 24-0 at the half. Joe Barber scored on a 1-yard run, Trey Singleton bulled in from the 2 for another TD and Edwin White closed out the scoring with  5-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
     The championship was the second in a row and eighth overall for UMS-Wright and the seventh directed by head coach Terry Curtis, who became the AHSAA’s newest 300-game winner in the second round of the state playoffs earlier this season..   
    UMS-Wright totaled 22 first downs, 175 yards rushing and 206 passing for 381 yards. The Bulldogs had no turnovers. Deshler, coached by Bo Culver, totaled 111 yards with 32 passing and 79 rushing. The Tigers had four turnovers.
      Snypes was 13-of-17 passing for the Bulldogs for 182 yards. White, who rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries, caught two passes for 30 yards. He also had 64 yards on punt returns with a long of 44 yards and opened the game with a 58-yard kickoff return to set up his team’s first TD.
       Xavier Trotter gained 51 yards on nine attempts to lead Deshler. Channing Marmann was 7-of-14 passing got 32 yards with Samuel Almon leading the Tigers with four receptions.
       Linebacker Will Breland had 10 tackles for a Bulldogs defense that registered its seventh shutout of the season with the win. UMS-Wright allowed only 58 points (4.4 ppg) in 14 games – best in the AHSAA in  2018. White made two interceptions on  defense, Brinson had one and Conrad Inge had the fourth one for the Bulldogs.
      Jacob Statom led Deshler’s defense with 12 tackles. Teammates Harley Wallace and Arley Wallace added seven tackles each. Harley also had three tackles for losses.
       Luverne (13-1) and Fyffe (14-0) kicked off at 3 p.m., Friday in the 2A finals and Pinson Valley (12-1) is scheduled to face Saraland (13-1) in the Class 6A finals at 7 p.m., to close out the 2018 Super 7 Championships.
      All games are being televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.


CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Central-Clay County 43, Vigor 42

