BIRMINGHAM – G.W. Long High School’s 5-foot-7, 127-pound senior Garrett Sanders wears many hats for the Rebels football team of Coach Scott Horne. Last Friday night it was his foot, however, that provided the winning push as Long (4-0) knocked off New Brockton 31-28.
Sanders booted a booming 47-yard field goal as time expired to give G.W. Long the win and catapulted him into the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for Week 5 of the 2016 football season.
But his heroics did not begin with the kick. It capped a dramatic fourth-quarter that included 31 points being scored in the last 7:35. It featured three touchdowns in the last two minutes.
Dothan Eagle sportswriter David Mundee shared his description of the final seconds.
Sanders ran eight yards and got out of bounds with 3.4 seconds left to set up his winning field goal. He also kicked all four of his team’s extra points and had two punts for 94 yards, including a 42-yarder that was downed at the 1-yard line and a 52-yarder that turned the field with two minutes remaining in the game. Sanders finished with 86 yards rushing and one score on 10 carries and caught two passes for 55 yards.
The final quarter opened in a 14-14 tie. The Rebels, starting on the final play of the third quarter, moved 67 yards in nine plays with 7:25 left with Mackenzie Hicks scoring his second TD of the game on a 4-yard run.
New Brockton, coached by Justin Jones, tied the game again it on the ensuing series, capitalizing on a 59-yard Clay Kelley kickoff return. Quarterback Dalton Adkison ran it on five straight plays, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 5:24 left. Max Weeks’ extra point tied it at 21.
The Gamecocks held G.W. Long on the ensuing series, but Sanders turned the field position with his booming 52-yard punt to the New Brockton 20-yard line. On the next play, Rebels defensive end Jamel Beaty intercepted a Gamecocks pitch and ran 22 yards to the New Brockton 7. One play later Sanders scored, taking a speed sweep to the left before cutting inside at the edge for the touchdown and with 1:45 left, G.W. Long led 28-21.
The Gamecocks, though, were undaunted. Kelley ignited New Brockton with a 25-yard kickoff return. Starting at the Long 43-yard line, it took just five plays as Adkison connected with receiver Joseph Smith for the tying touchdown with 24.1 seconds left.
The Rebels got the ball at their own 48 and two plays later Sanders hauled in an 18-yard pass and got out of bounds at the 30 with time for one final play. The snap, the hold and the kick were perfect as the Rebels pulled out the win.
“I just wanted to be calm, take my time and get a good kick in,” Sanders said.
Horne said right before the kick he and his coaches were discussing different options, including a long pass play. “I know you might not believe this, but we don’t kick field goals in practice,” Horne said. “We had two options of what we wanted to do and we went with option two and he made it. Sometimes you make the right call and sometimes you don’t. It worked out for us. He made a great kick. The guys up front (on the line) held up and it went through.”
Horne said the intense game was much needed. “You want to be in a game like this before the playoffs,” he said.
New Brockton’s Jones also recognized the classic intensity. After the handshakes he screamed, “Second round. Let’s do this again.”
Jones also praised both sides. “Their kids made plays and our kids made plays all night long, back and forth. It was a heck of a ball game.”
Sanders’ effort edged out a big performance from Ohatchee running back Austin Tucker and Montevallo quarterback Zac Oden. Tucker rushed for 209 yards and scored five touchdowns as unbeaten Ohatchee (6-0) downed Ashville 54-20, improving to 6-0 for the first time since 2000. Tucker, who now had 1,053 yards rushing and 16 rushing TDs on the season, scored on runs of 9, 47, 11 and 18 yards. He also had a 20-yard TD catch.
Oden was 23-of-40 passing for 298 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 107 yards on 17 carries as the Bulldogs beat Bibb County 37-27. It was Montevallo’s first win over the Choctaws since 2004.
VESTAVIA CLAIMS SCHOOL’S 350TH WIN: Vestavia Hills running back Toliver Chatwood had 16 carries for 150 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-12 win over Helena as the Rebels, coached by Buddy Anderson, recorded the 350th win of the school’s program now in its 47th year. The school has won 65.8% of its games while compiling a 350-182-1 record during that span.
Anderson, who is in his 39th year as head coach, is 323-137-0 and ranks first in the AHSAA for football head-coaching wins. His 323 wins ties another former Alabama coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant, who retired as the University of Alabama’s head football coach after the 1982 season with a career record of 323-82-17. Bryant’s record for the Crimson Tide was 232-46-9 over 25 seasons from 1958-1982.
Five other AHSAA high school coaches have won 300 or more games – Walton Tucker (309), Jamie Riggs (305), Glenn Daniel (302) and Jimmie Moore (317) and Robert Herring (301). Moore, however, won 226 games in Mississippi, Herring won 154 games outside Alabama and Tucker won 25 games at non-AHSAA member schools. Anderson is the only coach currently still coaching.
In other highlights reported:
TREVELL SMITH, HOUSTON COUNTY: Rushed for 315 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns (17, 70 and 69 yards) in a 42-20 loss to Ashford.
