MONTGOMERY -- Carver High School scored twice in the first half to take a 12-0 lead. The Wolverines defense came up with a goal-line stand in the final seconds of the first half that stopped Jeff Davis inside the 1-yard line turned out to be the difference as Carver downed the Vols 18-13 Thursday night at Cramton Bowl in the first game of the AHSAA 2019 Kickoff Classic. The game officially kicked off the 2019 prep football season.
The second game of the Kickoff Classic gets underway Friday night at 7 p.m. with Class 7A top-ranked Central-Phenix City, the defending state champs, taking on second-ranked Hoover. The game will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network and livestreamed over the NFHS Network. WOTM is producing the game which will also be available on several cable affiliates across the state. The Hoover and Central NFHS School Broadcast Programs will also live-stream the game and the AHSAA Radio Network will broadcast the game over its network of radio affiliates.
With Carver clinging to its 12-point lead, 202-pound Vols senior Jireh German took a handoff at the 1-yard line but was met in the hole by Wolverines linebacker Andre Howard, who stuff the play for a 2-yard loss back to the 3 as time expired in the first half.
Jeff Davis scored quickly in the third quarter when Marcus Webb, who finished with 67 yards rushing on 15 carries, sped 47 yards for s touchdown just 73 seconds into the second half. Carver responded quickly, however. Kendarius Cobb was spotted all alone on the right sideline and Williams, who completed 11-of-20 passes for 232 yards, spotted him for 65-yard TD connection.
The Wolverines defense took control for much of the rest of the game stopping the Vols at the Carver 2-yard line when Juwon Gaston made a diving interception with 3:44 left. Four plays later, Jeff Davis’ Tony Hardy recovered a Wolverines fumble in the end zone for a Jeff Davis touchdown to cut the lead to 18-13.
The Vols did get the ball back one more time at the JD 26-yard line with 54 seconds remaining. Bobby McDonald sacked Webb for s 13-yard loss on second down and Carver squeaked out the win.
Carver took the lead with 31 seconds left in the first quarter when receiver Nadarius Harris go behind a stubborn Jeff Davis defense and quarterback Kole Williams gunned a perfect pass for a 57-yard TD connection. Juwan Taylor, who had an outstanding game defensively for the Vols, blocked the kick.
Carver used 10 plays to march 64 yards to a touchdown late in the second quarter. Williams sneaked in from the 2, but it appeared that he had fumbled at the goal line with 1:47 left in the period. Carver challenged the call and after review, the Wolverines were awarded the touchdown.
Williams also rushed for 35 yards on 24 carries for Coach James Thompson’s Wolverines. Harris was Carver’s leading receiver with five catches for 119 yards and the one score. Tyrone Johnson had 11 tackles, Joshua Young and Ira Davis had eight each and Andre Howard finished with eight for the Wolverines.
Jeff Davis’ Webb was 14-of-26 passing for 189 yards to finish with 254 total yards. Reginald Summage caught nine passes for 136 yards, and Ernest George had seven rush attempts for 35 yards. Leading the Vols on defense was Juwan Taylor who had 10 tackles including three for losses.
The Vols had 331 total yards and Carver had 311.
MONTGOMERY – Hoover High School and Central-Phenix City High School have met on the football field only twice in the two schools’ storied history,
Friday night’s battle at the AHSAA Kickoff Classic may be kicking off the season for both teams, but it seems more like a Super 7 clash than a season opener.
Central won the Red Devils’ first state title since 1993 last season with a 52-7 win over Thompson in the Class 7A state finals at Auburn. Hoover beat Thompson in the regular season 45-26 to win the Region 3 title but lost in the playoffs to the Warriors 31-28 which stopped the Bucs just short of the Super 7 finals.
Hoover Coach Josh Niblett and Central Coach Jamey DuBose both have enjoyed tremendous success as head coaches. Niblett has coached the Bucs to six state titles, including the 2017 and 2016 7A crowns, and has had three runner-up finishes. DuBose coached Prattville to two state crowns in one runner-up finish before leaving for Florence and then Central. Ironically both Central and Hoover have won 54 games over the last five seasons. The Bucs are 54-14 with three state crowns and Central is 54-9 with one state title and three semifinal appearances.
The two teams will be meeting for just the third time Friday night. The Bucs are 2-0 in the series with a 21-14 first-round playoff win in 1978 and 23-7 victory in the Champions Challenge (now the Kickoff Classic) in 2016.
