ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
Earlier this week, FOX Sports the Game 910-1310 and the Orthopaedic Clinic held the 4th annual High School Media Day at the Bottling Plant Event Center. The excitement was amazing from those in attendance, from the media, coaches and players. The feeling was completely opposite to a year ago, when most were worried about if there would be a football season or any sports at all. As you know, the Alabama High School Athletic Association AHSAA) and Alabama Independent School Association decided to move forward with the season.
AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs opened Media Days with a positive talk about the upcoming season. Briggs discussed many topics, including the challenges everyone went through last fall with COVID-19. He commended players, parents, coaches and administrators for following the COVID-19 guidelines and working together so we could play sports. Briggs turned his attention to Montgomery last week for the annual “All-Star Week”. That particular time is considered a “dead week” for member schools, meaning student-athletes participating in sports can only work with weights and conditioning without using a football.
The executive director took a vast array of questions from those in attendance at media days. Rather than listing each question and answer, I will give you a summary.
The AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championship will be held at Birmingham’s Protective Stadium for the first time in 2021. Briggs thanked the cities of Opelika, Auburn and Tuscaloosa for hosting the football championship since 2015. The new 12-year Super 7 contract includes Bryant-Denny Stadium, Protective Stadium and Jordan-Hare. The three will host 4-S7 championship in a 12-year span. (Opelika-Auburn will NOT host a S7 the same season Auburn hosts Alabama.) Expanding to three sites makes it a better opportunity for the student-athletes to get a taste of playing in a college stadium.
Girls’ flag football is the newest sport offered by the AHSAA. Briggs said it has received nothing but positive comments since the association announced the addition of the sport.
Over 60 teams, including Opelika High and Auburn High, are playing girls’ flag football. The teams will be in one class with teams still working out schedules. After eight weeks of play, there will be a tournament with the final two teams playing a championship game on the Wednesday of Super 7, along with the unified game and the 7A State Championship Game.
Finally, Briggs praised the hiring of former Opelika coach Devin Booth as a member of the executive staff. He bragged on Booth’s character, leadership skills and coaching ability. Booth will work with the AHSADCA and the AHSAA, helping with softball, volleyball and play a huge part with basketball.
AISA Director Roddie Beck made an appearance on Wednesday for media days. I will go over comments next week along with Opelika High.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director of iHeart Media, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports The Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of Super 7 and the Dixie Boys Baseball state director.