                          By CHRIS MEGGINSON
    AUBURN  – Sophomore quarterback Philip Boyd Ogles orchestrated an eight-play, 50-yard, two-minute drill to fruition to claim Central-Clay County High School’s first AHSAA football championship winning 43-42 over Vigor High School in the Class 5A State Championship game at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium Thursday night.
     Trailing 42-36 with 38 seconds remaining, Ogles connected with Javon Wood for a 24-yard pass, and then championship game MVP Shamari Simmons for 17 yards on fourth-and-10 to set up a 1-yard, game-tying touchdown run by Quentin Knight to tie the game. Clayton Yates, who had a 37-yard field goal blocked in the first half, drilled the extra point straight down the center on the eventual game-winning kick to give the Volunteers (12-3) the one-point winning margin.
     Vigor (13-2), coached by Deric Scott, quickly moved down field to the Central 25-yard line, but a false start with three seconds to play pushed the Wolves back. With no timeouts remaining, they were unable to get a play off before the finals second expired.
      The rallying drive not only gave the Vols of Coach Danny Horn the win but broke the Super 7 Class 5A championship game record for most combined points (85), topping the 80 points scored in Vigor’s last state title, a 50-30 win over Russellville at Legion Field in 2008.
      What ended in an offensive shootout began as a defensive battle with 22 of the combined 30 first-half points being scored on or setup by turnovers.
       Vols linebacker Micah Garrett recovered a fumbled Vigor pitch to James Jackson on the first play from scrimmage to give Central a short field at the Vigor 29. Four plays later, Ogles punched in a 1-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead, which stood throughout the first quarter.
      Both teams struggled to sustain drives in the first half. A bad snap on a Central punt was recovered by JeMarcus Snow in the end zone and Jackson scored a two-point conversion to put Vigor ahead 8-7. The Volunteers followed in the second quarter with two defensive touchdown – first a 24-yard fumble return by Garrett and then a 34-yard interception return by Tyius Tatum, his second interception in the first half.
      Jackson caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Walker to close the first half for Vigor, cutting Central’s lead to 21-16 at intermission.
     The Vols opened the second half with a 5-yard touchdown run by Knight to take a 28-16 lead. The rest of third quarter, however, was all Artel Howell. The senior wide receiver caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Walker and returned a punt 71 yards to tie the game at 28 all and Jackson’s second 2-point run gave the Wolves the lead. The two 2-point conversion tied a Super 7 Class 5A record.
      The fourth quarter was back-and-forth, with Knight scoring on an 11-yard pass from Ogles and converted the two-point play to put the Vols in front by six at 36-30. Vigor struck back quickly, first on a 20-yard TD reception by Jackson, followed by a 56-yard TD catch from Howell to push Vigor in front, 42-36 with 6:40 to play.
     Central’s winning drive began at the 50-yard line with 2:18 to play.
     Howell finished with a game-high 200 yards receiving on six catches, while Walker completed 15-of-21 passes for 337 yards and a Super 7 Class 5A record four touchdowns.
    Ogles finished the night with 190 passing yards and one TD on a 14-of-33 effort. Simmons hauled in six catches for 102 yards.
    Snow and Thomas led the Vigor defense with 14 and 11 tackles, respectively. Jaylon Bass had seven tackles and a sack for Central.
    While the championship is a first for Central High of Clay County, which was opened in 2011 with the merging of Clay County and Lineville high schools, it is the seventh for head coach Danny Horn, who coached Clay County to six titles in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2005. The win concludes Horn’s 30th season with and upped his career coach record to 299-86.
      Representing the North, Central’s win snapped a six-year 5A title game win streak by teams from the South and completed a Thursday sweep of wins for the home teams with each claiming their school’s first state football title.
    Earlier in the day Thursday, Flomaton and Mars Hill Bible each claimed their first AHSAA football championships in program history. Flomaton (12-3) defeated Piedmont (12-3), 23-12 in the Class 3A final, while Mars Hill Bible (14-1) handed Linden (14-1) its first loss of the season to win the Class 1A title.
     Friday’s schedule begins at 11 a.m. with defending Class 4A state champion UMS-Wright (13-0) meeting Deshler (9-5), followed by Luverne (13-1) and Fyffe (14-0) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Pinson Valley (12-1) playing Saraland (13-1) in the Class 6A finals at 7 p.m., to close out the 2018 Super 7 Championships.
      All games are being televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.

CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Mars Hill Bible 53, Linden 26

