The Super Dud and area high schools enter post-season tournaments

By Bob Labbe
By Bob Labbe

It took one play to determine the Super Bowl. When Seattle scored a safety on the game’s opening play against Denver, you just knew the writing was on the wall. The message was clear and precise. Seattle was going to win Super Bowl 48 and it did, 43-8.

The Seahawks completely dominated the game and won every aspect of the matchup with the Broncos. The game pitted the NFL’s No. 1 defense against the league’s No. 1 offense. It was billed as a game to remember. I certainly remember it alright: the worst Super Bowl ever. I can imagine many TV viewers changed channels midway through the third quarter. At the private party I attended, we actually watched some videos for a short time. We missed Denver’s only score of the game. But it didn’t matter. By that time our interest in the game had vanished and more attention was being paid to party goers than to the TV.

Peyton Manning was expected by most to lead his team to victory, but couldn’t manage much and even had uncharacteristic incomplete passes and interceptions. One of this interceptions was by Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith who had a pick-six. He also had a fumble recovery. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Seattle was quicker, more physical and seemed to be one step ahead of Denver. It was the most lopsided Super Bowl I’ve witnessed. Seattle scored on the game’s opening play and on the second half’s first play on a Percy Harvin kickoff return. What could go wrong, did go wrong for the Broncos.
High School Basketball Playoffs

The regular season is complete in high school basketball (seems the season got underway!) and now teams look into the post-season playoffs which get underway this week with Area Tournaments throughout the state. Some of those matchups occurring right here in our backyards.

Girl’s action kicks off Thursday with winners of those games playing on Saturday. Boys hit the courts for Friday and Monday matchups.

James Clemens was tops in Area 16 and will host the area tourney facing Austin at 7:30 p.m. with Decatur and Florence at 6 p.m. In Area 15 being held at Hazel Green, Bob Jones will tangle with its arch-rival Sparkman at 6 p.m. with host Hazel Green going up against Buckhorn at 7:30 p.m. The Madison Academy Mustangs will be hosting the Class 3A Area 15 Tournament and will face Elkmont at 7 p.m. West Morgan will play Westminster at 5:30 p.m.
As for the girls, Sparkman is hosting Area 15. The Senators will go up against Buckhorn at 6 p.m. while Bob Jones entertains Hazel Green at 7:30 p.m. In Area 16, James Clemens travels to Austin High of Decatur where it play Decatur at 6 p.m. The second game at 7:30 p.m. will pit Austin versus Florence. The Lady Mustangs of Madison Academy get to host Area 15 of 3A and will face Westminster at 7 p.m. while the 5:30 p.m. game has Elkmont and West Morgan.

NASCAR Makeover

In a move similar to the PGA Golf Tour, NASCAR will include a driver if they win a race during the regular season into the post-season Chase for the Spring Cup. That was one of the major changes for the 2014 season by the governing body of stock car racing.

NASCAR also expanded the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers in the point standings. Drivers winning a race qualify for the 10-race Chase. The move is close to what the pro golf guys do as tournament winners qualify for a winners’ tournament during its schedule. The NASCAR changes also include a decrease in the drivers who can win the Cup Title after each of the 10 races. In the final race, there will be four drivers edible to win the title with the Cup going to the highest finisher among those four drivers in the final race.

NASCAR indicated the changes will emphasize winning more important throughout the 26-race regular season schedule.

Huntsville Havoc Hockey

The league leading Huntsville Havoc return to the confines of the Von Braun Center, which the team calls home, for two matches this weekend.
On Friday, Feb. 7, the Havoc faceoff against the Bloomington Thunder for “FANtastic Friday-Superhero Night”. Fans are urged to dress up as their favorite superhero with chances to win prizes. On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Thunder try again against the Havoc in match two of the two-set. Window World is presenting the 8th Annual Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund Night. Fans are urged to bring donations for the NICU at Huntsville Hospital. Appropriate items include socks, hats, blankets, preemie clothing, disposable diapers or cash. The players from the Havoc will auction off their specially designed jerseys they will be wearing.

Both matches begin at 7:30 p.m.

NFL Hall of Fame

The newest members to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame includes one of our neighbors. Walter Jones, who lives part-time in the huge, white 10-thousand-plus home located across the street from Sparkman High on Jeff Road in Harvest, was one of seven players named to the Hall of Fame and will inducted in ceremonies on Aug. 1, in Canton, Ohio.

Jones was a nine-town Pro Bowl selection while playing left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks for 12-seasons after being a first-round selection in the 1997 NFL Draft. He started all of the 180 games he played in for Seattle and at one time was the highest paid lineman in the league. He grew up in Aliceville, Alabama and attended Florida State where he chose to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season with the Seminoles. His pro career was cut short after suffering a knee injury during a game against Dallas in 2008.

I met Jones when he first arrived in our area where his then wife’s family was living. I arranged the first meeting and introduction for Jones to meet John Stallworth, another Hall of Famer who calls our area home. Jones was once featured in Sports Illustrated for his pre-season workouts, which included pushing his SUV through the parking lot of Sparkman High.