Enterprise High School’s defense mounted a goal-line stand to stop Central-Phenix City in the waning moments of its 17-14 victory.
The triumph sealed a playoff berth for the Wildcats – and sealed the team a special place in the hearts of EHS fans everywhere for many years to come while grabbing the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for Week 9.
Keonte White led the stand – which culminated one of the greatest season comeback efforts in school history. White had 13 tackles, including stopping a Red Devils runner short of the goal line at the 1 on fourth down with just 30 seconds left to seal the win. He also had a hand in making the stop on third down – just inches from the end zone. The win on Thursday night, which was featured statewide as the Raycom AHSAA Game of the Week over the Raycom/AHSAA TV Network, secured a third-seed playoff berth for Enterprise.
“I can’t tell you just how proud I am of these kids,” head coach David Faulkner said of this signature win. “This is the kind of victory our program has been really needing.”
Enterprise (5-4) opened the season with two non-region wins but lost its first three region games to Jeff Davis, Auburn and Lee-Montgomery to find itself setting all alone at the bottom of the Class 7A, Region 2 standings on Oct. 2. Since then, Enterprise beat Prattville 28-20, Smiths Station 14-7 and Central to finish 3-3 in league play.
EHS football tradition runs deep, but since 1997, the Wildcats have missed the state playoffs six times and were beaten in the first round on 10 other occasions. Faulkner is the fourth head coach in the storied program since Hall of Fame coach Bill Bacon retired after the 2000 season.
Enterprise, which travels to unbeaten Opelika (9-0) this week to close the regular season, ranks tied for fifth all-time with a 628-287-34 record dating back to 1913. EHS has a 68.6 winning percentage, which ties T.R. Miller as the best among the state’s 10 winningest programs. The Wildcats posted its last state championship in 1982 – 33 years ago.
The goal-line stand edged out a record-setting performance by Auburn High School senior place-kicker Sage Ledbetter and a sensational rushing effort by DAR’s Dalton Parks.
Ledbetter booted a state-record 61-yard field goal as the first half came to an end in the Tigers’ 31-7 Class 7A, Region 2 win over Smiths Station. The victory secured the No. 2 playoff seed for the upcoming state playoffs.
The field goal, which came on a free kick after a fair catch, broke the previous record (60 yards) set by Pelham place-kicker Michael Proctor in a 39-16 win over Mountain Brook in 1991. Proctor’s kick was also a free kick following a fair catch at the 50-yard line.
Ledbetter tied the AHSAA record for most field goals in a game (5) versus Jeff Davis in 2013. He had 19 points kicking in that win, which is also a single-game state record for kicking points scored.
Parks ran for 342 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-47, double-overtime victory over previously unbeaten Priceville. He also ran in a 2-point conversion to force OT, and had the game-winning 2-point run in the second overtime. He scored 34 points in the game. His effort overcame a 423-yard total offense effort by Kaleb Parker, Priceville’s senior quarterback, Barker completed 14-of-23 passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for 201 yards and three scores (including runs of 57 and 66 yards) on 21 carries in the double-overtime loss.
Several other milestones also made this week’s Prep Spotlight highlights.
TYLER DURHAM, BRILLIANT: The Brilliant High School senior tied a state record and for a brief moment tied a rare national record with his exceptional performance in a 35-34 loss to Lynn last week. His report was submitted after last week’s AHSAA Prep Spotlight had been published. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound speedster returned two kickoffs 88 and 80 yards for touchdowns in the one-point setback to equal an AHSAA state record shared by 12 others. Durham also had a 79-yard kickoff return for a third score – which would have tied the NFHS national record for a single game – but the third return was nullified for a penalty. He finished the night with 198 return yards on three returns, added a 55-yard TD run from scrimmage and a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown to close out his phenomenal performance.
The last player in the AHSAA to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a single game was Nick Thorn of Red Bay in 2014 in a 69-13 win over Phil Campbell.
The first on record was John Arnett of Coffee Springs in a 44-22 loss to Uriah in 1971.
