HANCEVILLE - An 8:00 a.m. starting time is nothing new for Wallace State Community College volleyball.
But it was rare for it taking place Saturday at Tom Drake Coliseum.
The Lady Lions were in Day 2 of the WSCC Fall Bash, facing Vincennes University from Indiana, just over an hour after sunrise.
In just past 9:00 a.m., the Lady Lions had taken care of Vincennes in straight sets 25-19, 25-14, 25-20.
This event began on Friday evening. But in the late afternoon, the defending ACCC champion remained undefeated in conference play by sweeping Coastal Alabama-Bay Minette 3-0.
Friday evening presented an opportunity for coach Randy Daniel's Lady Lions to get revenge on Catawba Valley Community College. WSCC was defeated by Catawba the week before in the Valley Invitational 3-0.
The home court of the Coliseum served it purpose as Wallace was a winner three sets to one.
Going into a midday match vs. Spartanburg Methodist to close out the fall bash, the Lady Lions were 25-7, winners of six straight and undefeated in 11 assignments at the Coliseum.
The win against Coastal Alabama raised their conference mark to 12-0, three games in front of Lawson State and Gadsden State.
Lawson fell to the Lady Lions 3-0 last Wednesday, prevailing Wallace to its 11th consecutive ACCC regular season crown. The conference tournament will be held the weekend of November 2-4 at the Coliseum. Wallace State will enter the event as a favorite for it being played on campus.
The Lady Lions will resume conference matchups next week with all on the road. A trip to Bevill State will take place on Tuesday, a journey on to Wallace-Selma will be Wednesday and next Sunday, the Lady Lions will play at Coastal Alabama-Brewton.
Wallace State's win against Vincennes, seen by Sportspage Saturday morning, featured fine efforts from Alexis Snow, Katie Edwards, Lexie Riggins, Maya Jones, Alex Wigginsm Kaitlyn Doyle, McKenzie Boland, Madison Turner, Karlee Hale, Courtney Barber.
The strength of the Lady Lions is majority of the starting lineup are sophomores, with the exception of Hale, Doyle and Snow, who are freshmen.
Former Good Hope standout Kate Kent has contributed to the team's success as a middle hitter on the frontline.
Photo 1: WSCC coach Randy Daniel, assistant Kheala Beck on bench, #6 is Katie Edwards.
Photo 2: L-R, #6 Katie Edwards, #4 Alexis Snow, #22 Karlee Hall of Wallace State.
Photo 3: Wallace's Lexie Riggins puts ball over the next vs. Vincennes Saturday morning.
#12 is McKenzie Boland, #20 is Madison Turner.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
At Tom Drake Coliseum - Hanceville
Snead State 23 17 16
Wallace State 25 25 25
Wallace State (19-5, 10-0) wins match 3-0
Time of match: 1:04
FLASH NOTES: Playing as sharp as ever in the current volleyball season, the Wallace State Lady Lions remained on top of Alabama Community College Conference play, dropping Snead State (21-7, 6-4) into third place after a sweep of the Lady Parsons Wednesday evening.
Snead was a worthy challenger for the opener, hanging with the Lady Lions before Wallace pulled it out by the final of 25-23.
With the game tied at 22-22, Snead served the ball out of bounds, giving a point to Wallace and for the Lady Lions to add to the lead.
Former Good Hope standout Kate Kent got a kill to make it 24-23 and a service winner from Courtlyn Butler closed out the opening set for the defending ACCC champions.
Wallace was down 11-9 in the second game in coming back, behind the kills of sophomore Lexi Riggins and serves from freshman Karmahn Hall.
The Lady Lions had an 18-14 lead when a turning point came in the set as Snead protested the Lady Lions committed four kills on a return. The officials talked it over and awarded the point to Wallace, raising the score to 19-14.
Snead never recovered. Kills by Maya Jones, Kaitlyn Doyle and Karlee Hale enabled the Lady Lions to go on to a 25-17 verdict and very much have control of the confrontation.
Game three was a tie game at 6-6 as Wallace broke it on a kill from Alex Wiggins. Consecutive kills from Riggins, Courtlyn Barber and Hall sent the home side to a 16-10 lead.
Since early in the season, coach Randy Daniel is playing more freshmen than he was and they are contributing to the team's 19-5 record and 9-game winning streak.
A block and a kill by freshman Jordan Hollis sent the score to 21-13. Back to back serves by sophomore Katie Edwards had the Lady Lions in striking distance of sweeping the match at 24-15.
Snead got a service break, then the Lady Lions ended the contest at 7:08 p.m. on a thunderous kill from Jones.
Wallace State is now 7-0 in assignments played at the Coliseum.
Former Fairview standout Makenna Yearwood played briefly for Snead State. Yearwood is recovering from a knee injury.
