Monday, October 21, 2019






Author: David Holtsford

David Holtsford's Article

Pate Keys Warriors’ Come-from-Behind Win over Hoover and Freeman’s 200th Coaching Win

Milestone Victory Grabs AHSAA Offensive Spotlight

MONTGOMERY – Thompson High School’s Warriors trailed 17-0 in the first half but stormed back behind the play of senior quarterback Sawyer Pate to outscore Hoover 48-13 the rest of the way to win the key Class 7A, Region 3 football clash 48-30 Friday night.
    That was plenty enough reason for Warriors head coach Mark Freeman to be pleased.
    However, this night to remember was made even bigger since it was the 200th coaching
victory of his career and grabbed the AHSAA Offensive Spotlight for Week 2 of the 2019 season.
    Pate l
ed the Warriors’ comeback win completing 19-of-26 passes for 194 yards and three TDs, two to senior receiver Mike Pettway. Trailing 17-0 in the first quarter and 27-21 late in the first half, Thompson (3-0) outscored the Bucs 27-3 the rest of the way. Junior running back Jarrett Crockett added 148 yards rushing and three TDs for the Warriors.
    Freeman, now 200-50 in his 21st season as a head coach, is 36-13 at Thompson. His first two teams were 5-5 in 2015 and 2016. The Warriors finished 12-1 losing to Hoover in the semifinals in 2017 and reached the Class 7A state finals finishing 11-2 in 2018. He compiled a 50-7 record at Spanish Fort from 2011-2014 with back-to-back Class 5A state titles and a 29-1 record in 2012 and 2013.
     He served as head coach at Gulf Shores for two seasons leading the Dolphins to a 9-4 record in 2011, best in school history. He coached 10 years at Bessemer Academy compiling a 100-21 slate with four AISA state championships. His overall record in the AHSAA is 99-29.
    The milestone win edged two 400-yard passing efforts and a 501-yard total offense performance. Zyquez Perryman of Pleasant Grove completed 26-for-31 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-14 victory over Briarwood Christian.
    Eli Pearce of West End in Walnut Grove was
22-of-55 passing for 422 yards and four touchdowns, three to Jeremiah Roberson, and rushed 14 times for 69 yards and two scores in a 65-44 loss to Cleveland. Pearce had 491 total yards/. Roberson finished with eight receptions for 118 yards and teammate Jackson Tidmore caught six passes for 121 yards.
    Maddux Herring of Ariton accounted for 501 yards and six touchdowns in a wild 54-49 win over Geneva County. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns and added 190 yards rushing and three more scores on 30 carries. His TD passes went for 65, 60 and 15 yards and the scoring runs were 7, 10 and 5 yards. Herring also earned seven tackles on defense.
    Other top offensive performances reported:


LEVI ARRINGTON, BILLINGSLEY: Rolled up 379 yards total offense and accounted for five touchdowns as the Bears beat Loachapoka 35-18. He ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries and completed 9-of-18 passes for 178 yards and two scores.
ETHAN CLANTON, SAND ROCK: Totaled 256 yards rushing on 25 carries in a 20-14 win in overtime against Ider. Ian Clanton scored all three TDs for the Wildcats, including a 20-yarder in the OT period.
KALEB JONES, COLLNSVILLE: Accounted for seven touchdowns, five rushing and two passing, as the Panthers beat North Sand Mountain 54-28. He rushed for 158 yards on 14 carries and touchdown runs of 1, 2, 37, 1 and 37 yards, and completed 5-of-9 passes for 112 yards with his TD connections covering 25 and 22 yards. Teammate Malachi Orr added 126 yards rushing and a 28-yard scoring run on 15 carries. Jones also had an interception on defense in the final quarter.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES  BLUFF: Rushed 27 times for 241 yards and touchdown runs of 55 and 45 yards in a 45-21 win over White Plains. Teammate Ashton Gulledge also had 14 rush attempts for 127 yards and three touchdowns (24, 1, 2 yards) and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Tristin Billingsley in the win.

CONNER RUSH, MOODY: Rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns covering 38 and 90 yards on 26 carries in a 21-7 win over St. Clair County. Teammate Terrence Moore added 17 carries for 184 yards and had one TD on a 49-yard run.
JAKOBI HUNTER, LEEDS: Had 24 carries for 246 yards and five touchdowns while adding nine tackles in a 33-27 victory over Elmore County.
JERRY BURTON, PRICEVILLE: The junior running back had 40 rush attempts for 242 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-29 win over St. John Paul II. 
JORDAN INGRAM, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and caught four passes for 31 yards in the Saints’ win over Baldwin County.

CAM BASS, SCOTTSBORO: The senior running back rushed 19 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Jacob Manning had 135 yards and one TD on 17 carries as the Wildcats beat Ardmore 41-27.
A.J. POWELL, VESTAVIA HILLS: Rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-7 victory over Spain Park.

KELSTON FIKES, LEROY: Totaled 167 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 14 carries as the Bears beat R.C. Hatch 41-14.
RASHAWN McALPINE, SARALAND: Rushed for 164 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries in a 49-13 win over Daphne.

ROYDELL WILLIAMS, HUEYTOWN:  The senior had 27 rush attempts for 157 yards, including touchdown runs of 5 and 8 yards, as the Gophers beat Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 39-17. He added 33 receiving yards and threw 40-yard pass from the wildcat formation for 230 total yards.

REGINALD DAVIS, LEE-MONTGOMERY: The all-purpose back rushed for 147 yards on 15 carries and scored twice on runs of 14 and 4 yards as the Generals beat Jeff Davis 59-14. He also caught three passes for 79 yards to account for 226 of Lee’s 566 total yards.
L.T. SANDERS, GARDENDALE: Picked up 167 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Rockets’ 30-7 win over Huffman.
AUSTIN CLARKE, McADORY: Ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-7 victory over Northridge.

