Baldwin Bandits win third state championship

Baldwin County 27, Vestavia Hills 20


AUBURN, Ala. – Baldwin County Schools’ Unified football team defeated Vestavia Hills 27-20 Wednesday in the Special Olympics Alabama Unified Flag Football Game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

It was the third straight title for the Bandits, coached by Mike Conner.

Thompson (11-1) and Central-Phenix City (12-1) kick off the AHSAA Super 7 Championships tonight at 7 p.m. in the Class 7A finals.

Baldwin County beat Vestavia Hills 26-18 last season, but lost to the Rebels 27-26 in overtime in the qualifying competition at Cramton Bowl in November.

Hamilton Baker was 10-of-18 passing for 69 yards and three touchdowns, and Brian Talley was 6-of-10 for 92 yards and a score for the Bandits.

Vestavia Hills, coached by Terry Tingle, took a quick 7-0 led when Austin Ballard fires a 35-yard TD pass to Duncan Graham in the first minute of the game to take a quick 7-0 lead. Zulanas Carter scored the extra point.

Baldwin County clawed back to tie the score when Baker completed a 4-yard TD pass to Trey Morrisette at 13:24. Isaiah Featherston scored the PAT. Baker then found himself on the receiving end of s 25-yard TD pass from Talley at 8:42 of the first half to take a 13-7 lead. The Rebels scored three minutes later on a 38-yard run by Duncan. He then scored the PAT and Vestavia took a 14-13 lead.

With one second remaining in the half, however, the Bandits scored when Talley hauled in 5-yard pass from Hamilton. Baker then connected with Featherston on the two-point conversion to make it 21-14 at intermission. Baldwin County stretched its lead to 27-14 early in the second half when Morrisette caught his second 4-yard TD pass from Hamilton. The extra point failed. Vestavia closed out the scoring when Duncan caught a 38-yard touchdown toss from Ballard and Bandits held on to post the 27-20 win.

Featherston had five catches for 48 yards, Talley had five for 30 and Baker had four for 75 yards for Baldwin County. Mack Brock finished with s team-high 31 yards rushing on six carries.

Duncan passed the Rebels with 41 yards rushing on two carries and 83 yards receiving on three receptions. Ballard was 4-of-14 passing for 79 yards and two TDs.

Baldwin County finished with 208 total yards on 30 plays and Vestavia had 121 yards on 17 plays.

The NFHS Network live-streamed the Unified game Wednesday with Central-Phenix City’s NFHS Network School Broadcast Program produced the contest with Tim Loreman serving as executive producer.

The Class 6A final with Spanish Fort facing Oxford is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 4.

The NFHS Network and WOTM, the AHSAA TV partner, will televise all seven AHSAA state championship game over its subscriber-based NFHS Network live-stream platform and over the WOTM network of cable affiliates across the state. All cable affiliates in Alabama were provided an opportunity to join the AHSAA TV Network at no cost for the Super 7 championships. Cable affiliates in some areas of the state declined the offer, however.

For detailed information concerning the telecasts, go to the following link:

To access the AHSAA Radio Network, which is broadcasting all seven championship games, go to the following link for the internet link:

Affiliates in the Network include Foley’s WHEP 92.5 FM and 1310 AM.

In the Class 7A game, Thompson defeated Central-Phenix City 40-14.

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