Friday’s game is being produced by WOTM/Broadway Communications and televised over brand-new the AHSAA TV Network managed by the NFHS Network. Executive producer Vince Earley of WOTM has quickly put together a network utilizing the presence on a large number of cable affiliates across the state as well as through the Alabama Cable Network’s channel 80 on Charter Cable. The production will be live-streamed also be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. Earley announced the addition of CTV Beam, which services East Alabama including Phenix City, to the WOTM/AHSAA family of cable affiliates Wednesday.
The Central-Hoover game features two teams ranked in the Top 25 nationally by The Sporting News and pits the Alabama Sportswriters Association pre-season No. 1 and No. 2-ranked Class 7A teams.
Both teams’ quarterbacks who are already committed – Tucker Melton of Central plans graduate early and then enroll at Bowling Green. He passed for over 1,000 yards last season as the Red Devils’ back up. Robby Ashford of Hoover, who had over 3,000 total yards as a junior, has committed to Ole Miss.
Other top Bucs include receiver Dylan Pauley and lineman David Bodden on offense and defensive standouts Jeptha Kilgore, Cordey Martin, Marcus Williams and Kory Chapman.
“This football season the goals have not changed for Central football,” said DuBose. “Every year it is win the region, win the South and win the State Championship. Every year it is a new team and we have to restart the process.”
Key returners on offense are Melton, Eddie Williams and Peter Jakes at wide receiver, Javion Cohen and Joshua Jones on the offensive line and running back Joseph McKay. Defensively, Mike Harris is a returning starter in the secondary. Linebackers Jadon Richardson and Phillip Ramsey are key leaders along with Vontavious Maddox on the defensive front.
Hoover’s Niblett said the Bucs’ goals are also the same as always. “We want to be the best that we can be. That requires a daily commitment.”
Both agree that two great teams will be on display Friday. Which one will be the best? That’s a question both teams are looking forward to finding out.
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.
Much anticipated Central-Hoover Battle follows Friday
MONTGOMERY -- The Jeff Davis-Carver-Montgomery rivalry has had some outstanding moments over the last 50 years. Thursday night’s battle in the AHSAA’s 14th annual Kickoff Classic high school football season opener takes center stage and both coaches look forward to it.
This game is almost “family.”
“We were college teammates and it will be fun,” said Carver head coach James Thompson. “We kind of joke and laugh in the off-season, but come Thursday night it will be serious business. May the best team win?”
Jeff Davis head coach Lee Carter sees a chance for both programs put their best foot forward – as friends off the field but rivals on the field. It starts with the two head coaches’ long-time friendship.
“Coach Thompson he’s more than a teammate … he is a friend,” said Carter. “It’s kind of like we both became men together. We both came to Alabama State when we were 18 or 19 years old. We also played the same position, so we not only sat in team meetings together but in position meetings as well.
“We (now) live in the same neighborhood so I know him and he knows me. It’s going to be interesting.”
The two teams will be meeting for the 51st time Thursday night at Cramton Bowl in the first game of the 2019 Kickoff Classic. Defending Class 7A state champion Central-Phenix City will meet Hoover, the 7A champs in 2017 and 2016, in game two at Cramton Bowl Friday night at 7 p.m. Both games will be produced by WOTM/Broadway Communications and televised over brand-new the AHSAA TV Network managed by the NFHS Network. Executive producer Vince Earley of WOTM has quickly put together a network utilizing the WOTM presence on a large number of cable affiliates across the state as well as through the Alabama Cable Network’s channel 80 on Charter Cable. The production will be live-streamed also be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. Earley announced the addition of CTV Beam, which services East Alabama including Phenix City, to the WOTM/AHSAA family of cable affiliates Wednesday.
The Central-Hoover game features two teams ranked in the Top 25 nationally by The Sporting News and pits the Alabama Sportswriters Association pre-season No. 1 and No. 2-ranked Class 7A teams.
While Friday’s game may garner national attention, Thursday’s game features two of the fiercest rivals in a city that battles annually for the Big Five title (with Robert E. Lee, Sidney Lanier and Park Crossing high schools).
Jeff Davis and Carver played for the first time in 1970 – two years after Jeff Davis opened its doors as a new school in Montgomery and two years after the AHSAA and AIAA merged to form the current Alabama High School Athletic Association. The Vols and Wolverines have played every year since.
The two city rivals of the MCPS have opened the season with each other 13 times in the series and closed the regular season 11 times. The current 36-14 edge in the series held by Jeff Davis is misleading. The Vols won the first 18 meetings and the Wolverines had won 10 of the last 13. Since that early domination, the series has been nip-and-tuck with Jeff Davis winning 18 and Carver claiming 14.
