Walker County Pair Moves Into Spotlight
Oakman High School sophomore quarterback Jase Trotter and Dora High School senior Cody Staten played in separate games last Friday night as the 2011 AHSAA state football playoffs began, but both Walker County student-athletes led their teams to big wins with outstanding performances to capture the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for the first round.
Trotter sparked the Wildcats to a 33-7 Class 2A playoff victory over Ider with 450 total yards. He was 18-of-28 passing for 349 yards four touchdowns and also rushed for 101 yards and a 67-yard TD on 11 carries. He had TD tosses covering 54 and 46 yards among his scoring strikes.
Staten, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound cannonball of a runner, was the workhorse for the Bulldogs with 25 carries for 377 yards and all five Dora touchdowns in a 34-14 Class 4A win over Brooks. He had scoring runs of 73, 5, 65, 53 and 2 yards—a total of 26 touchdowns on the season—as the Bulldogs move into the second round of the state playoffs this week.
The duo edged out fine performances from Pleasant Home’s Gabe Gunter and Goshen’s Reginald Foster.
Gunter, the Eagles quarterback, scored in overtime and then added the game-winning two-point conversion as Pleasant Home won for the first time ever in the state playoffs with a 15-14 victory over St. Jude. Gunter is the son of Russell Gunter, who in 1986 set a national record with 72 rushing carries in the final game of his prep career at Straughn, a 22-21 loss to Coffee Springs despite his 331 yards.
Foster piled up 224 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns as Goshen avenged a 28-point season-opening loss with a 33-28 win over G.W. Long in the Class 2A state playoffs.
Other key performances reported include:
Maurice Crews, Eufaula: Rushed for 263 yards on just 12 carries and scored three touchdowns in the Class 5A Tigers’ 49-22 triumph over Paul Bryant.
Ladarius Rodgers, Leeds: Rushed for 247 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns in the Green Wave’s 28-27 win at Abbeville.
Darrean Burks, Elba: Returned a kickoff 69 yards for a touchdown and a punt 77 yards for a TD, helping the unbeaten Class 2A Tigers beat Houston Academy 35-6. The punt return for a TD was the fifth of the season for the sophomore and ties him for the fourth highest total in a season in AHSAA history.
The senior wingback carried four times for 144 yards and two touchdowns as the Red Devils defeated Sumiton Christian 48-6 in the 2A playoffs. Harris scored the Red Devils’ first TD of the night on a 71-yard first-quarter run and added a 59-yard score in the second quarter. He was one of three backs over 100 yards as the Red Devils finished with 541 yards rushing and 563 total yards.
Garrett Crider, Cullman: Ran for a season-high 238 yards on six carries and scored six touchdowns as the Bearcats thumped Albertville 58-21. He scored on runs of 2, 35, 1, 18, 4 and 4 yards. The victory was also the 95th for Cullman coach Mark Britton at his alma mater, leaving him 11 wins behind Oliver Woodard, the school’s all-time leader in Cullman High School history.
Joseph Harris, Fyffe:
DeShawn Reibesehl and Sean Wallace, Marion County: Reibesehl ran 17 times for 151 yards with TD runs covering 12 and 19 yards while Wallace had eight carries for 143 yards and TDs of 66 and 190 yards. Marion County drove 81 yards in the final minutes to score the winning touchdown with 34 seconds left in a 34-30 Class 1A win over R.A. Hubbard. The Chiefs took the lead 30-28 with a safety after a 57-yard Hubbard punt was downed inside the 1-yard line with eight minutes left to play. That set up the game-winning drive for the Raiders, who rushed for 444 yards on the night.
Andy Pappanastos and Mark White, Trinity Presbyterian: Pappanastos kicked field goals of 34 and 43 yards in a 14-6 Class 3A playoff setback to Gordo to finish the season with 17 field goals and a career total of 48 – a new state record and just two shy of tying the NFHS national record. He finished tied with Brian Bond of Hacienda Heights (CA) and Tomas Sanchez of Arlington Heights (TX). Jimmy Stevens, who played at Oklahoma City Heritage Hall from 2003-06, holds the record of 50.