BROTHER-SISTER DUO SCORE TOUCHDOWNS: With 4:01 left in the fourth quarter, behind the block of her brother, senior lineman Ethan Rogers, Kaitlyn Rogers found the end zone on a 6-yard run for Spring Garden’s final touchdown in a 50-6 victory. Kaitlyn and Ethan Rogers Earlier in the game, Ethan Rogers scored on a 1-yard touchdown run as the two became the first brother and sister duo to score touchdowns in the same high school game in Alabama. Kaitlyn is believed to be the only female to score a TD in a high school game in the AHSAA. That feat has been accomplished a few times in leagues outside the AHSAA.
RICHARD ROBERTSON, ANDALUSIA: The long-time boys’ basketball coach and former president of the AHSAA Central Board of Control became the first former board member to receive Central Board Emeritus status at last week’s October Central Board meeting. Robertson won almost 750 games as a basketball coach in a career that spanned 50 years. The AHSAA Hall of Fame member served faithfully on the Central Board and District 2 Board during much his tenure. He retired after 2014-15 and was also recently honored by Andalusia High School for his many years of outstanding service.
CEDAR BLUFF REGISTERS SCHOOL’S 500TH WIN: The Tigers won their 500th football game in school history with a 46-20 win over their longtime Cherokee County rival Gaylesville last week. Ivory Starr rushed for 275 yards, including 206 in the third quarter, on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 69, 43 and 42 yards.
Coach Jonathan McWhorter’s Tigers improved the Class 1A school’s overall record to 500-301-21 – dating back to the first season in 1930. In that time, there’s been 15 area/region championships won, including a Class 1A, Region 7 title this season. There has also been three state championships awarded to the Tigers by The Birmingham News (1959, 1961, 1962), and a state runner-up finish in the AHSAA state playoffs in 2006. Cedar’s Bluff faithful celebrated the program’s 85th anniversary by honoring all former football players and coaches at halftime of the Tigers’ 80th meeting with Gaylesville.
TRIPP CURRY NOTCHES 150TH CAREER WIN: One week after earning his 100th victory with the Cherokee County Warriors’ football program, Curry clinched his 150th win overall as a head coach with a 45-6 victory at White Plains. Curry is 101-69 in his 15th season with the Warriors, including the school’s only football state title in 2009. Including his five seasons at Springville, Curry is now 150-83 in his head coaching career.
In other top performances reported for Week 9:
KOBE JUSTICE, SUSAN MOORE: Operating out of the single-wing offensive set, Justice helped the Bulldogs clinch a playoff berth in Class 3A, Region 6 with 318 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 25 carries in Susan Moore’s 56-48 win over Hanceville. He also scored an AHSAA state single-game record six 2-point conversions to total 42 points on the night. Hunter Duncan added 159 yards rushing and two TDs for the Bulldogs.
CHRIS SHUFFORD, McKENZIE: Piled up 307 yards on 27 carries and scored all three touchdowns in his team’ 20-8 win over J.U. Blacksher.
MICHAEL MATTHEWS, UMS-WRIGHT: The junior rushed for five touchdowns and 306 yards as UMS-Wright (9-0) beat Satsuma 51-14.
DESMON TURNER, FORT PAYNE: Had 30 carries for 275 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a school record 37 on the season, as the Wildcats beat Southside-Gadsden 38-14.
ANDREW BROWN, WINSTON COUNTY: Rushed for 290 yards and six touchdowns on 20 carries and added a 16-yard touchdown reception as Winston County clinched a playoff berth in a 73-20 win over Vinemont. Brown had 229 yards and four scores on 14 carries in the first half.
B.J. SMALL, HANCEVILLE: Carried 9 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns (22, 24 and 70 yards) in a 56-48 loss to Susan Moore.
ZACH ALFORD, GOSHEN: Rushed for 233 yards and four touchdowns (13, 92, 10, 62 yards) and added two receptions for 61 yards, including a 48-yard TD reception, in the Eagles' 48-3 win over Zion Chapel that clinched a 2A state playoff berth.
