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2022 Games Set for Cramton Bowl Aug 18-19

Central Al Scoreboard

Story by AHSAA Staff

MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, Chelsea vs. Helena and Hoover vs. Auburn, have been selected to participate in the 2022 AHSAA Kickoff Classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
     Chelsea and Helena, two Shelby County rivals, will play in the 2022 Kickoff Classic Game on Thursday night, August 18, at Cramton Bowl to officially open the AHSAA 2022 football season. Hoover and Auburn meet on Friday, August 19. Both games will begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network and live-streamed over the NFHS Network. AHSAA TV partner WOTM TV of Sylacauga will produce the game for the NFHS Network / AHSAA TV Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast both contests over its statewide radio network.

     “We are elated to have two games of this magnitude lined up for the 2022 Kickoff Classic,” said AHSADCA Director Brandon Dean. “We are grateful to these four schools from such strong high school sports communities for committing to this year’s event. We are looking forward to seeing these teams usher in a new season of high school athletics. 
    “We also thank the City of Montgomery and Mayor Steven Reed for hosting this annual event. In addition, we are appreciative of WOTM, the NFHS Network, and the AHSAA Radio Network for giving us a platform to highlight our student-athletes to the rest of the state and nation.”
      Helena (9-2) finished 6-0 to win the Class 6A, Region 3 title last season. The Huskies of Coach Richie Busby opened the season 9-0 before falling to UMS-Wright in a non-region game week 10 and then losing a 32-29 nailbiter in the first game of the Class 6A state playoffs. Helena will be competing again in Class 6A in 2022.
     Chelsea (4-7) also reached the Class 6A playoffs last season under the direction of head coach Dustin Goodwin. The Hornets move into Class 7A, Region 3 in 2022 in what will be the school’s most challenging season in school history with the likes of defending 7A state champion Thompson, Hoover, Oak Mountain, Hewitt-Trussville, Vestavia Hills, Spain Park and Tuscaloosa County as region opponents. Goodwin’s team lost four tough games to start the 2021 season – including close losses t Briarwood Christian (42-35) and Homewood (37-35) before rallying to clinch a berth in the Class 6A state playoffs with four straight region wins. The Hornets fell in the first round 30-20 to Oxford.

    Goodwin and Busby are both starting their fifth seasons at their respective schools. Goodwin owns a 36-39 career coaching record with three seasons at Plainview (21-12) and four seasons at Chelsea (15-27). Busby is 69-32 overall. Just the second head coach in Helena’s eight-year history, the Huskies are 29-15 in his tenure. He also coached Fultondale (40-17) for five seasons.
     Hoover (12-1), currently still seeking a head coach after veteran Josh Niblett resigned after the 2021 season to take over the Gainesville (GA) High School program. The Bucs rolled to a 171-26 record, six state titles (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017) and four state runner-up finishes (2008, 2010, 2011)  in perhaps  the most dominant 14-year stretch in AHSAA history. His teams were 92-8 in region play and 49-8 
   Hoover will be playing in the Kickoff Classic for the fifth time. The Bucs are 4-0 in the previous contests winning 17-14 over Central-Phenix City in 2019 and 23-7 in 2016; 32-27 over Oxford in 2009; and downing UMS-Wright 38-0 in the first Kickoff Classic series in 2006.
   Auburn (12-1) reached the Class 7A semifinals in 2021. Veteran Coach Keith Etheredge, 160-54 in16 seasons as a head coach with stops at Leeds, Pell City, T.R. Miller, Oxford and Auburn, is making his fourth appearance in the Kickoff Classic and Auburn is making its second. The Tigers beat Spain Park 30-3 in the 2010 Kickoff Classic with Tim Carter as head coach.
    Etheredge coached Leeds in a 27-7 loss to T.R. Miller in the 2009 Kickoff Classic, and in a 17-14 loss to Madison Academy in the 2015 Classic. He also coached Pell City in the 2017 Classic in a 47-10 loss to Hewitt-Trussville. Etheredge has coached five state championship teams, four at Leeds (2008, 2010, 2014, 2015) and one at Oxford (2019). His teams have played in the state playoffs all 16 seasons – compiling a 42-12 playoff record and 78-26 slate in region games.
     Auburn’s program has thrived over the last 14 seasons under three different head coaches (Carter, Etheredge and Adam Winegarden). During that span, the Tigers have gone 135-37 overall, 73-15 in region play and 22-14 in 14 playoff appearances. Auburn lost to Thompson in the 7A finals 29-28 in 2020 and 20-3 to Hoover in the 6A finals in 2013. During that span, Auburn has also reached the semifinals (2021, 201, 2009) three times, compiled a 73-15 region record and 22-14 playoff slate.
     Handley beat Guntersville 55-21 and Dothan topped Bob Jones 42-32 in last year’s Kickoff Classic games. A total of 59 different high schools have participated in the Kickoff Classic since its inception in 2006. That list includes one out-of-state school (North Gwinnett, GA) in 2007. On Kickoff Classic (2008) was canceled due to inclement weather.

AHSAA Kickoff Classic History
Handley 55, Guntersville 21
Dothan 42, Bob Jones 32
Pike Road 63, Montgomery Catholic 34
Prattville 40, Wetumpka 10
Hoover 17, Central-Phenix City 14
Carver-Montgomery 18, Jeff Davis 13
Clarke County 20, Sweet Water 14
Thompson 38, James Clemens 7
Hewitt-Trussville 49, Pell City 10
Maplesville 20, Fyffe 7
Andalusia 34, Brooks 13
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 42, Demopolis 7
Hoover 23, Central-Phenix City 7
Bob Jones 37, Carver-Montgomery 30
Gordo 28, Glencoe 21
Madison Academy 19, Leeds 14
Spanish Fort 42, Stanhope Elmore 14
Opelika 20, Carver-Montgomery 16
Dadeville 14, Piedmont 8
Benjamin Russell 28, Walker 14Straughn 35, Walter Wellborn 26
Bob Jones 23, Enterprise 20
Spanish Fort 33, Muscle Shoals 22Central of Clay County 25, Beauregard 13McGill-Toolen 27, Northridge 0
Hueytown 36, Thomasville 27
Hamilton 38, Sweet Water 35
Daphne 24, Clay-Chalkville 21

Opelika 34, Greenville 6
Auburn 30, Spain Park 3
Jackson 30, Trinity 8                                      

Prattville 37, Carver-Montgomery 0 
T.R. Miller 27, Leeds 7
Hoover 32, Oxford 27

Prattville vs. Oxford, canceled due to inclement weather

Prattville 36, North Gwinnett, Ga. 3

Hoover 38, UMS-Wright 0
Clay-County 41, Addison 6

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