TUSCALOOSA — There was a long line of people waiting in the south end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium for Ben Blackmon to emerge.
Blackmon, Spanish Fort’s coach and a Montgomery native, started with his parents, holding both his mom and dad long and hard.
The longest squeeze was with his older brother, Brian, despite their recent duel, and lasted more than 10 seconds.
“I don’t think it’s really set in yet, but it’s really exciting,” Ben Blackmon said, describing the Class 6A championship his Toros won with Friday’s 31-28 victory over Clay-Chalkville.
Brian, during the awards ceremony, stood about 20 yards from the line of Spanish Fort players and — despite their recent meeting — beamed with pride.
Brian, Ben’s older brother by four years, is Opelika’s coach. Spanish Fort beat Opelika 21-13 in the quarterfinals.
“I’m ecstatic for him,” Brian Blackmon said. “The first week after our game, it was really bad, but now I’m just proud of my little brother.”
Brian graduated from Robert E. Lee in 1992 and won one state championship as a player for the Generals. Ben graduated in 1997 and reached as far as the quarterfinals.
“He did a great job coaching this team,” Brian said. “He deserves it.”
They don’t expect any brotherly Christmas shenanigans with Ben bringing the championship trophy to playfully boast to Brian.
First, Larry and Jean — their parents — wouldn’t allow it.
“We love each other, and you’re humble in victory and defeat,” Ben said. “He was on the sideline with me tonight, and he was there last week (for the semifinals).
“He’s proud of me.”
Spanish Fort (15-0) won its fourth state championship in six years, though for its third coach. Ben Blackmon is in his first season with the Toros.
Tyler Johnston threw for two touchdowns and ran for one TD, plus had a final-minute fourth-down conversion that sealed it.
Facing fourth-and-1 at their own 48, the Toros chose Johnston, who picked up a first down by about a foot.
“I wanted the ball for sure,” Johnston said. “I looked up, saw it was a first down and felt great. It was awesome.”
Ty Pigrome had 214 yards and three touchdowns passing and ran for 124 yards and a score for Clay-Chalkville (14-1), which had a 29-game win streak end.
Pigrome’s final TD throw, a 22-yarder to Brandon Berry, came with 3:12 remaining, but Spanish Fort ran out the clock.
“The losses are not a failing,” Cougars coach Jerry Hood said. “They’ve had an incredible year, and they are incredible kids that you will hear about for a long, long time.”