LUKE MORRIS, SARDIS: Ran for 205 yards on 22 carries with a 74-yard touchdown and also caught a 4-yard TD pass as the Lions nipped Southside-Gadsden 33-31.
TRENT DAVIS, ETOWAH: Had 203 total yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Devils’ 49-7 win over Crossville. Playing just three quarters, he had six rush attempts for 125 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 78 yards and a third score.

SEAN JACKSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Gained 169 yards on 14 rush attempts and added 65 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns in a 50-33 victory over Oak Mountain.
CAMERON FAISON, REELTOWN: Needed just six carries to gain 148 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Rebels downed Fayetteville 63-14.  He scored on Reeltown’s first offensive snap of the night on s 79-yard jaunt.
COLTON PATTON, DESHLER: Rushed just four times but totaled 131 yards and three touchdowns (65, 1 and 52 yards) in Deshler’s 55-0 win over Elkmont.

DYLAN BLACKBURN, JAMES CLEMENS: Gained 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in a 35-17 victory over Bob Jones.
TAVION RUPERT, SPARKMAN: Had 34 carries for 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Senators beat Gadsden City 51-27.
KIERAN CRAIG, HUNTSVILLE: Scored on a 98-yard run and finished with three touchdowns and 115 yards on just five carries as the Panthers downed Grissom 43-14.

ZAK BURNETT, GUNTERSVILLE: Led the Wildcats to a 49-42 win over Madison County passing for a school-record 362 yards completing 23-of-34 pass attempts. The previous record set by Chaz Rogers in 2006 versus Brooks was 248 yards.
HESS HORNE, EUFAULA: Completed 19-of-32 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 49-38 loss to Dothan.
JAMAL LANE, DOTHAN: The Wolves quarterback completed 12-of-22 for 254 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-38 win over Eufaula.
ALEX HOWELL, MURPHY: Completed 20-of-30 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers rallied from a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Fairhope 26-24. Howell threw the game-winning TD pass with 1:30 left.

TATE WARR, MILLRY: Passed for 347 yards and five touchdowns and ran for a sixth TD as Millry beat Elberta 47-7.
TOBIAS ROBINSON, CHICKASAW: Completed 9-of-17 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns and rushed five times for 87 yards and two more scores to lead the Chieftains’ to a 46-6 win over Choctaw County.
8-of-12 passing for 238 yards and four touchdowns as the Warriors defeated J.U. Blacksher 51-7.

JACK HAYES, PIEDMONT: Completed 19-of-26 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns as the Bulldogs beat Pleasant Valley 28-0. All four scores went to four different receivers.
ROBBY ASHFORD, HOOVER: Was 15-of-29 passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 103 in the Bucs’ 48-30 loss to Thompson.
PATE OWENS, HOMEWOOD: Passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 33 yards and another score as the Patriots beat Pelham 42-14.

PATRICK JOHNSON, BREWER: Completed 12-of-19 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns in Brewer’s 29-21 comeback win over Arab.
MICHAEL RICH, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Was 9-of-18 passing for 190 yards and two scores and rushed six times for 62 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' 33-31 loss to Sardis.
BRITTON KOHN, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY: Was 11-of-18 passing for 158 yards and one TD and rushed for 101 yards and three scores on 10 carries as the Eagles downed Beulah 46-18.

KEYONTEZE JOHNSON, PINSON VALLEY: Had seven receptions for 185 yards, including TD catches of 69 and 42 yards, in a 23-7 victory over Shades Valley.
JAMARIUS CARTER, MONTEVALLO: Caught 10 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-24 victory over Dallas County.

HAYES FLOYD, ARITON: Caught five passes for 173 yards and a touchdown of 60 yards in the Purple Cats' 54-49 win over Geneva County.
TRE SHACKLEFORD, AUSTIN: Caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, including the game-winning 43-yarder in the final minute, to lift the Bears past Florence 30-25.
JABRE’ BARBER, DOTHAN: Grabbed five receptions for 155 yards with TD receptions of 76 and 54 yards in the Wolves' 49-38 win over Eufaula. Barber also had two kickoff returns for 52 total yards.
AULDEN BATTLES, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Caught five passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' 33-31 loss to Sardis.
CAMPBELL LEACH, GUNTERSVILLE: Caught five passes for 143 yards in a 49-42 win over Madison County. Teammates Jack Harris and Cooper Davidson had 101 and 97 yards on 8 and 7 catches, respectively.
DONAVON BROWN, BOB JONES: Snagged six passes for 142 yards and a 27-yard TD in a 35-17 loss to James Clemens.
LYRIC GURLEY, BUCKHORN: Hauled in four passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns covering of 40, 24 and 65 yards in a 36-35 victory over county rival Hazel Green to claim the Cotton Classic.
JAKOBE FLETCHER, WEST MORGAN: Caught six passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns and gained 79 yards on 12 rush attempts in a 32-25 loss to Randolph.
JERRON SMITH, HAZEL GREEN: Had 90 receiving yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 5-yard run in a 36-35 loss to Buckhorn.

RODARIUS THOMAS, EUFAULA: Caught three passes for 117 receiving yards with two grabs resulting in touchdowns covering 47 and 43 yards in the Tigers' 49-38 loss to Dothan.
BLAKE WISDOM, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Had 106 yards receiving including a 41-yard touchdown catch, and also rushed for a 40-yard touchdown, as Lauderdale County beat East Lawrence 32-20.
JACOB HOPPER, SARDIS: Hauled in seven receptions for 81 yards and three touchdowns (7, 7 and 15 yards) as the Lions rallied to beat Southside 33-31.