RED WILLIAMS, GENEVA COUNTY: Rushed for 292 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries in the Bulldogs’ 36-14 win over Highland Home.
DREW HILL, HORSESHOE BEND: Had 19 carries for 236 yards and three touchdowns as the Generals beat Holtville 42-6. Teammate Trace Meadows added nine carries for 123 yards and two more scores for Coach Jason Franklin’s team.
TANNER TALLEY, SUMITON CHRISTIAN: Had 269 yards rushing in Sumiton’s 47-13 win over Vincent.
NOAH IGBINOGHENE, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Had 221 total yards and three touchdowns on just five touches as the Huskies beat Center Point 55-0. He had 172 yards rushing on three carries and 49 receiving yards on two catches.
MARKEVIOUS MATTHEWS, TALLASSEE: The sophomore piled up a career-high 228 yards rushing on 19 carries in the Tigers’ 34-27 loss to T.R. Miller.
JACKSON KEITH, DECATUR HERITAGE: Rushed for 219 yards and a 44-yard touchdown, caught a 4-yard TD pass and recovered an offensive fumble in the end zone for a score in a 42-22 win over Shoals Christian.
REYNARD ELLIS, SHADES VALLEY: Rushed 15 times for 207 yards in a 28-25 setback to Pinson Valley.
BRENT MYERS, BRINDLEE MOUNTAIN: Had 30 carries for 193 yards as the Lions fell 19-16 to Douglas.
BEN IVEY & DAKOTA LAMBERT, SPRING GARDEN: Ivey rushed for 137 yards on 15 carries with six rushing touchdowns and two 2-point conversions while Lambert had 161 yards on 19 carries as the Panthers beat Donoho 45-23. Lambert also had two receptions for 33 yards and a 2-point conversion.
STEVONTE TULLIS, ASHFORD: Gained 181 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns in a 542-20 win over Houston County. He scored twice in the second half as the Yellow Jackets broke open a 21-20 game after intermission with 21 unanswered points.
JACOB SANDERS, MARION COUNTY: Rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns (24 and 51 yards) on 23 carries as the Raiders dropped a 40-28 decision to Carbon Hill.
MATTEHW MARQUET, CHELSEA: Rushed for 165 yards and passed for 101 and accounted for four touchdowns as the Hornets beat Gardendale 38-21.
DEKARLOS BILLINGSLEY, SCOTTSBORO: Registered 29 carries while gaining 146 yards as the Wildcats beat North Jackson 24-6. The senior running back scored two touchdowns and had seven tackles on defense.
RYAN WARREN, DALEVILLLE: Rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns (1 and 40) on 14 carries, had a 23-yard TD reception and threw a 26-yard halfback pass to the 1-yard line to set up the eventual winning touchdown in the third quarter as the Warhawks knocked off defending Class 2A state champion Elba 27-22 to snap a nine-game winning streak. The regular-season loss for Elba was just its second in the last 26 games. The Tigers have gone 32-3 in their last 35 games.
BRADEN CARVER, SAND ROCK: Rushed for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns (1 and 22 yards) 16 carries and caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jansen Alexander in the Wildcats' 34-14 win at Pisgah.
TYREN DUPREE, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries and a 12-yard touchdown and passed for 67 yards in the Warriors' 34-21 victory over Carver-Birmingham.
TAYLOR HAYES, PIEDMONT: Combined for 256 yards, 162 rushing and 94 passing, as the defensing 3A state champions beat defending 4A champ Leeds 29-14. Hayes accounted for all four TDs (three rushing and one passing) for the Bulldogs. It was Piedmont’s 16th straight win, the last loss coming on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 at the hands of Leeds in a 29-12 setback.
DEVNE DANIEL, CORNER: Led Corner to a 55-41 win over Oak Gove accounting for six touchdowns. He rushed 18 times for 183 yards and five touchdowns and completed 5-of-7 passes for 150 yards and another TD to finish with 333 total yards.
SETH WADSWORTH, SOUTHEASTERN: The junior quarterback completed 8-of-12 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 12 times for 69 yards and another TD in a 38-8 win over Brilliant. He intercepted a pass on defense and returned 86 yards for his fifth touchdown of the night to finish with 348 all-purpose yards.
MAURICE ROBINSON, MURPHY: Was 13-of-27 passing for 147 yards and rushed 17 times for 151 yards as Murphy snapped a three-game losing streak with a 28-21 victory over Saraland. Robinson rushed for three TDs (3, 46 and 9 yards) and passed for a 12-yard score to account for all four touchdowns.
BRANDON CROSBY, MAE JEMISON: Passed for 193 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 78 yards and one score and returned a fumble 40 yards for another TD in a 42-27 loss to Buckhorn.
CHAPPELLE WADE, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Was 20-of-36 passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-21 loss at Cherokee County.
ANDREW BARFOOT, SATSUMA: Completed 13-of-14 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as Satsuma nipped rival Citronelle 33-26.
