MONTGOMERY – An act of kindness and outstanding sportsmanship captured the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for the first round of the State Football Playoffs.
Saks High School Principal Jody Whaley has nothing but praise for Fayette County High School and its administration – led by Principal Jeremy Madden.
Fayette County hosted the Class 4A, first-round football game versus Saks last Friday with the host Tigers winning the hard-fought game 20-7.
Fayette also won the admiration of Whaley and the large Saks fan base that followed their team to the contest. Their acts off the field and the response it garnered catapulted Fayette and Saks into this week’s Prep Spotlight.
Whaley explained in this poignant email:
“I haven’t missed a single high school football game in the 19 years that I have been a school administrator and I am telling you that Fayette County is the best kept secret in the state. Let me name some of the reasons.
- Fayette County’s principal – He sent me a complete itinerary earlier in the week that provided vital information to my head coach, band director, cheer coach, even my fans. He also answered my phone call one hour before kickoff (the most hectic time possible for a high school principal). I told him our spirit bus broke down 30 miles from the school. He made me feel like we were his number one concern. He told me he would get us some help and that is exactly what he did.”
- The Transportation supervisor – He called me seconds after I hung up with the principal and he told me that mechanics were on the way to the stranded bus. Rather than letting us chance it on a bus that may or may not make it back to Saks High, he provided us with a Fayette County bus to return home in after the game. Countless (other) people from Fayette County pulled over to offer assistance to my students on the stranded bus.
- The Fayette County band students who went out of their way to tell our fans how great our Saks band was.
- All of the Fayette County fans who wanted to know the condition of the Saks player that was carted off and sent to the Fayette County Medical Center. Thank you for your prayers. He was released from the medical center and is going to need to see an orthopedic specialist. It was very noticeable how every single fan in the stadium went to complete silence every time an injured player was getting medical assistance on the field. (Fayette) fans are second to none.
- The two volunteer Fayette County deputies who stayed on our side the entire night to provide us with any assistance we needed (We never needed any).
- The head football coach - (Lance Tucker) personally called me earlier in the week and answered about 20 questions that I had ranging from where to park the band busses to the best three places to eat in Fayette County. He answered every question and he even gave me his personal cell number and told me to call if I had any more questions. FYI, I chose Sam’s Smoke House, WOW!
Whaley said he has heard numerous compliments from Saks fans about the generosity of everyone at Fayette County High School.
“ I’m certain I will hear more as the week goes on. I am going to call their principal and tell (Jeremy Madden) that his entire community deserves an extra 10-minute break for showing so much class.”
In other highlights from the first week of the AHSAA 2016 football playoffs:
TROJANS WELCOMES COACH BACK WITH PLAYOFF WIN: Saint James head football coach Jimmy Perry was on the operating table having multiple stents placed in the arteries near his heart just days before last Friday night’s 49-21 Class 4A state playoff win over Satsuma. Perry, who won his first playoff game at St. James and picked up his first postseason win since 2011, said prior to the game that the events gave him an even clearer perspective on the important things in life and made him appreciate more the relationships he has shared with family, coaches, players and friends.
The win give him a 99-52 career coaching record in 13 seasons, five at Saint James, three at St. Paul’s Episcopal and five at Robert E. Lee. He also spent nine years (2000-09) as an off-the-field assistant coach at Auburn.
CITRONELLE’S LB RECORDS 28 TACKLES: Justin Roberts, a linebacker, had 28 tackles in a 35-21 Class 5A playoff loss to unbeaten Carroll of Ozark. His total ties him for sixth most tackles in a single game in AHSAA history. The all-time record of 36 tackles was made by Hamilton’s Andy Stidham in a 20-13 win over Haleyville in 1996. Melvin Cotton of Holt had 31 in a 1998 game versus Bibb County; Mike DuBose 30 versus Pike County in 1968; Adam Crosby of New Brockton and Carlos Salinas of Frisco City 29 each in 2006 and 1999, respectively; Clarence Brown of Berry and Sean Anderson of Abbeville 28 each in games played in 2012.