MALACHI HOLT-BENNETT, FAIRFIELD: Snared three touchdown passes and also picked off a pass on defense in a 48-14 victory over John Carroll.

Defensive Tackle Lee Hunter Rules Defensive Front to Lead Blount to Third Straight Win

Junior Grabs Week 2 AHSAA Defense Spotlight


MONTGOMERY – Blount High School junior defensive tackle Lee Hunter has been the anchor of what is shaping up to be one of the Leopards’ best defensive teams in year. Last week, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior totaled 14 tackles, including five stops for losses, in a 48-4 win over B.C. Rain.
    Blount, coached by Lev Holly, improved to 3-0 on the year and Hunter, considered one of the top junior defensive linemen in the nation already, saw his stock rise even more. His tenacious play kept him in the B.C. Rain backfield much of the night and earned him the AHSAA Football Defense Spotlight for the Week 2 of the 2019 season.
    The Leopards beat arch rival and 2018 Class 5A state finalists Vigor in Zero Week 38-7. Blount followed with a 43-0 win over Robertsdale and takes a 3-0 record into this week’s Friday matchup with Class 6A, Region 1 foe St. Paul’s Episcopal. Hunter, who had a quarterback sack last week, has helped his team outscore opponents 129-21 this season. The defense is allowing just 7.0 ppg – best Region 1 and fourth in Class 6A behind Paul Bryant (6.3), Oxford (6.7) and Albertville (6.7).
    Hunter’s performance edged out an outstanding all-around effort by Wenonah senior Jayden Sanders, who had
eight tackles, two intercepted passes and a fumble he returned 37 yards for a Dragons touchdown in Wenonah’s 50-0 win over Woodlawn. On offense, Sanders caught two TD passes, a two-point conversion and threw a 28-yard TD pass.
    Other top defensive efforts reported for Week 2:

JOE SKARUPA, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Was credited with 21 tackles in a 43-29 loss to Priceville.

BLAKE CARROLL, ARITON: Totaled 17 tackles, including two for losses, in Ariton's 54-49 win over Geneva County. Carroll also rushed for 95 yards and a 15-yard TD run.

WILSON TURNER, HEADLAND: Had 15 tackles, a sack and caused a fumble as the Rams beat B.T. Washington 38-12. Teammate Zach Lawrence also had 12 tackles with two sacks and another tackle resulting in a safety.
LEE HUNTER, BLOUNT: Had 14 tackles, including five for a loss and a sack, in the Leopards’ 48-14 victory over B.C. Rain.
JAVAR STRONG, MUSCLE SHOALS: Returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 62-0 victory over Columbia.

JASON BROOKS, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in a 49-21 victory over Bayside Academy.

BROOKS WEEKS, EUFAULA: Posted 11 tackles and an interception in the Tigers’ 49-38 loss to Dothan. Teammate Keith Bain also had 10 tackles, a fumble recovery and interception and Luke Bush had 11 stops and a fumble recovery.
TRAD JENKINS, SAMSON: The Tigers’ two-way standout recorded 13 tackles, including two sacks, and also rushed for 169 yards and four touchdowns as Samson blanked Calhoun 50-0.
THOMAS GLISSON, OPP: Had 11 tackles and an interceptions to lead the Bobcats to a 35-12 win over Straughn.

EVAN CRAIGHEAD, MADISON ACADEMY: Intercepted two passes in a 42-20 victory over East Limestone.

JOE McCORMICK, MOODY: Totaled nine tackles with three sacks as the Blue Devils beat St. Clair County 21-7.
BRADY JACKSON, SAND ROCK: Totaled 10 1/2 tackles in the Wildcats' 20-14 overtime win against Ider.

D.J. LEE, GAYLESVILLE: Returned a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown in the Trojans' 20-12 loss to Victory Christian. He also completed 5-of-6 passes for 83 yards and ran for 56 yards on 22 carries with a 2-yard touchdown.

LUKE WELSH, SPRING GARDEN: Recovered a pair of fumbles on defense, rushed for 107 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 10 and 24 yards to lead the Panthers to a 41-21 victory over Winterboro.

Fort Payne’s Alex McPherson Follows in Brothers’ Footsteps to Keeps Family Kicking Tradition Alive

