Class 4A: Handley (12-2) vs. Madison Academy (11-3)
Two teams that got hot at the right time, Handley and Madison Academy are back in a familiar spot after playing for the title. Five years ago it was the Tigers that took down Madison Academy and freshman Kerryon Johnson in Tuscaloosa, but this time around Handley is playing as well as anyone in the state.
Losing to Callaway (Ga.) and Tallassee the first two weeks of the season, Handley has rolled off 12-straight wins including easily defeating Thomasville and No. 1 Andalusia the last two weeks. Leading the way for the Tigers is Auburn baseball signee Rhett Fetner at quarterback. This season he’s thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns with running back Spanky Watts rushing for 1,325 yards and 21 scores.
For Madison Academy it’s the first season in the last six without a Division I talent at running back. With Auburn commitment Austin Troxell on the shelf following knee surgery, the Mustangs have been a gritty team relying on the arm of quarterback Grayson Edgemon. This year he’s thrown for 3,239 yards and 38 touchdowns with Jaelin Ferdinand hauling in 65 receptions for 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Class 2A: Aliceville (13-1) vs. Fyffe (14-0)
Looking for its third state championship in school history, Aliceville is led by Ole Miss commitment Jamar Richardson on both sides of the ball. Capable of playing wide receiver or defensive back on the next level, Richardson has the Yellow Jackets rolling along with talented linebacker Deonte Taylor. A 6-2, 220-pounder, Taylor has come back strong from a car accident to have a big senior season. Aliceville’s only loss came to Class 3A Gordo the first game of the season.
Winning the title in 2014 in Auburn, Fyffe is back again and led by running back Dilan Kilpatrick. The senior has 2,253 yards and 36 touchdowns with sophomore Payton Anderson chipping in with 826 yards and 19 scores. Rolling on offense all season long, Fyffe is averaging 48 points per game and has failed to score 40 points only twice this season.
Class 6A: Opelika (13-1) vs. Ramsay (12-2)
Back in the state title game for the second time in three years, Opelika is one of the most balanced teams in the Super 7 with Weldrin Ford’s 1,687 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground and J.D. Worth’s 1,960 yards passing and 22 touchdown the go-to guys on offense for the Bulldogs. Leading the way up front is Duke commitment Rakavius Chambers.
For Ramsay it has been a rebirth with the program in its fifth year of play after being cut from the school in 1976. Baniko Harley is a player to watch for the Rams with wide receiver Joshua Horn and do-it-all wide receiver defensive back Starling Thomas worth the price of admission.