Mars Hill Bible 53, Linden 26
  
AUBURN – Mars Hill Bible High School senior running back and linebacker Colt Smith broke up the middle for 65 yards and a touchdown on the opening play of the AHSAA Class 1A Super 7 state football championship game and intercepted a Linden pass with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter and returned it 35 yards for what was his fifth touchdown for the game to lead the Panthers to a 53-26 victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium Thursday.
    The state football title was the first for Mars Hill Bible – in just the fourth year of varsity competition. Smith finished with 168 yards on 17 carries with three rushing touchdowns tacking on a 15-yard TD midway through the first period and a 25-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.  He also caught three passes for 63 yards and a 36-yard TD  reception in the fourth quarter to tie a Super 7 Class 1A record for most touchdowns (5) and most points scored (30) in the 23-year history of the AHSAA’s Super 6/7 history. He also had 17 tackles on defense and three passes broken up to earn Super Class 1A Championship Game MVP honors.
     The Panthers (14-1) of Coach Darrell Higgins had 22 first downs, 368 yards rushing and 124 yards passing for 492 total yards. Quarterback Joseph Hanson added 93 yards rushing on eight carries and sophomore Peyton Higgins had 78 yards on 17 carries with a 5-yard touchdown run. Hanson also had an interception on defense, his ninth pick of the state playoffs this season, and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter to give the Panthers a 32-6 lead.  Hanson also had with seven tackles on defense. Justus McDaniel added a 9-yard TD run in the second period for Mars Hill.
    Linden (13-1), coached by Demetrius Jackson, had 20 first downs, 113 rushing yards. Quarterback Graderius Brown completed 22-of-44 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns – three to Kevin Green. Green finished with a Super 7 Class 1A record 13 receptions for 207 yards and scores of 10, 85 and 8 yards. The 292 passing yards was a new Super 7 Class 1A record as well as Brown’s 44 attempts, 22 completions and 85-yard hookup with Green. That play was also the longest in all classes in Super 7 history. Brown’s fourth TD pass was a 2-yard toss to Joshua Williams for the Patriots’ first score in the second quarter.
    Leading the Linden defense was Timothy Thurman with 12 tackles and Brown with nine stops. Williams and Markell Williams added seven tackles each. Linden’s trip to the finals was the Patriots’ second overall and first since 2011.
     Both teams combined to set or tie 18 Super 7 Class 1A records in the contest including most total yards by both teams (897).
       Central-Clay County (11-3) was set to meet Vigor (13-1) in the 5A finals Thursday night at 7 p.m. 
     Friday’s schedule begins at 11 a.m. with defending Class 4A state champion UMS-Wright (13-0) meeting Deshler (9-5), followed by Luverne (13-1) and Fyffe (14-0) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Pinson Valley (12-1) playing Saraland (13-1) in the Class 6A finals at 7 p.m., to close out the 2018 Super 7 Championships.
     All games are being televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.


CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Flomaton 23, Piedmont 12

Flomaton 23, Piedmont 12
  
AUBURN – Flomaton High School junior quarterback Daquon Johnson had 43 rush attempts for 100 yards and two touchdowns and completed 6-of-13 passes for 166 yard and another TD to lead the Hurricanes to a 23-12 triumph over Piedmont to claim the school’s first-ever state football championship Thursday.
    Coach Doug Vickery’s Hurricanes (12-3) overcame four turnovers by forcing the Bulldogs (12-3) of Coach Steve Smith to have six turnovers as well as the AHSAA Super 7 Class 3A championship game opened up Thursday’s action at Jordan-Hare Stadium Piedmont defensive back Matthew Thornton to prevent a Bulldogs touchdown to earn MVP honors for the Class 3A Championship Game.
     The tackle on the interception may have been his biggest play of the night. The Hurricanes were facing a fourth-and-goal at the Piedmont 1 when a halfback ass by Quincie McCall was intercepted by Thornton at the 1. He broke down the left sideline for 60 yards before Johnson pulled him down at the Hurricanes’ 36-yard line.
     Piedmont, which has three state titles to its credit (2009, 2015 and 2016)  went on to score a touchdown when Mason Mohon scored from the  3 nine plays later, but Johnson’s dogged effort set the pace for the rest of the Hurricanes.
       Flomaton finished with 17 first downs and totaled 324 yards – with Johnson having a hand in 56 of the team’s 68 total offensive plays. He also punted twice and finished with a team-high six tackles, forced a fumble, one pass break-up and one tackle for a loss.
      Adarius Odom booted a 25-yard field goal for Flomaton’s first points with 1:03 in the first period.
       Kaedon Jenkins raced 75 yards for a touchdown early in the second half to Piedmont up 12-9 before Johnson tacked on the two final scores to close out the scoring.
     The Bulldogs had 218 total yards, 148 rushing and 70 passing on 43 offensive plays. Piedmont lost four fumbles and had two interceptions.
     Jenkins finished with 77 yards rushing on seven carries and Mohon had 44 on 10 attempts. He was also 7-of-18 passing for 70 yards with T.J. Fairs snagging five passes for 53 yards.
    Devonta Bradley added 51 yards rushing on 10 rush attempts for Flomaton. Odom had three receptions for 78 yards and McCall had two for 74 yards.
      Carl Myers had 13 tackles and Bryson Ingram had 11 to pace Piedmont. Myers also made two interceptions, Thornton and Jakari Foster each had one pick each. The trio returned the interceptions for 166 return yards total.
     Flomaton’s Micah Boyette had five tackles, including three sacks for 14 yards in losses, and recovered  fumble. Evan Tatum and Devonta Bradley also had five stops. Bradley added an interception.
    The Class 1A finals featuring Linden (13-0) and Mars Hill Bible (13-1) was scheduled to kick off at 3 p.m., Thursday, and Central-Clay County (11-3) is set to meet Vigor (13-1) in the 5A finals Thursday night at 7 p.m. 
     Friday’s schedule begins at 11 a.m. with defending Class 4A state champion UMS-Wright (13-0) meeting Deshler (9-5), followed by Luverne (13-1) and Fyffe (14-0) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Pinson Valley (12-1) playing Saraland (13-1) in the Class 6A finals at 7 p.m., to close out the 2018 Super 7 Championships.
     All games are being televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.



