2009 AHSAA Super Six Preview

Cordova and Piedmont kick off what should be an exciting two days of football on Thursday morning at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

11 a.m. 3A Championship--Cordova (13-1) vs. Piedmont (12-2)
The 2007 champions, Cordova is back with a vengeance led by standout athlete and Kentucky commitment Ryan Smith. Playing tailback much of the year, Smith moved back to quarterback last week and responded with over 200 rushing yards in a 34-7 win at Luverne. The Blue Devils have allowed just one opponent (Dadeville) to score more than 14 points since losing to 5A Hartselle 22-13 in week five. That is Cordova's only loss.

Ryan Smith is committed to the Kentucky Wildcats.

Piedmont will be trying to win its first ever state title in its first try when the Bulldogs take on Cordova. Last week Piedmont avenged one of its two losses in the regular season with a 13-7 win over Leeds, last year's title winner. Piedmont has outscored its opponents 403-191 this season and has allowed seven points or less seven times this season.

3 p.m. 1A Championship--Brantley (13-1) vs. Hackleburg (14-0)
This will be Brantley's seventh trip to the state finals with the last championship coming in 1998. One of the most successful small school athletic programs in Alabama, the Bulldogs have been dominant this season. In 14 games Brantley has outscored its opponents 552-143. Included in that are seven games allowing seven points or less with four shutouts. Quarterback Chase Hall, running backs Devante Porter and Derek Holley, and wide receiver Tory Stallworth are the playmakers for the Bulldogs.

Hackleburg had never advanced past the third round of the playoffs before this season, but a powerful offense has the Panthers poised on the brink of a championship. They have scored 34 or more points in 11 of 14 games this season, but it was the defense that saved the day last week in a 10-7 victory over perennial powerhouse R.A Hubbard. Hackleburg is led by quarterback Ryan Bullock.

7 p.m. 5A Championship--Russellville (12-2) vs. Demopolis (11-3)
This game has all the makings of a classic as Doug Goodwin leads Russellville against his former team looking for the first championship for the Golden Tigers since 1968 despite several opportunities in recent years. Goodwin led Demopolis to the title in 2004, but will be looking for his second this time around from across the field. Quarterback Joey Howe and running back Brent Calloway lead a balanced Golden Tiger offensive attack.

Russellville quarterback Joey Howe

Demopolis is hoping for a title and to beat Goodwin in the process as the Tigers have come on strong in the playoffs behind the running of junior tailback DaMarcus James. The Tigers finished third in their region, but avenged a loss to Greenville in the second round to advance and survived a thrilling 29-28 win over Spanish Fort last week. On defense Marteze Jackson is a physical presence up front for the Tigers.

11 a.m. 4A Championship--Jackson (13-1) vs. Cherokee County (14-0)
The Jackson Aggies are one of the hottest teams in the state regardless of classification after throttling Handley 31-14 last week. Looking for its first state title in 30 years, Jackson has outscored opponents 552-213 this season with six games of 40 or more points. Damion Bracy and Laprintess Morris are two Aggies to keep an eye on.

Desmond Brown is a physical presence for Cherokee County

Cherokee County is looking for its first state title period after falling to UMS-Wright last year in Birmingham. Led by quarterback Coty Blanchard on offense and standouts Desmond Brown and Caleb Crane on defense, the Warriors will be a strong challenge for Jackson. This season Cherokee County has scored 625 points and only once has been held under 34 points.

3 p.m. 2A Championship--Reeltown (13-1) vs. Clay County
Reeltown's only loss came in the opening game to 3A Dadeville and since then it has been one dominant performance after another for the always strong Rebels. Averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground, Reeltown is led by speedsters Willie McKenzie and Trey McKeithen on offense while junior linebacker Shaquille Roberson is a force on the defensive side of the ball.

It's powerhouse versus powerhouse as Clay County has been the team of the past two decades in Alabama regardless of classification and returns to the title game in year one A.D. (after Danny Horn). The Panthers are shooting for their seventh title since 1994 and will do so with a strong defense that has allowed double figures in points just five times this season. Running back J.D. Williams is the spark plug for the Panthers on offense.

7 p.m. 6A Championship--Prattville (12-2) vs. Hoover (13-1)
In what has become an annual even Prattville will face Hoover for the 6A title. Early in the series Hoover had the upper hand, but the Lions have won the last three titles with two coming against the Bucs. LSU commitment Sam Gibson and Alabama commitment Nick Perry get the pub, but the guy to watch for Prattville is speedster Corey Shelton. His 55-yard punt return in the final minutes gave the Lions the win at Auburn last week. Prattville's only two losses came out of state to North Gwinnett (Ga.) and Don Bosco Prep (N.J.).

Sam Gibson will likely play defense on the next level, but can make plays as a quarterback.

For Hoover the story is determination. Several times during the regular season the Bucs had to fight back from large deficits, but once again they find themselves still standing with one game remaining. Speedy Josh Magee is a dangerous offensive weapon to go along with Maudrecus Humphrey on the outside. Defensively John Propst controls the middle for a Hoover defense that had three shutouts during the regular season and added a fourth last week in a 35-0 win over Gadsden City. Hoover and Prattville have combined for every state championship since 2001.

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