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Carver to return to ‘15 Champions Challenge

The Carver Wolverines return to play in the 2015 Champions Challange after playing Opelika in the event last year. (File Photo)

Combined Report
(March 6, 2015)

Six teams have been selected for the 10th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 21-22 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.

One will make a return trip.

Two defending champions, Class 4A Leeds and Class 3A Madison Academy, will kick off the Champions Challenge on Friday, Aug. 21, in the first of three games, according to Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), which hosts the event each year.

Carver returns to play in the event and the third time since its inception in 2006. It is the most appearances of any school.

Games are scheduled Saturday, Aug. 22, beginning at 5 p.m. with 2014 Class 3A semifinalists Gordo versus Glencoe and 6A Carver squaring off against Class 7A Bob Jones at 7:30 p.m.

Carver played in last year’s Challenge, losing to Opelika, 20-16, in what was considered an exhibition game.

Schools still have a choice whether to count a Week 1 contest as a regular-season or exhibition contest. The Leeds-Madison Academy game will be a regular season game while the other two will be considered exhibition games, Briggs said, and will not count on either team’s record.

Madison Academy (14-1) and Leeds (14-1) met in the 2013 Class 3A state finals with the Mustangs winning the state title. The two teams then agreed to meet in the season opener last season with the Green Wave winning 27-24 to snap a 25-game winning streak for Coach Eric Cohu’s Mustangs.

Madison Academy rebounded to win its next 14 games including a 70-34 victory over Dale County at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium to win its third straight Class 3A state championship. Coach Keith Etheredge’s Green Wave won 13 of their next 14 games to capture the Class 4A, Region 3 title and then beat Deshler 30-0 in the state finals to claim the Class 4A state championship.

Glencoe (13-1) and Gordo (13-1) were unbeaten heading into the Class 3A semifinals and both lost heartbreakers to end their seasons. Coach Lee Ozmint’s Yellow Jackets fell 31-28 when Madison Academy kicked a field goal to beat Glencoe.

Gordo lost 32-28 to Dale County in the other semifinal with the Warriors completing a touchdown pass on the final play of the game to nip Coach Ryan Lolley’s Green Wave.

Carver (9-3) won the Class 6A Region 2 title. Coach Billy Gresham’s Wolverines averaged 33.2 points a game, advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before falling to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 35-14.

Bob Jones (8-3), coached by Kevin Rose, and reached the first 7A playoffs qualifying second in Region 8. The Patriots, averaging 37.7 points per game, lost to Tuscaloosa County 28-21 in the first round.

Last year, Dadeville beat Piedmont 14-8 and Spanish Fort beat Stanhope Elmore 42-14 in a game that counted in the regular season standings.

2015 Champions Challenge schedule (2014 record)

Friday, August 21

7 p.m.: Madison Academy (14-1) vs. Leeds (14-1)

Saturday, August 22

5 p.m.: Glencoe (13-1) vs. Gordo (13-1)
7:30 p.m.: G.W. Carver (9-3) vs. Bob Jones (8-3)

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