E.A. Sports Today

Soccer gets county tourney

County principals approve plans for new soccer tournament, baseball accommodations, and all county tourney venues, dates

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Calhoun County principals Wednesday approved a new county tournament for boys and girls soccer, a plan to accommodate the state’s 28-game limit for baseball and dates for all the 2016-17 county tournaments.

The soccer tournament is the newest offering on the county tourney menu and will provide the chance to crown a county champion in all sports except football.

“Basically every sport has a Calhoun County tournament championship going on now,” said Ohatchee’s Bobby Tittle, the incoming host principal. “It makes it good for all the kids who play soccer. It’s good for growing the sport, and that’s the main thing. It benefits our kids.”

The dates and logistics of the two projected eight-team single-loss soccer tournaments in an event-heavy spring sports season have yet to be determined. Officials have devised a Plan A and Plan B “to do everything we can to make sure that it happens,” Tittle said, and those plans are expected to be discussed by the coaches Friday.

Anniston, Donoho, Faith Christian, Jacksonville, Oxford, Sacred Heart and Saks all play, and Weaver plans to start programs. Since Ohatchee doesn’t sponsor soccer, Donoho will serve as the tournament’s host and is willing to host the finals.

“We are really excited at the growth of the sport in the county,” Donoho boys coach Matthew Wright said. “With the addition of Saks, it is time for the sport to have its own County tournament. We hope to see more of the county schools participating in the near future. It will mean better soccer for everyone.”

The baseball tournament ran up against a new state rule that limits teams to a total of 28 in-session regular-season games next season — with the county tournament counting towards that total. Teams can play an unlimited number of games during spring break.

To avoid overscheduling and their teams being idle for as long as week, the principals approved a plan that would give teams two to four games in the county tournament depending on where they exit the winner’s bracket. The plan calls for the losers in each round to drop down for an additional game — not a loser’s bracket, just an extra game.

If they block off four games on their schedule, play only two, they can make up the difference later in the year, the principals said.

The teams that lose in the baseball semifinals would play as part of a championship night doubleheader with the title game.

“I like it,” Jacksonville coach David Deerman said. “It helps you with scheduling. If you were to get beat early, you get to play another game.”

The baseball, softball and track championships will be staged at Choccolocco Park. There was some discussion of the softball tournament going to Woodland Park, but the new facility in Oxford won out in the end.

“It’s very exciting to have that facility,” Tittle said. “It’s the Taj Mahal. It’s a great venue. Most importantly, our students will be able to have the experience of playing on a great venue that has already hosted the OVC (softball) Tournament and other great events.”

Here are the tournament dates for 2016-17:

Volleyball, Oct 1, Jacksonville HS (finals Oct. 3 at JSU)

Cross country, Oct. 27, Oxford Lake

Wrestling, Jan. 3, Ohatchee HS

Basketball, Jan. 14-21, JSU

Baseball, March 10-14, Choccolocco Park

Tennis, March 3-4, Oxford Lake

Track & Field, April 18, Choccolocco Park

Girls golf, April 7-8, Pine Hill CC

Softball, April 10-14, Choccolocco Park

Boys golf, April 14-15, Pine Hill CC

Soccer, TBA

The principals also approved the dates and venues for the junior high tournaments. Volleyball will be at Saks Sept. 24 and the basketball tournaments will be Jan. 23-27 at Alexandria (large school) and either Ohatchee or Weaver (small school).

At Lagoon Park, Montgomery

Wednesday’s games

Marbury 2, Russellville 0
Beauregard 4, Springville 1
Rehobeth 7, Alexandria 3
Helena 7, Etowah 3
Springville 13, Russellville 3 (Russellville eliminated)
Alexandria 5, Etowah 1 (Etowah eliminated)
Marbury 3, Beauregard 2
Helena 4, Rehobeth 3
Springville 3, Rehobeth 2 (Rehobeth eliminated)
Alexandria 5, Beauregard 4 (Beauregard eliminated)

Thursday’s games
Game 11: Marbury vs. Helena, 9 a.m.
Game 12: Alexandria vs. Springville, 10:30 a.m.
Game 13: Alexandria-Springville winner vs. Marbury-Helena loser
Game 14: Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner (championship)
Game 15: If necessary

Thursday’s games
Game 1: Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa vs. Southside-Gadsden, 10:30 a.m.
Game 2: Chelsea vs. Dothan, 10:30 a.m.
Game 3: Saraland vs. Oxford, noon
Game 4: Cullman vs. Hueytown, noon
Game 5: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
Game 6: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser
Game 7: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
Game 8: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner

Alexandria's Will Reaves (front row, second from right) is joined by his Valley Cubs teammates at his signing ceremony with Marion Military Institute Wednesday.

Alexandria’s Will Reaves (front row, second from right) is joined by his Valley Cubs teammates at his signing ceremony with Marion Military Institute Wednesday.

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