By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika High Football Team continues to prepare for the upcoming season. Coach Erik Speakman, who is starting his third year as head coach, works his team out Monday through Thursday from 6 to 11 a.m.
Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Executive Director Steve Savarese continues to speak positively about the possibility of football in the fall.
The Association has an important meeting this week with the Central Board of Control (CBOC), the governing body for the AHSAA.
The CBOC will vote on numerous proposals concerning high school athletics.
The Board will hear updates from State Superintendent Eric Mackey, Alabama Department of Public Health Officer Scott Harris and the AHSAA Medical Committees’ Robinson and Dugas. The results of the meeting are important and will shed more light on fall sports for Alabama public schools.
The Opelika football team may have the first case of a player testing positive for COVID-19. The student-athlete will be quarantined for 14 days and then have another week of conditioning prior to re-joining the team.
Opelika hired Emanual Brown as the new varsity basketball coach after John Wadsworth resigned to take a coaching job at Enterprise High School. Opelika City Schools allowed Brown to hire two assistant coaches: his brother and another coach familiar with his coaching style.
It is unclear if Wadsworth’s assistants coaches, Wesley Button and Tom Landers, will remain with the team.
AHSAA Saverese President Elect of NFHS
The National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Board of Directors elected Steve Savarese , AHSAA Executive Director, as President Elect for 2020-21.
Savarese will become president of the NFHS July 1 of 2021. He has been the head of the AHSAA for 15 years. He replaced Dan Washburn, who retired after 18 years as head of the AHSAA.
Savarese has been involved with high school sports for 40 years, serving as teacher, coach, athletic director and administrator and has served on many committees including as chairman of the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The NFHS Network has exclusive rights to live stream all Alabama High School sporting events. The network agreed to provide two free cameras to every high school in Alabama that is a member of the NFHS Network. The cameras are valued at $10,000.
Schools will receive 50 percent of all subscriptions to NFHS Network sold by the school. The fee is $10.99 a month or $70 for the school year.
Many schools live-steam numerous sporting events, school plays, concerts, etc.
Live-streaming continues to be an option for fans to watch their favorite high school teams without having to be present.
The NFHS Network is the only live TV/streaming allowed by AHSAA for playoff games. Opelika used the NFHS network for several years but decided to change to YouTube Live for the upcoming season.
The stream is free for regular season games. Opelika will not be allowed to live-stream playoff games on YouTube Live. The games can be recorded and played back after 24 hours.
DIXIE Boys State Tournament
Alabama Dixie Boys baseball held its 2020 State Tournament at West Ridge Park over the weekend.
Alabama Dixie Boys played two tournaments in three days.
Fairhope won the Junior Dixie Boys 13U Tournament with a 4-1 record. They beat Beehive (Aub.) in the finals 6-5.
Opelika’s 13U all-star was eliminated after losing to Fairhope and Beehive.
The Dothan Rays defeated Fairhope 5-4, to capture the Dixie Boys State title with a 5-0 record.
Opelika was eliminated after losing to the Showstoppers (Smiths Station) and Fairhope.
The state champions will advance to the World Series in Sterlington Louisiana, on Aug. 1 to 4.
As the Alabama Dixie Boys State Director, I want to thank the following who made the tournament possible: City of Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, ESG Team Opelika and the Opelika Parks and Recreation department.
Many leagues across Alabama were not able to play baseball due to COVID-19.
The tournament was scheduled to be played at Dothan’s West Gate Park. The City of Dothan decided not to play summer baseball due to coronavirus. The decision left Alabama Dixie Boys with no host for the state tournament.
Fuller allowed the tournament to be played at West Ridge Park. Anthony Terling, with A-O Tourism, played a huge role with hosting the tournament. Terling helped secure discounted hotel rooms for teams traveling and helped offset some of the cost to run the tournament.
Michael Hilyer, President of ESG Team-Opelika, kept two field technicians onsite during the tournament. The two man crew (Willie and Logan) worked the fields between games and kept the park clean.
The Opelika Recreation Department assisted with many items that helped make the tournament a success.
We are blessed to have such wonderful people who love youth sports.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.