Jason Caldwell

Previewing This Week's Alabama High School Football Title Games In The AHSAA And Players To Watch

Seven Alabama high school football state championship games will be decided this week and Inside the Auburn Tigers will provide coverage of each of those showdowns.

Linebacker Tre Threat (above), who plays for Spanish Fort, plans to enroll at Auburn in January.

Wednesday, 7 p.m., 7A Final

Spain Park (12-1) vs. McGill-Toolen (12-1)

The biggest surprise in this one is no Hoover present in the final game. That’s because Spain Park took down the Bucs not once, but twice this season thanks to a very talented defense. Allowing more than 14 points just two times this year and zero times in the last eight games, Spain Park is a dominant force with safety/linebacker Perry Young one of the keys. An Arkansas State commitment, Young can make plays at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary with Jonah Tibbs setting the tempo on the line of scrimmage. On offense Joey Beatty is a player to watch for the Jaguars as well as running back Wade Streeter.

After missing the playoffs last year McGill-Toolen is back rolling again with a defense allowing just 10.5 points per game. With their only loss coming to 6A Blount earlier this year the Yellow Jackets are led by QB Paris Chambers and junior wide receiver Marlon Williams, linebackers DeAnthony Philon and Carlton Martial as well as defensive backs Marcus Lucas and Josh Williams.

 

Thursday, 11 a.m., 3A Final

Bayside Academy (11-3) vs. Piedmont (13-1)

While the 7A title game sets up as a potential defensive struggle, Thursday’s first game could be a shootout with Bayside Academy coming in averaging 30.4 points with Piedmont scoring 37.7 per contest. With a powerful ground game Bayside Academy has a strong duo of Andy Citrin and Will Cox in the backfield. The two have combined for over 2,000 yards and 40 touchdowns this season.

Running the football as well but out of the spread, Piedmont has a quarterback that can do damage on the ground in Taylor Hayes with running back Darnell Jackson a dynamic ball carrier as well. The best player on the field may be linebacker/fullback Neonta Alexander. A player with D1 potential, Alexander is a physical presence in the middle for the Bulldogs.

 

Thursday, 3 p.m., 1A Final

Maplesville (12-1) vs. Cedar Bluff (13-1)

A team that has become a perennial state title contender, Maplesville is once again headed to the finals after another dominating season when the Red Devils outscored their opponents 531-172. Speedy running back Terence Dunlap is the guy who makes things go for Maplesville while quarterback Josh Decker is coming off a six-TD performance for Cedar Bluff in last week’s win over Decatur Heritage. Averaging 43.7 points per game, Cedar Bluff also has a very talented running back to shoulder the load in Ivory Starr.

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Maplesville RB Terence Dunlap is definitely a player to watch for the Red Devils

Thursday, 7 p.m., 5A Final

St. Paul’s (12-2) vs. Mortimer Jordan (13-1)

Back to defend its title from a year ago, St. Paul’s is one of the most talented teams in the Super 7 this year with prospects on both sides of the ball. Averaging 33.3 points per game, the Saints are led by Air Force commitment Miller Mosley at quarterback with speedster Ostin McPherson and bruising B.J. Edmonds at running back. South Carolina commitment Darius Whitfield, South Alabama commitment Bryce Huff, 2017 defensive end Ryan Johnson and 2018 defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis lead the St. Paul’s defense.

Quarterback Duncan Hodges is the guy who makes Mortimer’s Jordan’s offense go, but the key for Blue Devils may be two-way star Spencer Brown. Rushing for 24 touchdowns this season and adding 88 tackles and 11 sacks on defense, Mortimer Jordan needs Brown to have a huge game on Thursday night.

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Ostin McPherson is one of several playmakers for St. Paul's

Friday, 11 a.m., 4A Final

Leeds (12-2) vs. Fayette County (10-4)

Also back to defend a title is a powerful Leeds squad led by Tennessee commitment Tadarryl Marshall at quarterback. A dangerous player who also excels as a kick returner, Marshall is at his best in the run game when he’s sharing the load with powerful Tre Nation. Nation has offers from several top programs and can be a load to handle. Big Josephus Smith is a force at defensive tackle for the Green Wave.

Quarterback Drew Guy is the straw that stirs the drink for the Fayette County offense with running back Kerieq Sparks also capable of making plays for the Tigers with Mario Wilson and Kondarius Wilson two players that Leeds must also account for in this matchup.

 

Friday, 3 p.m., 2A final

Fyffe (13-1) vs. Elba (13-1)

Dilan Kilpatrick and Seth Benefield lead the way for a Fyffe offense that operates almost exclusively on the ground. Averaging 37.7 points per game, the Red Devils are hoping for a repeat following a win over Elba a season ago.

To do that they will have to slow quarterback Ramsey Rigby. Expected to walk-on at Auburn next year, Rigby leads an Elba offense that enters the championship game averaging 45.6 points per game. A dual-threat player who completes over 70 percent of his passes, Rigby is the guy that Fyffe has to worry about in this one. Up front lineman Blaine Hudson is committed to Troy and could be the best big man in the game.

 

Friday, 7 p.m., 6A Final

Clay-Chalkville (14-0) vs. Spanish Fort (14-0)

Something has to give in this one as Clay-Chalkville QB Tyrrell Pigrome and Spanish Fort’s Tyler Johnston are both undefeated for their careers heading into their final high school game. A dynamic player both throwing and running, Pigrome has a pair of top-notch receivers to throw to in senior T.J. Simmons and junior Nico Collins.

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Ty Pigrome is one of the most dynamic players to ever play the quarterback position in Alabama

On the other side Johnston is the definition of a leader for his team, directing the Toros from the pocket and also making plays with his legs. Recently committing to UAB, Johnston is protected by tackle and Southern Miss commitment Jacob Johnson. On defense Auburn commitment Tre Threat and 2017 prospect Thomas Johnston lead the way from the linebacker position with junior Justin Thomas a force up front for the Toros.

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