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35 top seeds advance


A  total of 35 of the 52 No. 1 seeds advanced to the third round of the AHSAA State Football Playoffs this week with wins in the second round of the AHSAA 2020 Football Playoffs.

The complete quarterfinal pairings for Class 1A through 6A were officially set Saturday morning at the AHSAA Playoff Coaches Meeting held at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum. In Class 7A, which plays one less round, the semifinal pairings were set.

Of the 52 teams posting wins in round two Friday night, only Class 1A, Region 6 swept the competition. Top seed Berry beat Woodland, second seed Pickens County downed Decatur Heritage, third seed Hubbertville defeated Winterboro and fourth seed Brilliant beat Ragland.

Speaking of Brilliant (7-5), head coach Brian Gunnells, now in his fourth season as head coach, took over a program in 2017 that had gone 1-29 the three previous years. His first team went 2-8 and gave up 420 points in 10 games. This season, Brilliant has trimmed that total down to 258 points – a 162-point difference. And offensively, the team scored 109 points in 2017 and this year has scored 282 – a positive change of 177 points.

Gunnells, a Brilliant High School alum, built the Bears’ program back with few upper classmen available – until this year. The result is rematch with Region 6 top seed Berry (10-1) Friday night at Berry. It will be the first trip to the third round for the Bears since 2001.

Regions with three qualifiers still alive in the playoffs include Class 3A, Region 5, Class 5A, Region 1, Class 6A, Region 1, and in Class 7A, which moves to the semifinals, Regions 2 and 3 have are now insured of having one of their teams in the finals. Auburn (10-1) will host Central-Phenix City (8-4) and defending state champion Thompson (12-0) will host Hoover (11-1) in the 7A semis Friday night.

In the second round, 35 of the 52 teams, or 67.3% of the qualifiers, that advanced to the quarterfinals were No. 1 seeds. In Class 2A, all teams advancing were No. 1 seeds. Eleven second seeds, 21.2%, advance, and three No. 3 seeds and 3 No. 4 seeds also advanced – or 11.5% of  the remaining  teams.

Home teams won 32 of the 52 games Friday night, 61.5% of the contests.

WOTM TV’s Vince Earley announced the AHSAA TV NETWORK / NFHS NETWORK/WOTM TV  Game of the Week produced by WOTM TV will be defending Class 6A state champion Oxford (11-1) at Pinson Valley (9-2). Those two teams have combined to win the last three Class 6A state championship.

Unbeaten teams advancing to the second round include: Class 1A: Brantley (12-0); Linden (12-0); Class 2A: none; Class 3A: Montgomery Academy (12-0); Fyffe (12-0); Class 4A: American Christian (12-0); Class 5A: St. Paul’s Episcopal (12-0); Ramsay (11-0); Class 6A: none; Class 7A: Thompson (12-0).

Approximately 20 playoff games are expected to be live-streamed in the third round over the NFHS Network. The 2020 Super 7 State Championships will be held at Bryant-Denny Stadium on  the campus the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, December 2-3-4.

The third-round playoff pairings and second-round results are listed.

2020 AHSAA State Football Playoffs
AHSAA 2020 State Football Playoffs
Quarterfinal Pairings
All games set for Friday, November 20, unless denoted.

Linden (12-0) at Sweet Water (8-2)
Maplesville (9-3) at Brantley (12-0)

Brilliant (7-5) at Berry (10-1)
Hubbertville (9-2) at Pickens County (9-3), Reform


Isabella (11-1) at Abbeville (10-1)
Lanett (10-2) at Leroy (10-1)

North Sand Mountain (11-1) at Spring Garden (11-1)
Mars Hill Bible (10-2) at Aliceville (7-4)

Trinity Presbyterian (10-2) at Montgomery Academy (12-0)
Montgomery Catholic (10-2) at Thomasville (10-1)

Fyffe (12-0) at Ohatchee (11-1)
Saks (8-3) at Piedmont (11-1)

American Christian (12-0) at Alabama Christian (10-2), Montgomery
Bibb County (10-2) at Handley (10-1), Roanoke

Northside (10-2) at Etowah (9-2), Attalla
West Limestone (11-1) at Gordo (11-1), Thursday, Nov. 9, Pickens Co. HS, Reform

UMS-Wright (8-4) at Faith Academy (11-1), Mobile
Central, Clay County (11-1) vs. St. Paul’s Episcopal 12-0), Mobile

Pleasant Grove (9-2) at Alexandria (11-1)
Russellville (10-2) at Ramsay (11-0), Birmingham, Legion Field

Opelika (9-2) at Saraland (10-2)
Blount (8-4) at Spanish Fort (9-3)

Oxford (11-1) at Pinson Valley (9-2)
Clay-Chalkville (11-1) at Mountain Brook (11-1)


Central-Phenix City (8-4) at Auburn (10-1)
Hoover (11-1) at Thompson (12-0), Alabaster