Mr. Sports: School sports participation increases

By Bob Labbe
By Bob Labbe

For the 26th consecutive year, high school participation has increased as for than 7.8-million student-athletes partake in their school’s athletic teams. Just looking at our four local schools (Bob Jones, James Clemens, Sparkman, and Madison Academy) you can see how the extracurricular activities has blossomed to a frenzy.

The latest statistics came from the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Alabama ranks 21st nationally with 123,339 high school participants. The member schools are part of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and total 80,510 boys and 42,829 girls. In Alabama, the top boys’ sport is football (31,468) followed by basketball (12,860) and baseball (12,080). In girls participation, softball is tops (9,338), volleyball (9,202) is second followed by basketball (8,349).

Nationally, the top 10 states by participants remained the same with Texas topping the list followed closely by California. One interesting fact on the national level is boy’s participation took a dip from a year ago while girls increased.

College Football

This Saturday’s college football action on your big screen TV will include South Carolina-Missouri, 11:00 a.m. (SEC), Alabama-Georgia, 2:30 p.m. (Channel 19), Baylor-Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN), Ohio State-Indiana, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2), San Jose State-Auburn, 3:00 p.m. (SEC), Arkansas-Tennessee, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN2), Ole Miss-Florida, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN), Miss State-Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m. (SEC) and Notre Dame-Clemson, 7:00 p.m. (Channel 31).

Seasons End

With the college football season nearing its halfway point and the pro football ranks just getting started, along with hockey dropping the pucks soon, the seasons are closing on several major sports. NASCAR, Major League Baseball are in their playoff modes while the PGA just completed its course on the course.

Jordan Spieth put on a clinic for the PGA Tour in 2015 by winning two of the four major tournaments and almost winning the other two. He topped off the season by winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta by four strokes while gaining the FedEx Cup title and its $10-million bonus. For the season, Spieth won $22-million, the youngest ever to win the tour title. His performance lifted him to the world’s No. 1 ranking.

In NASCAR, The Chase continues with eight races remaining for the Cup Championship. Matt Kenseth leads the points total by six over Denny Hardin and 10 points over both Carl Edwards and Joey Logano. Kenseth has five wins on the season and Logano has 17 top five finishes. The remaining eight races for the Sprint Cup include a stop in Talladega on Oct. 25th. The race will be shown on NBC (Channel 48). The last race of the 2015 NASCAR season is set for Nov. 22nd in Miami.

Major League Baseball is in its last week of the regular season with only half of the 10 teams scheduled for the post-season playoffs having secured a spot in the chase for the World Series. The Wild Card games in each division will be played next week with Division Series set to begin Oct. 8th. The 2015 World Series schedule is Oct. 27-Nov 4. FOX (Channel 54) will carry the World Series this year.

Bits & Pieces

The annual Madison showdown of the two middle school football programs is scheduled for this Thursday as Liberty will be the official host for its crosstown battle with Discovery. The games featuring both the seventh and eighth grade teams will be held at Madison City Schools Stadium. The seventh grade game kicks off at 5:00 p.m. with the eighth grade contest set for around 6:30 or so depending on the length of the first game.

I’ll have complete coverage of the annual tussle in next week’s edition of the Madison Weekly News.