This year's event kicks off with a different twist for the Action Sports Medicine Champions Classic. Thursday night's game will match up two Six-Man teams in what should be an offensive shoot-out. The Abilene Christian High School Panthers will take on the Newcastle Bobcats at 7:30 pm on Thursday night, September 2. The Panthers are picked to win the Six-Man District 6 - Division I Championship. This forecast is based upon the strength of returning starters from Coach Mark Coley's 2009 team. Newcastle also returns a number of starters from Coach Spitzer's 2009 team, which should put the Bobcats in the District 10 Six-Man Division II race.
In the Friday night, September 3 matchup, the Abilene Cooper Cougars and the Austin Westlake Chaparrals will renew their rivalry at 7:30 p.m in Shotwell Stadium. The Cougars of Coach Mike Spradlin will be returning to Class 5A, after a brief stint in Class 4A. The Cougars are expected to be a playoff team in 2010 from the re-formed "Little Southwest Conference" District 3-5A, which includes Odessa and Midland schools. The Coogs return seven starters on both offense and defense for 2009's District Champions, including the RB tandem of Davon Riddick and Alford Cooper. The Austin Westlake Chaparrals, under Coach Darren Allman, a former HSU standout, are ranked #4 in the pre-season polls in Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine. During Coach Allman's first year as head coach, the Chaps made a full run to the 2009 Texas 5A-Division I Championship game, before losing to Euless Trinity in the title game. A real slugfest is expected between the Coogs and Chaps during the Classic.
Saturday at 1 p.m. the 2009 Class 5-A Division II State Champion Abilene High Eagles will host the Franklinton High School Demons, the Louisiana Class 4A State Runner-up. Franklinton boasts a high-octane offense that in 2009 became Louisiana's All-Time Single Season scoring team. Head Coach, Shane Smith, will return a seasoned squad of seniors and juniors; so expect to see a lot of offensive fireworks from the Demons. The 2010 Warbirds are picked #2 in the preseason polls; #1 in the coaches' poll; and a repeat favorite as Class 5A-Division II State Champions by many writers in Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine. Boasting a seasoned group of returners, led by the Sims Duo of 2009 5A Player of the Year RB Herschel Sims and returning QB Ronell Sims, the Warbirds are expected to bring a lot of fireworks on offense and a swarming defense to Shotwell Stadium this year.
The finale for the 2010 edition of the Action Sports Medicine Champions Classic will feature matchup between the Hamlin Pied Pipers of District 7-1A - Division II against the Quanah Indians of District 2-1A-Division I. Both teams will come prepared to win, so expect explosive hard hits. In addition, these two teams are expected to make a playoff run this year as well. Hamlin will put 14 returning starters on the field on offense and defense, while Quanah returns a total of 15 starters from last years' team. High powered offenses and stubborn defenses will go against each other so this one should be a lot of fun to watch.
The Champions Classic is in its sixth year and is promoted by the Sports Alliance, a committee of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Classic is sponsored by Action Sports Medicine and Rehab, Texas Chevy Dealers and other local sponsors. The Sports Alliance was created to increase the economic impact in the Abilene community through sporting events. An additional goal is to raise money for annually awarded scholarships to local graduating high school seniors from Abilene HS, Cooper HS, Wylie HS and Abilene Christian HS. To date, the Champions Classic has awarded $35,000 in scholarships.