*- All rankings for teams correspond with their final rankings after the regular seasons as decided by the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association (ASWA).

Thursday will be a big day for high school football fans in central Alabama. Four teams from the middle part of the state- Linden, Pickens County, Montgomery Catholic, and Pleasant Grove- will all be playing for glory across the state.

3A State Championship- No. 9 Montgomery Catholic Knights (12-2, 7-0) v. No. 1 Fyffe Red Devils (14-0, 6-0) [Thursday, Dec. 3, 10:00 a.m.]:

Competing for their first-ever state championship is the Montgomery Catholic Knights. After winning their second straight region title, the Knights made an impressive playoff run to boost them to their first state title game appearance.

The Knights’ defense has been the team’s rock this year by shutting out opponents three times and holding teams to 21 points or less eight times.

Photo Courtesy of Gadsden Times
Photo Courtesy of Gadsden Times

With that being said, Montgomery Catholic struggled last week in the semifinals against a tough Montgomery Academy team. The Knights pulled through and won in overtime 35-28, but now is certainly not the time to be declining on defense.

For the Fyffe Red Devils, this might be the key to the game. Before last week’s slight win over Piedmont, Fyffe has scored over 21 points in 11 of their 13 played games. Averaging 41 points a game, the Red Devils will be looking to light up the scoreboard often.

In addition to their offense, the Fyffe defense has been powerful with five shutouts and six other victories allowing less than 14 points.

Fyffe has a recent history of success in the “Super Seven” with all four of their state titles (2014, 2016, 2018, 2019) coming in the past decade, so the Red Devils are certainly favored. If the Knights want to win, they will need to match Fyffe’s scoring.

The 3A State Championship will kick off at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3.

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1A State Championship- No. 2 Linden Patriots (14-0, 6-0) v. No. 10 Pickens County Tornadoes (11-3, 6-1) [Thursday, Dec. 3, 2:45 p.m.]:

In what is the only case in this year’s series of state championship games, the Linden Patriots and the Pickens County Tornadoes will be a rematch of a game earlier this year. The Patriots took down the Tornadoes 36-0 in Week 2.

Since that beating, Linden has gone on to win every game. While they have won four games by forfeit, they have also had one other shutout besides Pickens County and seven games with under 14 allowed points.

Along with the mighty Patriots’ defense, the offense has scored 22 points or more in every game this year.

Photo By Mason Woods
Photo By Mason Woods

While the Patriots have never won a state title, they have won six region titles during the 2010s. Their closest chance at a state championship was a loss in the 2018 championship against Mars Hill Bible School.

On the other hand, the Tornadoes of Pickens County have recently been able to win a state championship. Their only title ever came in a 2013 win over Maplesville. In 2017, Pickens County lost in the final to Sweet Water 20-6.

This year; however, Pickens County seems to have hit their stride at the right time. Last week, PC took down region foe Berry in a revenge game to win a chance for this year’s championship.

Pickens County’s offense is firing on all cylinders during their playoffs run with all four previous matches featuring at least 24 points scored.

The 1A State Championship will kick off at 2:45 p.m, after the 3A Championship on Thursday, Dec. 3.

5A State Championship- No. 2 St. Paul’s Saints (14-0, 6-0) v. No. 3 Pleasant Grove Spartans (11-2, 6-1) [Thursday, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.]:

Speaking of high powered offense, the Pleasant Grove Spartans have continued last year’s firepower into this year. Averaging 36 points per game, the Spartans have been putting on a show. In the playoffs, the team has scored a total of 159 points.

Not to be outdone, the Pleasant Grove defense is only allowing around two touchdowns a game. In the playoffs, they haven’t allowed more than 21 points.

While Pleasant Grove has never won it all, they will be looking for redemption after falling short to Central Clay County in last year’s 5A State Title Game.

Photo Courtesy of PrepsNet
Photo Courtesy of PrepsNet

This year’s matchup is especially interesting because it is a rematch of the 2014 5A State Championship where St. Paul’s won their second state title.

Since that victory, St. Paul’s has had immense success, winning two more championships (2015, 2017).

This year, the Saints’ defense, like most of this year’s “Super Seven” contenders have had a very impressive season. The Saints’ defense has shut out opponents four times. Three of these were in a row to close out the regular season.

In seven other games, the Saints have held opponents to two touchdowns or less.

In the playoffs though, St. Paul’s has slipped a little. Last week’s semifinal win was a very close 21-20 overtime victory over Faith Academy.

This game should be a fun one to watch. If St. Paul’s defense can hold Pleasant Grove, then it will be close, but if the Spartans run wild, then it could get ugly.

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