The Alabama-Mississippi Game Returns to Mobile; Which AHSAA event could be next?

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After helping ensure the return of the Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Football Classic to Mobile, Danny Corte isn’t resting on his laurels.

The Mobile Sports Authority’s executive director hopes the return of the popular All-Star game to the port city in even-numbered years from December is just another step in bringing more AHSAA events to the Gulf Coast.

His dream goal? The Super 7 football championships.

“It’s obviously the crown jewel,” Corte said on SportsTalk 99.5 FM on Mobile this week. “It would be something we would like to bid on when the contract comes back.”

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It could be a while.

The Super 7 was first played at Birmingham’s new protective stadium last December. The event set a new record with a total attendance of 62,544 people over three days.

The championships return to Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn in 2022, then return to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Alabama the following year. The current rotation agreement between these three sites runs until 2032.

“It’s kind of a long-term goal, but it’s my main goal,” Corte said.

The next event on Corte’s AHSAA wish list could be the Southwest Regional Basketball Tournament. The event — formerly held at the Mitchell Center in southern Alabama — departed for Dothan a decade ago. Recently, AHSAA hosted the Southwest and Southeast Regional Tournaments in Montgomery. Venues for the event have included the Garrett Coliseum, the Alabama State Academy and, this year, the Cramton Bowl Multiplex.

Is there a chance it will finally come back to Mobile next winter?

“We are discussing it,” Corte said. “Nothing has been closed yet. At this time, we are awaiting final schedules for the Southern men’s and women’s basketball teams before we can really go any further.

“I can’t say that we are close. I can’t say we’re far apart. We are continuing discussions. South, as much as he can, is keeping an open mind, but we also have to abide by Sun Belt conference rules about when teams can enter the field and when they can practice and have shootarounds. It’s just different now than it was 10 years ago when we hosted the last Southwest Regional. We will do our best. If we can’t get it, it won’t be for lack of trying.

The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic will be held at Hancock Whitney at noon on December 10. On December 16, the stadium will host the North-South All-Star Football Game for the third year in a row.

“The way AHSAA explained it to me and the way we see it are two separate events,” Corte said. “It’s a whole different set of coaches and players who will be here Dec. 6-10 for the Alabama-Mississippi game. The North-South players, also with a different set of coaches, come the following Tuesday to play this Friday night, the 16th. We hope there will be plenty of fans, families and friends for everyone.

This is the third and final year of the contract for southern Alabama to host the North-South game. Corte hopes the event will stay at Hancock Whitney, but admits there are logistical issues with the stadium hosting the Lending Tree Bowl the same week. In 2021, the North-South match was played on a Friday evening. The Lending Tree Bowl was the next day.

The Alabama-Mississippi game will be played in the United States in 2022, 2024, and 2026. Mississippi will host the game in odd-numbered years. The event originated at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile in 1988.

“I have to thank Joel Erdmann and South Alabama because they immediately saw the benefit of the North-South and Alabama-Mississippi Games on their campus in December,” Corte said. “They also played an important role in that. Overall, AHSAA seems to be pretty happy with how we handled the North-South game, so it wasn’t really a hard sell for Alabama-Mississippi.

Corte said Mobile was in play to host the AHSAA State Baseball Championships this year, but uncertainty surrounding the future of Hank Aaron Stadium prevented that move. Those matches will be played in Jacksonville and Oxford in May.