4 weeks ago

Three venue rotation put in place for 2021-2032 AHSAA Super 7 football championships

Birmingham’s Protective Life Stadium, Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium will rotate hosting the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s (AHSAA) Super 7 state high school football championships over the years 2021-2032.

AHSAA made the announcement Thursday, pending final approvals in process from the association and community partners.

The new structure (the addition being Birmingham) continues the tradition of using the state’s premier football venues as the backdrop for student-athletes in all seven AHSAA classifications to compete for their football state title each year.

In a statement, AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese expressed his enthusiasm for the fresh format.

“It is with great pride that we announce the continuation of Super 7 for 2021-2032 and our partnership with the communities of Auburn-Opelika, Tuscaloosa, and now Birmingham,” he said.

“The communities of Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa helped the AHSAA take this event to a new level in 2009 and created the standard of excellence for hosting that is unmatched across high school athletics,” Savarese continued. “The AHSAA is grateful for Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa embracing a new idea to include Birmingham in the rotation which will now provide three high quality venues for our member schools to showcase their football programs at the end of each season.”

The 2021 event will begin the new three-community rotation at Protective Life Stadium in downtown Birmingham, which will at that time be newly constructed. The stadium will host its first Super 7 from December 1-3, 2021, followed by the years 2024, 2027 and 2030.

The 2021 event will mark the return of the state high school football championships to Birmingham for the first time since 2008, when the Magic City last hosted the event in its Super 6 format at historic Legion Field, where the championships were played from 1996 – 2008. Legion Field also was host to the large-school championship game from 1971 – 1995.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin commented, “We are pleased to see the AHSAA Super 7 return to the city where it began more than 20 years ago.”

“The Super 7 showcases the best of high school athletics in Alabama, and Birmingham is excited to be a host city once again. As a progressive city focused on building a better future for our young people, we look forward to working closely with the AHSAA to celebrate championship-caliber high school sports for years to come,” he added.

Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and the communities of Auburn and Opelika will host in 2022, 2026, 2028 and 2032.

The Opelika City Council voted on November 5 to approve the host years, and the City of Auburn is in the midst of its approval process. Auburn Mayor Ron Anders advised that his city is “excited to continue the great tradition of hosting this major event for our state” when that process is completed.

Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium will host in 2023, 2025, 2029 and 2031.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said, “The City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama have always been synonymous with great football and striving towards excellence, and we want to continue that tradition by offering the opportunity for our youth across the state to continue to come to our city to play in the same arena as some of the greats who have come before them. Tuscaloosa has been a host of the Super 6 since 2009, and we want to continue to be a part of the Super 7 in our state in future years.”

Savarese thanked all three venue communities for their enthusiastic commitment to the AHSAA’s Super 7 football championship experience for its member schools.

“On behalf of our more than 400 member high schools and approximately 150,000 student-athletes this association serves, I want to sincerely thank the community partners who have pledged their support to make this idea a reality including the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, the University of Alabama, the City of Auburn, the City of Opelika, the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, Auburn University, the City of Birmingham, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the BJCC,” he concluded. “This event not only highlights our football student-athletes and coaches, but provides an opportunity for members of bands, spirit programs, and the entire communities that these schools represent to be showcased annually at our state’s most iconic venues for which the AHSAA is truly grateful.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 hours ago

Ivey visits hometown Camden to commemorate bicentennial — ‘Y’all, Alabama has come a long way’

CAMDEN — On Friday, on the eve of the culmination of Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration set to take place in Montgomery, Gov. Kay Ivey paid a visit to her hometown to take part in an event marking the milestone in her home county of Wilcox.

Not far from where Ivey attended high school as part of Wilcox County High School’s class of 1963, the governor participated in a ceremony that also included Camden Mayor Bill Creswell and Wilcox County Commissioner Bill Albritton.

After offering a list of the state’s achievements, Ivey remarked on how far Alabama had come.

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“During these 200 years, Alabama has celebrated some pretty incredible people and milestones,” she said. “Building a rocket that took a man to the moon, our rich Native American history and culture, becoming the birthplace for civil rights, and becoming an international market for goods and products. Y’all, Alabama has come a long way.”

She also noted that the events leading up to the bicentennial celebration kicked almost immediately after she assumed the role governor in 2017 and led her to make at least one visit in all of Alabama’s 67 counties.

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

While speaking to the press at the return to her hometown, Ivey expressed how great she felt about being back in her hometown and what her goals were as the state heads into its third century.

“We’re proud to be here in Wilcox County and in my hometown of Camden to celebrate the bicentennial of Wilcox County, and tomorrow we’ll celebrate the bicentennial of Alabama. It is sure great to be home,” Ivey stated.

“Certainly, we want to keep the economy going, keep the everybody working, get more people that are not working to work,” she continued. “We just want to make the quality of life in our state really good, so everybody has an opportunity to be and do what they want to do.”

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

Ivey also offered some words of advice for her hometown and county in the pursuit of a better quality of life.

“Y’all just make this place an attractive place to live and do business, have a strong education system so people can put their children in schools, then in touch with the Department of Commerce to get prospects to look us over,” she said.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

10 hours ago

Three Crimson Tide players, Auburn’s Derrick Brown named Walter Camp All-Americans

University of Alabama football players Xavier McKinney, Jaylen Waddle and Jedrick Wills, Jr. have been named to the Walter Camp All-America second-team, while Auburn University’s Derrick Brown made the first-team.

