ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
Summer has arrived! Opelika schools are officially on summer break until Aug. 8, when students return.
The athletic department stays busy through June and July, with every sport following Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) rules. Each sport has a few weeks to participate in team camps, workouts and scrimmage/practice games. It is very important that multi-sport athletes are allowed to workout with their teammates, no matter the team.
Normally, teams are off during the July 4 holiday and the AHSAA All-Star week. The All-Star week takes place July 18 to 22 in Montgomery. Two OHS student-athletes were chosen to participate in All-Star Week: McKay Yountz — who will be on the South softball team — and Amiya Brown, who will be a part of the girls’ soccer team. The two Opelika athletes will play in Montgomery during the five-day event.
OPELIKA DIXIE YOUTH
Opelika Dixie Youth All-Star teams will begin tournament play this weekend. The 7U, 7- and 8-year-olds and 11- to 12-year-olds will play in a practice Sub-District in Montgomery on Friday and Saturday.
The 9- to 10-year-old Minor All-Star team and the 11- to 12-year-old Ozone all-star team will play in the District June 21 and 22 in Auburn. The 7- to 8-year-old traditional state tournament will be held in Troy, July 9. The 7U Rookie All-Stars will play in the state tournament on June 23 in Russellville.
Each state tournament winner advances to the World Series in July.
AHSAA SUPER 7 RETURNS TO AUBURN-OPELIKA
The 2022 AHSAA Super 7 Football Championship returns to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2. This will be the seventh Super 6/7 to be held in Jordan-Hare Stadium on the Auburn University campus.
The cities of Opelika and Auburn joined together in 2007 with a clear vision to lure Super 6 away from Birmingham’s Legion Field. Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and then Auburn Mayor Bill Ham agreed to form a group through AO Tourism with the task of making it a reality.
Ham and Fuller agreed to choose one person to represent each city during negotiations. Mayor Ham picked Ron Anders (current Auburn Mayor) and Mayor Fuller chose me (D. Mark Mitchell) to partner with each other and pursue the dream. Auburn-Opelika Tourism President John Wild joined us, so we would have all the basics covered.
We joined forces with Don Staley from the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Convention Association. We knew it was important for us to have the University of Alabama as a part of our team, so we can rotate the championship between the two campuses. We felt it was best to keep our discussions quiet and under the radar, in order to pull off hosting the event. After two years of meetings and negotiations, AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese submitted our bid to the AHSAA Central Board of Control, the board that would make the final decision.
Ron, John, Don and I knew we had the backing of Savarese but we were not sure if the board would agree to leave Legion Field.
I remember waiting to see the results of the board’s vote with Anders and Wild in the AO Tourism office in Auburn. Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs waited in his office in the AU Athletic Department. If we won the right to host Super 6, a press conference would be needed to make the announcement.
Later in the afternoon, my phone rang. One of members of the central board of control called to inform me (off the record) our proposal passed and that Savarese would be calling with the news.
All of us jumped for joy like we had just hit the lottery!
We did not hit the lottery, but hosting Super 6 for the first time in 2010 seemed bigger than winning a lottery. The four of us accomplished something that was unthinkable, bringing the Alabama High School Athletic Association Super 6 (now Super 7) to Opelika-Auburn and Tuscaloosa every other year.
The year 2010 seems like a long time ago, but I will never forget the day we were awarded the high school football championship games. We now have a new, 12-year contract which includes the city of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Auburn-Opelika.
This year’s Super 7 will be the first of four championships at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
This event requires hundreds of local volunteers to make it happen. Each time we host the event, it gets better and better. There are so many people to thank. I will miss someone if I tried to name everyone. Auburn University’s Jeremy Roberts played a huge role in the success of the AHSAA Super 7 in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Thank you Mayor Fuller, the Opelika City Council, Auburn City Council, Robyn Bridges at AO Tourism, Mayor Anders, parent host, public safety and many others.
Hosting the AHSAA Super 7 Football Championship is a major event hosted by Opelika and Auburn!
See you at Jordan-Hare.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.