Johnny Champion and Valeria Stallworth are two of our outstanding local officials I spotted working during the AHSAA Elite Eight State Volleyball Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

Johnny also serves as Douglas High School’s softball coach. He guided the Eagles to a Marshall County championship last season.

Valeria was a multi-sport standout for the Albertville Aggies during her high school days. Val’s youngest son, Elijah Moss, is following in his mother’s footsteps. An Aggie sophomore, Elijah is a key player for the AHS football and basketball teams.

Val was excited to see the 2019 Aggie volleyball team reach the Class 6A semifinals. During her junior season in 1995, Val’s performance helped the AHS volleyball team finish fourth in the Class 5A Elite Eight.

In pool play, the ’95 Aggies beat Robertsdale and Brookwood but lost to Saks, the eventual State champion. In bracket play, the Aggies lost to Hazel Green and Homewood. Coached by the late Johnnie Strickland, Albertville finished with a 46-12-1 record.

Catching up with the Wilsons

Former Snead State volleyball coach Dee Ayres Wilson guided Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School of Montgomery, better known as LAMP, to the Class 4A Elite Eight. It was LAMP’s first appearance in the State championships.

LAMP defeated Brooks in the quarterfinals before falling to perennial champion Bayside Academy in the semifinals. Bayside knocked off Providence Christian in the finals to win its 18th consecutive State championship, an AHSAA record.

Dee’s husband, Drew, is a former men’s associate head basketball coach at Snead State. Drew’s in his sixth season as men’s assistant coach at Faulkner University in Montgomery.

The Wilsons welcomed their first child, son Brooks Owen, in June.

I enjoyed visiting with and catching up with Drew at the Elite Eight. The Eagles opened their season with a 71-60 win over Oakwood University on Monday.

Former Guntersville star CJ Williamson transferred from Mercer University, which underwent a coaching change, to Faulkner. Because the Eagles are an NAIA program, CJ doesn’t have to sit out a year. He’s eligible now, and Drew expects him to make a solid contribution this season.

Wigleys’ daughter is state champ

I was walking to my truck outside the CrossPlex on Wednesday afternoon when a couple of former Douglas Eagles, Clint and Dani Wigley, drove up beside me and said “hello.”

Their daughter, Bri (a sophomore defensive specialist), plays for Spanish Fort. Bri helped the Toros claim their second straight Class 6A State title by beating Hazel Green in a rematch of the 2018 finals.

Clint teaches at Spanish Fort Middle School and is the seventh- and eighth-grade girls basketball coach.

Clint might be the best 3-point shooter in Marshall County history. Back in the day, he was in range once he dribbled across the midcourt stripe. He made 15 — tied for second-most in a single game in AHSAA history – against Madison County during the 1993-94 season.

Congratulations to the Wigleys and their daughter. 

Appleton moves up Auburn depth chart

Backup quarterback Joey Gatewood’s decision to leave the Auburn football team promoted Cord Sandberg to No. 2 and former Albertville star Wil Appleton to No. 3 on the Tigers’ quarterback depth chart behind starter Bo Nix.

Wil joined the Tigers as a preferred walk-on in January of 2017 after leading the Aggies to back-to-back state playoff berths in 2015 and 2016.

He passed for 1,304 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 354 yards and six TDs in 2015. He completed 93-of-149 passes for 1,270 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed 66 times for 286 yards and three scores in 2016, when a broken arm sidelined him four games.

 

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at shannon.allen@sandmountainreporter.com.

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