When Arab coach Lee Ozmint set a date for his team’s postseason banquet a few weeks ago, he was somewhat dismayed to learn it was the same date – Dec. 3 – as the city’s annual Christmas parade.

Ozmint set the time so that any football player or parent could attend the parade and still make it to the banquet at Gilliam Springs Baptist Church.

On Monday, the Arab Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday’s parade had been canceled, mainly because of “a surge in Covid-19 cases and a wintry mix forecast,” according to Chamber president Brooke Hemphill.

Ozmint didn’t learn of the parade cancellation until Tuesday morning. By then, though, he’d already made the decision to move the date of the banquet to Sunday, Dec. 13. It’ll still be at Gilliam beginning at 5 p.m.

The reason for the change had nothing to do with the parade or COVID-19. It had everything to do with football.

“Some of the coaches wanted to go down to Tuscaloosa to watch the playoff games,” Ozmint said. “Plus, this takes it from a weeknight to a Sunday afternoon.”

The AHSAA state championships began Wednesday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Three of the games will be played today, including the Class 3A title game this morning.

That game has some local interest because WAFN (Fun Radio 92.7-FM) carries the Fyffe broadcasts, sometimes on a delayed basis. Today’s game, Fyffe vs. Catholic-Montgomery, will be carried live beginning at 10 a.m.

Fyffe, incidentally, is riding a 44-game winning streak. The Red Devils’ last loss came in the third round of the 2017 playoffs (35-28 to Sulligent). That loss snapped a 27-game winning streak.

Arab coaches likely will have a lot of interest in the Class 6A final Friday night. Spanish Fort (11-3) takes on Pinson Valley (11-2) at 7:30 p.m.

Pinson Valley knocked Arab out of the 6A playoffs in the first round.

Only players, cheerleaders, parents and boosters are allowed to attend the banquet.


(Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa)


Auburn (11-1) vs. Thompson (13-0), Wednesday


Spanish Fort (11-3) vs. Pinson Valley (11-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday


St. Paul’s (14-0) vs. Pleasant Grove (11-2), 7:30 p.m. today


Handley (11-1) vs. Gordo (13-1), 10 a.m. Friday


Catholic-Montgomery (12-2) vs. Fyffe (14-0), 10 a.m. today


Abbeville (12-1) vs. Mars Hill Bible (12-2), 2:45 p.m. Friday


Linden (13-0) vs. Pickens Co. (11-3), 2:45 p.m. today

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