Field set for 5th annual Champions Challenge

Greenville and Opelika with kick off the 2010 Champions Challenge Prep Football Classic at Cramton Bowl here next August.

The Tigers and Bulldogs, coached by former Lee-Montgomery standout athletes  Ben and Brian Blackmon, respectively, will play at 7 p.m. Friday night, Aug. 20. A doubleheader will follow Saturday, Aug. 21, with Trinity of Montgomery meeting 2009 Class 4A runner-up Jackson at 5 p.m., and Spain Park taking on Auburn in the final contest at 7:30 p.m.

The fifth annual Champions Challenge is a preseason triple-header sponsored by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association and the AHSAA and  will not count on the teams' records. The regular season will begin the next week, Aug. 26-28.

Nevertheless, it will be a battle both brothers say they are looking forward to.

"Brian and I talk every week, especially every Sunday," said Greenville head coach Ben Blackmon. "We bounce ideas off each other, discuss our teams. Brian is four years older than me and is my mentor."

Opelika head coach Brian Blackmon said he and Ben are looking forward to the contest. "We have always been very competitive in all that we do," he said. "Growing up we always competed hard against each other in the back yard or pretty much in everything we have done. This is a chance for us to coach against each other in a friendly atmosphere. I think the only one that will be uncomfortable will be our mom. She doesn't want to see either of us lose."

AHSADCA Director Steve Bailey said he is very excited about the three games scheduled for the 2010 Champions Challenge. "All these teams have great tradition, come from great communities and have tremendous football programs. The Champions Challenge will again be a great way to kick off the football season for our schools."

Both Blackmons played high school football for Coach Spence McCracken at Lee. "We both have a lot of Coach McCracken in our coaching styles."

Greenville posted an 11-1 record last season in Ben Blackmon's second year as head coach--including a perfect 10-0 regular season. Brian Blackmon's Opelika squad finished 6-3 and was tied for third in the region but lost a playoff berth to Dothan and Enterprise due to a playoff tiebreaker.

Trinity, coached by Randy Ragsdale, also had a perfect regular season in Class 3A, going 9-0. The Wildcats went three rounds in the playoffs before falling to Luverne in the quarterfinals to finish 11-1. Jackson, coached by Jeff Kelly, reached the Class 4A state finals before falling in a close 32-27 final to Cherokee County to finish up at 13-2.

Spain Park (10-3), coached by David Shores, reached the Class 6A quarterfinals last season. Auburn, coached by Tim Carter, posted its second straight 10-0 regular season and finished 13-1 with a narrow 13-9 loss to Prattville in the Class 6A playoff semifinals.

Hoover, Prattville and T.R. Miller posted wins in the 2009 Champions Challenge, the first tripleheader in the Classic history. Hoover, which beat  Prattville in the Class 6A state finals 15 weeks later, downed Oxford 32-27. Prattville beat Carver-Montgomery 37-0 and T.R. Miller defeated Leeds 27-7.