Piedmont Invited to Champions Challenge 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Six teams have been selected for the ninth annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 22-23 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. Carver-Montgomery will meet Opelika on Friday night, Aug. 22, in the first of three games, according Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), which hosts the event each year. The two remaining games are scheduled Saturday, Aug. 23, beginning at 5 p.m. with Piedmont taking on Dadeville in the small-school game. Class 6A teams Spanish Fort and Stanhope Elmore will meet in the final game at 7:30 p.m. The 2014 season will mark the first time that schools will have 11 weeks to play 10 games and the first year for the new seven-classification system. Schools still have a choice whether to count a week one contest as a regular-season or exhibition contest. The Carver-Opelika and Piedmont-Dadeville games will remain as exhibition games, Briggs said, and will not count on either team’s record. The Spanish Fort-Stanhope Elmore game is set to be the regular-season opener for each school. Class 6A Carver (10-3) reached the third round of the 6A state playoffs last season and Class 6A Opelika (7-4) reached round one after playing in the 6A finals in 2012. Spanish Fort (15-0), coached by Mark Freeman, moves up to Class 6A after winning back-to-back Class 5A state titles. The Toros will be riding a 24-game winning streak into the Champions Challenge. The team is 38-5 in three seasons under Freeman’s direction and 73-12 over the last six years with three state titles. Class 6A Stanhope Elmore finished 4-6 last season. The Mustangs are coached by Jeff Foshee, who has compiled a 98-58 record with 11 playoff appearances in 13 seasons. Billy Gresham has led Carver to a 29-9 record the last three seasons. The Wolverines have gone 60-16 over the last six years with six straight playoff appearances. Brian Blackmon has guided Opelika to a 35-20 record in five seasons with 17 wins over the last two years. The Bulldogs have reached the 6A playoffs for four straight seasons. Piedmont (11-2) reached the Class 3A quarterfinals last year, losing 34-33 in overtime to eventual state champion Madison Academy. Coach Steve Smith’s Bulldogs averaged 43.2 points per game in 2013 while yielding only 12.5 points a game. Beginning his ninth season as head coach, Smith has guided Piedmont to 10 or more wins the last seven seasons with an 86-18 record overall and a 17-7 mark in eight playoff appearances. The Bulldogs won the 2009 Class 3A state championship. Dadeville (11-2) reached the 4A quarterfinals and lost a 35-34 heartbreaker to UMS-Wright. Coach Richard White’s Tigers are 66-9 over the last six seasons with an amazing 40-2 record in region play. Dadeville will be in Class 4A, Region 3 and Piedmont in 3A, Region 6 this fall. In last year’s Champions Challenge, Benjamin Russell beat Walker 28-14, Straughn downed Walter Wellborn 35-26 and Bob Jones edged Enterprise 23-20. The 2014 event will be televised live and web-streamed by AHSAA TV partner Raycom Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all three games live. The schedule at Cramton Bowl is: Friday, August 22 – 7 p.m.: Carver-Montgomery (10-3) vs. Opelika (7-4) Saturday, August 24 – 5 p.m.: Dadeville (11-2) vs. Piedmont (11-2) Saturday, August 24 – 7:30 p.m.: Spanish Fort (15-0) vs. Stanhope Elmore (4-6) Press Release Courtesy: AHSAA (www.ahsaa.com)

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