Sophomore Nails 57-yard FG to Grab AHSAA Special Teams Spotlight

MONTGOMERY – Fort Payne High School sophomore place-kicker Alex McPherson was the holder in 2017 when his older brother Evan kicked a 60-yard field goal versus Brewer for the longest field goal made from the traditional center snap and hold in AHSAA history. Evan also had the AHSAA’s third longest punt of all time, 84 yards, in the same game.
    Last week, it was Alex’s turn. The 5-foot-7, 125-pounder booted two field goals covering 42 and 57 yards and two extra points for eight total points to lift the Wildcats to a 20-13 win over Albertville to earn the AHSAA Football Special Teams Spotlight for Week 2 of the 2019 season. Both field goals came in the first half with the 57-yarder coming with one second left before intermission to cut Albertville’s lead to 7-6. Coach Chris Elmore’s Wildcats scored two fourth-quarter TDs to win by seven points.
    Alex also remained perfect this season on extra points and is 12-of-12 on the year. His 57-yarder, ironically, tied oldest sibling Logan’s best kick in high school. Logan McPherson drilled a 57-yard field goal against Boaz in 2012 to set the Fort Payne school record which Evan broke in 2017. Logan, who earned all-state honors as a punter/kicker in 2012, served as a punter at Louisiana Tech from 2013-16 – averaging 40.4 yards on 62 punts as a sophomore.
     Evan, currently a sophomore at Florida, was an Under Armour All-America selection in high school and was selected to the 247 True Freshman All-America Team last season connecting on 17-of-19 field-goal attempts for the Gators. He was perfect on all 50 PAT kicks and finished as a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2018.  He is currently 2-for-2 on field goals this season and has extended his perfect streak of PAT kicks in college to 55 with 5-of-5 in Florida’s first two games.
    The longest field goal in AHSAA history was a 61-yarder kicked by Auburn’s Sage Ledbetter in 2015 on a free kick. Pelham’s Michael Proctor held the record prior to that kick with s 60-yard field goal, also on a free kick, versus Mountain Brook in 1991. Proctor attended Alabama and was the Crimson Tide’s starting kicker for 47 straight games from 1992-1995. He led the SEC in field goals made (22) and kicking points scored (97) in 1993 and finished his college career ranked 4th all-time in kicking points scored in the SEC at the time. He currently ranks 12th all-time in the SEC and third in UA history.
    McPherson’s booming kick edged out place-kicker Jaren Van Winkle of Clay-Chalkville for the Week 3 Special Teams Spotlight. Van Winkle kicked four field goals and had one extra point in the Cougars’ 19-14 win over Park Crossing. His four field goals including kicks from 40, 32, 37 and 31 yards. His performance ties 16 others for second-most field goals in a single game.
      Daphne’s Diego Guajardo and Spanish Fort’s Matthew Quinn each had four in a game last year – the most since Spain Park’s Crosby Gray kicked five in a 15-14 win over Thompson in 2015. Ledbetter also had five in an Auburn win over Jeff Davis in 2013; Decatur’s Josh Woodard kicked five in a 15-0 win over Grissom in 2001; Tim Rogers of Mountain Brook had five in a 21-17 win over Huffman in 1990; and Ricky Beck of Geneva had five in a 15-0 win over Pike County in 1970.
    Other outstanding special-team performances reported from last week’s games include:

Totaled 259 yards on six kickoff returns, including TD returns of 99 and 80 yards, in the Bulldogs' 54-49 loss to Ariton. He accounted for 394 all-purpose yards, adding six pass receptions for 74 yards with a 26-yard TD, and 61 rushing yards and a 17-yard TD run to finish with four touchdowns.
TREY STITTS, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned a punt 44 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and returned the second-half kickoff 82 yards for another special teams score in the Tigers' 49-6 win at Asbury.
EDWIN WHITE, UMS-WRIGHT: Returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to break a 7-7 tie in the final minutes of the fourth quarter against Andalusia sealed the 21-7 victory with an interception near the final buzzer.
MEES DECROSS DEJONGH, SCOTTSBORO: The foreign exchange student from the Netherlands kicked 5-of-5 extra points in a 41-27 win over Ardmore.



   The AHSAA is proud to partner with the Jason Foundation, which works together with schools across the nation for the awareness and prevention of youth suicide.
   September is National Suicide Prevention Month; Sept. 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week; and Tuesday, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.
   The Jason Foundation reports that the latest CDC WISQARS National Data (2017) shows suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-14 in Alabama and third leading  cause of death for ages 12-18 (middle and high-school age) and college-age youth in the state.
   To learn more about recognizing risk factors or for other information, go to the Jason Foundation website found at:  or call 615-264-2323.

Also, we want to thank University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban for providing public service videos concerning this important topic. Please feel free to use these PSAs in your school and to send out over your school’s social media platform. If your school or school system participates in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program or with any other broadcast program, please consider incorporating these videos into your school broadcast package. The link to the PSAs can be found at:

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the health and safety of our student-athletes at your school, especially concerning this important topic.

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact the AHSAA office.


AHSAA Had No Instant Replay Challenges Reversed in Last Week’s Football Games

   MONTGOMERY – AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones reported that four calls on the field were challenged during the last week’s AHSAA high school football action with no calls being reversed.
   For the season, 10 challenges have been reviewed with only two being overturned, both coming in the first week’s action. DVSports Instant Replay reviews are showing a 20% rate of reversal. Instant Replay is in its second year of implementation. The NFHS has granted the AHSAA a three-year period to experiment with instant replay in regular season games.
    “East Limestone at West Limestone had one challenge on a catch in the end zone and after review, the play stood as called,” said Jones. “The Priceville-Good Hope game had one challenge on the final play of first half to determine whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line. The play stood as called.”
    Jones said there were two challenges in the Tallassee vs. Handley game.  “The first challenged whether the receiver touched a punt, and the other was on a catch/no catch situation. Both plays stood as called on the field.”
    Jones reported that 10 Instant Replay reviews this fall have consisted of the following:
4  Catch or no catch
2  Fumble or no fumble
2  Ball breaking the plan of the goal line (also reviewed whether a fumble in one challenge)
1  Illegal participation
1  Illegal forward pass
1  Touching of a punt


   A total of 28 schools have participated in AHSAA contests utilizing Instant Replay this season with six scheduled for this week.

Friday, September 6
Davidson at Baker
Enterprise at Auburn
Hayden at Lawrence County
Hoover at Thompson
Madison Academy at East Limestone
Smiths Station at Central-Phenix City

Class 7A

Central-Phenix City
Gadsden City
Jeff Davis
Class 6A
Sidney Lanier
Class 5A
East Limestone
Class 4A
Good Hope
West Limestone
Class 3A
Carbon Hill
Class 2A
Callaway (GA)


Homewood Runners Crawford Hope, Lainey Phelps Pace Patriots’ Sweep at the Early Bird Twilight Meet

