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Thompson, Central to kick off the AHSAA Super 7 State Championships; First Girls’ Flag Championship also set for Protective Stadium

Story and photos by AHSAA Staff

BIRMINGHAM – The 56th AHSAA Football Championships promise to provide several “firsts” as 14 high school football teams and two high school girls’ flag football squads prepare to clash at Protective Stadium this week in the Super 7 State Championships.
   All championship games will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network and live-streamed over the NFHS Network. WOTM TV is producing the contests, and the AHSAA Radio Network will broadcast all finals over its network of radio stations and the internet. For more information concerning the broadcast feed in your area, go to the media link at www.ahsaa.com and you will find a link showing the network of cable stations in the WOTM TV network carrying the games and a link showing how to access the AHSAA Radio Network. Go to www.nfhsnetwork.com for more information about the live-streaming.
   Starting Wednesday, tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths at Protective Stadium or through ticket master online.
   Among the firsts are:

  • The first time the Super 7 State Championships is being held in Birmingham. The AHSAA began its championship series with all games played at one site in 1996 at Legion Field in the “Super 6” State Championships. However, the games moved to Tuscaloosa and Auburn on a rotating basis in 2009. The event went from six state championship games to seven in 2014, and the series has been absent from Birmingham ever since – until this year.
  • The 2021 Super 7 will also hold its first the AHSAA’s first Girls’ Flag Football Championship with Hewitt-Trussville (10-0) and Smiths Station (10-2) meeting Wednesday at 3 p.m., at Protective Stadium as the first year of the AHSAA pilot program concludes its season in the annual Showcase. The winner will be the “first” girls’ state football champion.
  • Six teams will be vying for their first state football title in the boys’ competition – including Class 1A Wadley (13-1); Class 2A Clarke County (12-2) and Cleveland (12-2); Class 5A Pleasant Grove (12-1) and Pike Road (13-0); and Class 6A Hueytown (13-1). Class 1A Sweet Water (13-0), on the other hand, will be vying for its 11th state crown.
  • Thompson (12-1) and Central-Phenix City (13-0) will kick off the boys’ action Wednesday night at 7 p.m. – the third time the two schools have met in the 7A title game since 2018. Central beat the Warriors in 2018 and Thompson won in 2019. The Warriors also posted an incredible comeback from a 28-19 deficit in the final 18 seconds last year to beat Auburn 29-28. The Warriors are the “first” 7A team to play in four straight state championship games.
  • When Clay-Chalkville and Hueytown meet in the 6A finals Friday night, it will be the “first” time two schools from the Jefferson County Schools have met in the finals.

       For Central Coach Patrick Nix, it won’t be his first appearance in the state finals. He coached Pinson Valley to back-to-back state championships in 2017 and 2018 with his oldest son Bo Nix quarterbacking the team. Nix moved Central in 2020 and has the Red Devils in the finals for the first time since 2019. His quarterback this season, his youngest son Caleb, a junior, has had a stellar season for Central. He comes in with 2,666 yards passing with 165 completions in 280 attempts with 36 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Receiver Karmello English has been his favorite target grabbing 68 catches for 1,042 yards and 17 receiving TDs. English also has one kickoff return and one punt return for a TD and two rushing touchdowns.

Central QB Caleb Nix


     Thompson senior quarterback Conner Harrell for Coach Mark Freeman has also had a super season. The senior, who was injured in the first half of last year’s finals versus Auburn, is 142-of-203 passing for 2,532 yards and 39 touchdowns this year despite missing much of the playoffs due to an injury. He has thrown just three picks all year. In his absence, backup quarterback Zach Sims is 25-of-34 with 428 yards passing with four touchdowns and only one interception. Ryan Peppins is the leading receiver with 73 receptions for 1,175 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Thompson QB Conner Harrell


    Linebacker Jeremiah Alexander anchors a Warriors defense that has allowed just 5.9 points per game. Central comes in averaging 43.4 ppg while Thompson is scoring at a 46.1 pace. The Red Devils are allowing only 13.5 points per contest.
     The Flag football contest will feature two teams with virtually every girl on the roster playing two or more sports for their respective schools. 
     The Super 7 Thursday schedule has Piedmont (12-2) facing Montgomery Academy (11-3) in the Class 3A championship game at 11 a.m., followed by Wadley (13-1) and Sweet Water (13-0) in the 1A finals at 3 p.m., and the Class 5A title game at 7 p.m. featuring Pleasant Grove (12-1) versus Pike Road (13-0).
    Friday’s schedule features Oneonta (13-1) and Vigor (13-1) in the 4A championship at 11 a.m. Clarke County (12-2) meets Cleveland (12-2) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Clay-Chalkville (14-0) takes on Hueytown (13-1) in the 6A finals at 7 to close out the Super 7.

AHSAA 2021 FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
SUPER 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
PROTECTIVE STADIUM, BIRMINGHAM
Wednesday, Dec. 1
GIRLS’ FLAG FINALS, Dec. 1
Hewitt-Trussville (10-0) vs. Smiths Station (10-2), 3 p.m.
CLASS 7A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Central-Phenix City (13-0) vs. Thompson (12-1), 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 2
CLASS 3A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Montgomery Academy (11-3) vs. Piedmont (12-2), 11 a.m.
CLASS 1A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Wadley (13-1) VS. Sweet Water (13-0), 3 p.m.
CLASS 5A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Pleasant Grove (12-1) vs. Pike Road (13-0), 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 3
CLASS 4A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Vigor (13-1) vs. Oneonta (13-1), 11 a.m.
CLASS 2A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Cleveland (12-2) vs. Clarke County (12-2), 3 p.m.
CLASS 6A SUPER 7 CHAMPIONSHIP
Clay-Chalkville (14-0) vs. Hueytown (13-1), 7 p.m.

Scores and stories from around Central Alabama. More than just a sports Article.

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