Only once in the series have the two schools played twice. Carver won the regular season game in 1992 27-24 in overtime but the Vols rebounded to beat the Wolverines 20-0 in the first game of the state playoffs.
The history is rich at both schools. Carver has seen at least 10 of its former players reach the NFL – including Aundray Bruce, who the first player was picked in the NFL Draft out of Auburn in 1988. He spent 11 years in the pros from 1988-1998. Jeff Davis has sent at least nine players to the NFL, including Alabama defensive back George Teague, who was in the pros from 1993-2001. In fact, as many as four players from both schools have been in the NFL at the same time.
Carver alumnus linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton is currently with the Washington Redskins as well as linebacker Mack Wilson, who is currently in the Cleveland Browns camp.
Thompson says the Wolverines are doing things “The Carver Way. Our motto is commitment, habits, sacrifice, hence CHS,” he said. “I feel the thing that sets us apart is our mindset and mentality and how it aligns with our ultimate goal of being the very best.”
Quarterback Kole Williams, who has already committed to Jacksonville State, is back to lead the offense. He had 600 yards rushing, 950 passing and accounted for 27 touchdowns in 2018. Offensive linemen James Robinson and Kientre McDaniel have already committed to Tennessee and Jackson State, respectively. Andre Howard anchors a strong defense at linebacker, and the defensive backfield as a unit may be the number one strength of the team.
Jeff Davis finished 3-7 last season enduring what Carter called “a series of horrific incidents and injuries that we have worked hard to put behind us. He has 22 seniors who have committed themselves to demonstrating a commitment to discipline.”
The Vols closed the season with two straight wind, “That momentum has been important,” he said. “I think our senior group is the most talented we have had in my six years as head coach. We have a strong receiving corps and our offensive and defensive line is massive.”
All eyes will be on talented athlete Marcus Webb, who rushed for 1,500 yards on 307 carries last season. Receiver Reggie Summage caught 37 passes for 493 yards and Jireh German anchors a much-improved defense at linebacker. Like Carver, the Vols have the nucleus of a very strong defensive backfield led by Tavares Womack, Rance Lee and Summage.
The television availability is shown in the attached chart.
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.
MONTGOMERY -- Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese announced a three-year television agreement with PlayOn Sports (POS) / NFHS Network (NFHSN) at the AHSAA’s annual Media Day and Kickoff Classic press conference held at the AHSAA office Tuesday.
PlayOn Sports will work with WOTM/Broadway Communications/Alabama Cable Network (ACN) and their cable television affiliations across the state for finals TV carriage to compliment the exclusive digital coverage on the NFHS Network (NFHSN) digital OTT platform.
WOTM will be producing both games in the Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl August 22-23 as part of that agreement. WOTM will provide the live digital streaming to the subscriber-based NFHS Network and will provide live television coverage over many of the state’s cable network carriers – including major affiliates Charter, Comcast, Cable One, ATT U-verse and Anniston/Oxford area, TV affiliate WEAC TV 24. In Montgomery, the games will be shown on Charter Cable’s channel 80 (ACN). WOTM broadcast live the AHSAA Media Day and Kickoff Classic press conference Tuesday.
In addition to the Kickoff Classic’s Jeff Davis vs. Carver-Montgomery game Thursday night and the Central-Phenix City vs. Hoover game set for Friday night, WOTM will also produce the AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships, the AHSAA State Basketball Finals, the AHSAA Game of the Week each Thursday during the regular season and the AHSAA Playoff Game of the Week during the four playoff rounds leading up to finals.
WOTM will also produce for the AHSAA TV Network the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game; Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Games; the AHSAA State Softball and Baseball Finals; and the State Cheerleading Finals. The Network will also produce a weekly “Inside the AHSAA’’ 30-minute TV program to be shown over its network of cable stations and the NFHS Network beginning in September.
The agreement solidifies the AHSAA broadcast package that includes the digital live-streaming partnership with PlayOn! Sports and the NFHS TV Network. The Network has been streaming AHSAA Tier 2 events as well as the Tier 1 Super 7 football championships and AHSAA State Basketball semifinals and finals.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with PlayOn Sports, the NFHS Network and WOTM,” said Savarese. “This partnership is important to us and will take us into the next decade with one of the best broadcast packages anywhere. WOTM and (ACN) in Alabama is included on many of the state’s cable affiliates and covers much of the state. The NFHS Network will continue to provide outstanding programming via live-streaming. This partnership will no doubt provide enormous exposure of AHSAA championship events for our member schools and help promote our message of education-based athletics.”