CHASE OVERSTREET, BALDWIN COUNTY: Was 15-of-24 passing for 196 yards and four TDs as the Tigers beat Alma Bryant 35-14.
TREVOR OAKES, HARTSELLE: Passed for 295 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers beat Russellville 45-38.
JORDAN SEYMOUR, HAZEL GREEN: Was 22-of-30 passing for 197 yards and rushed for 56 yards on 13 carries in a 27-20 win over Sparkman. He provided two important touchdowns in the second-half comeback win.
PAYNE STANCIL, WEST END: Threw four touchdowns passes--all in the first half--in the Patriots' 27-25 win over Pleasant Valley. Stancil tossed TD passes of 30 and 8 yards to Andrew Little, 43 yards to Dylan Butler and 36 yards to Jordan Malin. Little also intercepted a Pleasant Valley pass with 2:32 remaining to seal the win.
DANIEL MANN, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 15-of-26 pass attempts for 179 yards and two touchdowns, both to Dallas Reed, as Collinsville beat Cedar Bluff 35-14.
DAULTON HYATT, ETOWAH: Completed 12-of-18 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and rushed five times for 26 yards as the Blue Devils beat Fort Payne 21-16.
CONNER HOWELL, GARDENDALE: Caught 12 passes for 220 yards and one TD in a 38-21 loss to Chelsea.
MARLON WILLIAMS, McGILL-TOOLEN: Had five pass receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets beat Blount 45-12.
WILL COOPER, HUNTSVILLE: Caught five passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns (57 and 54 yards) in a 40-21 win over Columbia.
TYRIQUE PURVIS, DECATUR: Snagged eight passes for 176 yards and two scores in the Red Raiders’ 34-14 win over Lee-Huntsville.
BRAXTON ROBINSON, ELBA: Caught 5 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns in a 27-22 loss to Daleville.
JOSHUA JONES, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Caught six passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams' 34-21 loss at Cherokee County.
DEVIN MARCH, HOUSTON COUNTY: Totaled 21 tackles with one quarterback sack in the Lions’ 42-20 loss to Ashford.
PRESTON GARNER, DOUGLAS: Made three interceptions for the Eagles as Douglas won its first game of the season 19-16 over Brindlee Mountain.
BRANDON HEARD, HORSESHOE BEND: Had 12 tackles and a sack in the Generals’ 42-7 win over Holtville.
MARCUS JONES, ENTERPRISE: Intercepted two passes and also batted down a lateral that teammate Darius Jones picked up and returned for a touchdown in the Wildcats’ 45-10 win over Theodore.
DANTRELL LINDOR, HEADLAND: Returned an interception for a touchdown for the winning touchdown as the Rams beat Providence Christian 13-7.
RICKY HALL, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Recorded 19 tackles in a 13-7 loss to Headland.
CARLOS JOHNSON, B.C. RAIN: The freshman nose guard had 11 tackles with three sacks in a 19-0 win over Williamson.
WILL IGNONT, BUCKHORN: Recorded 10 tackles--six for loss, three sacks and two pass breakups in a 42-27 win over Mae Jemison.
AUSTIN FREEMAN, SCOTTSBORO: Had eight tackles and an interception return for 61 yards in the Wildcats’ 24-6 win over North Jackson. Teammate Evans Wright also had eight tackles and recovered a fumble as a mainstay on the defensive line.
MARQUEL SHELTON, BESSEMER CITY: Had five tackles for losses and 11 total stops as the Tigers topped Wenonah 29-15.
HUNTER McCORD, SPRING GARDEN: Had seven tackles with two sacks as Spring Garden downed Donoho 45-23.
JAREN LOCKRIDGE, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Returned an interception for a touchdown as the Warriors beat Carver-Birmingham 34-21.
LANDON LAWSON, GAYLESVILLE: Had eight tackles on defense and rushed for 100 yards and a TD on 17 carries on offense as the Trojans fell to Appalachian 49-20.
CHASE WIDGEON, OHATHEE: Returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and returned four punts for 45 yards as the Indians beat Ashville 54-20.
GARRET KENNEDY, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Blocked a punt in the fourth quarter that led to the game winning touchdown as the Warriors edged White Plains 21-19. He also rushed 14 times for 113 yards and a 65-yard TD.
SAM KIMEL, RANDOLPH: Returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, had two TD receptions and a long run to finish with 306 all-purpose yards as Randolph beat Ardmore 48-13.
KYRIQ McDONALD, JAMES CLEMENS: Scored on an 81-yard kick return, a 30-yard interceptions return and a 50-yard run to help the Jets beat Clay-Chalkville 28-6.
GRANT WOODRUFF, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Returned the opening kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown as Cottage Hill beat Chickasaw 47-14 for the Warriors’ third straight win. He also rushed for one TD and caught a pass for another score.
ANDREW OSTEEN, ENTERPRISE: The Wildcats kicker made a 27-yard field goal, 6-of-6 extra points and punted twice for a 48.5 yard average with one of the two punts being downed inside the 20 during Enterprise's 45-10 win over Theodore.