Jeff's Journal - #31

Call it an early Christmas present for Fever Country's football fans.

The high school All-Star football game is moving from July to December. And instead of playing seniors, the game will feature juniors.

Dr. Ken Blankenship, the director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association (try saying that 3 times fast!), has been planning these changes for awhile.

The only question is: where will the game be played?

Blankenships tells WSFA he hopes and anticipates that the game will be played in Montgomery, probably on Tuesday, Dec. 21st. He expects to have an agreement finalized by next week.

But there's a catch: Dr. Blankenship wants the city to install synthetic turf (read: "fake grass") and renovate the locker rooms at Cramton Bowl.

No problems, says Wiley Steen, director of Montgomery's Parks and Recreation Department.

Steen tells "the Journal" there's more than enough money in the budget ($4,000,000 to be exact) to put in the turf, fix the locker rooms and install new lights.

Steen says, barring a catastrophe, there's no reason the game will not be played at the Bowl. He also tells us the next phase of improvements at Cramton Bowl could include work on the press box, concession stands and bathrooms.

The long overdue facelift could give Montgomery a chance to re-acquire the Blue-Gray All-Star game when the Classic's contract with Troy expires after the 2005 season.

Ironically, it was the Blue-Gray game's move to Troy that made possible the high school all-star game's move to December. With Cramton Bowl now vacant, the city will have the venue and resources to make the high school game a first-class event.

And what a show it should be. With the game being played just a few weeks after the Super Six, the players will still be in good shape for football.

The game will also give the state's best seniors-to-be a chance to showcase their talents to college recruiters.

With the game taking place during a peak recruiting period, the players can expect to see a lot of college coaches during their stay in Montgomery.

I can picture Montgomery's Bart Eddins (a member of the class of 2006) receiving a lot of attention from schools this winter leading up to the game.

Speaking of recruiting, I wanted to give one more reminder about our 7th annual Friday Night Football Fever Signing Day Domino's Pizza Party.

It's Wednesday, Feb. 4th. We're inviting all of the football scholarship recipients, their parents and coaches to come to WSFA at 4 p.m. for food, football and fellowship. They'll also appear on WSFA 12 News Live at Five with Derek Steyer.

Derek and the Domino's? Sounds like a big hit to me!

Please RSV-Pizza me so we'll make sure to have enough pie.

Thanks for reading the Journal! I'll see you next week. God bless - Jeff