WOTM/Broadway Communications president Vincent Earley said the company is proud of its relationship with the AHSAA.
“We are an Alabama company and look forward to working hand-in-hand with the AHSAA and PlayOn Sports/NFHS Network to bring such outstanding sports events to viewers,” Earley said.
“We believe in the AHSAA mission and purpose and we believe in the young men and women in Alabama’s high schools who are working daily to make themselves better students and better athletes. We are also looking forward to recognizing the administrators, teachers, coaches and communities that are making such a positive difference in the lives of these students. We look forward to working with the AHSAA and NFHS Network in building a relationship that will benefit our schools and citizens.”
The AHSAA has been a member of the NFHS Network since 2013. More than 100 member schools are part of the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
WOTM’s network of cable affiliates for the Kickoff Classic is detailed in the accompanying chart.
MIDLAND CITY -- The preparedness of Dale County High School head football coach Don Moore and his football coaching staff and their quick action in implementing the school’s emergency action plan saved a student-athlete’s life Tuesday morning, said Dale County High School Superintendent of Schools Ben Baker Tuesday afternoon.
Baker said he is so thankful for all the training concerning health and safety provided by the AHSAA for its member schools and is thankful that schools are required to have emergency action plans in place. He is even more thankful that his football coaching staff paid attention in those professional development training sessions and had practiced their emergency action plan often.
Baker described what took place.
“This morning about approximately 7:15 a.m., they had just gotten started about 10 minutes earlier, the team was doing some defensive drills, running some patterns, when a 15-year old student-athlete collapsed,” Baker said. “It was a cardiac arrest. The coaches immediately implemented their emergency action plan, each knowing their responsibilities. The coach responsible for dialing 911 did that. The coach responsible for administering CPR immediately started CPR. The coach responsible for getting the Automated External Defibrillator ran and got the AED. The coach responsible for going out to the road to meet the ambulance did that.
“The coaches continued administering CPR until the AED arrived. They then shocked the child, then shocked him again. On the second shock from the AED, the child began to gasp for breath and got back in rhythm.”
He said the ambulance arrived and the paramedics took the child to Flowers Hospital in Dothan. He was later flown to UAB as a precaution and to try and figure out what happened. The student-athlete’s named had not been released late Tuesday afternoon.
“The young man is not out of the woods, so we want to keep him and his family in our prayers and definitely want to take care of their needs, but I am so proud of the coaching staff at Dale County High School. The big story first and foremost is that the child is alive. But it is important to point out that the emergency action plan the AHSAA mandates and we do as a local school system works. We train and prepare and we train and prepare, but today we implemented it and because those coaches were trained and prepared, they saved the life of a child. “
He also praised the ability of the coaching staff to remain calm in the emergency situation. “Because they didn’t panic, they were able to do what they have been trained to do.”
Baker urges other schools across the state and nation to take note about just how vital having a plan in place, having an AED available and having the staff trained can be to the survival.
“I know that schools may not have AEDs, but they need to get them regardless of the cost. They need to find a way,” Baker said. “And they need them where they can get to them quickly. You’ve got to have one at the field house, one at the gym, one at the field, and one at the baseball stadium … regardless of the cost.”
He said Dale County Schools implemented a plan a few years go to put AEDs in the schools like fire extinguishers.
“We put them on the walls all over our campuses. We’re not satisfied with just one in the nurse’s station. We want them at all facilities because it proved today that it can save a life. I know it is expensive but a child’s life is worth every dime. The physician told us without the AED and CPR, the chances of survival were unlikely. However, each coach knew what they were supposed to do and they did it. Why? Because they practiced it.”
Hours later, Baker was still praising his coaches’ alert actions. Ironically, the school system had already had a professional development time planned for Tuesday.
“We just finished that professional development where we met with our local physician and met with Encore, which provides our local trainers,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “Coach Don Moore and staff were there. I gave them the opportunity to speak and of course they were choked up because the ordeal was very emotional. Coach Moore is a great leader of men. He praised the actions of all his coaches. They were prepared, they had a plan, they implemented that plan.”
He reiterated that people need to hear this story because the coaches in Alabama and all across the nation need to understand it could happen to them at them.
“We want to get that message out not just to celebrate that the child is okay, but to let everybody know that you better have a plan, and you better be ready to execute it. You can’t just have a plan on paper. A plan on a shelf is useless. You’ve got to practice it,” he said.