White also had 10 receptions for 80 yards to finish his career with a state-record 313 receptions. His total ranks second nationally behind Nitro (WV) receiver Christopher Fulmer, who had 329 catches from 2002-05.
Jamison Aldridge, Hartselle: Was 10-of-15 passing for 199 yards and a TD and rushed for 88 yards and two more scores as the Tigers remained unbeaten with a 52-13 Class 5A playoff win over Boaz.
Kaleb Harris, Pinson Valley: With the Indians trailing 21-6 to East Limestone, Harris passed for five touchdowns to cap a comeback in a 42-26 Class 5A playoff win. He was 19-of-31 for 355 yards.
Cody Roberts, Washington County: Caught TD passes of 7 and 4 yards, added TD runs of 10 and 5 yards and intercepted two passes on defense as Washington County beat Aliceville 56-28.
Williams Gartman, Leroy: The senior QB completed 12-of-14 passes for 304 yards and TD passes of 43 and 35 yards in a 54-22 victory over Isabella.
Skyler Walker, Oneonta: Completed 23-of-29 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown to lead the Redskins to a 42-7 Class 4A win over Guntersville.
Teague Whitaker, Ider: The senior running back carried 25 times for 225 yards and caught a 21-yard TD pass in the second quarter in Ider's 33-7 Class 2A playoff loss to Oakman.
Devin Johnson, Barbour County: The linebacker registered 16 tackles, including two quarterback sacks, as the Jaguars won their first-ever state playoff football game with a 22-10 win over Zion Chapel.
Zach Dean, Central-Phenix City: The defensive end had four sacks for 34 yards in losses as the Red Devils beat Foley 49-17. He also had an interception return for a touchdown. Central had seven sacks on the night and limited Foley to minus-14 yards rushing.
Tray Reed, Collinsville: The senior linebacker made 10 tackles and intercepted a pass at midfield with 54 seconds left to end Appalachian’s final threat in a 21-14 Class 1A playoff win.
Sterling Gatlin, Providence Christian: Had 16 tackles on defense and rushed for 177 yards and a TD on 20 carries in a 21-17 playoff loss to Highland Home.
Trey Roberts, McGill-Toolen: Carried 35 times for 209 yards and TD runs of 9 and 15 yards in a 35-14 victory over Dothan.
T.J. Yeldon, Daphne: Ran 33 times for 177 yards and scored on TD runs of 10, 3, 7 and 13 yards in a 49-31 victory over Opelika.
Logan McPherson, Fort Payne: The junior place-kicker/punter kicked a 21-yard field goal with 10:58 remaining, allowing a Fort Payne team hampered by the loss of its starting quarterback to an injury to stretch its lead to 17-6. The Wildcats hung on to win 17-12. McPherson, 7-of-7 on field goals and 48-of-49 on extra points for the year, also had touchbacks on three of four kickoffs and averaged 36.4 yards on five punts.
Brendan McCants, Spanish Fort: Returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and intercepted two passes, including one he returned 81 yards for a score, in a 31-7 Class 5A playoff victory at Fairfield.
Greg Parker, Bayside Academy: Returned two kickoffs for touchdowns – 75 yards and 98 yards – in a 54-21 Class 3A victory over Montevallo.
Tyler Hayes, Thomasville: Returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown and returned an interception 77 yards for a TD in the Class 4A Tigers’ 55-6 victory over West Blocton.
Hayden Huseth, Elkmont: Rushed 23 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns and completed 6-of-9 passes for 109 yards and one TD to lead Elkmont in a 28-13 win over previously unbeaten Hanceville in the 3A playoffs.
Ryheem Dixon, Flomaton: The senior QB accounted for five TDs – three passing, one rushing and another on a kickoff return – in a 53-16 Class 2A playoff victory over Billingsley. He passed for 238 yards and ran for 62 more yards as Flomaton earned its first playoff win since 2000.