Photo 1: Tribute board to the late SEC Commissioner Mike Slive during baseball tournament. Yours truly was among those who signed it in honoring Slive.
Photo 2: Plenty of major league scouts looking at SEC talent. This was during the Florida-Arkansas game Friday at the Hoover Met.
Photo 3: Ground crew rolling up the tarp prior to conclusion of LSU-Florida game Saturday.
Photo 4: Scoreboard report on Saturday morning at the Hoover Met.
Photo 5: SEC Network reporter Laura Rutledge speaking to someone in 1st base dugout Saturday. For those who don't know, Rutledge is the wife of former Cullman Bearcat and Alabama baseball player Josh Rutledge, who is now with the San Francisco Giants.
Photo 6: LSU's Austin Bain heading toward the dugout, greeted by young Tiger fans Saturday morning.
Photo 7: LSU 1st baseman Austin Bain, Florida runner Deacon Liput in 7th inning of Saturday's game at the Hoover Met.
Photo 8: Majority of LSU fans enjoying recliners at the Finley Center after their Tigers defeated Florida in completion of suspended game Saturday morning.
Photo 9: Huge TV screen inside the Finley Center at SEC Fanfest Saturday. Taken during the Ole Miss-Texas A&M semifinal game Saturday afternoon.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
Photo 1: 1st base umpire signals safe after call in 8th inning of LSU/South Carolina was reversed from an out to a run scored.
Photo 2: South Carolina coach Mark Kingston in discussion with 1st base umpire right after the call in the 8th inning was reversed, giving LSU a run.
Photo 3: A South Carolina fan not happy in the 8th inning of the Gamecocks' 6-4 loss to LSU at the Hoover Met.
Photo 4: South Carolina's Jacob Olson (7) after he singled in the tieing run in the 9th of Thursday's game vs. LSU.
Photo 5: Wallace State student Dawson Boyd (left) working in the SEC Tournament as a volunteer in the media staff. Boyd is seen with an assistant during Thursday's game between LSU and South Carolina in extra innings at the Hoover Met.
Photo 6: The scoreboard gives the story as LSU defeats South Carolina 6-4 in 12 innings Thursday. The game ended at 7:25 p.m.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
JACKSONVILLE - A new gadget for the Alabama High School Athletic Association has been used the past two weekends during spring football jamboree games being played at Jacksonville State's Burgess/Snow Stadium.
Instant replay has debut with the Good Hope Raiders being the first county team to experience it.
Good Hope was in the first game of five assigned on Saturday and got to use it during the second quarter in the Raiders' 21-0 victory over Cleburne County.
Raider coach Alan Scott questioned the spot on a fourth down play in which the referee gave Cleburne County a first down at its 45-yard line.
Scott thought the run never reached the yardage for a first down and dropped his red challenge flag on to the field.
The referee, at first, told Scott, the ball had reached the 45, from starting at the 35. Scott was given permission to challenge the call as the referee and umpire went to the sideline to look at a monitor stationed on Good Hope's side, at the 20-yard line in the East end zone.
With DVsport providing video for the play to be seen from two different angles, it was determined the runner did not reach the 45 and Good Hope was given possession with Cleburne County turning it over on downs.
DVsport is providing software for teams sanctioned by the AHSAA to use for instant replay, beginning in the fall.
The software company, based out of Pittsburgh, has set up cameras in the press box and in the end zone in these jamboree games to allow teams and officials to get more accumulated with the system.
Scott told Sportspage the Raiders are planning to purchase the equipment and be the first in the county to use it in games in the fall at James Shabel Stadium.
Scott, who is also the school's athletic director, told representatives from DVsport, he and principal John Hood, would get together immediately and fill out the necessary paperwork to have the system ordered to put it to work when the Raiders play at home for the first time on September 7 vs. Cordova.
Executive Operations Assistant Danny Vliet showed Sportspage how the system is set up in working with a team's video camera.
An outlet is plugged into the camera that can provide video, with a monitor to be a tablet or other computerized device.
The system goes through the following. A coach must drop his red flag to challenge a call on the field.
The referee will indicate this is a challenge and will be joined by the umpire in going to the sideline to look at a monitor. Once the referee arrives, he will have 2 minutes to take a look, being able to slow it down and replay it, with no complications.
Then after 2 minutes are up, the referee will return to the field and determined if the call stands or the call will be reversed.
According to DVsport, this was the first call overturned after it was challenged by Good Hope, enabling the Raiders to stop a Cleburne County drive and take over at the Tigers' 44-yard line with 7:49 showing in the second quarter.
Good Hope was given an additional challenge for winning the appeal. If the call was not reversed, the Raiders would have been charged with the loss of a time out.
Schools will take software for a cost of $3,000 to $3,500. The price of the software was announced by AHSAA Executive Director Steve Saverese in his monthly newsletter last week.