McKinney is a safety, Waddle is a wide receiver selected to the team as a returner on special teams, Wills is an offensive tackle and Brown is a defensive tackle.

The Walter Camp Foundation announced the honors Thursday evening at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

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McKinney, a junior, ranked 12th in the SEC in tackles with 85 through 12 games. He was also the Crimson Tide leader in tackles this season, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks. He forced four fumbles and added three interceptions to go with five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries. The star defensive back also returned one of his interceptions for an 81-yard touchdown.

Waddle led the nation in punt return average at 24.9 yards per return with 19 for 474 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 77. The sophomore also returned four kickoffs for 152 yards and one score and added more than 53 yards and six touchdowns on 32 catches at wideout this season. Earlier this week, he was selected as a first team All-American at returner by Pro Football Focus and named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Wills anchored an offensive line that has surrendered only 12 sacks in 381 pass attempts this season. He graded out at over 91% for the Tide along the front allowing only one sack all season and only 3.5 quarterback hurries while missing only seven assignments in 714 snaps for a success rate of 99.9%.

Brown had a monster season on the defensive side of the ball and landed as a finalist for just about every national award possible. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the conference coaches and The Associated Press.

This is the 130th edition of the Walter Camp All-America team, the nation’s oldest such team.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 hours ago

Marshall applauds federal court ruling that plaintiffs challenging Alabama’s minimum wage law lack standing

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the State of Alabama on Friday, saying that the plaintiffs challenging Alabama’s 2016 minimum wage law lacked standing to file their racial discrimination claim against the Alabama Attorney General.

The law being challenged holds that no Alabama municipality can raise its minimum wage higher than the state of Alabama’s minimum wage. The law was enacted by the state legislature after Birmingham attempted to raise the minimum wage paid by businesses in the city to $10.1o per hour. The minimum wage in Alabama is $7.25 an hour. Twenty-two states have similar laws to the one on Alabama’s books.

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In response to Alabama’s new law, the plaintiffs in question from Friday’s ruling filed a civil rights action in federal court arguing the law perpetuated white supremacy and violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

Notably, the court did not rule on whether the equal protection claim had merit, but rather ruled that the suit was wrongfully being brought because their alleged damages were not “fairly traceable” to conduct by the AG.

“I am pleased with the 11th Circuit’s ruling today, which agreed with the State of Alabama that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue the Attorney General over their complaints about Alabama’s minimum wage law,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall.  “I also think the substance of the plaintiffs’ challenge lacked merit, but the court withheld judgment on that question because the plaintiffs failed to show that the Attorney General ever harmed them.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

12 hours ago

Black Belt Workforce Center opens in Demopolis

Private and public officials gathered in Demopolis Friday to announce the opening of the Black Belt Workforce Center.

The center will provide training for job seekers and employers, job application assistance, resume help and a computer lab. The center will also provide retraining and retooling for job seekers who were previously in the workforce but need help competing for the jobs available today.

“We knew that we needed to serve some of our most critical areas in Alabama by creating a center in the Black Belt. This is a place for both job hunters and employers to find resources to help them succeed,” said West Alabama Works Executive Director Donny Jones.

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The center is a collaboration between West Alabama Works, the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC), Central Alabama Works, and numerous governmental and nonprofit stakeholders in the area. It will be helmed by Tammi Holley.

The center is very close to the Alabama Department of Labor’s facility in the area, a department with which the training center plans to work in concert.

Jim Page is the CEO of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, which houses West Alabama Works.

He told Yellowhammer, “Even though Alabama has got a very strong economy right now and we’ve got record low unemployment, there are still far too many people who are unemployed or underemployed.”

“A major reason for that is the lack of education, lack of training, and lack of certain skill sets needed to compete for jobs, or to get a better job. We’ve long felt it important to go into our more rural areas, particularly the black belt, to make the resources more readily available closer to the people, and meet them where they are,” Page added.

Unique among workforce development initiatives in Alabama is the partnership with a local drug prevention organization: The Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE). The Tuscaloosa-based PRIDE plans to work with the center to help increase drug prevention efforts in the surrounding community.

“One of the biggest problems that workforce development has is keeping kids where they can pass a drug screening,” Derrick Osborne, the Executive Director of PRIDE told Yellowhammer on the phone.

According to Osborne, PRIDE is “trying to help people understand addiction before they become addicted.”

He added, “We want to say, you don’t have to use a drug because you feel like there isn’t anywhere for you to go. There is hope, there are things to look forward to in your life.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

13 hours ago

Watch: Alabamians line up with American flags to welcome slain Naval ensign home

As seen in a video posted on Twitter, people lined the streets of Enterprise on Friday to welcome home Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson.

Watson, a 23-year-old Coffee County native who also spent many of his formative years in Blount County, was killed in last week’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The hero’s body arrived at Dothan Regional Airport on Friday and then a procession took him to Searcy Funeral Home in Enterprise.

Considering Fort Rucker’s presence, the area has a high percentage of military families, making Watson’s murder that much harder on the Wiregrass community. People lined the procession route with American flags, honoring his service, sacrifice and life.

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A public memorial service for Watson will take place at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center at 11:00 a.m. next Saturday, December 21.

Burial will be the following day at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo. Governor Kay Ivey has ordered flags to half-staff on that day of internment: Sunday, December 22.

RELATED: How the hometown of a NAS Pensacola shooting hero is paying tribute to one of their own

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn