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Local Sports Stories Archives for 2023-08

Alabama Football Conducts Final Scrimmage of Fall Camp

Alabama Football Conducts Final Scrimmage of Fall Camp

The Crimson Tide continued to improve on both sides of the ball in its second and final scrimmage


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football held its second and final scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday afternoon. The intrasquad in full pads lasted approximately 150 plays inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Saturday’s scrimmage was the 15th practice session of fall camp as Alabama continues preparations for the start of the 2023 campaign. The Crimson Tide and Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will meet in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Sept. 2. The matchup is slated to kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT and will air nationally on SEC Network.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and @AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

UNA Men's Basketball announces 2023-24 schedule

FLORENCE, Ala. (August 18, 2023) – North Alabama head coach Tony Pujol announced the 2023-24 men’s basketball schedule on Friday, which includes 14 home matchups and an exciting non-conference schedule that includes road trips to four Power Five programs.  


In addition to the record number of Power Five matchups, UNA will also host the most non-conference NCAA Division I opponents in program history with four home dates in November and December. 


The Lions will battle four opponents who appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including Kansas State, Indiana, Mississippi State and Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State. Kansas State went on a run to the Elite Eight last season, while Indiana appeared in the Second Round. 


The 2023-24 season begins on Monday, Nov. 6 in the friendly confines of CB&S Bank Arena at Flowers Hall, as the Lions welcome Blue Mountain Christian to Florence at 7:45 p.m. This game will serve as the tail end of a doubleheader with UNA Women’s Basketball, who plays UT Southern at 5:30 p.m. 


“This is a very exciting season for our program,” said UNA head coach Tony Pujol. “We always like to put forth a non-conference schedule that prepares us for the ASUN. Every year, the league presents challenges that we have to adapt to — top to bottom. The distinct styles of play that we will see from our non-conference opponents will pay dividends when we get into ASUN play. We’re very excited about our team.” 


Premium Seating at CB&S Bank Arena for the year has already been sold out, while Section A and bench side seating is very limited. Pierce Suite passes are still available for $350. For ticket information, contact bbond@una.edu or call 256-765-5466. 


STARTING IN THE SHOALS: UNA’s first two matchups will be at CB&S Bank Arena, as the Lions welcome Alabama A&M for a classic in-state rivalry game on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. 


A TOWER OF POWERS: The Lions will play at four Power Five programs this season — the most in program history. This slate begins with an early road trip to Mississippi State on Tuesday, Nov. 14, followed by trek to Kansas State (Dec. 2), Indiana (Dec. 21) and Texas Tech (Jan. 1). 


A NEW YEAR, A NEW STAT: According to available records, UNA’s game at Texas Tech marks the first New Year’s Day game in Lions Men’s Basketball history. Many UNA basketball games have taken place on New Year’s Eve or on Jan. 2, but none have fallen in between. 


A MARQUEE DOUBLE FEATURE: In what will be one of the most star-studded doubleheaders in UNA Basketball history, the women’s basketball team will host Southern Miss at 5 p.m. and the men’s team will follow with another classic in-state rival — Jacksonville State — at 7:15 p.m. 


HOME-AND-HOME: After a pair of road matchups at UT Martin (Nov. 22) and Western Carolina (Nov. 26), the Lions will play the first of two games against Tennessee Tech. The home-and-home starts in Florence on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. UNA makes a return trip to Cookeville, Tenn. on Saturday, Dec. 16. 


DECEMBER HOME DATES: Following the K-State road game to open the month of December, UNA plays a pair of home contests against Point (Dec. 7) and Morehead State (Dec. 10). The Morehead State game will be UNA’s final non-conference home contest of the season. 


HOLIDAY ROAD-TRIPPING: The Lions will close December with three road matchups, including dates at Charleston Southern (Dec. 13), Tennessee Tech (Dec. 16) and Indiana (Dec. 21). This year marks UNA’s third trip to Bloomington in five seasons. 


CONFERENCE HOME GAMES: All of UNA’s conference home games will take place on Thursdays and Saturdays, including the Atlantic Sun opener against Central Arkansas on Jan. 6 at 7:15 p.m. Other dates include Bellarmine (Jan. 11), EKU (Jan. 13), Queens (Jan. 27), Stetson (Feb. 1), FGCU (Feb. 3), Lipscomb (Feb. 15) and Austin Peay (Feb. 17).  


CONFERENCE ROAD GAMES: The Lions will play their first three conference games at home, followed by a Tennessee road swing against Austin Peay (Jan. 18) and Lipscomb (Jan. 20). Other road dates include Kennesaw State (Jan. 24), North Florida (Feb. 8), Jacksonville (Feb. 10), EKU (Feb. 22), Bellarmine (Feb. 24) and UCA (March 1). 


TOURNEY TIME: The Atlantic Sun Championship begins March 4 and runs through March 10 with all games taking place on campus sites — hosted by the higher seed. 


To view the full schedule, click here. 


For more information on North Alabama Athletics, visit www.roarlions.com and follow UNA Athletics on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 


Auburn's 1983, 1993 and 2013 football teams to be recognized during 2023 season

AUBURN, Ala.—This fall at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn’s all-time great football teams from 1983, 1993 and 2013 will be honored and recognized respectively, throughout the 2023 season.  The 1983 Tigers will be honored during the Georgia game on Sept. 30, the 1993 team will be recognized during the Ole Miss game on Oct. 21, and the 2013 team will be recognized during the Alabama game on Nov. 25.


In the third year under head coach Pat Dye and led by sophomore running back Bo Jackson, the 1983 Tigers posted an 11-1 record with a 6-0 mark in Southeastern Conference play en route to being crowned SEC Champions. After dropping a top-five matchup vs. Texas in the second game of the season, the Tigers rattled off 10 straight wins, including a 23-20 win against Alabama in Birmingham to conclude the regular season and 9-7 triumph vs. Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, to mark the first 11-win season in program history. 


In 1993, first-year head coach Terry Bowden directed Auburn to its first undefeated, 11-win season, which proved to be the opening act of a program record 20-game winning streak. The Tigers started the season unranked and ascended all the way to No. 4 in the final polls while being named National Champions by the National Championship Foundation. Auburn notched a signature win against No. 4 Florida on Oct. 16 to catapult into the top 10 and ultimately finished off one of seven undefeated seasons in program history with a comeback win against Alabama, highlighted by the iconic Nix-to-Sanders connection. 


Led by first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, the 2013 team orchestrated one of the largest turnarounds in college football history, improving from 3-9 to 12-2 while winning a SEC Championship along the way. The Tigers set single season records in rushing yards (4,596), rushing yards per game (328.3), rushing touchdowns (48), total offensive yards (7,018) and total offense per game (501.3) while finishing second to the 2010 National Championship team in points scored (553). With Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason leading the way, Auburn led the country in rushing yards and rushing yards per game. The team’s dramatic run to the BCS National Championship Game was highlighted by last-second wins against rivals Georgia and Alabama before a 59-point outburst against Missouri in the SEC Championship Game.


Former players from those teams interested in attending their respective reunion weekends, please contact Michelle Keesee with the Auburn Football Letterman’s Club at msk0018@auburn.edu.


UNA Football Notebook: Offensive Line Spotlight

FLORENCE, Ala. (August 15, 2023) – One day before classes begin, the University of North Alabama football team took the practice field on a partly cloudy Tuesday afternoon at the Bill Jones Athletic Complex. 


Today’s featured position group is the all-important offensive line, which includes 18 players. 


The o-line includes six newcomers and 12 returning players — seven of which lettered in 2022. Two of the seven garnered at least one all-conference postseason award, including junior Fau Tai’Vai and senior Stevie Young.  


Of the group, 11 comes from within the state of Alabama. For one of those offensive linemen, senior Will Derico, the FCS Kickoff season opener against Mercer will be a homecoming as Derico prepped at Lee High School in Montgomery, Ala. 


This position group is coached by Coach Richard Hutchings, who joined the staff in the spring of 2023 from Hendrix College (Ark.) where he spent two seasons. Prior to that, Hutchings worked under Coach Brent Dearmon at Bethel (Tenn.) as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator. 


“This is a great group of young men — not just on the field, but off the field, as well,” said Hutchings. “These are the same guys that will be nasty on the field, but also the same guys that will help you put your groceries in the car when you’re at the grocery store. That’s the type of young men they are, and that’s what I’m proud of them for.” 


Today’s interviews include Coach Hutchings, returning junior and former Hatton High School standout Gage Saint, as well as redshirt sophomore Witt Mitchum — a Kansas State transfer.  


For more information on North Alabama Athletics, visit www.roarlions.com and follow UNA Athletics on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 


Auburn claims wire-to-wire victory in Bassmaster College Championship at Pickwick Lake

COUNCE, Tenn. — Thanks to an afternoon rally that produced several largemouth over 3 1/2 pounds, Auburn University’s Tucker Smith and Hayden Marbut caught 18 pounds on Saturday to win the Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship at Pickwick Lake presented by Bass Pro Shops with a three-day total of 53 pounds, 12 ounces. 


Smith and Marbut never trailed in the event, claiming the lead on Day 1 with a 20-8 bag before landing 15-4 on the second day. 


Together, it is the duo’s second victory in a Bassmaster Championship event. Their first win was also in wire-to-wire fashion at the 2020 Bassmaster High School National Championship at Kentucky Lake. 


After winning that tournament, Smith and Marbut had conversations about what it would be like to win the College Championship when they teamed back up at Auburn. They made that hope a reality in their first season reunited as partners.


“The last couple of years we have joked about winning both National Championships. For it to actually happen and our dreams to come true this week, it is unbelievable,” Marbut said. 


This victory only adds to Smith’s already impressive resume. Along with his three High School Championship titles, he won the 2021 Bassmaster College Team of the Year title with partner Logan Parks as well as the Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open on Table Rock Lake. 


The College Series Championship was an event Smith and Parks struggled with in their two attempts together, but Smith felt like this year at Pickwick would be different.


“We fished hard and, in the previous years I fished with Logan, we fished hard too but we didn’t get close,” Smith said. “This one felt different. This one felt special.”


With the victory, the Auburn anglers earned a spot in the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s. Smith finished second to Tristan McCormick at the 2021 Bracket on the Alabama River by 3 ounces and he has been anxious to get back ever since.


“The last time I was there, it really hurt my feelings,” Smith said. “It will be good to be back and get another chance at it.”


History pays off for Auburn on final day


Entering Championship Saturday, Smith and Marbut had a feeling their best two spots were drying up. After catching around 12 pounds between the two areas before midday, they made the decision to scrap their game plan and move to a ledge that has historically produced for them.


“At 12 o’clock we had 12 pounds,” Marbut said. “For it to happen in the last hour and a half, it is crazy.” 


In practice, they scanned this particular spot and found only a couple of bass occupying it, but when they needed it the most, the spot was loaded and Smith and Marbut were able to quickly upgrade their final total. 


“We threw the trolling motor down and there were a ton of fish there. It was magical,” Smith said. “It was a place that got hit by the current really well. It was near the main channel and once the clouds came over, it seemed like the bass grouped up really well and started feeding.”


While the current was almost too strong on Day 2, Marbut and Smith noticed it slowed down on the final day, which helped the bite as well. 


A sneaky, offshore game plan


Smith and Marbut stayed offshore all week, hoping to find less-obvious places other competitors would overlook. They had two areas that produced best, one deep and one shallow. Both were relatively close to takeoff at Pickwick Landing State Park. 


“We had never fished those spots until this tournament,” Smith said. 


The majority of their weight the first two days came from the deeper school of bass, which was located in about 20 feet of water with shells on the bottom.


“We caught almost all of our weight on the first day and a good bit of our weight the second day off of it,” Marbut said. “It was kind of up on a flat, away from where most people would scan. I think only one other boat found it.”


Their secondary, shallow school was in about 12 feet of water.


“It was way off the river,” Marbut said. “And that’s what we looked for. We focused on looking for sneakier stuff that not everyone would find.”


To catch their fish, they used a rotation of baits which included an unnamed 5-inch swimbait, a 3/4-ounce Picasso tungsten football jig with a Yamamoto Yama Craw trailer, a 3/8-ounce drop shot with a morning dawn colored Roboworm FAT straight-tail worm and a Damiki rig.


Mullins, Cummings fish magic docks to finish second


With a three-day total of 50-13, Levi Mullins and Matthew Cummings from Bethel University finished second. It was the duo’s second straight Top 12 in the College Championship — and while they came up just a little short of the win, they earned a spot in the Classic Bracket.


“I’ve watched three of my teammates go and start their careers there. Now we are going to have that opportunity. It is crazy to think about that.” Mullins said. 


“Losing the National Championship is a rough feeling, but knowing you are going to the Bracket makes that a little easier,” Cummings added.


As hard as they tried, Mullins and Cummings could not find a consistent offshore bite during practice. So, on the first day, the Bethel duo ran down to a set of magical docks they have fished in the past and milked the area for three days, catching 18-5, 14-14 and 17-10. 


The final day was tough, but they filled their limit two minutes before running back to weigh in.


Brush was a key piece of cover underneath several of the docks, and bream and shad were plentiful in the area. Mullins skipped a 3/8-ounce Missile Baits Ike's Mini Flip Out jig in Bamer craw with a Missile Baits Mini D Chunk trailer most of the week while Cummings threw a Texas-rigged Senko in green pumpkin with a 3/16-ounce weight. 


On the final two days, a ChatterBait also produced important keeper bites.


“Those docks have saved our tails three times now in tournaments,” Cummings said.


One area carries Montevallo to third


With bags of 17-8, 15-4 and 16-7, Brody Robison and Jack Alexander from the University of Montevallo finished third with a total of 49-3. Robison and Alexander spent most of practice scanning offshore areas of Pickwick Lake and found one spot that produced the majority of their bag.


“It was a straight river ledge, but there was a hard spot that stuck out into the current,” Robison said. “It was a great place for shells to group up and it also made a good feeding area for white bass and bass. We hung out there and tried to get five bass and we did it somehow.”


A drop shot, Damiki rig and Strike King 10XD were their three best baits. 


Bracket details


The Top 3 teams punched their ticket to the College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s, details of which will be announced at a later date. Nick Dumke and Easton Fothergill from the University of Montevallo already claimed their spot by winning the Team of the Year title. Full coverage of the event will be available on Bassmaster.com.


The winner of the Bracket will compete in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota in Tulsa. Okla., and receive paid entry into the 2024 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens with the use of a fully loaded Nitro Boat and Toyota Tundra.


Tour Hardin County hosted the 2023 Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.


2023 Bassmaster College Series Title Sponsor: Strike King

2023 Bassmaster College Series Presenting Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2023 Bassmaster College Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2023 Bassmaster College Series Premier Sponsors: Dakota Lithium, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2023 Bassmaster College Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Lew's, Marathon, Triton Boats, VMC

2023 Bassmaster College Series Youth Sponsors: 13 Fishing, Seaguar, Shimano


Connect with #Bassmaster on FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Strike King Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship, Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota.


Media Contact: Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. Communications Manager, 205-313-0945, eharley@bassmaster.com

2023 Strike King Bassmaster College National Championship at Pickwick Lake
presented by Bass Pro Shops 8/10-8/12
Pickwick Lake, Counce  TN.
(BOATER) Standings Day 3

    Angler                                       Club/School                       Pts

1.  Hayden Marbut - Tucker Smith                 Auburn University                   250
  Day 1: 5   20-08     Day 2: 5   15-04     Day 3: 5   18-00   Total:  15  53-12
2.  Matthew Cummings - Levi Mullins              Bethel University                   249
  Day 1: 5   18-05     Day 2: 5   14-14     Day 3: 5   17-10   Total:  15  50-13
3.  Brody Robison - Jack Alexander               University of Montevallo            248
  Day 1: 5   17-08     Day 2: 5   15-04     Day 3: 5   16-07   Total:  15  49-03
4.  Tyler Campbell - Parker Guy                  Emmanuel University                 247
  Day 1: 5   17-13     Day 2: 5   16-06     Day 3: 4   14-06   Total:  14  48-09
5.  Easton Fothergill - Nick Dumke               University of Montevallo            246
  Day 1: 5   18-05     Day 2: 5   15-12     Day 3: 5   14-00   Total:  15  48-01
6.  Joey Bissing - Jackson Paden                 University of Tennessee             245
  Day 1: 5   17-12     Day 2: 5   13-15     Day 3: 5   16-00   Total:  15  47-11
7.  Adrian Urso - Cole Hadlock                   Murray State University             244
  Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 5   17-11     Day 3: 5   15-07   Total:  15  47-08
8.  Blake Bullock - John Mark Berry              Blue Mountain Christian Universi    243
  Day 1: 5   14-01     Day 2: 5   18-03     Day 3: 5   14-12   Total:  15  47-00
9.  Evan Sutton - Grant Olsen                    McKendree University                242
  Day 1: 5   11-11     Day 2: 5   19-02     Day 3: 5   15-12   Total:  15  46-09
10. Hunter Suchsland - Cade Ludwig               University of Nebraska-Lincoln      241
  Day 1: 5   16-05     Day 2: 5   14-04     Day 3: 5   15-13   Total:  15  46-06
11. Tallis Morrison - Jonathan Hanna             Erskine College                     240
  Day 1: 5   12-10     Day 2: 5   18-05     Day 3: 5   13-04   Total:  15  44-03
12. Kyle Zainitzer - Avery Whitwell              University of North Alabama         239
  Day 1: 5   19-08     Day 2: 5   12-15     Day 3: 3   09-01   Total:  13  41-08
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        60       459      1290-14
 2        33       352       974-04
 3        10        57       180-08
         103       868      2445-10


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