Saverese broke the news in a press conference April 12 that football teams will be given the option to get the equipment, if the choose too.
Media reports have it that 25 percent of the schools sanctioned by the AHSAA, will use instant replay, starting with games the weekend of August 23.
Most believe that the large classifications will be involved with the software, while the smaller schools may not, due to cost and other potential situations, such as press box space and how many cameras can be used.
Scott insured Sportspage video replay will not effect electronic media such as WKUL-FM when the station comes to broadcast the Raiders, in which they plan to for three times at Good Hope in the upcoming season.
In seeing the equipment from DVsport for the first time, I was impressed with how the company is trying to use something in the latest advancement of technology.
My question is on the officials. Understanding what plays can be challenged, such as spotting the football, as seen in Saturday's Good Hope jamboree game.
The referee was trying to be bold in saying to Scott, the line to gain was correct on the spot. It turned out to be incorrect, with the referee's boldness having him to eat his words and change his aggressive attitude.
DVsport representatives told me, it's not perfect, but this does allow for plays, such as the spot of the ball can be replayed and in today's case, the call was reversed after the runner was short of the line to gain.
DVsport also informed me that the AHSAA was not accurate in saying that games could be extended from 20 to 30 minutes. I was told, each replay is 2:00 max. Four challenges are what are allowed, two for both teams. That's 8:00 for maximum time. An additional 10 minutes is what could come out if all challenges are used and no additional replays awarded.
Judgement calls at certain situations can effect the outcome of games, especially close ones. This system is to provide assistance in case it comes to that point.
I got a good impression from it Saturday in Jacksonville, but i still have some questions that I will look into at a later time.
Photo 1: Officials look at the DVsystem setup with DVsport Executive Danny Vliet prior to Saturday's Good Hope-Cleburne Co game at Jacksonville State University.
Photo 2: Good Hope coach Alan Scott visits with DVsystem representatives to understand the use of the software prior to the Raiders playing Cleburne County Saturday.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton.
Spring football will conclude this week for teams covered regularly by Sportspage.
Seven of the eight schools in Cullman County will have a jamboree assignment on the third weekend of May.
Four games will be on tap for Friday.
The Fairview Aggies will host the Arab Arabian Knights, the West Point Warriors entertain the Holly Pond Broncos, the Hanceville Bulldogs play at the Cold Springs Eagles, the Vinemont Eagles visit the Brindlee Mountain Lions.
Neighboring schools, the Addison Bulldogs and the Falkville Blue Devils meet at Burl Vest Stadium.
All games are anticipated to be 7:00 kickoffs.
On Saturday, the Good Hope Raiders get on the bus for a trip to Jacksonville State's Paul Snow Stadium and play the Cleburne County Tigers at 11:00 a.m.
Cullman Bearcats are the only team that does not have a jamboree game scheduled. The Bearcats are reported to conclude the final week of spring workouts with a controlled scrimmage at Oliver Woodard Stadium Thursday.
Changes have taken place on the sidelines of Cullman and Hanceville for the spring.
Matt Plunkett replaces Mark Britton at Cullman, who retired after 17 seasons directing the Bearcats to 134 wins and 15 playoff appearances in 17 years.
Cody McCain comes to Hanceville following three years at Clements High School. McCain is a 2003 graduate of West Point High School.
All other head coaches remain in tact. Rod Elliott at Cold Springs, George Redding at Fairview, Alan Scott at Good Hope, Mike Bates at Holly Pond, Stephen Robinson at Vinemont and Don Farley at West Point.
David Smothers remains at Addison with the Bulldogs back in Class 2A after the previous two years playing in 1A.
Fairview went from 5A to 4A in the reclassification setup in January. The Aggies are back to the 4A level for the first time since the 2013 season.
Fairview's jamboree has plenty of interest for the Aggies take on an Arab team that has a new leader in Oscar Glasscock. Glasscock is a Cullman graduate and coached for the Bearcats during the Mark Britton area before moving on to other locations.
Glasscock was defensive coordinator at Mountain Brook in the Birmingham area last year.
With reclassification, schedules took a change from regional play to non regional games.
The first weekend of the 2018 season will have a tripleheader on August 23 (a Thursday) and the rest to be played on Friday, the 24th.
Cullman and Jasper (formerly known as Walker) get together at Oliver Woodard Stadium August 23 as does Fairview at West Point and Cold Springs playing host to the Meek Tigers.
The first Friday of regular season play will present Hanceville in a game at Ray Talley Stadium vs. Sumiton Christian, Good Hope going to Carbon Hill, Holly Pond at home vs. New Hope and Addison playing at Curry. The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets meet for the first time since 1979.