“We are also so thankful for our partnership with Encore because they have helped us with that. Just this week and the latter part of last week we put coaches on buses and went to our different venues and practiced our plan. We knew this day may be coming and we are just so thankful our coaches were ready … and a life was saved.”
Member School Dues also Waved for 28th Straight Year
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning a record $2 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan and also voted to waive school membership dues once again – an immediate savings of approximately $84,000 for member schools.
The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, has returned
$15.8 million to its member schools since 2010. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
“This is outstanding news for our member schools,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are very grateful to our corporate partners and championship communities for investing in our member schools.”
In keeping with the tradition started by the Central Board in the 1991-92 school year, membership dues to all member schools were waived for 28th consecutive year.
Waiving the dues results in a savings of approximately $84,000 for the AHSAA’s 416 high schools and 336 middle/junior high schools. Member schools have had a savings of approximately $2.2 million during the entire span since 1991-92. Member schools also derived a savings in excess of $100,000 since no entry fees are levied for state championships in any sport.
The board voted to return $1 from each playoff ticket through revenue sharing to member schools to help offset the rising cost of game expenses beginning with the 2019-20 school year. The amount totaled approximately $341,000 in 2018-19.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese presented to retiring Central Board member Richard Brown a plaque of appreciation and watch for his long-standing service on the Board. Brown, who is retiring after 50 years in public school education, has served on the Central Board for eight years and on the District 4 Legislative Council for 17 years.
New Central Board members Kim Kiel, Athletic Director at Pelham High School (District 5), and Jamie Chapman, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools (District 7), were sworn into office by AHSAA Associate Executive Director Alvin Briggs. Opelika High School principal Dr. Farrell Seymore, who is replacing Mr. Brown on the Central Board from District 4 beginning in 2019-20, was in attendance and will be sworn in at the October meeting.
The Central Board reviewed and approved 2018-19 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2018-19 AHSAA Sports Book.
AHSAA legal counsel Mark Bain updated the Board on legal issues.
In highlights of other Central Board action:
-- Approved changing the penalty for the 50% Rule violation to restitution and fine on the first offense and suspension for the season on the second offense.
– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
– Approved drafts of the 2019-20 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2018-19 audits for each group.
-- Approved a modification of the Competitive Balance formula recommended by the AHSAA Classification Task Force to classify member private school athletic teams using the most current two years of data in a classification period instead of three years of data.
-- Approved recommendations by the Cross Country, Cheerleading, Tennis, Golf, Soccer, Outdoor and Indoor Track, Softball and Baseball Coaches Committees concerning their sports.
-- Was updated about catastrophic insurance and approved AHSAA insurance coverages.
-- Approved an increase for delayed video broadcast rights fees for state playoff events from $400 to $500 per contest.
-- Approved a new digital publication plan beginning in 2019-20 and approved a new text system for accessing AHSAA By-Laws and Sports Rules.
-- Approved a new Coaching Card and Special Pass process.
-- Approved the formation of a special committee to discuss the Transfer Rule.
MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals were recognized Friday night at the AHSAA’s 23rd annual AHSAA Championship Coaches’ Awards Banquet as recipients of the prestigious “Making A Difference” Award as the 2019 AHSAA Summer Conference concluded at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The week-long conference, which attracted more than 4,500 administrators, coaches and other support personnel from AHSAA member schools to Montgomery, was hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). It included 16 North-South all-star competitions during the week – for the sports of baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, volleyball, football, and for the first time boys’ and girls’ tennis and golf. The North beat the South 27-14 in the 59th playing of the North-South football all-star game to close out all-star play Thursday night.
Secretary of State John Merrill was the keynote speaker at Friday’s awards banquet recognized 113 state championship coaches who led teams to state titles in the AHSAA’s championship programs in 2018-19 as well as honoring several others for outstanding service or accomplishment.
The highlight of Friday’s banquet was the “Making A Difference” Award, however, now in its ninth year. One AHSAA member school coach, administrator or contributor was honored in each classification for their contributions to their schools and communities that help change lives in daily in a positive way.
The recipients were: retiring principal John Hardin, Hackleburg High School (1A); special education coordinator, volleyball and girls’ basketball coach Lisa Bates of Sand Rock High School (2A); principal Willie Wright of Pike County High School (3A); softball coach Chris Goodman of Alabama Christian Academy (4A); assistant football coach Rush Holcomb of Hamilton High School (5A); Opelika legendary radio personality and long-time “Voice of the Bulldogs” D. Mark Mitchell (6A); retiring Jefferson County Schools Athletic Director Ken Storie (7A).
Several other special awards were presented including the NFHS Section III “Spirit of Sport” Award recipient Zoe Portis, who graduated from Trinity Presbyterian School in the spring of 2018; NFHS National Cheer Coach of the Year Sandra Seals of Winfield High School; and Section III Coaches of the Year Chad McKnight, Samson High School (girls’ basketball); Shawn Weltzin, Thompson High School (wrestling); and Seals (cheer).
Portis, who was the AHSAA Bryant-Jordan Class 4A Student Achievement winner in 2018, went from being an orphan in Africa to becoming an honor student at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery after she was adopted by the Portis family when she was a small child. Her story of perseverance, faith and character has been an inspiration to the state and nation.
Heath Thrash of Fyffe High School was honored by the AHSADCA as the AHSAA 2019 Athletic Director of the Year.
Other special awards included:
NFHS State Coaches of the Year: Twenty-two outstanding AHSAA coaches were selected 2018 NFHS state coach of the year in their respective sports: Zachary Blume, Southside-Gadsden (girls’ bowling); Brittney Carnell, Buckhorn (boys’ bowling); Matt Cimo, Auburn (baseball); Analyn Coker, Trinity Presbyterian (girls’ soccer); Jeff Dellinger, Auburn (girls’ swimming); Brandon Easterwood, Springville (softball); Arthur Fortin, Huntsville (boys’ swimming); Ashley Jackson, Fort Payne (girls’ cross country); Kevin Klein, Houston Academy (boys’ golf); Megan Liljenquist, Northridge (girls’ tennis); Christian Matthews, Jasper (boys’ tennis); Sean McBride, Homewood (boys’ soccer); Dave McConnell, Whitesburg Christian (girls’ track); Chad McKnight, Samson (girls’ basketball); Bucky McMillan, Mountain Brook (boys’ basketball); Stasha Morrison, Northside (girls’ golf); Benjamin Robinson, Scottsboro (track); Sandra Seals, Winfield (cheer); Clinton Smith, Hillcrest-Evergreen (football); Charles Tiller, American Christian (boys’ track); Whitney Welch, Alexandria (volleyball); and Shawn Weltzin, Thompson (wrestling).
Children Scholarship Recipients: Ten students, each a child of an AHSADCA member coach or administrator, also received the AHSADCA’s Coaches’ Children Scholarships. They were:
District 1: Sally Caroline Davis, Spanish Fort HS (daughter of Charles and Courtney Bishop).
District 2: Samantha Lee Adams, Carroll (daughter of Kirke and Angie Adams).
District 3: Allyn Browning, Saint James (daughter of Jerry and Suzy Browning).
District 4: Jack Edward Gant III, Tallassee HS (son of Eddie and Terina Gantt).
District 5: Caleb Austin Huber, Vestavia Hills HS (son of Brett and Patty Huber).
District 6: Preston Odom, Piedmont HS (son of Jonathan and Leah Odom).
District 6: Avery Bobbitt, Piedmont HS (daughter of Michael Bobbitt and Kelli Winkles).
District 7: Robert Mason Lambert, Haleyville HS (son of Andy and Amber Lambert).
District 7: Abram Peoples, Muscle Shoals HS (son of Scotty and Tonya Peoples).
District 8: Cassie Black, Geraldine HS (daughter of Cale and Ami Black).
Eight Schools Receive AHSAA Sportsmanship Grants: Eight of the 99 high schools that were recognized at Friday’s 11th annual AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon were recipients of a $1,000 AHSAA Sportsmanship Grant.
The recipients this year were: Williamson HS (District 1); McKenzie HS (District 2); Calhoun HS (District 3); Central Coosa HS (District 4); Woodlawn HS (District 5); Alabama School for the Blind (District 6); Colbert Heights HS (District 7); and Athens Bible School (District 8). The schools were selected from the 99 that completed the 2018-19 school fine and ejection free.
Eight Schools Receive FutureOnes $500 Grant:
In addition, new AHSAA Corporate Partner Future Ones, which specializes in sports uniforms and other cloth wear, presented eight $500 product gift certificates to eight schools as well. Those included: J.F. Shields HS (District 1); Abbeville HS (District 2); A.L. Johnson HS (District 3); Loachapoka HS (District 4); Parker HS (District 5); Ragland HS (District 6); Sheffield HS (District 7); and Valley Head HS (District 8).
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