Up next for Wallace State: At Catawba Valley Tournament (NC) Friday-Saturday.
Photo 1: Wallace State Lady Lions talk it over after winning 1st set.
Photo 2: Wallace State's Kate Kent (8) as middle hitter for the Lady Lions.
Photo 3: Katie Edwards puts the ball over the net as Lexi Riggins (7) follows for WSCC.
Photo 4: Snead State's McKenna Yearwood (9) during a time out in Wednesday's match.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
Sportspage Game of the Week
At A.G. Hicks Stadium - Addison:
Vinemont 0 0 6 6 - 12 (2-3)
Addison 16 8 6 8 - 38 (5-1)
Add - William Guthrie 9 run (Caleb Crider run) 6:14 in 1st
Add - Guthrie 30 pass to Colton Chambers (Guthrie pass to Gage Gilliand) 0:03 in 1st
Add - Chambers 6 pass to Guthrie (Guthrie pass to Chambers) 0:05 in 2nd
Add - Nicholas Rice 54 run (run failed) 11:33 in 3rd
VM - Jack Hill 23 pass to Dustin Moore (run failed) 9:39 in 3rd
Add - Guthrie 18 run (Guthrie pass to Gilliland) 8:10 in 4th
VM - Dallan Dinkle 1 run (pass failed) 6:54 in 4th
FLASH NOTES: An emotional homecoming as Addison recognized tackle Will Gunnin. Gunnin lost his life in an auto accident three days right after the Bulldogs were eliminated by Pickens County in the 2016 AHSAA semifinals.
His grandparents wore his white jersey during the pregame ceremony. His blue jersey (No. 79) was taken out on the field with the Addison seniors during the coin toss.
Looking to get back at Vinemont after the Eagles upset the Bulldogs a year ago on a last second game winner, Addison got a 36-yard punt return by Guthrie that set the Bulldogs up at the Vinemont 28 on their first series of the game.
They marched to the end zone, the put together a 78-yard series that ended on a 30-yard strike by Guthrie to Chambers in the left corner of the end zone. Addison led 16-0 after the first and had outgained Vinemont in total yards 112 to three.
Starting the second period with possession at its 37, Vinemont took the ball downfield behind pass completions of 10 and 16 yards to Cameron Carter and a running game that netted 31 yards in the series.
But the Eagles failed to score when Hill over threw Moore in the left corner of the end zone.
Addison took over from its 10 and would use 17 plays to cover 90 yards and over 6:00 in time that sent them to the locker room leading 24-0.
Guthrie accounted for 26 yards rushing on five tries with Rice having runs of 30 and 23 yards that got the ball going downfield.
The Bulldogs faked a field goal try from the Vinemont 12, with Chambers finding Guthrie open in the left side of the end zone. The conversion was good as Addison had 203 yards at the break, holding Vinemont to 60 yards (30 rush, 30 pass) and frustrated.
After Rice scored on a 54-yard dash to start the third quarter, Vinemont answered with a 60-yard TD series as Moore tight roped the right sidelines for a 23-yard score.
The Eagles recovered an onside kick at the Addison 49 and took the ball to the Bulldogs' three when they were denied a score as Hill mishandled a handoff and fumbled. Addison took over, but gave the ball back to Vinemont when Hudson Wood recovered on the Bulldogs' 35.
Another good series unfortunately failed to produce points. Hill under threw a receiver with Gilliland intercepting and returning the ball 87 yards down to the Vinemont three.
Addison was unable to take the turnover and add to its side of the scoreboard..
Vinemont's next two drives resulted in turning it on downs to Addison at the 50 as the third quarter ended. Then Hill was intercepted by Chambers in the fourth, setting up the last Addison TD from the Vinemont 18. Guthrie ran it in on the next play and the Bulldogs were in command at 38-6.
A 30-yard kickoff return from Teague Whatley, plus a 15-yard personal foul by Addison gave Vinemont the ball at the Addison 22. Dalton Whitehead ran 18 yards to the four, then three yards to the one as Dinkle finished the drive from a yard out.
Hill had a big third quarter throwing the ball for Vinemont, accounting for 170 yards on nine completions. His longest pass was 44 yards to Moore, who had six catches in the period for 151 yards.
Vinemont amassed 200 yards offense in the second half to 149 for Addison. But the mistakes they had in turnovers and giving up the ball on downs, kept them from having at least three touchdowns to the two they scored.
Addison would finish with 352 yards total offense, 233 yards by the ground, 119 passing, 15 first downs.
During their 4-game winning streak, the No. 9 squad in the 2A state poll has outscored the opposition 170-49. The Bulldogs are averaging 42 points in this span, giving up 12 a game.
Vinemont is now 0-7 in road games under coach Stephen Robinson.
