Tuscaloosa, AL.--Second-ranked Handley (14-0) meets unranked Madison Academy (12-2) in the 2011 AHSAA Class 3A state championship at the Super Six on Thursday, Dec. 1 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa … Handley captured the Class 3A, Region 3 championship this season … Madison Academy was the runner up in Class 3A, Region 7.
Tide commitment Bradley Bozeman is an Alabama commitment who plays on offensive and defensive line for the Handley Tigers.
Madison Academy joins Oneonta (4A), Vigor (5A) and Hoover (6A) as the only Super Six participants not to win the region title. Madison Academy and Oneonta are the only Super Six teams not ranked in ASWA Top 10.
Handley and Madison Academy will meet for the first time in history.
Handley head coach Mike Battles is a 27-year coaching veteran in the state of Alabama … His overall record is 193-92-1 (.676) with head coaching stints at Pell City (1973), Walter Wellborn (1979-92, 2002-03), Hueytown (1993-95) and Handley (2004-Present).
Battles has compiled a 72-17 (.810) in eight seasons at Handley. He has directed the Tigers to seven playoff berths in eight years. Battles has led the Tigers to five straight 10-win seasons and five consecutive playoff berths, including region championships in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Battles coached for 16 years at Walter Wellborn in Anniston, where he posted a 97-55-1 (.625) record … He led the Panthers to a 21-5 (.808) record during the 1988-89 seasons, his only back-to-back 10-win campaigns at Wellborn … He won three region titles in 1979, 1985 and 1990 … He was 19-15 (.559) during his three-year stay at Hueytown … He was 5-5 in his lone season at Pell City. His son, Mike Battles, Jr., is the head coach at Bibb County High School.
Madison Academy head coach Dr. Eric Cohu has compiled a 34-6 (.850) record in his three seasons at Madison Academy. He has led the Mustangs to a 22-1 (.957) record in region play with two region titles in 2009 (7-0) and 2010 (7-0. The only region loss in the last three years came on Sept. 2, 2011 to Sardis, which snapped a 15-game region winning streak … Cohu is 8-2 (.800) in three AHSAA playoff appearances.
Handley is playing in its second state championship and its first Super Six … The Tigers finished the season ranked No 2 in the ASWA Class 3A poll.
The Tigers won their 14th region championship this season and have won three region titles (2007, 2009 and 2011) in the last five years.
Handley advanced to the 2011 Super Six with four straight wins over Slocomb, T.R. Miller, Washington County and Clay County.
Along the way to the Super Six, Handley beat teams with a combined 12 state championships, including T.R. Miller (6) and Clay County (6) with six apiece.
The 13-6 win against Clay County in the semifinals marked the last game for the Clay County football program. Clay County and Lineville are merging next season to form Clay County Central (4A).
Handley is 35-22 (.614) all-time in 23 playoff appearances. The Tigers are playing in the championship game for only the second time in history. Handley fell to Stevenson 17-16 on Dec. 2, 1977 in their only other finals appearance.
The Tigers are in the fifth consecutive year and for the ninth time in the last 11 years--Handley has played in seven state semifinals. The Tigers first playoff appearance took place in 1975.
Handley has won a school record 14 games this season. The previous record was 13 wins previously set by the 2009 team. The 2011 season marks the ninth 10-win season in school history and the fifth consecutive 10-win campaign.
Handley has scored 499 points (35.6 pgg) this season and enter the Super Six only 29 points shy of the single season record. The 2009 holds the record with 528 points scored. Handley scored 40 or more points seven times this season The Tigers scored a season-high 51 points in a 51-13 win over Beulah.
Handley has rolled into the Super Six with dominant running game … The Tigers have 576 rushing attempts for 4,346 yards and 57 TDs this season … Handley averages 310.4 yards per game and 7.6 yards per attempt on the ground … The Tigers have completed 35-of-76 passes (.461) this season for 617 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions … They attempt only 5.2 passes per game.
The Tigers boast two 1,000-yard rushers this season in senior running backs Aquarius Hunter and Breyon Deberry … Hunter leads the way with 147 rushing attempts for 1,195 yards and 16 TDs … He averages 98.8 yards per game and 8.1 yards per carry … Deberry has 132 rushing attempts for 1,112 yards and 12 TDs … He averages 92.7 yards per game and 8.4 yards per rush … Junior running back Duran Zachery is third on the team with 86 rushing attempts for 748 yards and 11 TDs.
Junior quarterback Ty Kyles has produced almost 800 yards and four TDs this season. He had 50 rushing attempts for 306 yards and two touchdowns. He has also completed 28-of-58 passes (.483) for 478 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Senior receiver Dexter Reese (14-192-3) and junior receiver Tevin Cook (7-184-3) are the top two receivers.
The defense has allowed 173 points (12.4 ppg) this season. They have become more defensive-minded in the playoffs, where the Tigers have yielded only 32 points (8.0 ppg) in four games.
