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The effort to continue the 2020 high school fall sports is ongoing and with some modifications the season is still on for the most part for schools across the region. Photo Contributed

Hodgepodge Of Sports Happenings

MADISON- Rules modifications in both football and volleyball are occurring in the newest season of high school athletics in moves in response of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternative Baseball is trying to receive a shot in the arm of support for its non-profit organization. Powerlifting is an uplifting experience and is lifting the spirits in and around Madison. The loss of one of the greatest high school basketball coaches in Alabama still radiates across North Alabama. All of these items make up the recent surroundings in local sports.

FOOTBALL

The coronavirus has certainly disrupted high school sports by dismantling seasons and causing high concern for the safety of everyone involved. The “invisible enemy” has also changed some rules of note.

Modifications for football includes the team box being extended on both sides of the field to the 10-yard lines in order for more social-distancing space for teams. Coaches will continue to be restricted to the 25-yard lines. Face masks are permissible with plastic shields only permissible if integrated into the face mask. Timeouts and periods after a score have been extended to a maximum of two minutes.

The National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) look for social distancing on the sidelines and the footballs will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the game. Each player will have their own individual beverage container.

In addition to the COVID-19 caused rule modifications, the NFHS made several rules revisions for 2020. The changes include the play clock will be set to 40 seconds following an injury to a defensive player. The play clock will also be reset to 25 seconds when a new series is awarded following a leg free kick or scrimmage kick. A quarterback in shotgun formation can intentionally ground the ball to conserve time. Due to weather conditions, halftimes can be shortened if agreed on by both head coaches.

Football remains the most popular high school sport for boys with over 1-million participants nationwide.

Going into the third decade of the 21st century, Fyffe High School has the best winning percentage over the last decade winning 93.4-percent of its games and gaining four state championships. The Class 3A program was 128-9 over the last decade. The Class 1A Maplesville program was second with a 121-12 won-loss record.

In Class 7A, Hoover was ranked fourth overall with a winning percentage of 85.8-percent with the Bucs winning five state titles. The Madison Academy Mustangs and its three state trophies posted a 108-27 mark during the same time period and was 12th in the listing. Meanwhile, the Bob Jones Patriots were 79-34 with a winning percentage of 69.9 putting the program among the top 50 teams in Alabama at No. 48.

VOLLEYBALL

Modifications are also in place for volleyball. The traditional coin-toss will not take place as now the visiting team will serve the first set and alternate first serve for the remaining non-deciding sets. The new mods also include suspending the protocol of teams switching benches between sets. Cloth face coverings, long sleeves, long pants and gloves are permissible. Officials can also utilize electronic whistles if so chosen.

Volleyball, like the other fall sports of football, cross country and swimming, will adhere to the set forward rules and regulations regarding spectators. Equal access must be granted to visiting teams.

ALTERNATIVE BASEBALL

The Alternative Baseball Organization was in the running for a $10,000 grant via the “Ordinary To Extraordinary 10K Giveaway” from the REI Society, a business set up around Brandon Thompson a nearly 20-year business motivator and real estate guru. Voting was held on Facebook as the Alternative Baseball was among five finalists.

After the voting was completed, the $10,000 prize was awarded to the Alternative Baseball Organization headed up by commissioner/director of the national program Taylor Duncan, who said, “These funds will go for equipment and for operating expenses associated with continuous expansion of the movement to #PowerThruPerception. We’re honored to have had this opportunity to participate in Brandon’s giveaway and appreciated everyone who voted for us to receive the grand prize. We’re very excited about what the future will hold for Alternative Baseball.”

The local Madison branch of the 501c3 Alternative Baseball is headed up by head coach Tyler Wright. Details on the organization are available at www.alternative baseball.org.

“We’ll be able to do so much toward more equipment and further expansion across America like we have in Madison,” said Duncan. “We want more teams in the immediate area of Madison/Huntsville to share the experience we supply for teens and adults with autism and other disabilities. Together, we can power through negative stigmas put on those who have limitations as part of the organization.”

JERRY DUGAN DEATH

The entire basketball world across the state are mourning the death of legendry head coach Jerry Dugan. The 81-year old passed away on Tuesday, June 30. Dugan spent his entire teaching and coaching career in Madison County. He coached Hazel Green to the Class 2A boys’ basketball state championship in 1967 and repeated the next year at Lee High in Huntsville in Class 4A, becoming the only coach in AHSAA history to win back-to-back state titles in different classifications at different schools.

Dugan’s overall coaching record was 617-332 in a career that spanned 1961 to 1998. He was inducted into the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. During his retirement he also acted as tournament director of the once very popular and successful SportsMED Shootout held during the Thanksgiving weekend at the Von Braun Center.

FCA HOME TEAM CELEBRATION

After twice being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) has officially cancelled this year’s Home Team Celebration. The annual two-day event, usually held at the Von Braun Center, was to feature legendary football coach Steve Spurrier as guest speaker.

The FCA was saddened at the choice they had to make as the Home Team Celebration has been an outstanding event for all involved including the hundreds of student-athletes who experienced faith seminars and sportsmanship through an array of gatherings within the FCA guidelines.

CORE WARS POWERLIFTING

The United States Powerlifting Association sanctioned Core Wars Powerlifting meet will be held in Madison on Saturday, Aug. 29. The day-long event will be held at BCI Sports Performance & Fitness located at 9582 Madison Blvd.

“Due to the current COVID-19 situation, many of the usual local participants have not been able to properly train for an event like this one, so this event is expected to have 25 lifters entered,” said Heidi Dehnel, meet director. “This meet, which is opened to the public, will feature mixed levels of talent and divisions with variations of the levels of strength categories.”

With the at least 25 lifters expected to try their extended talents through months of preparation, the meet will feature more masters division participants (age 40-plus) with the oldest participant at age 57 and the youngest coming in at age 18.

The meet will be open to the general public with a day-long admission of $10. The meet gets underway at 9:00 a.m.

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