Vinemont is idle for opening weekend. The Eagles swing into action on August 31 at Mark Smothers Stadium against Falkville.
All games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. kickoffs, set by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for Thursday and Friday contests.
Photo 1: Holly Pond coach Mike Bates gives pointers during a drill during May 10 practice.
Photo 2: Cullman coach Matt Plunkett speaks with Bearcats prior to controlled scrimmage May 10 at Oliver Woodard Stadium.
Photo 3: West Point Warriors in 5A playoff vs. Brooks Nov. 9, 2017.
Photo 4: Addison Bulldogs in 1A playoff at Hackleburg Nov. 17, 2017.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA 1A/3A State Track & Field Meet (Saturday)
At Oliver Woodard Stadium - Cullman HS:
2A G: 3,200: Leahrose Mami of St. Bernard 12:14.97 (1st)
2A G: 3,200: Ava Akridge of Cold Springs 12:53.31 (5th)
2A 3,200: Andrew Sweeney of St. Bernard 10:18.18 (1st)
3A 3,200: Aaron Brown of Hanceville 10:42.23 (5th)
2A G 100 hurdles: Gracie Loyd of St. Bernard 17.40 (3rd)
2A 110 hurdles: Mason Harris of Cold Springs 16.38 (3rd)
2A 300 hurdles: Mason Harris of Cold Springs 43.53 (5th)
2A G 200: Gracie Loyd of St. Bernard 27.39 (5th)
2A G 800: Leahrose Mami of St. Bernard 2:29.24 (1st)
2A G 800: Claire Sanders of St. Bernard 2:35.26 (3rd)
2A 800: Andrew Sweeney of St. Bernard 2:03.41 (3rd)
2A 800: Trentan Williams of Cold Springs 2:04.39 (4th)
2A 800: Caleb Guthrey of St. Bernard 2:07.73 (5th)
2A 4 X 400 relay: Cold Springs 3:36.75 (4th)
2A G Discus: Grace Chambers of Cold Springs 100-97 (1st)
2A G Discus: Kinley Campbell of Cold Springs 91-06 (4th)
2A G Discus: Aubrey Negron of Cold Springs 88-07 (5th)
2A G Long Jump: Gracie Loyd of St. Bernard 14-10.50 (4th)
2A G High Jump: Lilly McSpadden of Cold Springs 4-06.00 (4th)
2A High Jump: Elijah Price of St. Bernard 6-02.00 (1st)
2A G through 18 events:
1. Altamont 109.33, 2. St. Bernard 79, 3. Lafayette 67, 4. Falkville 64, 5. Cold Springs 54.33
2A through 18 events:
1. Falkville 108, 2. Altamont 84, 3. Lanett 59, 4. Lafayette 54, 5. St. Bernard 53, 6. Cold Springs 44
1A G through 17 events:
1. Whitesburg 136, 2. Westminster Oak Mountain 116, 3. Loachapoka 49, 4. Holy Spirit 38, 5. Addison 34.
FLASH NOTES: Five individual titles were claimed by local athletes on Day 2 Saturday as the meet did everything possible to beat showers that were scheduled to come into the Cullman area in the afternoon.
St. Bernard's Leahrose Mami closed out her career in impressive fashion, winning the 3,200, then the 800 meter to give her four championships for the 2018 event and 21 state medals she has received during her prep career.
Mami was ready after winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 last weekend in the sectional meet in Corner.
In the 800, Mami was passed briefly by Kaylen Horn of St. Luke's on the 1st lap. Then on the start of the second lap, Mami went back in front and created distance between her and Horn in beating her to the finish line by 16 seconds.
Andrew Sweeney, Mami's teammate, matched her with victory in the 3,200 meter, but was unable to pull it off in the 800, taking home third place.
Sweeney got two championships, a third place finish and a group title (4 X 800) as he said goodbye in his final time running for William Calvert's Saints.
Calvert called this day very emotional for what Mami and Sweeney have meant to the St. Bernard program for a very long time.
Both started their senior season winning the 2A Cross Country meet last November in Lawrence County and continued to be superior on outdoor track with tremendous performances that puts these two in an elite group by themselves.
Elijah Price of St. Bernard presented the Saints with their fourth title on Saturday, winning the high jump at 6-02.
Cold Springs got an individual title when Grace Chambers clobbered the 2A competition by a distance of 100-07 in the discus. Keyanda Walker of Aliceville claimed a distant second at 94-00. Lady Eagle teammates Kinley Campbell and Aubrey Negron were 4th and 5th overall to give the team 19 total points for the discus.
Photo of 2A discus champion Grace Chambers of Cold Springs.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton.
AHSAA 1A/3A State Track & Field Meet
At Oliver Woodard Stadium - Cullman HS:
FLASH NOTES: St. Bernard got its day started with champions being crowned in the 2A 1,600 meter run.
