BY WIL CREWS
Representatives from 20 area high school football teams arrived at the Bottling Plant Event Center in Opelika on Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in the fourth annual High School Football Media Days, presented by The Orthopaedic Clinic.
AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs opened the event with a press conference.
“We are excited to be here and excited to be forging ahead for all our member schools,” Briggs said in his opening statement.
“We are ready to go full force. Ready to get on with the sports season.”
The 2021-22 sports year will be Briggs’ first as executive director. The pandemic made for a challenging 2020-21, but Briggs is excited about the things planned throughout the AHSAA in his first year at the helm.
“We will continue to take the AHSAA to a different level,” Briggs said. “Continue to give our member schools the chance to have events of a lifetime.”
Despite the rising statewide COVID-19 numbers, Briggs said he was not anticipating making drastic changes to fall plans or reverting back to stricter health and safety guidelines.
“We’re going to continue to do what the recommendation of governor and state health director are,” Briggs said. “If our schools do what they have done in the past, this past school year, I think we can continue to be safe.”
Furthermore, Briggs said regulations such as sideline extensions and longer timeouts will not be in play this season.
“We’re still in the process of going back to normal,” Briggs added. “It’s always a challenge going into a year, the unknown, where you are and where you want to be … but it’s all in the hands of our memberships and the school personnel.”
Briggs addressed the addition of girls’ flag football as an officially-sanctioned AHSAA sport.
“Flag has been really accepted,” Briggs said. “We’ve had about 60 schools that are interested. They are in the process in getting schedules and doing those things to start playing this fall.”
Lastly, Briggs talked about former Opelika girls’ basketball coach Devin Booth, who left the coaching ranks to join AHSAA in June.
“Coach Booth will be half time with the Coaches Association, half time with the AHSAA,” Briggs said. “She just brings a wealth of talent and knowledge. That’s the kind of leadership we want at the Alabama High School Athletic Association.”
The fall high school football season is fast approaching. The Observer has plans to cover as many local teams as possible. This week’s edition will feature stories on Media Days appearances from Lee-Scott, Beauregard, Beulah and Glenwood (on page B2). Due to print time constraints, coverage of Smiths Station and Opelika High School (who took the podium on Wednesday), will be covered in next week’s edition of the Observer.