CLASS 7A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Central-Phenix City 52, Thompson 7

Central-Phenix City 52, Thompson 7
  
AUBURN – Central-Phenix City High School closed out a perfect 14-0 season Wednesday night with a 52-6 victory over Thompson to claim the state title as  the AHSAA 2018 Super 7 State Football Championships opened at Jordan-Hare Stadium with the Class 7A finals.
   Central-Phenix City controlled the game from the get-go with its stifling defense and ball-control offense to take a 21-0 lead into halftime. Coach Jamey DuBose’s Red Devils continued the domination in the second half forcing two quick turnovers and led 45-0 after three quarters.
   Three sustained drives provided the Central touchdowns in the first half. Joseph McKay’s 5-yard run at 9:52 of the first quarter capped a six-play, 32-yard drive and put the Red Devils ahead 7-0. Quarterback Peter Parrish, who rushed for 100 yards and one TD on 11 carries and completed 5-of-9 passes for 7 yards and another score to earn 7A championship game MVP honors, kept for an 8-yard TD run seven minutes later to up the lead to 14-0. The final TD march covered 87 yards on eight plays and took just 2:38 with Amontae Spivey racing seven yards for the score with just over two minutes left in the half.
    Things didn’t get any better in the third period for Thompson (13-2), coached by Mark Freeman. The Warriors had three turnovers and Central capitalized quickly. Noah Pell kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter, Eddie Williams hauled in a 24-yard TD pass from Parrish, Trevon Miller scooped up a Thompson fumble and rambled eight yards for a TD and Henry Marquez returned an interception 14 yards for a score as the Red Devils scored 24 points in the third period.
   Tucker Melton added  a nine-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 52-0 before Will Hoffman grabbed a 23-yard pass from E.J. Edwards for Thompson’s only score with 3:58 to play.
     Central totaled 22 first downs, 314 yards rushing and 92 yards passing for 406 total yards. Spivey added 78 yards rushing on 14 carries and McKay had 47 on six carries for the Red Devils.
   Senior running back Shadrick Byrd led the Warriors  led all rushers with 161 yards on 24 carries. Sam Gaiters added 56 on five carries. Taulia Tagovailoa finished 7-of-11 passing for 44 yards and Edwards was 5-of-12 for 41 yards and the TD. Michael Pettway had four receptions for 93 yards as Thompson finished with 293 total yards.
    Six different defenders had five tackles for Central with Marquez Henry leading with a sack and two other tackles for losses. Ray Thornton also had a 69-yard interception return on one interception to set up the third-quarter field goal.
    Will Conner had seven tackles and Jeremiah Alexander had six to pace the Warriors.
    The Class 3A finals featuring Piedmont (12-2) and Flomaton (11-3) kicks off Thursday’s schedule at 11 a.m. Linden (13-0) meets Mars Hill Bible (13-1) in the 1A finals at 3 p.m., and Central-Clay County (11-3) takes on Vigor (13-1) in the 5A finals Thursday night at 7 p.m. 
     All games will be televised by the Raycom Sports Network with the Raycom feed live-streamed over the NFHS Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over their network of radio and internet affiliates across the state.