Up next for Vinemont: Vs. Fultondale Friday 7:00
Up next for Addison: At Colbert County Friday 7:00
Photo of Will Gunnin family during pregame cermony Friday in Addison.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
At Tidwell Gymnasium - Arley:
Addison 25 25 25
Meek 20 14 22
Addison (15-2) wins match 3-0
Time of match: 1:07
FLASH NOTES: This was the first time these two rivals saw one another on the volleyball court at the same time since November 2 of last year when they played for the 1A state championship in Birmingham.
Both teams have gone through personnel changes from 2017, but both put together three competitive sets as Addison, the No. 1 team from 2A, topped Meek, the 5th rated squad in 1A. This is the only regular season meeting between the two.
Fourteen times in the opening set, the game was tied. The last time was 20-20 as Jesse Woodard for Meek scored on a serve.
A kill by Addison's Telsa Alvis broke the deadlock and put the Lady Bulldogs ahead to stay.
Alvis would come up with four consecutive kills during serves by Destiny Walker that gave Kayla Woodard's squad the early advantage in the match.
Addison had things well in hand in the second set, getting service points by Walker and Alvis, raising the lead to 18-9.
With Meek trying to make it a contest, getting the margin slimmed to 22-14 on a volley by Abby Phillips, Addison then finished the second set on a block by Callie Crider and service points by Macey Butler, with the finale being an ace.
In the third game, Addison and Meek swapped the lead on the scoreboard often in the early moments. Addison led 6-5 when Meek served a ball out of bounds.
Alvis got consecutive kills and the score was at 11-7. Breathing room on the lead was created by Sarah Parris with three straight service points and a 17-11 edge.
It was time for Dana Stewart's Lady Tigers to respond. They did on seven straight points at the service line by LaKota Aiden and went in front 19-18. But Aiden then served it too long and the score was tied, with the set now in critical moments.
Phillips converted a kill for Meek, making it 20-20. An error at the net gave a point to Addison's side. Macey Butler netted two straight on serve, including an ace and the Lady Bulldogs were ahead 23-20.
Kalin Rivers broke the momentum with a kill for the home team, then a service point by Woodard had the Lady Tigers trailing 23-22.
Alvis was again a spark at the net. Alvis finished the night with 14 kills, her last giving Addison a 24-22 lead. A service winner by Walker concluded the match at 7:32 p.m. as Addison extended its winning streak to five straight and stopped Meek's four-game winning streak.
Up next for Addison: At Hartselle Invitational Saturday
Up next for Meek: At Donoho Invitational Saturday
Photo 1: Addison Lady Bulldogs during National Anthem Thursday at Meek H.S.
Photo 2: A jump serve by Addison's Destiny Walker in 1st set against Meek.
Photo 3: Meek coach Dana Stewart talks with Paiton Ory during a time out.
Photo 4: Addison coach Kayla Woodard in front of her bench vs. Meek Thursday night.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
At Plunkett/Wallace Gymnasium - Boaz:
Wallace State 25 25 25
Snead State 20 12 21
Wallace State (5-0, 1-0) wins match 3-0
Time of Match: 1:03
FLASH NOTES: No matter where they play on the road, Wallace State volleyball coach Randy Daniel knows his Lady Lions will face a hostile atmosphere, due to their credibility of winning nine straight ACCC championships and coming into the 2018 season 16th ranked in the NJCAA.
Having to play an undefeated Snead State squad Wednesday evening, the Lady Lions answered the challenge in their first game they have played this young season in the state of Alabama.
Wallace State went last weekend to Spartanburg, South Carolina and came home 4-0 in the Spartanburg Methodist Invitational.
Before playing Wallace, Snead State swept Bevill State 25-8, 28-26 and 25-11 in an hour and five minutes.
Momentum was well in the grasp of Angie Sanders' Lady Parsons, featuring a freshman that is talented as is former Fairview standout McKinna Yearwood.
A close game one that was back and forth was finally locked down by Wallace State after a serve from Yearwood went long, giving the Lady Lions a point to make the score 21-17.
Two kills by Alex Wiggins and one from Madison Turner enabled the Lady Lions to claima 25-20 triumph in trying to keep Snead's momentum at bay.
The Lady Lions were able to put together a good effort in game two, controlling the game by building a large lead. Lexie Riggins scored on a serve and Wallace was ahead 19-10.
Snead could never stop the aggressive attack by the Lady Lions in the set and bowed by the final of 25-12.
Kaitlyn Doyle closed out game two for the Lady Lions with a kill, getting a good pass from McKenzie Boland to finish the play.
Snead roared back and went ahead in the third set 8-5. The Lady Lions stayed calm under pressure and jumped in front at 12-9.
With Yearwood having a kill and a volley that was a much needed spark, the Lady Parsons surged back on top at 14-13.