AHSAA Cross Country Week 2 Spotlight

  MONTGOMERY – Homewood High School runners Crawford Hope and Lainey Phelps turned in the best 5,000-meter times of the 2019 AHSAA cross country season last week at the Early Bird Twilight Invitational Championships held at the University of Montevallo last weekend.
   Their efforts helped Homewood win the boys’ and girls’ team titles in the strong field of competitors to capture the AHSAA Cross Country Spotlight for Week 2 of the season.
    Hope, a junior, won the 5A/7A featured race with a time of 15:25.18 and the Patriots captured the boys’ team championship with 30 points. Hoover was second with 72 points.  Guntersville senior Sam Moultrie also finished under 16 minutes with a time of 15:58.97. Both times are among some of the best in the U.S. this season. The boys’ race featured 14 runners with times under 17 minutes.
   Phelps, a senior, just missed cracking the 18-minute mark as she crossed the finish line with a time of 18:04.73. She finished 89 seconds ahead of her closest challenger, Claire Bolton of McGill-Toolen. Homewood had 41 points to nip runner-up Oak Mountain, which finished with 87 points. Hoover was third with 98.
    The competition was also fierce in the 1A/4A division with White Plains edging defending 4A state champion Montgomery Catholic 30-45 to win the boys’ title, and Westminster-Oak Mountain had 23 points to beat White Plains (54) in the girls’ race. Hollis Johnson of Catholic won the boys’ race with a time of 16:55.09. Westminster-Oak Mountain’s Hannah Adams clocked 19:38.58 to claim the girls’ individual crown.
    The performance of Coach Josh Donaldson’s Homewood’s duo edged out strong efforts in out-of-state meets by Auburn and Huntsville as well as Saint James runner Presley Miles.
Auburn’s boys and girls swept the competition at the AT&T Panther Meet hosted at Starr’s Mill, GA. The boys had 60 points to beat runner-up Westminster (GA) by 32 points. Stewart Brown paced the Tigers with a sixth-place finish in the field of 257 participants. He had a time of 15:38.43 to finish 14 seconds behind the winner. Auburn’s girls had 52 points to edge Starr’s Mill, which had 103 points. Samantha Rogers was second overall for Auburn with a time of 18:27.12 in the field of 168. Harper McGowan was also seventh for the Tigers.
    Huntsville’s boys won the City Auto Memphis Twilight Classic with 40 points, 85 better than runner-up Bartlett. Jackson Danner led the Panthers with a time of 16:09.70 to finish eighth among the 318 boys’ runners.  Saint James’ Miles ran the 5,000-meter distance in 18:34.80 to finish second in the girls’ competition. That race featured 263 runners. Hewitt-Trussville’s girls finished seventh in the team competition.
      Results of all the AHSAA 5,000-meter races reported last week include:

Langan Park, Mobile (Total participants listed in parentheses)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Walton (FL) 41; St. Pius X (GA) 55; St. Paul’s Episcopal 68
1. Connor Old, Walton (FL)               16:34.24
2. Zac Shaffer, Walton (FL)               16:38.79
3. Carson Barlow, Baker                    16:41.97

GIRLS TEAM WINNER: St. Pius X (GA) 23; Walton (FL) 61; Baker 68
1. Brooklyn Biancamano, L. Beach (MS)       18:36.88
2. Mary Brady, St. Pius X (GA)                     19:13.73
6. Lindsey Baxter, Baker                             19:49.27

13th Waffle House/Yellow Jacket Invitational
Oxford High School (host)
Choccolocco Park, Oxford (Total participants listed in parentheses)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Southside-Gadsden 52; Ashville 93; Oxford 98
1. Sean Dorrill, Central-PC                17:23.21
2. Ryan Maudsley, Southside-Gad.    17:40.37
3. Christian Myles, Anniston              19:01.81

GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Central-Phenix City 66; Ashville 79; Southside-Gadsden 99
1. Adley Burkes, Central-PC              19:34.82
2. Sydney Runyan, Etowah (GA)       20:17.27
3. Beth Ann Tucker, Springville         20:45.30

University of Montevallo (Total participants listed in parentheses)

5A/7A BOYS GOLD TEAM WINNER: Homewood 30; Hoover 72; Briarwood Chr. 131
1. Crawford Hope, Homewood          15:25.18
2. Sam Moultrie, Guntersville           15:58.97
3. Walker Cole, Oak Mountain          16:01.20

1A/4A BOYS GOLD TEAM WINNER: White Plains 30; Montgomery Catholic 45, LAMP 52
1. Hollis Johnson, Catholic                16:55.09
2. Jake Moore, White Plains              17:00.40
3. Seba Bakoyema, LAMP                 17:17.15

5A/7A GIRLS GOLD TEAM WINNER: Homewood 41; Oak Mountain 87; Hoover 98
1. Lainey Phelps, Homewood             18:04.73
2. Claire Bolton, McGill-Toolen           19:33.15
3. Celie Jackson, Homewood             19:37.39

1A/4A GIRLS GOLD TEAM WINNER: Westminster-Oak Mtn 23; White Plains 54; LAMP 72
1. Hannah Adams, Westminster         19:38.58
2. Hallie Porterfield, Westminster       19:55.20
3. Kathy Hammond, LAMP                 21:07.83

Brooks High School (host)
McFarland Park, Florence (Total participants listed in parentheses)

5A/7A BOYS TEAM WINNER: Corinth (MS) 45; Florence 71; Decatur 100
1. Trey Hurt, Florence                       16:23.40
2. Taylor Gibson, Prattville                16:34.13
3. Steele Joiner, Lawrence Co.           16:52.62

1A/4A BOYS TEAM WINNER: Deshler 108; Madison Academy 118; Rogers 136
1. Raleigh Stamps, Rogers                16:43.69
2. Nicolas Ulrich, Athens Bible           17:44.67
3. Carson Graves, Hatton                  17:53.36

