MONTGOMERY – Spanish Fort High School quarterback Tyler Johnston opened the season with a bang Saturday night, connecting with Kristian Cotton on a 90-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to give the Toros an early two-touchdown lead in the final game of the 2014 Champions Challenge.
Johnston, who rushed for 101 yards on 12 carries and scored the game’s first TD on a 20-yard first-quarter run, finished the game 16 of 24 passing for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns as Spanish Fort (1-0) won its 25th straight game with a 42-14 win over Stanhope Elmore (0-1).
Cotton also caught TD passes of 90, 26 and 16 yards in the first half and added a 30-yard reception in the third quarter to set a Champions Challenge record with four TD receptions. His 16-yarder came on the final play of the first half when he made a spectacular grab in the end zone over the arms of a Stanhope defender. Cotton wound up with seven receptions for 199 yards.
LaDarrell Pettway had a 74-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter for Coach Mark Freeman’s Toros.
Johnston’s 90-yard connection to Cotton was upstaged in the second quarter, however, when Mustangs quarterback Tanner Anderson completed a pass to Michael Brown that covered 99 yards and Stanhope Elmore’s first touchdown of the night.
The 99-yard reception ties a state record for the longest on record and just the 10th in state history. The last receiver to snag a 99-yarder was Etowah’s Darrin Peterson in a 21-14 win over Fort Payne in 2011.
Brown also caught a 30-yard TD pass later in the second quarter for Stanhope’s second TD. He had the two catches for 129 yards.
Cameron Harrison added 99 yards rushing for Spanish Fort, which had 251 rushing yards and 604 yards overall. Pettway had six catches for the Toros for 129 yards.
Kareem Jackson led Coach Jeff Foshee’s Mustangs with 94 yards on seven carries, and Bennie Smith had 72 yards on 13 attempts.
Alijah Reeves led Stanhope Elmore’s defense with 13 tackles and an interception. Timothy Brown added 10 stops.
Pacing Spanish Fort’s defense were Tre Threat, Maurice Cole and Thomas Johnston with six stops each. The Toros made 11 tackles behind the line for 39 yards in losses.