Alabama High School Football: “Super 7″ Friday Preview (Day 3)
*- All rankings for teams correspond with their final rankings after the regular seasons as decided by the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association (ASWA).
Friday is the last day of high school football until August, but it could be the best. From a storybook season for a small team to two 6A powerhouses battling for bragging rights, this final day of the “Super Seven” will have it all.
4A State Championship- No. 5 Handley Tigers (11-1, 6-0) v. No. 3 Gordo Green Wave (13-1, 6-0) [Friday, Dec. 4, 10:00 a.m.]:
In a surprising turn of events, the Handley Tigers handily took down the top-ranked ACA Patriots to advance to their first state title game since 2016.
Not only did the Tigers’ defense hold the usually high-scoring Patriot offense, but the Handley “O” ran wild, scoring 34 points. That was the most scored on ACA all year.
Throughout the whole season, Handley has averaged 27 points a game and only 11 points allowed. With that being said, the Tiger’s offense
Has overachieved their average during the postseason by scoring at least 32 points in every playoff game. This comes mostly from a heavy rushing attack.
This will surely be the deciding factor for this championship game.
The Gordo Green Wave’s defense has been one of the best in the state by never allowing more than 21 points.
By setting a precedent of rushing early and often in every game this year, Gordo has been able to pull away from opponents quickly. Last week’s victory over Etowah was the closest game (a margin of 7 points) since the Green Wave’s loss to Northridge in September (17-13).
While Gordo has a bigger trophy case with four total state championships (1968, 1980, 1985, 2001), the Handley Tigers have more recent success with two state titles in the 2010s (2011, 2016).
The 4A State Championship Game will kick off at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.
2A State Championship- No. 9 Abbeville Yellow Jackets (12-1, 6-1) v. No. 1 Mars Hill Panthers (12-2, 6-0) [Friday, Dec.4, 2:45 p.m.]:
Mars Hill Bible School takes the cake this year as the youngest team in the “Super Seven,” but don’t let that fool you. Since its inception in 2014, the Panthers have been a growing powerhouse. In 2018, the Panthers won state, and since then, they have remained as a top contender.
While they lost in the tire game last year, Mars Hill still appeared, which means that this year marks a three-year streak of title game appearances and potential of two state titles in three years.
Mars Hill has made strides in 2020 with both a powerful offense and defense and has defeated teams by an average of almost 34 points a game. Included in this stat are two victories with over 70 points scored and another game with 63.
On defense, the Panthers have only allowed 14 points or less in four games, and have notched three shutouts.
While Mars Hill might be becoming a perennial powerhouse in 2A, the Abbeville Yellow Jackets are a different story.
In almost a “Cinderella” story of a year, the Yellow Jackets have had the best season in school history and are in the deepest playoff run since 1971.
The team has been below average in recent years, but in first-year coach LaBrian Stewart’s first year, Abbeville has exceeded expectations.
While they don’t have the scores that Mars Hill has, Abbeville seems to be on a positive slope. Their semifinal win last week featured a 15-point win over Leroy where the Yellow Jackets scored 60 points.
While Abbeville has had some good defensive performances with four shoutouts and three games with under 14 points scored, the Yellow Jackets have also given up 40-plus points three times this year.
If Abbeville wants to top off their Cinderella season against this new powerhouse, then their defense must step up to the occasion.
The 2A State Championship will kick off at 2:45 on Friday, Dec. 4, following the 4A Title Game.
6A State Championship- No. 7 Spanish Fort Toros (11-3, 7-0) v. No. 3 Pinson Valley Indians [Friday, Dec.4, 7:30 p.m.]:
Continuing in the success that was started by current Auburn quarterback Bo Nix and his father Patrick, the Pinson Valley Indians have a valuable opportunity ahead of them.
This is the fourth straight championship game appearance for the Indians. Winning state this year would be the third time in four years and the Indians’ third title (2017, 2018).
To balance out this matchup, the Toros of Spanish Fort are going for another big achievement. This would be their fifth in 11 years (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015).
2020 has been good to the Toros. Though the Spanish Fort defense got exposed in Week 1 in a 45-34 loss to Fairhope, since then Spanish Fort hasn’t given up more than 21 points. The Toros only has one shutout, but they have held opponents to seven points or less in four games.
The offense has shown potential by scoring over 30 points in four matches. Still, the team is only averaging about 25 points a game.
This is an intriguing matchup to watch because Pinson Valley hasn’t given up more than 16 points throughout the postseason.
Their offense is also averaging 38.5 points a game to match that feat. That means this Indians’ team seems to be peaking at the right time.
Regardless of who wins this game, it is certain that the rich will be richer in 6A to cap off this year of Alabama high school football.