Baldwin County Repeats as Unified Champions

                                               By CHRIS MEGGINSON
                                              

     AUBURN – A 119-yard passing performance by T.J. Caraway guided the Baldwin County School System Bandits to their second straight AHSAA/Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game 26-18 victory  Wednesday in a 26-18 win over Vestavia Hills High School at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game, which is a partnership between the AHSAA and Special Olympics Alabama, kicked off the 2018 AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships.
     Baldwin County athlete Caraway completed 11-of-25 passes and had three touchdowns in the win, a near repeat performance from his 2017 performance of 16-of-26 passing for 121 yards and three touchdowns against Vestavia in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Caraway also completed and caught an extra point pass.
     Trey Morrissette caught two passes in the game, each 35-yard touchdowns, to lead the Bandits’ receiving corp. The first TD catch came with 15 seconds remaining in the first half to give Baldwin County a 13-12 halftime lead. The halfback pass from Jacob Bankster was the only pass he threw on the game.
    Baldwin County, coached by Mike Conner, took a 7-0 lead midway through the first half on an 8-yard TD from Caraway to Jaron Hyatt. The Rebels answered with a 32-yard touchdown run by Weyman Prater and a 35-yard touchdown down rush down the sideline by Winston Bosworth. Both extra point passes failed.
    The Bandits created some distance, 26-12, with another 8-yard connection between Caraway and Hyatt with four minutes to play. The Rebels, coached by Terry Tingle, cut the score to 26-18 with 29 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Austin Ballard to Bosworth, but the extra point pass failed. Bosworth followed the touchdown catch by intercepting Caraway with 14 seconds to play, but time expired before Vestavia ran out of time on the final drive.
      Dayne Howard led Baldwin County with six tackles, including one for a loss and had one break up on defense. Jacob Bankster had three pass breakups and three tackles, including two on Vestavia’s final drive. Mack Brock applied pressure on Ballard with five quarterback hurries.
     Davis Spain led Vestavia’s defense with seven hurries, while Bosworth finished with three tackles, followed by two stops each by Prater and Parker Turner.
    The 63rd annual AHSAA football playoffs will feature seven finals with Thompson meeting Central-Phenix City in the 7A championship Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Thursday’s schedule kicks off at 11 a.m. with Piedmont and Flomaton the 3A championship, followed by Linden and Mars Hill Bible in the 1A final at 3 p.m. and Vigor versus Central-Clay County for the 5A title at 7 p.m.
   The Super 7 will conclude Friday with UMS-Wright meeting Deshler in the 4A title game at 11 a.m., Fyffe and Luverne meet at 3 p.m. for the 2A championship and Pinson Valley will battle Saraland for the Class 6A championship at 7 p.m.
    The NFHS Network live-streamed the Unified game Wednesday. Raycom Sports, the AHSAA TV partner, will televise all seven AHSAA state championship game over its affiliate network d-2 channels and the Bounce Channel. Local cable information can be found at www.pathtotheplayoffs.com. The NFHS Network will also live-stream the Raycom telecast over the NFHS Network subscriber-based platform. For more information, go to www.nfhsnetwork.com.

