James Blanchard is entering his eleventh season coaching high school football at Piedmont, all as defensive coordinator. For the past eight seasons, Blanchard has also served as the Bulldogs’ head baseball coach, a span has been the most successful in Piedmont’s baseball history.

It’s time for the event that traditionally marks the close of summer football activities and the beginning of pre-season practice. 

When the 2016 high school softball season ended, Kendall Pressley had given up on the possibility of playing softball past her years at Piedmont. Today, she’s a player for Southern Union Community College in Wadley.

Last fall, Pressley tried out at Gadsden State. Then in November, Gadsden State was forced to discontinue softball for financial reasons.

Jacksonville State University’s Marching Southerners will have the opportunity to perform at LSU’s Death Valley on Sept. 10 after all, according to the band’s director.

The Jacksonville State football program got another big addition on Monday, when running back Roc Thomas signed his financial aid agreement to join the Gamecocks.

When the 2016 volleyball season begins this fall, Spring Garden’s Madison Sides will be playing for the Faulkner University Eagles in Montgomery. Sides made her decision official last week, signing the paperwork necessary to make her a part of Faulkner head coach Tori Bartels’ 2016 team.

Eventual Class 1A state champion Brantley was Spring Garden’s nemesis at last week’s AHSAA state softball tournament in Montgomery. The Panthers lost to the Bulldogs in the winners’ bracket semifinals, won two more games in the elimination bracket then fell to Brantley again – one game short of the championship round. In both meetings with Spring Garden, Brantley won 10-0.

Their second consecutive appearance in the AHSAA Class 1A state softball tournament began for the Spring Garden Panthers this morning at 9 a.m. against Jefferson Christian of Irondale. The tournament is being played in Montgomery at Lagoon Park.

Two losses in the North Central Regional softball tournament in Tuscaloosa ended Piedmont’s season short of the goal of a state tournament appearance.

Their second consecutive appearance in the AHSAA Class 1A state softball tournament began for the Spring Garden Panthers this morning at 9 a.m. against Jefferson Christian of Irondale. The tournament is being played in Montgomery at Lagoon Park.

Jacksonville State will play in the Auburn Regional beginning Friday at Jane B. Moore Field, where the Gamecocks will face the No. 4 Tigers at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3.

The Gamecocks held off Belmont for a 2-1 win that swept the series and the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference season, capping a 26-0 conference record and just the second unbeaten OVC season in league history. Tennessee Tech went 17-0 in 1994, nine games fewer than JSU’s unprecedented run.

The OVC’s regular-season champions, the Gamecocks (37-14, 26-0 OVC) wrapped up an historic weekend that started by giving head coach Jana McGinnis her 800th win with a doubleheader sweep of the Bruins (19-35, 11-16 OVC) on Saturday. They called on one of their two seniors on Senior Day Sunday, and she responded.

Piedmont’s boys were first and the girls second in the team standings at the Class 3A, Section 3 track meet at Scottsboro Friday and Saturday. The boys scored 179 points to outdistance second-place Weaver (152).  The girls recorded 121 points and trailed only Pleasant Valley (146).

It was a day for record-setting performances at the Calhoun County track meet Tuesday. Six records fell and Piedmont athletes set three of the six new marks. 

Alabama High School Athletic Association executive director Steve Savarese, his wife Beth, and AHSAA associate director Wanda Gilliland traveled to Spring Garden to formally present the Class 1A girls basketball state championship trophy to coach Ricky Austin and his players.