Then Boland went to work on the service line for the Lady Lions, connecting on three in a row and it was 17-15.
Snead fought through adversity and got within 23-21 on two kills from sophomore Megan Zuck.
Wallace broke Snead's service game as a kill by Maya Jones, then a service point from Wiggins completed a well earned conference victory.
"Snead is much improved than they were last year," coach Daniel replied. "We were consistent tonight. We are communicating better."
In the Snead-Bevill match, the Lady Parsons were on the brink of losing the second set when they trailed 24-21 and Bevill was serving for set point.
The Lady Parsons rallied and would claim the set 28-26, then blow by the Lady Bears in the third game 25-11.
Yearwood was an impact player in game three. The 2017 Cullman County Tournament MVP scored straight points to break open a close encounter with Snead going 1-0 in conference play and winning its fifth straight to open the season.
Up next for Wallace: At Coastal Alabama (Bay Minette) Friday
Up next for Snead: At Pensacola Tournament Friday & Saturday
Photo 1: Wallace State Lady Lions during National Anthem before game with Snead.
Photo 2: Snead's McKinna Yearwood (15) walks on the court with her teammates before opening set with Bevill State.
Photo 3: Wallace State's Courtlyn Barber (23) ready while coaches Randy Daniel and Kheala Beck are on the bench vs. Snead.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
FLORETTE - A dozen AHSAA volleyball teams received Southern hospitality in the Brewer High Invitational Saturday, signifying the start of the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) season.
Three were from the Cullman County school system. Defending county champion Fairview Lady Aggies, plus the Good Hope Lady Raiders and Holly Pond Lady Broncos, went through a round-robin schedule.
Good Hope claimed second in Pool B with Fairview the runner-up in Pool C. That put the Lady Raiders and Lady Aggies into the tournament stage in the late afternoon.
Pool play standings:
Pool A: Brewer 3-0, Athens 2-1 Belgreen 1-2, Elkmont 0-3.
Pool B: Muscle Shoals 3-0, Good Hope 2-1, Decatur Heritage 1-2, Holly Pond 0-3.
Pool C: Deshler 3-0, Fairview 2-1, Austin 1-2, Athens Bible 0-3.
Both Good Hope and Fairview started pool play 2-0 before losing in their finale that dropped the pair to second and a matchup against one another in the tournament round.
Good Hope defeated a strong Decatur Heritage squad 25-18, 25-21, then outplayed Holly Pond 25-20, 25-8 before Muscle Shoals swept the Lady Raiders 25-22, 25-17.
Fairview toppled Austin 25-17, 25-16, fought off Athens Bible 25-14, 20-25 and 15-13. Deshler handed the Lady Aggies a 25-23 and 25-16 setback in the early afternoon.
Holly Pond played competitive in its three assignments, but was unable to move into the win column, losing in straight sets to Good Hope, Decatur Heritage and Muscle Shoals.
Fairview and Good Hope do have valuable experience back in 2018, despite losing key personnel to graduation. Coach Tracy Means' Lady Aggies were anchored by veterans Katie Ball and Micah Means, plus got good play Saturday from Daisy Manasco, Alivia Boyll, Tess Bailey, Isabella McGukin and Sarah Bryan.
Good Hope no longer has Kate Kent, Abby Knight and Leyton Seal. Each have graduated, but Natasha Holcombe's Lady Raiders have experience in Chrissi Smith, Skylar Tucker, Jesse Kent, Savanna Burney and look for contributions from Alee Jackson, Abby Neighbors, Madalyn Williams and Riley Smith.
For Holly Pond, coach Emily Brown is senior strong with Tess Duke, Kara Hollis, Sydney Dunkin, Maddie Heatherly, Cassie Carter and Lili Harris.
The Lady Broncos received depth during the summer when Ashley Duke transferred from St. Bernard Prep and made an impact in two close games with Decatur Heritage.
Tournament host Brewer has half a dozen seniors that set the tone in sweeping the opposition in Pool A. Coach Amy Keel features McCarley Northway, Joan Lang, Carly Fairbanks, Molly Rice, Brianna Causey and Madison Adams, entering the final season in a Brewer uniform.
Regular season play locally begins on Tuesday.
Cold Springs & Vinemont will play in a tri-match at Fairview, Cullman is in a tri-match with Randolph and Guntersville at Guntersville, Good Hope takes a trip to Priceville, Holly Pond plays at Boaz.
On Thursday, Cold Springs visits St. Bernard, Vinemont & West Point are in a tri-match at Good Hope, Fairview heads to Sardis, Cullman entertains Austin & Winfield in a tri-match, Brooks and Mortimer Jordan play a tri-match at Hanceville.
All schools in the county will be off next weekend for the Labor Day holiday period.