BLAKE ADAMS, HAYDEN: Had 261 of the Wildcat’ 483 yards rushing 40-21 win over St. Clair County. He had 25 carries and scored three touchdowns. The win secured the Wildcats’ first playoff berth in 11 years and the first ever as a Class 5A school.
DEZMOND JOHNSON, SLOCOMB: Rushed for 233 yards and five touchdowns on just 12 carries in Slocomb's 55-18 win over Barbour County. Johnson had scoring runs of 17, 28, 26, 55 and 23 yards for Slocomb, which had three guys rush for better than 100 yards in the game, Darius Smith (123 yards) and Malik Troupe (116).
JABRONSKI WILLIAMS, CHARLES HENDERSON: Rushed for 219 yards and five touchdowns (5, 9, 10, 15 and 17 yards) on 19 carries in the Trojans' 64-26 win over Barbour County.
CHRISTIAN CRANDALL, COLD SPRINGS: Ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 48-7 win over Tarrant.
OSTIN McPHERSON, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Grinded out 188 yards on 37 carries in a tough 20-1 win over Vigor.
C.J. ROBERTS, CARROLL: Rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries during the Eagles' 49-35 win over Northview.
TYLER EZELL, ARITON: Rushed for 210 yards and five touchdowns on runs of 14, 1, 5, 1 and 4 yards in the Purple Cats' 51-49 win over Cottonwood that clinched a state playoff spot.
JARED SMITH, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Rushed for 189 yards on 18 carries with two TDs, including a 99-yard run to seal a 21-12 win over Oneonta.
T.C. LOWE, AUSTIN: Had just six carries but totaled 192 yards, including touchdown runs of 94 and 89 yards, as the Black Bears beat Hartselle 62-31.
MEMPHIS SISTRUNK, COTTONWOOD: Rushed for 201 yards on 22 carries with five touchdowns, scoring on runs of 6, 44, 1, 17 and 4 YARDS, in a 51-49 loss to Ariton.
GARRETT SANDERS, G.W. LONG: Rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the Rebels' 53-12 win over Houston County, which capped a second-straight unbeaten regular season for G.W. Long (9-0).
DYLAN KILPATRICK, FYFFE: Totaled 179 yards with 138 coming on 19 rush attempts and 41 on two pass receptions as the Red Devils beat Collinsville 42-14.
REED BLANKENSHIP, WEST LIMESTONE: Had Attempted 13 rush attempts for 144 yards and two touchdowns, completed 3-of-5 passes for 51 yards and had 12 tackles on defensive 21-14 victory over Wilson.
JORDAN BENTLEY, GUNTERSVILLE: Led the Wildcats (9-0) with 12 carries for 142 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 76-0 win over rival Boaz, the 19th straight home win for Guntersville. Bentley’s rushing totals for the season are 1,636 yards and 29 touchdowns after nine games. He has 31 total TDs this season and 98 for his career.
TAYLOR HAYES, PIEDMONT: Ran for 140 yards on 14 carries and scored on a 44-yard touchdown run in the Bulldogs' 35-14 victory over Weaver to clinch the Class 3A, Region 6 title.
JACKIE MATTHEWS, PINSON VALLEY: Was 17-of-30 passing for 302 yards and four touchdowns as the Indians stormed from a 22-17 deficit to beat Shades Valley 35-21.
TYLER JOHNSTON, SPANISH FORT: Was 14-of-18 passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns as the Toros (9-0) remained unbeaten with a 56-0 win over Robertsdale. The victory clinched the 6A, Region 1 title.
RAMSEY RIGBY, ELBA: Completed 14-of-16 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, as the Tigers beat Highland Home 64-6.
WARREN SHADER, OAK MOUNTAIN: Passed for 297 yards and one touchdown, and scored four rushing TDs in a 41-37 comeback win over Thompson. He scored two of his four rushing touchdowns in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter to cap the comeback effort.
BO NIX, SCOTTSBORO: Was 9-of-15 passing for 174 yards and three TDs, rushed for 82 yards on five carries and punted four times for a 37.2-yard average as Scottsboro clinched a 6A playoff berth with a 38-13 win over Arab.