During the regular season Handley held only one team to less than 10 points in a 46-0 shutout win over Leeds. The Tigers have held three of the four playoff foes to seven points or less, including a 28-0 shutout of Slocomb in the first round.
Senior defensive backs Christopher Dillard and Anthony Foster are the top two defenders. Dillard leads the team with 178 tackles this season; an average of 12.7 stops per game. Foster has added 97 tackles, an average of 6.9 stops per game.
Madison Academy Mustangs Notes
Madison Academy is seeking its first-ever state championship. This is the Mustangs first state championship game and the school’s first Super Six appearance.
Prior to this season, Madison Academy’s deepest playoff run came in 1980 when the Mustangs dropped a 26-21 decision to Akron in the semifinals.
The Mustangs seek to become the first team from Madison County to win a state football championship. Madison Academy is making its third straight playoff appearance and eighth trip in nine years since 2003. Prior to that, Madison Academy had made only eight playoff trips from 1970-99.
Madison County, Oneonta and Hoover are the only teams in the Super Six that did not win their region this year. The Mustangs finished second in Class 3A, Region 7. Sardis won the region after its 28-14 win over Madison Academy in week two.
Madison Academy advanced to the 2011 Super Six with four straight wins over Weaver, Elkmont, Lauderdale County and Rogers. Madison Academy’s playoff run almost ended in week one. Following the one-point win over Weaver in overtime, the Mustangs have posted three straight easy wins to reach the Super Six. The Mustangs beat Elkmont, Lauderdale County and Rogers by a combined 90 points. Mustangs trailed Weaver 14-0 in the first half and needed a game-tying FG in the final.
Madison Academy is 13-16 (.448) in its 17 all-time playoff appearances. The Mustangs are 8-2 (.800) during their last three playoff visits. They had only five playoff wins in their previous 14 trips to the AHSAA playoffs.
The Mustangs are in the playoffs for the third straight year and the seventh time in eight years, dating back to 2004. They made four straight playoff appearances from 2004-07, the longest in school history.
The Mustangs opened the year with back-to-back losses to North Jackson and Sardis. Since then, Madison Academy has won 12 straight games. In the five games following the two-game losing streak, Madison Academy outscored Randolph (63-0), New Hope (55-0), Plainview (35-6), Sylvania (35-6) and Pisgah (35-0) by a combined 223-12.
Madison Academy has set the school record for most points scored in a season (504) and tied the single-season record for most wins (12. The previous record for points in a season was 389 points set in 2009. The 2009 team also won 12 games as they advanced to the third round of the playoffs.
The Mustangs average 36 points per game this season. Madison Academy has scored 30 or more points 10 times this season. They have scored 40 or more points five times, 50 or more points three times and 60 points once, beating Randolph 63-0 on Sept. 9.
The Mustangs have used a solid ground game to pile up 3,388 total yards (242.0 ypg) this year. Madison Academy has 347 rushing attempts for 2,369 yards, while completing 69-of-116 passes (.595) for 1,019 yards.
The Mustangs defense has yielded 159 points this season, an average of 11.35 points per game. They have held seven opponents to seven points or less and pitched four shutouts. From Sept. 9-Oct. 17, Madison Academy allowed only 12 points in a five-game stretch.
Freshman running back Kerryon Johnson has scored five touchdowns the last two weeks against Lauderdale County and Rogers. In the quarterfinal win over Lauderdale County, Johnson ran five times for 144 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 24, 36 and 70 yards in the win.
In the semifinals against Rogers, Johnson had 16 rushing attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on runs of 74 and five yards His five touchdown runs in the playoffs have averaged 41.5 yards per score.
Senior quarterback James Olive has also had an impressive playoff run for the Mustangs … He is responsible for six touchdowns in four playoff games. In the quarterfinal win over Lauderdale County, Olive threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Nick Hass.
Olive had a four-touchdown game in the second round win over Elkmont. He had two rushing touchdowns (7 yards and 7 yards) and threw two touchdown passes (17 yards and 25 yards). In the overtime win over Weaver, he scored the winning touchdown with a nine-yard run. He also added an eight-yard touchdown pass to Haas.
Junior wide receiver Nick Haas has four touchdown catches in the playoffs … He had a 43-yard touchdown catch in the quarterfinal win over Lauderdale County. Hass had two touchdown catches in the second round win over Elkmont, hauling in a 17-yard and 25-yard touchdown pass He hauled in a game-tying eight-yard touchdown pass in the comeback win against Weaver in the opening round.
Junior kicker Chandler Trach hit two pivotal field goals in the overtime win over Weaver, including a game-tying 39-yarder with 1:04 left in regulation. He kicked six PATs in the win over Elkmont in round two. Trach had a 40-yard interception return in last week’s semifinal in over Rogers.