It has been a tough couple of years financially for our schools, and high school athletic programs need your support more now than ever. If you can't attend a game this weekend, do the next best thing and make a donation to one of your alumni's booster clubs. You are a welcomed fan at the gates if can get out and support your favorite team this season.
Here is a look at some of the pre-season games playing across the state.
Friday August 21, 2009
5A Demopolis/1A Linden/5A Central Tuscaloosa
Demopolis Coach Tom Causey will bring defensive lineman prospect Marteze Jackson (6-3 210) and wide receiver/defensive back Anthony Hardy (6-2, 185) back for their senior seasons. Jackson holds scholarship offers to Arkansas and South Alabama and has been working at the linebacker position as well. Hardy caught 29 passes for 585 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 205 yards on 30 carries scoring five more touchdowns during his junior season.
Linden Coach Andro Williams' team won 13 consecutive games in 2008 before losing to eventual state champion and his alma mater, Sweet Water in the state playoffs. Last year's running back duo of Maurice Tate and Shantrell Braxton both signed with Alabama State, but Linden has their second SEC commitment in two years. Seandre Richardson signed with Vanderbilt in the 2008 signing class, and this year they have Auburn commitment Justin Delaine (6-6 232) at defensive end.
Central Tuscaloosa Coach Melvin Pete will bring the third team into this Jamboree, and another team that could compete for their classification’s championship this year. Pete’s Falcons were a perfect 15-0 and 4A champions in 2007. They moved to 5A last year and remained undefeated in regular season region play. Coach Pete will have to deal with the loss of his returning quarterback who transferred to 6A Paul Bryant, but he has the talent to do just that.
This Jamboree will kick off at 6:00 PM at Linden Athletic Field and look for former Tide defensive lineman, Rudy Griffin, coaching Demopolis' defense.
1A Phillips Bear Creek at Hubbertville
Phillips Coach Gary McCarley returns without son Adam at the helm, and Kent Hallman at tailback, but Trent Williams (5-10, 16) will slip into Adam’s role and the high-powered offense may never miss a beat. Hubbertville loses their record-setting running back, Tommy Haley-Ricks.
2A Woodland at 3A White Plains 7PM
Woodland quarterback Trey Fetner will direct the offense, and this signal caller certainly has people watching for him to have a breakout season. Defensive End C.J. Stephens (6-4, 255) runs a 4.8 40 and should be fun to watch.
3A Colbert County at 2A Fyffe 7PM
Fyffe running back Taylor Thrash has been a workhorse for Coach Paul Benefield, and this year is not any different. Colbert County lost in the semi-finals of the state playoffs last season, but not before giving eventual champion, Leeds, one of their toughest games of the season. Fyffe made it to the third round last season, and the finals in 2007 before suffering a 25-20 loss to three-time champions, Leroy.
4A Hokes Bluff at 2A West End, Walnut Grove 6PM
Former University of Alabama player Hayden Stockton takes the helm at West End Walnut Grove this season for his first head-coaching position. He has been well prepared with stops at Clay-Chalkville, Prattville and his most recent, coaching the top defensive back prospect in the country, Demarcus Milliner at Stanhope Elmore.
6A Opelika at 6A Spain Park 7PM
For those Alabama fans in Birmingham who will not make it to the the Lee County area for
Opelika high school football this fall, they can check out running back commitment Corey Grant in Hoover Friday night. Spain Park had a rough year in 2008 after making the 6A finals in 2007, look for improvement from the Jaguars.
2A Leroy at 4A Thomasville 7PM
The Leroy Bears have been the 2A champion for three consecutive years, but they lost their offensive leader and kicker when Auburn signee Clint Moseley graduated. It's a tough task to regroup. Thomasville did not perform in 2008 to their high level of expectation, but look for Coach Jack Hankins to stop that trend.
6A Prattville vs. 5A Carver Montgomery 7PM at Cramton Bowl Montgomery
The first matchup in the AHSAA Champions Challenge will pit the 5A Rams against the 6A Lions. The two teams come into the pre-season contest with a combined 2008 record of 26-2.
Carver Montgomery fell short of their their championship bid for their new coach Al Pogue. They lost to eventual champ Vigor in the semi-finals. Prattville battled old nemesis Hoover to win their third consecutive 6A championship.
This year they roll in with an LSU commitment at quarterback, Sam Gibson (6-1, 205), and an Alabama commitment at defensive back. Nick Perry (6-2, 190). They also have two other players with division 1A offers. Carver Montgomery has returning quarterback Reginald Aaron (6-1, 215) and a talented linebacking crew.
3A Beulah vs 4A Alabama Christian
Alabama Christian will show off their 6-5, wide receiver this season with the famous football name, Grant McKissick.
1A J.U. Blacksher at 2A Flomaton
The 2008 season was Coach Mark Heaton's first at J.U. Blacksher, and it was a productive debut. The team made the second round of the state playoffs for the first time since 1999. They will try to extend their stay this year. Flomaton took their 8-2 record into the playoffs, but they didn't make it past Houston Academy last season.
3A Colbert Heights at 4A Rogers
Colbert Heights will try and rebound from their 5-5 season of 2008 to their more productive 2007 season when they went 10-2. Rogers extended their season to the second round of the playoffs in 2008 and finished with a record of 8-4.
1A Florala at 2A New Brockton
Coach Stan Gooden had a tough season at Florala in his first year as head coach with a 1-8 record. His defense will have to improve this year, and
New Brockton will give them a good test for the pre-season.
3A Gordo at 3A Hamilton
Gordo will travel to Hamilton in this pre-season matchup. Gone is the talented Izauea Lanier from the Tornadoes' lineup, but Coach David McKinney feels confident he has a bonded team that will play well together. Hamilton’s
2008 team had the most wins in the history of the school with 12 in 2008 for Coach Rodney Stidham.
Other Jamboree Games:
6A Gardendale vs. 6A Hewitt-Trussville. (Freshmen start at 5PM followed by JV, then Varsity)
5A Vigor at Union Grove (GA)
6A Austin at 5A Hartselle 7PM
4A Anniston at 6A Gadsden City 7PM
1A Billingsley at 5A Chilton County 7PM (rescheduled from 8/20)
3A Leeds vs. 3A T.R. Miller at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery at 5PM
Leeds brought the Green Wave back in a big way last season winning both the football and basketball championships. The football team put up a defensive tidal wave with eight shutouts and outscored opponents 571-66 in their perfect season. They will return senior quarterback Rush Perkins (5-10, 200) in this second game of the Champions Challenge. T.R. Miller went 13-1 last season, losing in the semi-finals to Cordova 40-35. This is the 3A championship match-up that might have been.
6A Hoover vs. 6A Oxford at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery at 7:30PM
Hoover with new coach Josh Niblett, who came from Oxford, returned to their usual position at the end of the season, the 6A championshp game, but came up just short to Prattville 16-13. Meanwhile, Oxford with new coach John Grass, lost only two regular season games by a total of five points. They were favored to make a deep run into the playoffs, but plans were derailed when they faced an agonizing 48-45 defeat by 6A underdog Bob Jones in the first round. This could be a good year for both Oxford and Hoover, and it might not be the last time they will face off this year.
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