James Clemens to open season in Champions Challenge

The Jets will be one of four teams opening their season in the 13th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic.
The Classic will be played August 23-24 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. The Champions Challenge was designed to pit some of the top teams from year’s past in great games to kickoff the season.

The Friday match-up on August 24 will be between two 7A schools as Thompson faces James Clemens.

James Clemens didn’t make the playoffs last season, falling off from a strong campaign in 2016 that saw them have one of the state’s strongest defenses. They will look to bounce back this season with a big win to start things off.

James Clemens (3-7) is the state’s youngest Class 7A school, opening its doors for the first time in 2012. Coach Wade Waldrop has coached the Jets to a 30-35 overall record, including going 10-2 in 2015 and 8-4 in 2016. James Clemens fell to 3-7 season but is expected to challenge for the Class 7A, Region 8 championship in 2018.

Thompson is led by Mark Freeman, who will enter his fourth year at the helm. The Warriors won the 7A Region 3 championship last year, but fell to Hoover in the semifinals. QB Taulia Tagovailoa was named 7A Back of the Year and passed for almost 4,000 yards last season as a junior.

On Thursday, August 23, defending 1A state champion Sweet Water will take on 3A Clarke County, who was a semifinalist last year, losing to eventual champion Hillcrest-Evergreen.