Photo 1: Good Hope coach Natasha Holcombe and team captain Chrissi Smith (25) prior to match with Holly Pond Saturday.
Photo 2: Fairview's Katie Ball waiting for Austin to serve the ball across the net.
Photo 3: Holly Pond coach Emily Brown directs Lady Broncos in game with Good Hope.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
5th Annual Run N Ref Sports
At Columbia High School - Huntsville:
FLASH NOTES: Putting together a roster that was 70 percent of local players, Team Cullman made a name for itself in the Elite Class of this showcase.
Under the direction of former Fairview coach Branch Whitlock, the squad came within a field goal of going undefeated during a three-game schedule on the Columbia High School campus.
Cullman opened up claiming a hard fought 50-45 victory over Ardmore, then edged the Alabama Explosion in overtime 63-60.
The finale with the Blackhawks was down to the wire as well, but this was pulled out by the Blackhawks 65-63.
The setback did not take away the job Whitlock did in having players come together and form a solid unit that made the trip from Cullman to Huntsville enjoyable.
Whitlock hadthree of his former Fairview players, PG Luke Yarbrough, F Bryson Fletcher and F Austin Turner, plus West Point SG Kolton Sapp and Cullman G Nic Williams, with two others.
Each raised their level of play from game one through the third game vs. competitive athletes represent Limestone County and the Tennessee Valley.
Cullman and Ardmore played to a first half shootout with Cullman taking a 33-26 halftime lead. The scoring slowed down in the second half, but Cullman was able to fight back Ardmore and start the day victorious.
Against the Explosion, Cullman looked at a 21-14 first half deficit, then made adjustments and went on a 21-13 run for the remainder of the period, jumping in front at the break 35-34.
Victory was well in hand with Cullman leading 59-51 inside the final 3:00 before a strong run by the Explosion tied the game at 59-59 and forced overtime.
Cullman got points by Yarbrough and Fletcher in the extra 3:00, earning it against an opponent that displayed speed and agility.
Following a rest, Cullman geared up for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks held an advantage in size on the low post, but not as far as heart and desire.
Cullman got good shooting from the perimeter by Sapp, Yarbrough and Fletcher with Williams creating opportunities by penetrating and Turner delivering around and away from the basket.
In the final 3:00, the game was tied three times and the lead swapped a couple of times as the Blackhawks went up 60-57 with 0:50 remaining.
Cullman could never get the lead or get it tied, but had a chance in the final second when Yarbrough tossed the ball toward the goal 60 feet away. It bounced off the back of the rim as time expired in a game the Blackhawks never thought would be as challenging as it was.
A feature attraction for the event was in the late afternoon of a Pro Am session. This matched current vs. former collegiate players.
A Cullman squad was created for this stage, led by former Bearcat and current Alabama hoopster Lawson Schaffer. Joining him to provide good skills in the backcourt was current Wallace State Lion Xavier Malcom. Fletcher, who has signed with Coastal Alabama Bay Minette participated as did future Wallace State Lion Dylan Finch of Cullman, Whitlock, current Good Hope assistant coach Justin Aby, former Jacksonville cager Tyler Penn and future Georgia Southwestern player Andre Tatum.
They met a Huntsville area team called the Legends. Among the members included former Auburn player Quantez Robertson, ex-Stillman college players Robert Langham and Jeff Wherry, Chuck White of Tennessee Wesleyan, Kenny Belt of LB Wallace, Ollie Felps of Oakwood College and Darrion Leslie of University of Pikeville.
Team Cullman got the tip with Schaffer launching a three to give them the lead. Several minutes later, Malcom tossed in two treys and Aby contributed to the scoring with Cullman getting ahead by the score of 17-9.
The Legends woke up, with scoring from the perimeter and inside, getting the margin cut to 21-20 after the first quarter. The Legends went ahead 47-42 at the half and was on top 73-66 following the third period.
Cullman was never to reduce the margin to under four points and a few dunks in crunch time by the Legends closed out a 102-93 victory.
Felps ripped the cords for 28 points to lead the Legends, Belt added 18, Leslie had 16 and Langham finished with 15.
Tatum showed his scoring skills, collecting a game high 29 points, 18 in the second half to top the Cullman attack. Aby was super with 19, Malcom added 18, Schaffer scored a dozen and handed out five assists, Finch netted 10, Fletcher five and Penn tallied two.
Cullman, for the game, scored 35 field goals, five treys and was 12 of 17 from the line. The Legends knocked down 33 shots, eight treys, but were only 12 of 19 at the stripe. The three pointers were the difference in a hotly contested game.
Photo 1: West Point SG Kolton Sapp (Photo by Johnny Thornton)
Photo 2: Alabama guard Lawson Schaffer (Photo by AL.com)
2nd Annual Walker County Football Media Day
At Mr. Beans BBQ & Steakhouse - Jasper:
FLASH NOTES: Walker County has emerged in regards of playing the most teams from Cullman County than the neighboring counties.
