Alabama, Friday night lights.
Thompson High take on Hewitt Trussville. This is High school football in the hotbed of the South.
Hewitt Trussville blows a four touchdown lead to lose 63-49 live on national tv.
High school football Live on ESPN 2.
Now, in the UK we struggle a little with the phenomenon of high school football. Particularly in the South, Friday night games will attract crowds in their thousands. Attendances that would make Championship managers blush with high school football programmes spending millions of dollars on facilities. The analogy of the Dillon Panthers having a jumbotron isn’t far removed from the truth.
But this game wasnt a clash of national heavyweights, it was a clash of second vs fifth ranked Alabama schools, yet it attracted season high tv rankings for high school which makes it a stand out. But why so?
The starting quarterbacks of both teams have recently committed to Alabama University . But given Alabama’s nationwide recruitment programme that wouldn’t necessarily be unusual. But the names of the two young quarterbacks make this very special.
Their names, Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson.
Unless you have been on Mars this season, the name Tagovailoa has been on everybody’s lips. A record breaking sophomore season as starting quarterback with the Crimson Tide, big brother Tua is the hottest ticket in town and one of the principle reasons that people are calling this Alabama team the best ever during Nick Saban’s reign.
Best ever in Nick Saban’s reign, or best ever?
Well the family of the other Alabama commit in this story might well have something to say about that. Paul Tyson, quarterback for Hewitt Trussville is the great grandson of Alabama head coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Yes, one of the men that Bryant-Denny stadium is named after.
Yes, the man who has a statue of himself outside the stadium in the walk of champions.
Yes, the man, the legend who won six National Championships and thirteen conference championships as Head Coach.
Yes, that Bear Bryant.
If legacy could be quantified, this is indeed a clash of the Titans. And it was no surprise that the football mad state of Alabama tuned in to watch this game, as did quite a lot of the rest of the country to see what quickly became a shoot out of two very talented quarterbacks.
The statistics are largely irrelevant but Paul Tyson went 14 of 23 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tagovailoa was 15 of 26 for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. Across the season Taulia has completed 216 of 290 for 3,028 yards with 29 touchdowns. Unlike his big brother Tagovailoa Jnr has 4 interceptions on the year.
In national rankings, Both are evenly matched, with Tagovailoa ranked nationally as the sixth best pro-style quarterback in the nation with Tyson ranked 8th.
Both teams have qualified for the next round of championship games and as fate would have it they have been drawn against each other in the next round. So, the stars have aligned and dictated that this fascinating rivalry continues at High School for just a little while longer.
But this gets really interesting next spring when the two heavyweights, in name if not in stature, arrive for Alabama Spring Training Camp. That is when the hype will be off the chart and the competition really begins.
Photo credit : Al.com