Fort Payne’s Burt receives all-star football invite

Fort Payne's Sawyer Burt.

Fort Payne senior Sawyer Burt has been invited to play for Team North in the 63rd AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game.

The game, comprised of two 37-member teams of 2021-22 graduating seniors, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17 at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the University of South Alabama campus in Mobile. It will be live-streamed on the AHSAA TV Network and NFHS Network.

Burt was the lone DeKalb County player named to the all-star game.

Head coach for the North All-Stars is Helena High School’s Richie Busby. His unbeaten Huskies (9-0) clinched the Class 6A, Region 3 title last week. He is currently in his fourth season at Helena. He is 29-13 overall with the Huskies and was 40-17 in five seasons from 2013-17 at Fultondale for a combined career record of 69-30.

South head coach is Jim Bob Striplin of Geneva County High School. His Bulldogs are 4-4 this season and are 32-30 overall during his tenure. He has been the head coach at the Hartford school since 2016 and spent six seasons as New Brockton head coach from 2008-2013. His overall coaching record is 63-63.

The North coaching staff also includes: Phil Phillips,Oneonta; Kelvis White, Bob Jones; Wade Waldrop,James Clemens; John Ritter, Russellville; Ryan Lock, Etowah; Bruce Breland,Victory Christian; and administrative coaches Ben Johnson,Scottsboro and Randy White,Athens (retired).

The South coaching staff includes: Jason Massey, Leroy; Brent Hubbert,T.R. Miller; Marcus Gardner,Carver-Montgomery; Brad Abbott, Maplesville; Jason Franklin, Holtville; Juan Williams, LaFayette; and administrative coaches Mark Heaton, Baldwin County and Lev Holly, Mobile County Schools.

Quarterbacks selected for the North are Tanner Bailey of Gordo and Zach Pyron of Pinson Valley. Both led their teams to state championship games last season. Gordo lost to Handley in the 4A state finals 35-20 while Pinson Valley beat Spanish Fort 23-13 in the 6A finals. Pyron also quarterback Fyffe to the 2A state title in 2019.

South quarterbacks selected are Walter Taylor of Jackson (7-2) and Iverson Hooks of Pike Road (8-0).  Both are having banner seasons for the Aggies and Patriots, respectively.

The South won the annual series 28-20  last December and holds a 32-27-2 lead in the series.

From 2010-19 the game was played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl as part of the AHSAA and Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association All-Star Sports Week. The game was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic in 2020 with the 2020-21 school year moved from the summer to December last year and enjoyed its first trip to Mobile.

The North-South Classic, the AHSAA’s oldest all-star event, was first played in 1948 at Tuscaloosa on the campus of the University of Alabama and remained at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the summer through 1984. A small-school all-star game was also held at Auburn in 1984. The game was discontinued from 1985-96 but reinstated in 1997 when the AHSAA instituted All-Star Sports Week with the Summer Conference. It was played at Cramton Bowl from 1997-2004 and then moved to Troy University for two years and Huntsville’s Alabama A&M University from 2007-10. It returned to Montgomery in 2011. 

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