The 2018 season features 10 games for six Walker County schools, three more than the total of seven by Blount and Morgan County.
Sportspage got an inside look at Walker County football Friday by attending the media day, coordinated by the Daily Mountain Eagle and held at Mr. Beans BBQ & Steakhouse. Mr. Beans is better known as "Butter Bean" the former American professional boxer who had 91 victories, 58 by knockout. His trademark was wearing red, white & blue shorts to show his support to the USA.
All head coaches of the seven county teams appeared, along with players, giving their analysis on the upcoming season.
Practice for AHSAA football will begin in 10 days (August 6). The season for each starts on the weekend of August 23.
Jasper is under direction of new coach Bryan Moore. Moore comes to the Vikings after coaching the last three seasons at Eufaula, leading the Tigers to 26 wins against nine losses.
Jasper, formerly know as Walker, has brought back an intense rival to its schedule. The Vikings and Cullman Bearcats tangle for the first time since 2013 with the game on the 23rd at Cullman's Oliver Woodard Stadium.
"Our focus is on Cullman right now," Moore said during his media day segment. "We want to be the best that we can be."
Jasper was only 3-7 in 2017, losing 63-34 to a Gardendale team that was coached by Matt Plunkett. Plunkett is now the head coach at Cullman.
"They made a big hire of getting Matt Plunkett to Cullman," Moore added. "His record (37-22 at Gardendale) speaks for itself."
Jasper dropped from Class 6A to Class 5A for the first time since 2013. The Vikings deal with a county school that will count in the Region 7 standings.
West Point will head to Ki-Ro Gambrill Field October 5. This is the first meeting between the two teams.
Moore said he knew very little about West Point at the present time. That will change once the season begins. Jasper has a rare schedule, with a bye week on August 31 after the Cullman game and before they open regional play against Dora.
"The schedule worked out good for the challenges we have," Moore said in closing.
Sumiton Christian Eagles:
Sumiton Christian will be like Japser in visiting Cullman County to open the 2018 schedule. The Eagles will be at Hanceville on August 24 in the Sportspage Game of the Week.
This game will involve new head coaches. Bart Black makes his debut for Sumiton Christian after coaching on the Dora staff last season. He will match up against Cody McCain, Hanceville's new coach, who spent the past four years in Limestone County at Clements High School.
Black has been at Sumiton Christian in the past, working on the football, baseball and basketball coaching staffs. He is excited to be head coach at a place that means so much to him.
"We have go to focus on what we are going to do."
When asked about Hanceville, Black said he knows very little of them at the present time.
Sumiton will look to run the football in what Black said as they try to improve on a 4-6 record in 2017. The Eagles return to the 2A class after a couple of seasons being placed in 1A.
Sumiton will be back in Cullman County on September 14 for a Region 5 game at Cranford Stricklin Stadium against the Cold Springs Eagles.
Carbon Hill Bulldogs:
Carbon Hill is the third Walker County school to kick off 2018 vs. a Cullman County team. The Bulldogs have a different edge than Jasper and Sumiton Christian, in playing at home on the 24th.
Scott Curd's Bulldogs get the Good Hope Raiders to visit G.W. Keith Stadium. Curd is in his third season at Carbon Hill with the Bulldogs eager to be better than 3-7 a year ago. The Bulldogs have 21 position players back for 2018. "We hope to have a memorable season. The expectations continue each year. We set a goal and hope to achieve it."
Dora is on its way up in AHSAA classification. The Bulldogs enter 5A football for the very first time.
It does not phase coach Bart Lockhart, waiting for his second year to begin in Dora. The Bulldogs were 9-3 in 2017, getting to the second round before bowing out to Saks 31-24 in the second round.
Dora posted a 4-2 record in Region 6, battling strong teams like Fayette County, Haleyville, Cordova, Good Hope, Hamilton and Winfield.
This year, the Bulldogs line up in Region 7 of 5A, getting to deal with Jasper September 7 in the opener at home. Dora defeated Jasper 30-7 to end the 2017 regular season and awaits the rematch, with the stakes much higher as it counts in region play.
Dora comes to West Point on October 12 for regional play. The Bulldogs and Warriors play for the first time since 2009.
Cordova Blue Devils:
Common opponents remain on Cordova's schedule, with the Blue Devils in Region 5 of 4A the next two years.
The region opener for Jimmy Gay's Blue Devils brings them to James Shabel Stadium September 7 to meet Good Hope.
The first four opponents for Cordova are at Dora, vs. Hamilton, at Good Hope and vs. Fayette County. Dora and Hamilton are now in 5A, with Good Hope and Fayette County to tangle with the Blue Devils in the region.
