Super 7 Football Championships
TUSCALOOSA- The 2023 AHSAA Super 7 Championships are now in the history books as the three-day event included seven boy’s football championship games and two girl’s flag football title games. The lone local school in contention for a state title was Madison Academy in Class 3A.
The Mustangs went into the championship game undefeated (14-0) rolling through their regular season with ease. In the playoffs, the Mustangs had to struggle winning two games in the last minute with heroic plays from their most experienced players. In the 3A title game, the second-ranked Mustangs were corralled by the Leopards of No. 1 ranked Mobile Christian (15-0) 55-28, which scored two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to capture the school’s first ever state championship after having finished as Class 3A runner-up in 2016 and 2019.
For Madison Academy, who won state blue trophy championships three years in-a-row from 2012-2014, Ken Cherry led the squad with 24 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns and added five catches for 122 yards and a score. Quarterback Jake Poldiak finished 20 of 39 passing for 342 yards with two touchdowns, but had three interceptions, which led to Leopards scores.
Both teams combined for 982 yards of offense during the game held at Bryant Denny Stadium, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Super 7 event attracted a total of 43,014 in attendance led by Friday’s 17,911 for the 2A, 4A and 6A championship games. Wednesday’s total, which included for the first time two girls flag football finals and the Class 7A football championship, drew 11,891. Thursday’s total was 13,212 for classes 1A, 3A and 5A.
Here’s a look at the remainder of the championship games, all of which were held at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Central-Phenix City ended Thompson’s drive for five consecutive state titles as the Red Devils (13-0) overcame two muffed punts, a blocked punt and four turnovers, and held off a late Thompson rally, to earn a 21-19 victory.
Thompson (11-2) has played in the championship game for six straight seasons, but Central denied the Warriors’ bid to become only the second team in AHSAA history, joining Hazlewood 1988-1992, to win five straight AHSAA state football championships. Central was also the last Class 7A team to defeat Thompson in the playoffs with the action held in the 2018 championship game.
Future Alabama teammates Ryan Williams of Saraland and Clay-Chalkville’s Jaylen Mbakwe delivered a bevy of highlight-reel plays as each accounted for four touchdowns, but it was Clay-Chalkville’s Auburn commit D.J. Barber who delivered the championship-winning stop on the game’s final play to preserve the 31-28 victory which gave the Cougars (14-0) its fourth state title and third since 2014.
Clay-Chalkville took a 31-28 lead with 2:27 to go, but Saraland (14-1) drove 79 yards in 11 plays to set up a fourth-and-5 at the Clay 10-yard line with five seconds remaining. The Spartans chose to run a play instead of attempting a game-tying field goal. A quarterback sprint up the middle came to a crushing end as Barber stopped the possible game-winning play at the one-yard line as the game came to an end.
The Dolphins of Gulf Shores (15-0) built a 21-0 lead in the game’s opening 10 minutes and hung on for 21-14 win over defending champ Ramsay (12-3) in the Class 5A title game. Senior Ronnie Royal ran 22 times for 188 yards, scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 55 yards and had a marvelous interception on defense to lead the Dolphins to their first state title.
Montgomery Catholic (15-0) earned its eighth shutout of the 2023 season and won its first AHSAA state football championship by whipping Cherokee County (13-2) 35-0 in the Class 4A title game. Caleb McCreary scored three touchdowns and threw another to lead the Knights to the victory over the Warriors.
The Fyffe dynasty continues.
The Red Devils (14-1) captured its seventh state championship in the last 10 seasons with a convincing 43-24 victory over Reeltown (13-1). Logan Anderson ran 34 times for 256 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Red Devils.
In the last 10 seasons, Fyffe has compiled a 139-6 record, which means the Red Devils have more state titles than losses during that span. Anderson, a junior, set two single-season team records in 2023 as he had 2,864 yards rushing with 45 touchdowns.
Leroy High used an old-school approach to take home the Class 1A state championship trophy. After Coosa Christian (9-6) blocked a punt and recovery in the end zone to earn a touchdown and tie the game at 21-21 with 6:26 remaining in the game, Leroy went to work…old school style.
The Bears (14-0) drove 61 yards in eight plays, all of which were running plays, to score from the one-yard line with 2:01 to play for a 28-21 victory. This was Leroy’s seventh state title, all since 2004.
Class 6A-7A Flag
Central-Phenix City shook off a sluggish start, thanks to a stifling defensive effort, and ran away with a 25-0 victory over Vestavia Hills to win the AHSAA’s first Class 6A-7A girls flag football championship as part of Super 7.
The Red Devils (18-0) limited Vestavia Hills (17-1) to just 63 yards on 33 plays and intercepted four passes to earn the shutout and the state championship.
Class 1A-5A Flag
Quarterback Samarian Franklin ran one-yard for a touchdown on fourth down in overtime to lift the Dragons of Wenonah (17-0) to an 18-12 victory over Montgomery Catholic (17-4) in the Class 1A-5A championship contest as part of Super 7. Montgomery Catholic had its first shot at overtime, but came up empty opening the way for Wenonah to score and capture the state title.