Headlining the games will be a rematch between perennial powers Hoover and Daphne in Class 6A while the 2A game between Southern Choctaw and Clay County is also a matchup of longtime small school powerhouses in Alabama. The week promises to be a special one and it gets started Thursday at 3 p.m. in a game featuring the top offensive team in Alabama this season.
The top-ranked team in Class 3A, Pike County, is hoping to finish a perfect 15-0 season with a victory over Cherokee County. Averaging 48.9 points per game while allowing just 5.1 on defense, the Bulldogs are the definition of a juggernaut.
Cherokee County (13-1) will counter that with a bruising, ball-control offense led by running back Herschel Houston. A 6-2, 225-pounder, the junior will be one of the state's top prospects next season and can move the pile on offense.
In Class 4A there is finals experience galore as both UMS-Wright of Mobile (14-0) and Deshler (12-2) are familiar with Birmingham and state championships and will tangle at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The UMS-Wright Bulldogs are making their fifth appearance in the Super Six led by Alabama commitment Preston Dial and running back Rashod Bumpers. Deshler has outscored opponents 593-227 this season and is hoping to avenge a loss in the finals last season to Demopolis.
Friday's action gets started at 3 p.m. with the 1A game between Brantley (13-1) and Addison (13-1). The Bulldogs have run roughshod over some of the state's top teams in recent weeks with convincing wins over defending state champion Sweetwater (30-13), Loachapoka (27-0) and American Christian (43-31). Addison enters with some momentum of its own after blowing out Wadley 48-7 in the semi-finals. A player to watch is junior running back Chris Booker from Brantley. The 5-9. 175-pounder had five touchdowns and 371 all-purpose yards against American Christian.
Homewood wide receiver Tim Hawthorne is one of the top players at his position in the country.
In the nightcap on Friday the Buckhorn Bucks (13-1) will try for the upset of the weekend when they face powerful Homewood (14-0) at 7 p.m. Buckhorn enters on a high note after upsetting perennial powerhouse Russellville in the semi-finals. The Bucks will attempt to become the first city or county school from Madison County to win a state championship. Players to watch for on defense for the Bucks are juniors, lineman Justin Sanders and defensive back Kyle Otte.
For the Patriots the list of what to watch for is long as offensively they bring the best balance of running and passing in the state with quarterback Austin Hubbard, an Auburn baseball signee, leading the way. Outscoring opponents 553-125 with the starters rarely playing in the second half, the Patriots feature all-everything receiver Tim Hawthorne, Alabama commitment David Ross on the offensive line, and solid back Steve Freeman. Defensively they counter with tackle Robert Gentry, who uses his speed to create havoc on opposing defenses.
Saturday's games are perhaps the top of the week as at 11 a.m. Southern Choctaw and Clay County face off featuring two of the top defenses in the state. Both teams have won three state championships since 1996 and neither has lost a finals game with Clay County winning twice in 1A before moving up. The player to watch in this one is sophomore quarterback Chase Horn from Clay County. A strong player and the son of coach Danny Horn, he has a chance to be special before he leaves takes off the Panther blue.
At 3 p.m. the clash of the titans returns with the fourth meeting between Hoover and Daphne since 1996 and the sixth-straight state title game for the Bucs. Led by junior quarterback Ross Wilson and senior receiver Cornelius Williams, Hoover is once again a potent offense. The Bucs will need that against a very good Daphne team that made an impressive comeback to defeat Opelika in the semi-finals. Trailing by four with just 1:32 remaining on the clock, the Trojans drove 65 yards and scored the game winner with 27 seconds left.
Bryant Turner is one of the top defensive ends in Alabama this season.
A physical team that will have the size advantage against the Bucs, the Trojans are led by senior defensive end Bryant Turner and linebacker Devin Stallworth on defense. The team's best pass rusher with 16 sacks, Turner must have a good game for Daphne if his team hopes to slow the potent Hoover attack. On offense the Trojans counter with running back Arnil Stallworth and the passing of junior quarterback Chris Lambeth to fellow junior receiver Richie Henderson. Stallworth has more than 1,800 yards on the ground and 19 touchdowns this season.
Editor's Note: AUTigers.com will have coverage of this week's Super Six games from Birmingham.