Sports in 2007: November

FROM STAFF REPORTS

November 2007 proved to decisive month in sports as the championship pictures became clearer.

Chelsea ended an eight-year losing skid to Shelby County in the most unusual fashion, thus also ending the Wildcats’ playoff hopes and season. Cornerstone won its first-ever home playoff game and advanced to the AISA state championship by defeating Shelby Academy in the semifinals. The Chargers fell to South Choctaw in the title match.

Briarwood fell in the Class 5A volleyball championship to St. Paul’s, while Shelby County Reporter Player of the Year Whitney Billings led the Panthers to the semifinals.

Spain Park advanced to the Class 6A football semifinals with a last-second win over Mountain Brook. The Jaguars’ William Green, along with Briarwood’s Barrett Trotter, were named finalists for Mr. Football honors.

This is part 11 of a 12-part series that will run online through Jan. 1

Chelsea trickery ends Wildcats’ streak, season

The Chelsea Hornets did not “fear the pinky.” The Hornets refused to be “owned” by the Shelby County Wildcats. Although the Wildcats had won eight straight games against the Hornets heading into the Nov. 2 showdown, it took just 48 minutes and one of the craziest endings to a high school football game in the two schools’ history for Chelsea to reverse the bad fortune. With Shelby County leading 26-25 with under a minute remaining in the game, Chelsea quarterback Blake Yance completed a pass to Matt Jordan, who flipped the ball to Jason Thurman who then flipped it to Garrett Salter, and Salter raced 48 yards as the Hornets successfully pulled off a double hook-and-ladder to take the win, 32-26. The loss eliminated Shelby County from the playoffs.

Billings named Player of the Year, Wilson and Niven Co-Coaches of the Year

After leading her Pelham Panthers to the Class 6A semifinals, Whitney Billings was named as the Shelby County Reporter Player of the Year. Billings highlighted a talented group of players from all over the county. Briarwood head coach Robbie Wilson, who led his Lions to the Class 5A championship match, and Montevallo’s Tena Niven, who led her Bulldogs to the state tournament, were named as Co-Coaches of the Year.

UM women’s soccer wins first GSC title

Some say defense wins championships. Mix in a forward with a drive to score and a team’s desire to want it more than another, and the combination can dismantle a dominant program. That’s exactly what the University of Montevallo and junior forward Kami Kapaku used Nov. 3 in Pensacola, Fla. Tied 1-1, Kapaku headed a pass by Jo-Anne McCarthy past the keeper in the 86th minute to give UM a 2-1 upset over the University of West Florida. The win gave the Lady Falcons their first Gulf South Conference women’s soccer title in program history.

Cornerstone ends season of firsts

The Cornerstone Christian Chargers not only won the first home playoff game in school history, the Chargers defeated Shelby Academy in the semifinals to advanced to the AISA state title game in Troy for the first time. South Choctaw got the better of the Chargers as Cornerstone committed too many turnovers in the 28-6 championship loss.

Major shifts in AHSAA reclassification

The Alabama High School Athletics Association released the reclassification for football and basketball Nov. 19, and there have been some major shifts for several county teams. Calera moved up to Class 4A, while Briarwood Christian, Chelsea and Shelby County are now all paired in football’s Class 5A, Region 4. In Class 6A football, Region 6 has been realigned to the days of old with new face Gardendale joining Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Oak Mountain, Spain Park, Pelham, Thompson and Vestavia Hills.

Spain Park advances to semifinals off game-winning Del Greco kick

Players, students, and parents stormed the field as Trey Del Greco’s 29-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, giving Spain Park a 17-14 win over Mountain Brook. After first-down runs from James Willis, Eli Smith and E.J. Smith, the Jags found themselves in scoring position with only seconds left. A run from Willis placed them between the hash marks, and Grass let the clock roll until only 3.6 seconds remained. Enter Del Greco. Mountain Brook stood with no timeouts and no ability to stop the clock or ice the kicker.

The snap was good, and the kick perfect from 29 yards out.

Trotter, Green named finalists for Mr. Football

Two gridiron standouts in Shelby County are among the finalists for this year’s Mr. Football award. Briarwood Christian quarterback Barrett Trotter and Spain Park linebacker William Green were named recently as two of 42 finalists for the state’s top football honor and also as finalists for Player of the Year honors by their position and classification