"We prepare for the same way every week," Gay said. "Every year is rebuilding."
The Blue Devils made the playoffs at 4-6 in regular season last year, but lost in the opening round to the Wilson Warriors from Florence.
In talking about the Good Hope game, Gay complemented Raider coach Alan Scott for turning the program around from an 0-10 season in 2016 to a competitive 4-6 record last season.
Cordova pulled out a hard fought 26-14 win at Good Hope that moved them in direction of a 3-3 season in the region and the fourth seed from Region 7.
"Good Hope plays football the way I like it," Gay said. "Top to bottom, they are the most improved team on our schedule."
While meeting Good Hope in the region opener, the Blue Devils will be back in Cullman County to conclude the regular season. Cordova is at West Point November 2. The Blue Devils and Warriors have never faced each other on the gridiron.
Curry Yellow Jackets:
Curry was reclassified to 4A for the next two seasons after a brief stint in 5A for the AHSAA.
A 4-6 record may not be great to many, but to the Yellow Jackets in 2017, it was the most victories they have experienced since a 5-6 mark in 2011.
"We are looking forward to this year," coach Phillip Smith said. The schedule begins with a new opponent for the opener, followed by a tough county rival.
Curry will play the Addison Bulldogs August 24 at Hudson/O'Rear Field. The series is 14-14-2, but has not been played since 1979, when Addison won 28-21.
A week later, Curry gets Oakman to visit. Oakman has posted seven consecutive winning seasons.
In playing Cullman County teams, Curry is at Hanceville September 28 and hosts Good Hope in 4A, Region 5 on October 19.
Curry and Hanceville meet for the first time since 1981. The Yellow Jackets are 0-4 all time against the Bulldogs.
Good Hope comes back into a regional opponent for Curry since 2015. The Raiders are 3-0 in this series.
Smith said it is different in playing new Cullman County teams this season, than in the recent years of taking on West Point and Fairview.
Smith said this season he doesn't have to worry about trying to contain West Point running back Hunter Persall. Persall and the Warriors edged Curry last season 27-18 that got them into the playoffs and kept the Yellow Jackets out.
Oakman is the only school from Walker County that is without a Cullman County opponent.
Oakman would love to see teams like Hanceville, Holly Pond and Vinemont on the schedule as they did in 2014 and 2015 for region play.
But the Wildcats are in Region 4 of 3A, that is lined up in the South region for playoff purposes. Oakman has made the state playoffs seven consecutive years, but the last two in the South, considering they are located in Walker County, where everyone else plays in the North region.
Head coach Mark Hastings, the most active in the county with 10 seasons under his belt, said playing in the south has not been that bad. The Wildcats have averaged at least eight wins per season since 2011.
This will be a younger team Oakman puts on the field this season. The Wildcats will not start the season until August 31 when they go to county rival Curry.
The 3A, Region 4 schedule starts on September 7 in going to Tuscaloosa to play the Holt Ironmen.
Hastings pointed out regional road trips will be to Holt September 7, at Cordova September 28, at Winfield October 5 and at Greene County the 26th. The Wildcats will go to the cities of Tuscaloosa, Cordova, Winfield and Eutaw to try and maintain success in a strong region.
"You have to do it. There are no options," Hastings said. "It has become routine in some ways. We take suggestions, but we have to do what we have to do."
Media Day created by publisher:
Daily Mountain Eagle sports editor Johnathan Bentley told Sportspage media day was established by his publisher James Phillips in 2017.
"We have had great response from it."
Fans were allowed to come inside the interview room while the schools rotated for over 20 minutes, speaking with Sportspage, Bentley and Brian Hale of the Mountain Eagle, broadcaster Johnny Elmore from 101.5 FM (broadcast of Jasper and Walker County games).
Also an interesting edition was 9-year old Zak McCullar. McCullar asked questions to players and coaches of all schools and showed great intelligence for being astute for such a young age.
McCullar is home schooled and held his own in asking questions in the rotation before Sportspage would take the mic.
With 10 games for Walker County teams vs. Cullman County teams, Bentley was pleased of that item. "I look for close games on the schedule. It creates rivalries with Cullman County being right next to us here in Walker County."
Photo 1: Jasper coach Bryan Moore with Viking players. Jasper opens the season August 23 at the Cullman Bearcats.
Photo 2: Sumiton Christian coach Bart Black with Eagle players. Sumiton opens the season August 24 at the Hanceville Bulldogs.
