Special to The Tribune
MONTGOMERY – Center Point (1-0) travel across the Birmingham Metro area to get its first real game action tonight after winning its season opener vs. Wenonah. The Eagles face off against the Fairfield Tigers (0-0) at Clements Field in Fairfield
The Game of the Week broadcast team consisting of former Birmingham radio personality Landrum Roberts, who will handle the color commentary, and veteran TV 24 sports director Gerhard Mathangani, handling the play-by-play.
The two schools meet for the 12th time in the both programs’ football history. The Eagles, led by head coach George Bates, hold an 8-3 advantage but dropped last year’s game 21-20. The two schools met last year after a 13-year hiatus.
The battle will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network and livestreamed over the NFHS Network. WOTM TV has put together a strong network of cable affiliates across Alabama. The list can be found at the link below.
Center Point received a forfeit from Wenonah last week, and like the Tigers, will be playing their first game Thursday. The Eagles finished 7-4 last season, ending up third in Class 5A, Region 6 behind Alexandria and Leeds. The Eagles lost 27-22 in the first round of the state playoffs. Bates is 23-14 in his fourth season at Center Point and is 62-44 overall with head coaching stints at Parker, Minor and Woodlawn.
Fairfield finished 5-6 last season and earned the fourth seed in Class 5A, Region 5 behind Ramsay, Pleasant Grove and Parker in 2020. The Tigers, coached by Keon Handley, lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Russellville 14-7.
“It was tough going through the whole summer, all the workouts and then the day before we were scheduled to play last week we learned the game was cancelled due to COVID,” said Bates. “It was difficult but we understand that we had to do whatever it takes to keep our players safe and healthy.”
He added, “We know Fairfield will be athletic and big. One of their kids committed to Auburn just last week. Our kids are ready though, and we think it will be a great game.”
Both teams feature a multi-talented player in the middle of their offensive scheme. Fairfield’s Handley, 15-27 as the Tigers’ head coach since 2017 and 16-36 overall, finds inventive ways to showcase talented 5-10, 175-pound athlete Ja’Kobi Albert. He is a two-way starter at safety and wide receiver who committed to Auburn last week. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior had 30 receptions for 555 yards last season and returned five kickoffs for a 29.4 yard average and one TD. He recorded 29 tackles at safety.
Center Point counters with junior tailback Troy Bruce, a super quick 5-9, 165-pound playmaker. Demario Hicks, a 6-0, 220-pound linebacker, anchors the defense.
A total of 13 games are set for Thursday night – including Saint Michael Catholic of Fairhope hosting McIntosh in the official head-coaching debut of former NFL quarterbacking great Philip Rivers.
The AHSAA Radio Network’s Scoreboard Show will also air across the state Friday night. Go to www.ahsaaradionetwork.com for network information.
To access the AHSAA Game of the Week over the NFHS Network, go to the following link
To access the AHSAA Game of the Week over WOTM TV and its network of cable affiliates, go to AHSAA TV Network at the following link: