St. James, Montgomery Academy move back to campus sites for opener

St. James tailback Austin Gavin runs through the Montgomery Academy defense in the 2019 meeting at McLemore Field. The scene will switch to Carlisle Field this fall, where MA is 6-6 in its last 12 trips.

The 2020 season opener between St. James and Montgomery Academy has been moved back to campus sites in 2020 and 2021.

The game had originally been scheduled for Aug. 21 (and Aug. 20, 2021) at Huntingdon College as a neutral-site game at the suggestion of Montgomery Academy coach Gary Nelson to offset a shortage of home playing dates.

When Nelson left to take a job at Southside-Gadsden, St. James coach Jimmy Perry switched the game back to Carlisle Field.

“We’re playing Montgomery Academy at our place,” Perry said. “Montgomery Academy flipped a game with Trinity so now they’ve got five (home games) and five (travel dates). The only reason we were going to do it at Huntingdon was because Gary (had just four home dates) on his schedule. I was just trying to help him out.”

Montgomery Academy had just four home games and moved the season opener to Huntingdon College to create a pair of neutral-site games in 2020 and 2021 with both teams splitting 50 percent of the revenue. New Montgomery Academy athletic director Robert Johnson was able to get Trinity to flip home-and-home dates with Montgomery Academy in 2020 and 2021, giving both Trinity and Montgomery Academy five home dates in both years.

Restoring the 2020 season opener to St. James will give the Trojans five home dates in 2020 and 2021 as well.

“We actually swapped our home-and-away (dates) with Trinity,” Johnson said, “so that gave us five (home games) and five (travel dates). I think that (neutral-site season opener) had something to do with Jimmy helping Gary out. I would rather play those two games at Huntingdon because I think it’s good to get on that (artificial) turf. But we’ll play over there at St. James.”