Photo 3: Carbon Hill coach Scott Curd with Bulldog players. Carbon Hill opens the season August 24 vs. the Good Hope Raiders.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA All-Star Volleyball
At Auburn University Montgomery
North 25 22 22 21
South 19 25 25 25
South wins series 3-1
North leads all time series 14-7
TIME OF MATCH: 1:42
MVP'S: Breylee Linder - North, Kenya McQuirter - South
FLASH NOTES: Down 1-0 in the match, the South was able to get strong play at the net from its MVP, Kenya McQuirter of McGill-Toolen, plus Mikaela Grubb of Enterprise that turned it around vs. the North.
The South went up in the second set at 10-9 and never trailed the rest of the way. Grubb scored on a serve with McQuirter providing a block that made it 17-11. A kill by McQuirter moments later, gave the South a 21-16 edge.
An error by the North allowed the South to score the set point and even the assignment at a victory apiece.
In game three, both went after one another as the South scored an ace on a serve by Kayla Champion of Providence Christian that gave them the lead to stay at 20-19. A kill by McQuirter closed out the third game and the momentum was clearly on the side of the South.
The fourth set stayed in the pattern of intense and tight. A service point and a kill from McQuirter moved the South to a 12-10 lead. The North would go down 16-11 and put on a rally to close to 22-21 when Emma Jarrett of Bob Jones scored from the service line.
But the momentum was broken by the South on three service points from Lillie Fromdahl of McGill-Toolen and the match winner on McQuirter's 16 kill of the series.
Linder, from Florence, worked her way to MVP honors for the North, handing out 22 assists and accounting for five digs. Linder recorded seven consecutive points on serve in the first set that carried the North to a 25-19 triumph.
Juliana Hamer of Chelsea led the North with seven kills, Kiara Hill of Bob Jones had six. Catherine Klop of Bob Jones tallied 14 digs with Jarrett of Bob Jones having eight.
Team North was coached by Kayla Woodard from defending 1A champion Addison, along with Lyndsey Crumpton of Danville. Sue Marshall served as the administrative coach, representing Randolph from Huntsville.
Photo 1: Addison coach Kayla Woodard right at coin flip before all star match Thursday.
Photo 2: Team North during a timeout in match with the South at AUM.
Photo 3: North MVP Breylee Linder of Florence.
Photo 4: South MVP Kenya McQuirter of McGill-Toolen
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA All-Star basketball
At Acadome - Alabama State University:
North 22 17 14 13 - 66
South 14 15 16 12 - 57
MVPs: Annie Hughes - North, River Baldwin - South
FLASH NOTES: Hartselle PG Moriah Taylor got the North going with a three on its first possession. The game was back and forth for the first 4:30 with a tie and four lead changes.
Team South went ahead 12-10 with 3:11 left in the first. The rest of the quarter belonged to the North as they finished on a 12-2 run and had a 22-14 first period advantage.
A North basket by Ariana Powe off an assist by Annie Hughes gave them a 31-21 lead at 4:13. From there, they kept the advantage to arms length and headed to the locker room with a 39-29 cushion at intermission.
Team North shot 48 percent in the first half while Team South was 12 of 20 for 60 percent. But the South took 14 fewer shots than the North in the first half and only tried one three-pointer. The North had 5 of 12 from downtown that allowed them to build the advantage at double figures through 16 minutes.
The South could never reduce the lead to less than seven points in the final half. They trailed 49-42 at 2:03 in the third, with the North answering on a FG from Abby Davis of Phil Campbell inside the final minute. The third came to a close with the North on top 53-45.
Hughes raised the lead to 62-51 with a steal and basket with 3:41 remaining. The North never allowed the South to get a serious comeback together with the North hitting four of four from the line in the last minute to maintain a decent margin.
The North shot 91 percent from the line, making 11 of 12. Taylor scored twice from the stripe with 25 seconds left as she closed out the game scoring four points, handed out two assists and picked up two steals.
Hughes, a senior at Pisgah who has committed to play at Auburn, was four of eight shooting, two of four in treys and two of four from the line. That earned her MVP honors for her unit.
Baldwin, a 6'5" center from Pleasant Home, was an easy choice for South MVP. The future Florida State player scored 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting, two of two at the line, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
"We jelled quickly," Taylor said of her North teammates. "We did a good job of talking to each other. One of our things was get their guards to turn the ball over." The North forced 23 turnovers and had 11 steals, with several leading to easy scores.
North 22 11 9 15 - 57
South 16 9 18 18 - 61
MVPs: Malik Tyson - North, Jaykwon Walton - South
FLASH NOTES: Unable to hold on to the advantage after a 33-25 lead at the half, the North was outscored 36-24 in the 2nd half by the South, suffering a 9-point third quarter that put them behind.
Photo 1: North MVP Annie Hughes, South MVP River Baldwin.
Photo 2: North PG Moriah Taylor in 1st half at Alabama State Acadome.
Photo 3: Referee Scott Rutherford from Tri County Association of Cullman, working the AHSAA varsity all-star game Wednesday night at Alabama State University.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton