The 13th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic has it’s match-ups as four teams have been selected to play August 23-24 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. The Champions Challenge was designed to pit some of the top teams from year’s past in great games to kickoff the season.
On Thursday, August 23, defending 1A state champion Sweet Water will take on 3A Clarke County, who was a semifinalist last year, losing to eventual champion Hillcrest-Evergreen.
The Friday match-up on August 24 will be between two 7A schools as Thompson faces James Clemens.
Thompson is led by Mark Freeman, who will enter his fourth year at the helm. The Warriors won the 7A Region 3 championship last year, but fell to Hoover in the semifinals. QB Taulia Tagovailoa was named 7A Back of the Year and passed for almost 4,000 yards last season as a junior.
James Clemens didn’t make the playoffs last season, falling off from a strong campaign in 2016 that saw them have one of the state’s strongest defenses. They will look to bounce back this season with a big win to start things off.
Stacy Luker is now the head coach at Clarke County, but won five state championships with Sweet Water from 2004-2010, including three in a row from 2006-08. Sweet Water is now coached by Pat Thompson, who led the school to their tenth state title last year beating Pickens County at Bryant-Denny Stadium.