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Hoover Scores Quickly to Beat Central In Champions Challenge Friday

     MONTGOMERY --  Hoover scored twice in the final 3:36 of the second quarter Friday night and then weathered a 51-minute lightning delay to post a 23-7 win over Central-Phenix City in the 11th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge high school football classic at Cramton Bowl.
    The Champions Challenge, an event of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association (AHSADCA), the AHSAA’s coaches’ wing, closes out the 2016 Classic Saturday night at 7 p.m. with Andalusia taking on Brooks in the third and final game.
     Central took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on Jaxton Carson’s 8-yard touchdown run that capped an eight-play, 55-yard march. Alvin Rentaria kicked the extra point.  Hoover put together is own eight-play, 55-yard drive late in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7. Coach Josh Niblett’s Bucs scored when quarterback Garrett Farquhar turned a pass-run option into a 2-yard TD strike to Joseph Timpa with 3:36 left in the period.  Barrett Pickering tied the game with the first of two first-half PATs.
     Hoover’s defense forced a punt on Central’s next possession, and Bucs return specialist Cortez Hall took the kick on one bounce at the Red Devils’ 48 and raced 35 yards to the Central 1. Five plays later, Farquhar scored on a 3-yard keeper with 53 seconds left in the half for a 14-7 lead.
    Coach Jamey DuBose’s team wasn’t done, however. A 15-yard penalty on Hoover and an 18-yard Carson run moved the Red Devils into Hoover territory near mid-field and quarterback Zion Webb added runs of 21 and 13 yards to get Central in scoring position at the Bucs 3 with three seconds left. With timed for only one play, Hoover stuffed Webb short of the goal line to send Hoover into intermission ahead.
    Hoover’s momentum continued in the second half as the Bucs posted nine more points on three Barrett Pickering field goals in a game that was delayed almost an hour due to inclement weather and lightning. Pickering’s kicks were 32, 37 and 29 yards. He also punted four times for a 35.2-yard average.
    Central (0-1) finished with 208 total yards and Hoover had 214.  Farquhar finished 8-of-25 passing for 153 yards and one TD.  Webb, who was the game’s leading rusher with 90 yards on 21 carries, was 6-of-26 passing for 51 yards for Prattville. Carson also had 64 yards on 15 carries and the Lions’ only TD.
     Hoover’s rusher was Vonte Brackett with 37 yards on 15 carries.  Shedrick Jackson had three pass receptions for 75 yards and Cortez Hall had three catches for 69 yards. Hall also had the 35-yard punt return.
     Bucs linebacker Ben Abercrombie register a game-high 11 tackles and Kholbe Coleman had eight stops. He also had an interception he returned 51 yards.
    Central’s Jarious Upshaw had 10 tackles and Markail Benton had seven stops. 



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