AHSAA CLASS 7A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Hoover Sweeps Games 2 & 3 to Capture Class 7A State Baseball Championship

     MONTGOMERY – Hoover High School senior left-handed pitcher Brock Guffey hurled a 2-hit shutout to beat Auburn 4-0 in game two of the AHSAA Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series Saturday, then hurled the final 1 1/3 innings in game three to earn the save as the Bucs captured the state crown.
   Guffey (11-0), the 7A Series MVP,  struck out 11, walked none and faced just one batter over the limit in the first-game win Saturday for Coach Adam Moseley’s Bucs (41-11). He set the pace early striking out the first three batters he faced.  Auburn center fielder Trey Woodham got a double but was thrown out at third and first baseman Carter Phillips managed a single to also reach base safely.
    Third baseman Peyton Wilson had two hits and an RBI and left fielder Brandon Agsalud had a single and two RBIs to pace Hoover.
    Hoover picked up where it left off in game three with senior Devin Cole (5-2) hurling five strong innings as the Bucs built a 6-0 lead. The Bucs shut out Auburn for 11 consecutive innings on Saturday and ran the streak with 13 counting the final two innings Friday night in game one.
     Junior first baseman Sonny DiChiara doubled in a run in the first inning to give Hoover a quick 1-0 lead. The Bucs scored five runs in the third with DiChiara doubling in another run, Drew Guffey, Brook’s brother, singling to plate another run and Ty Robinson driving in two with a double.
     Auburn, coached by Matt Cimo, finally got on the board with two unearned runs off Cole in the fifth. Cole, who got the win, allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out three before yielding to Hoover reliever Griffin Lape in the sixth.
     Woodham singled and scored to highlight the fifth for the Tigers. Auburn closed to 6-3 in the sixth and Moseley turned to his first-game winning Guffey to come in to close out the win. Guffey allowed three hits and two runs in his relief stretch but pitched out of a seventh-inning jam to get the save. Auburn’s Rowdey Jordan drove in two runs with a single to give the Tigers one last chance at the win.
    DiChiara’s two doubles paced Hoover’s eight-hit attack. Tyler Williams also had two hits while Robinson and DiChiara each had two RBIs. Shortstop Garrett Farquhar scored two runs.
    Ryan Lambert (6-2) started for Auburn and got the loss.
    Hoover’s baseball title was the school’s second. The 7A Series closed out the 2017 State Baseball Championships.

AHSAA CLASS 7A STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Game 1: Auburn 9, Hoover 6

     MONTGOMERY – Auburn High School plated five runs in the bottom of the first inning and then held on to beat Hoover 9-6 in the first game of the AHSAA Class 7A State Baseball Championship Series at Paterson Field Friday night.
     The Tigers (28-10) and Bucs (39-11) move to Riverwalk Stadium Saturday morning for game two at 10 a.m. If a third game is needed in the best 2-of-3 series, it will start 30 minutes after game two concludes. All games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
    Both teams combined for 24 hits with Coach Adam Moseley’s Bucs out-hitting Coach Matt Cimo’s Tigers 14-10. Hoover stranded 11 runners, however, and Auburn just five. The Tigers bunched four hits in the first inning to take a quick 5-0 lead. Teddy Benda got the first of his two hits to plate one run and catcher Rawlins Cleveland added a two-run homer that hit the screen on the left-field foul pole..
     Hoover got three back in the top of the second with five hits. Drew Guffey’s double down the left-field line plated two of the runs. Auburn added another run in the bottom of the inning on Brooks Fuller’s double to center field to lead 6-3. Max Garvey homered over the left-field wall in the top of the fourth as Hoover closed the cap to 6-5. 
     Auburn answered quickly again with Benda driving in more runs with a single to left. The Tigers got another run in the fifth and Hoover managed a single run in the sixth to close out the scoring.
      Starting pitcher Drew Jennings (6-2) allowed 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings to get the win for Auburn. Ryan Lambert pitched the final inning to get the save.  Hoover starter Scott Elgin (8-4) gave up nine hits and nine runs to get the loss. He struck out four.
    Benda finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Cimo’s Tigers. Cleveland also had two hits and two RBIs, and Fuller finished with two hits and two RBIs. Lead-off hitter Rowdey Jordan had one hit and scored three runs.
    Garrett Farquhar, Brandon Agsalud, C.J. Gilliland, Ty Robinson, Guffey and Garvey each had two hits. Guffey finished with two RBIs.