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Fairfield / Jackson Olin set to meet in Thursday night Game of the Week

Brant Berry | PrepsNet

Fairfield Meets Jackson-Olin Tonight in AHSAA TV / NFHS Network Game of the Week

Montgomery, AL – Fairfield High School takes on Jackson-Olin High School at Birmingham’s Lawson Field in tonight’s AHSAA TV Network/NFHS Network Football Game of the Week produced by WOTM TV.

In addition, the NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program is live-streaming 151 events this weekend with 58 varsity football games being produced by AHSAA member schools Friday and 48 varsity volleyball matches set to be live streamed tonight over the NFHS Network live stream portal.

The Class 5A Tigers (3-1) and Class 6A Mustangs (2-2) are meeting for the 17th time since the series began in 1994 with Jackson-Olin winning 26-6 in a game played at historic Legion Field. Coach Tim Vakakes’ Mustangs have won the last four contests in the series squeaking out a 26-24 win last year over Coach Keon Handley’s Tigers.

This week’s Game of the Week is being produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM TV under the direction of executive producer Vince Earley.

The game will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the WOTM Network in Alabama. Tommy Wood and Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM/NFHS Network production.

Handley is in his fourth season as head coach at Fairfield and his teams have shown steady improvement. The Tigers are off to a fast start with big wins over Center Point (21-20), Carver-Birmingham (34-20) and John Carroll (13-7). Parker handed Fairfield its only loss 25-0.  The Tigers are in their 98th season and are closing in on the school’s 500th win.  Fairfield is 494-432-6 in its storied history.

Vakakes, who coached with his dad, former Fairfield head coach Jim Vakakes, is in his eighth season as Jackson-Olin head coach. The Mustangs went from 1-9 in his first season at the helm in 2013 to 10-1 2018.  Overall, J-O is 37-39 under Vakakes’ direction.

Both teams emphasize strong, physical play. “We are a young team, but we have some very good athletes,” Vakakes said. “We start as many as seven sophomores or freshmen at times on defense. Sophomore linebacker Eric Muse has a chance to be one of the top linebacking prospects in the nation, and defensive end Kason Boston has really started coming into his own. He stands just under 6-foot-5 and weighs 245. Our kids really work hard in the weight room.”

Handley said his Tigers’ progress is directly linked “to our kids buying into the idea that our football team is a family,” he said. “And when you are a family, you become more accountable to each other. Our kids play tough, give it all they have and will fight to the finish.”

Jackson-Olin will be going for its 250th win in program history tonight. The Mustangs have compiled a 249-370-14 record since 1955 playing in the tough Birmingham city league. Like Fairfield, the school has seen its share of players on the national stage. The highest profile player has been David Palmer, who helped Alabama win a national championship and later was a standout kick return specialist and wide receiver in the NFL. Current Auburn linebacker T.J. Moultry is also a J-O product.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is set for 7 p.m., and can be seen over the NFHS Network and the WOTM TV Network’s cable affiliates across the state. Next week’s game of the week will be Randolph County at Fayetteville in Class 2A, Region 4. Rounding out the remaining games of the week will be Madison Academy at Madison County on Oct. 8; Gordo at Fayette County on Oct. 15; Ramsay at Pleasant Grove on Oct. 22; and Central-Phenix City at Oxford on Oct. 29 to close out the regular season

The NFHS Network link for tonight’s game is:

For information concerning the AHSAA TV Network’s WOTM cable availability, go to the following link:

A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:

The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be live streamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 26th can be found at