HACKLEBURG NOTCHES HUDSON’S 75TH WIN: The Panthers (9-2) beat Lynn 35-6 in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs as Stone Fincher ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries to give Coach Rod Hudson his 75th career win in just his eighth season at the helm. Hudson is 75-22, a winning percentage of .757.
CHIPPER LARTIGUE and ZACH MOODE, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: The offensive linemen helped open holes for Huskies running backs to score seven rushing touchdowns as Hewitt-Trussville (11-0) beat Oak Mountain 63-21 in the 7A playoffs.
ALABAMA ALL-STAR WATCH:
SPANISH FORT’S JOHNSTON SETS AHSAA RECORD: The Toros senior increased his season total to 161 tackles with last Friday’s performance versus Carver-Montgomery in a 23-22 playoff win and now has 638 career tackles, a new AHSAA record. The record was previously set by former Alabama All-Star Demarco McNeil of Blount (622) from 1996-98.
Johnston and Spanish Fort teammate Justin Thomas, who has 136 career tackles, will both be in the 30th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game Dec. 10 at Cramton Bowl.
JAXTON CARSON, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: One of three running backs chosen for the Alabama All-Star Team, Carson ran nine times for 123 yards to lead the Red Devils past Murphy 56-7 in the Class 7A playoffs. His 49-yard TD run opened the second half for Central-Phenix City.
DAULTON HYATT, ETOWAH: One of two quarterbacks chosen for the Alabama All-Stars, he completed 11-of-14 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns in the Blue Devils' 44-27 Class 5A playoff win over Mae Jemison.
CHADARIUS TOWNSEND, TANNER: The all-purpose back, who was selected to play for the Alabama stars as a defensive back, ran for 144 yards and three scores (67, 47 and 8 yards) on eight carries and also completed 5-of-9 passes for 206 yards with two touchdowns (75 and 40 yards) in the Rattlers’ 42-14 Class 2A win over Sulligent.
Tickets for the Alabama-Mississippi Classic can be purchased on line at www.preptix.com.
IVORY STARR, CEDAR BLUFF: Churned out 303 yards rushing on 26 carries and scored three touchdowns (43, 1, 46 yards) in the Tigers' 41-20 Class 1A playoff victory over Berry.
GARRETT SANDERS, G.W. LONG: Rushed for 287 yards and four touchdowns and also threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Janish to spark the Rebels (10-0) to a 54-21 Class 2A win over J.U. Blacksher.
ANTONIO ROBINSON, AUSTIN: Ran for 197 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Black Bears built a 41-0 lead en route to a 41-19 Class 6A playoff win over Pell City. Robinson finished with 22 carries and 223 yards total.
LADARIUS WOODS, DECATUR: Ran for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries in a 35-10 win over Cullman.
ZACK ALFORD, GOSHEN: Rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in a 48-26 Class 2A win over Verbena. Alford’s TD runs were 44 and 48 yards.
TREY HARRIS, NORTH JACKSON: Rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns (75, 38, 20 and 4 yards) and passed for s 34-yard score as the Chiefs beat Wilson 41-7 in Class 4A.
JAHARI BROWN, NEW BROCTON: Had 196 yards and three touchdowns (1, 62 and 58 yards) as the Gamecocks won its 2A playoff opener 45-16 over Keith.
DAMON WILLIAMS, GADSDEN CITY: Rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries in the Titans' 15-7 Class 7A win over Mountain Brook.
LEE STANLEY, PIEDMONT: Rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the Bulldogs' 55-26 Class 3A victory over Holly Pond.
DEE WILLIAMS, ELBA: Had 182 yards and five touchdowns (14, 30, 7, 42, 14 yards) on 21 carries and added two receptions for 22 yards in the defending state champion Tigers’ 40-8 Class 2A win over R.C. Hatch.