5A/7A GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Florence 36; Lawrence County 48; Corinth (MS) 78
1. Mary Claire Ridegway, Florence    19:08.53
2. Emily Daniel, Lawrence Co.          19:41.77
3. Mary Ann Trimble, M. Shoals        20:44.21

1A/4A GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Hatton 52; Colbert Heights 83; Haleyville 95
1. Addison Embry, Lauderdale Co.     20:21.49
2. Katie Serrato, West Limestone       21:19.57
3. Ally Amerson, Hatton                    22:04.93


Houston Academy (host)
Eastgate Park, Dothan (Total participants listed in parentheses)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Enterprise 32; Houston Academy 56
1. Gunnar Smith, Houston Ac.           18:01.40
2. William Kim, Enterprise                18:10.54
3. Robert Woodall, Providence Chr.    18:17.74

GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Enterprise 31; Providence Christian 55
1. Grace Crim, Providence Chr.          22:04.02
2. Natalie Warner, Enterprise             22:59.02
3. Holley Hart, Houston Ac.               23:37.35

Scottsboro High School (host)
John R. Esslinger Trail, Scottsboro (Total participants listed in parentheses)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Scottsboro 29; Pisgah 98; Holly Pond 120
1. Hayden Judge, Scottsboro             15:58.62
2. Collin Mayfield, Geraldine              16:05.71
3. Cooper Atkins, Scottsboro             16:26.02

GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Fort Payne 36; Holly Pond 45; Pisgah 75
1. Maddie Gossett, Scottsboro           19:11.26
2. Camilla Chambers, Holly Pond       19:28.81
3. Breanna Tankersley, Holly Pond     23:22.48

Christian Brothers (host)
Mike Rose Soccer Complex, Memphis, TN (Total participants listed in parentheses)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Huntsville 40; Bartlett (MS) 125; Hewitt-Trussville (6th) 220
1. Evan Allen, Chester Co. (TN)        15:26.26
2. Jackson Williams, Arlington (TN)   15:38.43
8. Jackson Danner, Huntsville           16:09.70

GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Davies County (KY) 84; Hewitt-Trussville (7th) 205.
1. Clara O’Shea, Madison Central (TN)            18:07.17
2. Presley Miles, Saint James                         18:34.80

Starr’s Mill High School (host)
Heritage Christian Church, GA (Total participants listed in parentheses)

BOYS TEAM WINNER: Auburn 60; Westminster (GA) 92; Smiths Station (9th) 331
1. Devin Wade, Whitfield Ac (GA)       15:24.60
6. Stewart Brown, Auburn                  15:38.43
8. Savian Taylor, Smiths Station        16:35.09

GIRLS TEAM WINNER: Auburn 52; Starr’s Mill (GA) 103
1. Erin Fegans, Landmark Chr.           18:18.53
2. Samantha Rogers, Auburn              18:27.12
7. Harper McGowan, Auburn             19:27.30

Milestone Wins Captured AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight in Busy Week 2

   MONTGOMERY – Two veteran high school volleyball coaches and another high school team emerged this week in the limelight after posting milestone wins last week in the second week of AHSAA volleyball action.
    Lexington High School volleyball coach Melissa Hammond notched the 1,000th win of her storied career last weekend, and earlier in the week, Enterprise Coach Jamie Wiggins captured the 600th win of her outstanding career. And in the Wiregrass, Houston Academy’s girls’ volleyball team ended more than 14 years of frustration by finally beating arch-rival Providence Christian in a volleyball match played at Dothan.
    All three milestones grab the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight this week.
Hammond and Wiggins are both products of the AHSAA’s outstanding volleyball legacy. Both were outstanding players in high school, and both were able to take that success to the coaching box and are making a big impact in both their coaching careers.
     Hammond, who guided Lexington a 47-7 record in 2018 and a semifinal berth at the AHSAA Elite Eight State Championships at Birmingham, saw her Bears go 3-2 in the West Morgan Invitational last weekend, beating Russellville 23-25, 25-19, 15-9 for the first win in the tourney and for her 1,000th career victory.
    The attention caught her by surprise. “I have not really thought about it. I guess year after year you don’t think about these things, or at least I don’t,” Hammond told the Florence Times Daily. “Year after year you’ve got so many talented girls coming up. That’s what I’ve always been around. That helps.”
     A.G. White had 28 kills and four blocks in the tourney while Lila Beth Turner had 24 kills and seven aces, Lily Hanback contributed 20 kills, eight blocks and six aces, and Macy Hanback had 48 assists.
   Wiggins was a standout at Kinston High School before moving into the coaching ranks, first at her alma mater, before moving to Class 7A Enterprise, watched her Wildcats beat Charles Henderson in a regular-season match 25-18, 25-5, 25-12 for the 600th win over career. Like Hammond, her team has been a regular qualifier for the Elite Eight state tourney. Last year’s team finished 40-8, losing in the quarterfinals.
    Tatiana Bonilla had six aces and 10 digs in the win over the Trojans. Morgan Harrelson also had nine assists and three service aces, and Ali Wiggins recorded nine kills and three aces.
     Houston Academy’s volleyball team, coached by Vanessa Howell, posted the school’s first high school volleyball match win over arch-rival Providence Christian 25-23, 22-25, 15-12. PCA Coach Bill Oldfield, who has built Providence into one of the top programs in Alabama, said he has been coaching the Eagles for 14 years and could not recall a Raiders’ win in the series.
   “It is a long time coming for us,” Howell told the Dothan Eagle. “We have been working for this for a long time. Providence is always such a fantastic team and they play such fantastic defense. We came out so strong right off the bat and our girls played well together. We maximized our strengths today. I really saw all the things we have been working on come together.”
   Oldfield tipped his hat to the Eagles’ Dothan rivals. “I give all the credit in the world to them,” he said. “They played great. They played good defense. They served well and they certainly hit well. HA did a great job. All the kudos in the world to them.”
    Setter Ashton Conner led the Houston Academy effort with 23 assists. Irina Martin had 11 kills and two digs and Mattie Havas had five kills. Martin finished the week with 40 kills in four matches.