Leahrose Mami shook off Kayeln Horn of St. Luke's, moving in front of her after the 2nd lap and went on to claim the state crown with a time of 5:34.32. Horn was 10 seconds back at 5:44.12. Ava Akridge of Cold Springs earned 5th with a time of 5:58.63.
Andrew Swenney blazed his way to top honors in his 1,600 event, coming home at 4:35.18. Caleb Guthrey took 6th place for the Saints at 4:51.13 with Trentan Williams leading Cold Springs, capturing 8th at 4:54.97.
State records fell with one occurring in front of Sportspage. Whiteburg Christian's Emma Cape cleared the 1A high jump at 5-03.25, breaking the mark of 5-03.00
Addison's Emme Baldwin prevailed in the 1A pole vault with a state record 10-00. Cape was tied for 2nd place with Meek's Jaycey Bowling at 8-06.00.
Matt Cahoon of Holly Pond's record of 165-08 in the discus from 2017 was replaced by Josiah Henry of Mobile Christian at 179-03. The runner-up, Micah Benefield of Piedmont, was a distant 2nd at 139-05.
In the afternoon, St. Bernard Lady Saints won the 2A 4 X 800 relay with a time of 10:52.72. That allowed the Lady Saints to move from 4th place back to 2nd after 6 events with their third state title captured during Friday's competition.
The Saints made it a sweep of the 4 X 800, in winning the 2A with a time of 8:46.05, finishing two seconds ahead of rival Falkville. Cold Springs was third at 8:57.59.
Through 7 events in 1A (G):
1. Whitesburg Christian 68, 2. Westminster Oak Mountain 40, 3. Addison 22, 4. Loachapoka 18, 5. Holy Spirit 15.
Through 6 events in 1A:
1. Westminster Oak Mountain 34, 2. Wadley 31, 3. Whitesburg Christian 16, 4. Winterboro 15, 5. Notasulga 13.
Through 6 events in 2A (G):
1. Altamont 37, 2. St. Bernard 28, 3. Lanett 25, 4. Falkville 23, 5. Cold Springs 21.
Through 5 events in 2A:
1. Altamont 30, 2. Falkville 25, 3. St. Bernard 23, 4. Cold Springs 16, 5, Vincent 14.
Through 8 events in 3A (G):
1. ACA 53, 2. TR Miller 48, 3. Montgomery Academy 42, 4. Pleasant Valley 38, 5. Bayside Academy 31.
Through 6 events in 3A:
1. ACA 60, 2. Bayside Academy 31, 2. Mobile Christian 31, 4. Pleasant Valley 20, 5. Piedmont 15.
FLASH NOTE: All events have been moved up to 8:00 a.m. Saturday, due to the possibility of rain coming into the Cullman area later in the day.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA Softball Area Tournament scores - Thursday:
5A: Curry 7, Fairview 3 (A 12 elimination game)
6A: Albertville, 2 Cullman 1 (A 14 elimination game)
6A: Hartselle 10, Austin 1 (A 15 winner's final)
6A: Austin 6, Decatur 3 (A 15 elimination game)
5A: Scottsboro 7, Guntersville 0 (A 13 winner's bracket)
5A: Guntersville 9, Arab (A 13 elimination game)
5A: Mortimer Jordan 14, Corner 8 (A 11 elimination game)
Photo of Fairview's Asia Millwood getting a single in the 2nd inning vs. Curry Thursday.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
AHSAA Soccer playoff scores:
1A/3A: St. Bernard 3, Elkmont 1
6A G: Hartselle 2, Cullman 1
6A: Florence 4, Oxford 0
1A/3A: Collinsville 2, Susan Moore 1
1A/3A G: Sylvania 3, Mars Hill 2
4A/5A G: Arab 1, Sylacauga 0
4A/5A G: Guntersville 2, St. John Paul 0
6A G: Southside Gadsden 2, Decatur 1
AHSAA Softball Area Tournaments:
2A, A 13: Cold Springs 9, Winston County
2A, A 13: Cold Springs 2, Falkville 1 (Championship)
3A, A 12: Oakman 8, Hanceville 2
3A, A 12: Carbon Hill 16, Vinemont 1
3A, A 12: Hanceville 18, Vinemont 8
5A, A 12: Hayden defeated Fairview
5A, A 12: West Point 7, Curry 5
5A, A 12: Hayden 11, West Point 1
6A, A 14: Albertville defeated Cullman
6A, A 14: Fort Payne defeated Brewer
6A, A 14: Cullman defeated Brewer
5A, A 12 @ Hayden: Fairview-Curry 2:00, West Point vs. winner 4:00,
6A, A 14 @ Fort Payne: Cullman-Albertville/Fort Payne 3:00, Championship 5:00,
If needed 7:00