DEKARLOS BILLINGSLEY, SCOTTSBORO: Had 21 attempts for 164 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 41 yards and defensively made 21 tackles as the unbeaten Wildcats (11-0) beat Lawrence County 38-27.
KHYMEL CHAVERST, PINSON VALLEY: Rushed 21 times for 160 yards, including two fourth-quarter TDs, as Pinson Valley downed Jackson-Olin 31-5 in a Class 6A playoff contest.
DAKOTA LAMBERT, SPRING GARDEN: Returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown, hauled in a 25-yard TD pass from Ben Ivey and rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in the Panthers' 40-14 Class 1A victory over South Lamar.
CORY THOMAS, ETOWAH: Rushed 19 times for 154 yards and a touchdown in the Blue Devils' 44-27 win over Mae Jemison.
MICHAEL MATTHEWS, UMS-WRIGHT: Ran for 169 yards and two TDs as the Bulldogs won its 4A playoff opener over Dale County 36-0.
KOY CHAPMAN, GORDO: Completed 15-of-21 passes for 327 yards and five touchdowns in a 55-14 Class 3A victory over Prattville Christian.
COLE FREDERICK, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Was 19-of-25 passing for 286 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots (11-0) beat Benjamin Russell 40-16 in the 6A playoffs.
MATT HIOTT, BIBB COUNTY: Scored on a 1-yard run in the first possession of overtime to lead the Choctaws to a 41-34 playoff win over Munford. He was 11-of-18 passing for 157 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 77 yards and the game-clinching TD.
BO NIX, SCOTTSBORO: Had 266 totals yards and accounted for three TDs in the Wildcats’ 38-27 Class 5A win over Lawrence County. He was 10-of-20 passing for 138 yards and rushed for 128 yards and three scores on 15 carries.
KADARIUS TONEY, BLOUNT: Passed for 174 yards and rushed for 105 yards and two TDs as Blount nipped Dothan 15-7 in the 6A playoffs.
MALCOLM ASKEW, McADORY: Was 13-of-19 passing for 213 yards and three touchdowns in the Jackets’ 24-7 Class 6A win over Wetumpka. Willie Langham had all three TD receptions.
JACOB FREE, BRANTLEY: Was 7-of-12 passing for 184 yards and an 80-yard TD connection to Adrian Person Jr., as Brantley beat Marengo 55-38 in the 1A playoffs.
GRAYSON EDGEMON, MADISON ACADEMY: Was 14-of-21 passing for 210 yards and five touchdowns (33, 18, 10, 10 and 4 yards) in a 51-13 Class 4A win over Central-Florence.
TYREN DUPREE, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Completed 10-of-15 pass attempts for 161 yards and two touchdowns (52, 24 yards) and rushed for 97 yards on 18 carries in the Warriors' 29-22 Class 4A victory over Winfield.
LANDON JOHNSON, HOKES BLUFF: Was 8-of-10 passing for 193 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another in the Eagles' 24-8 victory over Haleyville.
BRANDON CROSBY, MAE JEMISON: Completed 11-of-25 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns (15, 11 and 4 yards), and ran for 80 yards on 21 carries in a 44-27 Class 5A loss at Etowah.
ANDY NOLES, ETOWAH: Had four catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Devils' 44-27 win over Mae Jemison.
REED BLANKENSHIP, WEST LIMESTONE: Snagged TD passes of 20 and 17 yards and threw a 2-yard TD pass in the Wildcats’ 28-26 Class 4A win over Madison County.
JAYLOND ADAMS, MINOR: Had 253 all-purpose yards to lead Minor in a come-from-behind 42-21 Class 6A win over Homewood. He had two TDs as the Tigers scored 30 points in the final quarter.
JAHMIANR FILS-AIME’, DALEVILLE: Recorded 21 tackles in a 21-14 Class 3A loss to Bayside Academy.
TRENT COCHRAN-GILL, TALLASSEE: Had two interceptions and eight tackles on defense and also had nine carries for 142 yards with a 56-yard touchdown on offense in the Tigers’ 29-26 Class 4A win over Hale County.