Other top performances reported:
Had a tremendous tournament effort with 108 kills, 11 service aces and 17 blocks as the defending Class 5A state champion Lady Vikings (18-2) won nine matches in a row to win the prestigious Choo-Choo Classic tourney at Chattanooga.
GRACE CARR, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Had 80 kills, 82 digs and 10 service aces as the Spartans (14-5) went 7-3 for the week. Teammate Ann Vandevelde handed out 222 assists.
JACI PARKER, REHOBETH: Totaled 20 kills in a 3-2 win over Dothan. The Rebels won the hard-fought match 6-25, 25-12, 25-19, 23-25, 15-10.
KAILA SISK, SARALAND: Managed 18 kills and two aces in one match last week.
KELSEY TANGLE, THOMPSON: Had a big week with 20 aces, 12 kills, 166 assists and 30 digs as the Warriors (14-3) won 8-of-9 matches for the week, including wins over top-ranked Mountain Brook and defending 2A state champion Addison.
SAVANNAH RUTLEDGE, ALBERTVILLE: Led the Aggies (11-0) to nine match wins, including a victory over Buckhorn in the finals of the Albertville Invitational. She finished with 103 assist, 31 kills, 15 blocks, 18 digs and 10 aces.
AUTUMN MAYES, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Had 85 kills, 47 digs and 21 aces as the Eagles (9-1) won the Mayor’s Cup tourney at Montgomery.
RYA McKINNON, HOOVER: Helped the Lady Bucs (10-3) reach the championship match of the Volley in the Ville tourney at Knoxville (TN) with 92 kills and 21 aces during Hoover’s 8-1 week.
AVERY RODGERS, SPANISH FORT: Totaled 80 kills, 34 digs and six blocks as the Toros (11-4) went 5-3 on the week.
EMILY BUHL, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Posted 71 kills, 59 digs and five aces to lead the Admirals to the semifinals of the Ironman Tourney in Huntsville.
GRAYSON EVANS, CURRY: Had 117 kills, 14 blocks and 52 digs as Curry (13-4) won 10 of 13 matches played. The Yellow Jackets were 6-3 in the Choo-Choo Classic tourney at Chattanooga (TN).
ANN MARGARET KEENER, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: In 11 matches, she had 217 assists, 90 digs and 20 aces for the Wildcats (8-10).
MOLLY REYNOLDS, WESTMINSTER-OAK MOUNTAIN: Totaled 15 kills and 15 blocks as the Knights won the Lincoln Invitational tourney.
FAITH PETERS, KINSTON: Recorded 12 kills and six blocks as the Bulldogs (7-1) posted wins over 4A Andalusia and 2A Zion Chapel.
LOGAN HORNE, BREWBAKER TECH: Had 53 kills, 33 digs and 14 service aces in nine matches for Brewbaker.


Minor vs. Jackson-Olin Featured in AHSAA TV/NFHS Network Game of the Week Thursday

week 2 helmets.JPG

234 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Sept. 4 – Sept. 12

    MONTGOMERY – Two Birmingham neighbors, Minor and Jackson-Olin high schools, will square off in the AHSAA TV Network’s Football Game of the Week Thursday night as the prep season moved to Week 2.
     In addition, the NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream a record 234 events over the Sept. 4-Sept. 12 time period with 111 football games, 122 volleyball matches and on swim meet scheduled already.
      Jackson-Olin (1-1) and Minor (0-2) will grab the spotlight Thursday night, however, as the e second installment of the AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. The Class 6A, Region 5 battle will be produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM 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.
      Jackson-Olin’s Mustangs rolled to the school’s first perfect 10-0 regular season in 2018. Coach Tim Vakakes’ squad won the Region 5 title with a 6-0 record before losing 35-32 in the first round of 6A state playoffs to Decatur. The 10 regular-season wins surpassed the previous best established by Jackson-Olin in 1990. That team was anchored by future University of Alabama and NFL star David Palmer, who earned the state’s Mr. Football honors for that season. Leading this year’s team is Alabama commit Quandarrius Robinson, a 6foot-5, 230-pound linebacker rated among the top defensive prospects in the nation.
    The Mustangs had a 12-game regular-season win streak snapped last week in a 38-12 loss to Shades Valley. Vakakes, now in his seventh season, took over a struggling program in after 2013 and has seen his team go from 1-9 the first year to last year’s 10-1 finish.
    Coach Adrian Abrams is in his second season as head coach at Minor. He led the Tigers to the 6A state playoffs last season. Minor dropped a close 10-7 decision to Muscle Shoals in the first round.  The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Ramsay 21-18 in the 2019 season opener and fell 20-7 last week to Paul Bryant in another hard-fought game. Minor won the region title in 2016 with a perfect 6-0 mark and 11-2 overall record. Among the Tigers’ standouts is all-purpose back Jamari Jemison, a big-play man on offense in the backfield and at receiver.
      Four varsity games are set for Thursday night with Wenonah vs. Woodlawn and Lee-Montgomery vs. Jeff Davis both set for the NFHS Network’s live-stream events. On Friday, 55 football varsity games are scheduled including five games in Class 1A; three in Class 2A; four in Class 3A; five in Class 4A; four in Class 5A; 18 in Class 6A; and 16 in Class 7A. Another NFHS Network record will be set Monday, Sept. 9 when 25 junior-varsity and nine freshman football games are live-streamed.
      Volleyball is also setting records on the NFHS Network with 122 matches set over the weekend and early next week. Thursday’s slate is the largest ever for the AHSAA with 24 varsity matches and 22 junior-varsity matches for a total of 46 events planned by AHSAA member schools in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
       Among the top matches will be Addison at Hatton, Enterprise at Auburn, John Carroll Catholic at Mountain Brook and Pelham at Brewer. The 234 total surpasses last week’s previous record-setting total (177) by 57 events.
    The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 12 can be found at 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:

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

Opelika’s Kory McCoy Sparks Opelika to 21-13 Victory over Arch-Rival Auburn

AHSAA Week 1 Defensive Football Spotlight

    MONTGOMERY – In a series that had been almost dead-even over 90 years, Opelika High School linebacker Kory McCoy took made sure the series would not get any tighter … not on his watch.
    McCoy had 12 tackles and one sack to earn lead the Bulldogs to a 21-13 victory over Auburn last week to earn the AHSAA Defensive Football Spotlight for week 1 in the process. Coach Erik Speakman has seen his defense allow just 20 points in the first two games this season – thanks in big part to the big-play leadership of McCoy. He had plenty of help, however. Teammate Dino Martin added nine tackles and two sacks as Opelika extended its lead in the series to 47-44-3.
    Auburn had won the last two to close the gap. Most years, this rivalry goes down to the wire. In fact, 12 of the last 20 games have been settled by a touchdown or less. Since the series started in 1917, only 96 points separate the two teams. The Bulldogs have scored 1,473 points (16.2 ppg) and Auburn has scored 1,377 (15.1 ppg) over that span. The series has been highlighted by 28 shutouts, 15 by Opelika and 13 by Auburn. The 1944 game ended in a 0-0 tie.
    Other top defensive performances reported from last week’s games include:

DYLAN CREECH, GENEVA: The Panthers' linebacker recorded 18 tackles on defense, three for losses, including a key stop short of a first down on third-and-3 at the 18 in the final minute of Geneva's 34-26 win over Geneva County. Creech also rushed for 137 yards on 14 carries, including a 56-yard TD run.

JACKSON BRATTON, MUSCLE SHOALS: Totaled 11 tackles, including one sack, and forced a fumble as the Trojans beat Bob Jones 46-19.
JAYLEN FAISON, DOTHAN: Recorded 10 tackles and an interception as the Wolves downed Wetumpka 54-41 for the new consolidated school’s first win.
SEAN SMITH, PIEDMONT: Blocked a punt that set up the Bulldogs' first touchdown and had nine tackles in their 28-16 win over Addison. Four of his tackles resulted in losses.

WILL TURNER, HEADLAND: Led the Rams’ defense with 13 tackles in a 36-34 win over Highland Home.

CHASE TRAVIS, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Had two interceptions in a 17-14 loss to Chelsea.
MICHAEL CHENG, DECATUR HERITAGE: Intercepted a pair of passes in Decatur Heritage’s 42-6 win over Sumiton Christian. His first pick set up a TD and he returned the second one for a touchdown.
TREY STITTS, CEDAR BLUFF: Sealed a 14-12 win over Spring Garden with an interception with 1:17 remaining.
ANTOINE WILLIAMS, PINSON VALLEY: Recorded nine tackles, including 2½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks, in a 27-7 victory over Ramsay.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS, GAYLESVILLE: Totaled 10 tackles in Gaylesville’s 46-6 win over Asbury.
WILL BROOKS, VESTAVIA HILLS: Returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown in a 49-7 victory over Homewood.


Chelsea’s Cooper Neal Boots the Hornets to a 17-14 Win over Briarwood Christian’s Lions

AHSAA Week 1 Special Team Football Spotlight

    MONTGOMERY – Chelsea High School place-kicker Cooper Neal delivered a 49–yard field goal in the second quarter to lift the Hornets to a 17-14 win over Briarwood Christian last Friday.
    Neal earned the AHSAA Special Teams Football Spotlight as Chelsea beat the Lions for the first time since 2016 and for just the 10th time in the 33-year series. Briarwood owns a 21-10-1 series edge. The victory evened the record for the Hornets (1-1) of Coach Dustin Goodwin in the series during his tenure. Briarwood (0-1), coached by first-year head coach Matthew Forester, got a big boost from its special teams when Luke Prewett returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter to cut Chelsea’s lead to 14-7. Neal drilled his 49-yarder, that cleared the goal post by a good 10 yards.
    Neal also had two extra points in the win and edged Evan Byrd of Lexington, who booted a 27-yard field goal in the fourth period to lift the Bears to 3-0 win over Rogers. It was Lexington’s first victory over their rivals since 2014...
    Other top special team performances reported from last week’s games include:

JAYLEN STINSON, OPELIKA: Punted for a 50-yard average, blocked a kick, had eight tackles and an interception as the Bulldogs beat rival Auburn 21-13.
JASON PEREZ, COLLINSVILLE: Booted a 48-yard field goal eight seconds into the second quarter and was 5-for-5 on extra points in the Panthers' 40-13 win over Crossville. He also had an interception on defense.
LUKE PREWETT, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD in the Lions’ 17-14 setback to Chelsea.
EMMANUEL HENDERSON, GENEVA COUNTY: Accounted for 298 combined yards in rushing and kick/punt returns and had three touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 34-26 loss to Geneva. He had 144 yards and TD runs of 49 and 4 yards rushing and had kick returns of 66 and 44 yards and a punt return of 38 yards. The 66-yarder was returned for a TD.

CHAZ POPE, SPRING GARDEN: Had an interception in the third quarter and a big kick return down to Cedar Bluff's 6-yard line to set up Luke Welsh's go-ahead touchdown with 5:40 remaining in the Panthers' 14-12 loss to Cedar Bluff.