QUINTAN SEWELL, ABBEVILLE: Completed only four passes, but each went for touchdowns and 133 total yards in the Yellow Jackets' 35-28 win over Dale County.
DAMON WILLIAMS, GADSDEN CITY: Rushed 21 times for 126 yards and four touchdowns as the Titans remained alive for a playoff berth with a 47-30 win over Class 7A, Region 4 foe Buckhorn.
PACE OZMINT, GLENCOE: Gained 144 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries and caught a 60-yard touchdown pass in a 48-8 win over Pleasant Valley.
REGINALD TODD, BLOUNT: Had three catches for 188 yards as Blount beat LeFlore 57-0.
CAVAOSEA STINSON, ELBA: Accounted for six touchdowns, three receiving and three rushing, in a 64-6 win over Highland Home.
JOEL BROCK, SAND ROCK: Caught three passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns (6, 55 yards) and picked off two passes, including one for a 75-yard score, in the Wildcats' 41-7 victory over Pisgah.
ALEX McNEAL, DALEVILLE: Knocked Pike County's Kamari Jackson out of bounds at the 1-yard line on the game's final play, preserving Daleville's 20-15 win over Pike County (7-1) to clinch the Class 3A, Region 2 title. The Warhawks' Coley Locke scored on a 2-yard run with 7.7 seconds left to put Daleville in front, capping a six-play 49-yard drive beginning with 1:08 drive left after Pike County went ahead 15-14. McNeal also rushed for 89 yards and scored one of the three DHS scores.
WILL ANDERSON, FORT PAYNE: Made two interceptions and four tackles to lead the Wildcats defense in a 38-14 win over Southside-Gadsden.
ETHAN McMINN, CULLMAN: Had 15 tackles in a 43-3 loss to Muscle Shoals.
ALEX MEDINA, WALKER: Had 14 tackles and a fumble recovery in Walker's Class 6A, Region 5 championship-clinching 7-3 victory over Hueytown.
TUFFY CASEY, ARITON: Was in on 14 tackles in Ariton's playoff-clinching 51-49 win over Cottonwood.
38-13 win over Arab.
STEPHEN JACKSON, SCOTTSBORO: Had 17 tackles and teammate Avery Sartain added 13 as the Wildcats beat Arab 38-13.
WYATT MOORE, NEW BROCKTON: Recorded 10 tackles and had an interception return to help New Brockton earn second place in Class 2A, Region 3 with a 65-0 win over Luverne.
JEREMY STNDFIELD, HAYDEN: The senior linebacker had 11 tackles, three for loss, in the Wildcats’ 40-21 victory over St. Clair County.
MARYON WILLIAMS, BAKER: Totaled 13 tackles, including two for losses, and returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown as the Hornets beat Mary Montgomery 38-7.
BRANDON BARNES, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Earned eight tackles, and blocked a field goal attempt on defense and added three receptions for 49 yards and a TD as the Eagles beat rival Houston Academy 28-10. Teammate Ricky Hall added 18 tackles.
BRAXTON PREUITT, ADDISON: Snared a pair of interceptions in a 43-14 win at Southeastern.
FISHER WILLOUGHBY, COLD SPRINGS: Had nine tackles and an interception in a 48-7 victory against Tarrant. He also scored two TDs on offense.
ISAIHA JONES, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned a fumble 77 yards for a touchdown, recovered another fumble on a kickoff, and caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Decker in the Tigers' 46-20 victory over Gaylesville.
KOBE SMITH, WEST POINT: Returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and ran for 136 yards and another score on 23 carries in a 28-27 loss to Lawrence County. Teammate Cameron Moore also returned a kickoff 76 yards to give the Warriors two in the first half.
JOHN JENKINS, JAMES CLEMENS: Returned a blocked punt 30 yards for a score and had a 70-yard interception return in a 59-7 win over Huntsville.
BRANDON PERDUE, DAPHNE: Returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD and added two 50-yard TD receptions as the Trojans beat Baldwin County 42-14.