ETHAN WELLS, WICKSBURG: Returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers a two-score lead on the way to a 34-28 Class 3A playoff win at T.R. Miller. Wells also had six receptions for 96 yards and ran for 58 yards on nine carries with one touchdown.
BEN ABERCROMBIE, HOOVER: Snatched two of the four interceptions made by Hoover’s defense, returning one for a TD, and the Bucs beat Bob Jones 31-10 in the Class 7A playoffs.
BEN McGOUGH, DECATUR HERITAGE: Made 15 tackles and caught an 8-yard touchdown in a 35-8 Class 1A win over Phillips.
JUSTIN CULVER, SCOTTSBORO: Made 12 tackles, including two for losses, in a 38-27 win over Lawrence County.
JACKSON JOHNSON, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Had two interceptions, returning one for a 21-yard touchdown, to lift the defending Class 7A state champion Yellow Jackets (11-0) to a 46-14 win over Jeff Davis.
ISAIHA JONES, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers’ 41-20 Class 1A win over Berry.
CALEB RANSUM, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Posted a sack for a 12-yard loss on fourth down inside Warriors territory in the fourth quarter, then later recovered a fumble inside the Cherokee County 10-yard line to help preserve a 29-22 Class 4A playoff victory over Winfield.
TY REYNOLDS, DAPHNE: Had a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown as Daphne beat Sidney Lanier 24-6 in the opening round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Cramton Bowl. It was the Trojans’ ninth straight win after opening the season 0-2.
JORDAN GRADDY, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Recovered a Straughn fumble and also intercepted a pass as the Leopards beat the Tigers 21-7 in the 3A playoffs.
TRE’SHAWN BROWN, MONTEVALLO: Had nine tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown and caught a TD pass as the Bulldogs posted a 45-18 Class 3A playoff win over Southside-Selma.
CLAY KELLEY, NEW BROCKTON: Had 11 tackles in New Brockton’s 45-16 Class 2A win over Keith. He also rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns (44, 8 and 2 yards).
BRADON CARVER, SAND ROCK: The senior had 10 tackles on defense, rushed for 104 yards and a TD on 22 carries and also tossed a TD pass as the Wildcats nipped Reeltown 20-18 in the 2A playoffs.
MARTIN CHAFFIN, MORTIMER JORDAN: Had an interception on a two-point try with 33 seconds remaining to seal the Blue Devils’ 22-20 Class 5A win over Pleasant Grove.
QUINTON DOWNEY, SPRING GARDEN: Registered nine tackles on defense and rushed for 133 yards and two TDs on 19 carries on offense as Spring Garden beat South Lamar 40-14.
MATTHEW QUINN, SPANISH FORT: Kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired to lift the defending state champion Toros to a 23-22 Class 6A playoff win over Carver-Montgomery.
JONATHAN KILGO, GADSDEN CITY: Kicked field goals of 21, 32 and 46 yards in the Titans' 15-7 playoff win at Mountain Brook.
ANDREW OSTEEN, ENTERPRISE: Booted three field goals in four attempts, making attempts of 27, 37 and 38 yards, and was perfect on all six extra-point tries in the Wildcats’ 51-14 Class 7A win over Baker. Osteen also kicked seven of 10 kickoffs for touchbacks and had one punt for 47 yards.
MARCUS JONES, ENTERPRISE: Returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and added another 44-yard return to set up a Wildcat field goal in a 51-14 win over Baker.
RAUL HERNANDEZ, ETOWAH: Kicked a 45-yard field goal and was 5-for-6 in extra points in the Blue Devils' 44-27 win over Mae Jemison.
BAILEY POTTER, SCOTTSBORO: The senior kicker was true on five extra points and extended his current streak of successful extra-point kicks to 44 in a row as the Wildcats advanced in the 5A playoffs with a 38-27 win over Lawrence County. He also booted a 23-yard field and is now 7-of-8 on field goal tries this season.