MONTGOMERY – Wenonah High School junior quarterback Carlos Rogers picked a perfect time to shine.
The 6-foot, 180-pound signal caller led the Dragons of Coach Ronald Cheatham to a 49-21 win over previously unbeaten Scottsboro (12-1) last week to advance to the Class 5A semifinals of the AHSAA’s 61st annual state football playoffs. Rogers was 10-of-17 passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for two more scores to grab the AHSAA Prep Playoff Spotlight for the quarterfinals.
Wenonah (10-2) travels to Briarwood Christian (12-1) Friday with the winner securing a spot in the 2016 Super 7 State Finals at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium Dec. 1.
Hoover (11-2) and defending champion McGill-Toolen Catholic (13-0) clinched Class 7A championship game berths last week and will open the Super 7 Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. in the first of seven state championship clashes. Lee County and Vestavia Hills will play first at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the third annual AHSAA Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game.
Senior wide receiver Demond Brown caught four of Rogers’ completions for 101 yards and three TDs, and senior running back Telvin Miller gained 173 yards on 30 rush attempts while scoring one TD.
“All week Coach said we were playing a good team that hasn’t been beaten,” Rogers told al.com reporter Anton Williams. “So when we got the ball, we just wanted to score on every possession. Through the week (Coach Cheatham) told us we could (win).”
Wenonah finished with 537 total yards, did not punt and did not commit a turnover. Rogers’ touchdown passes covered 22, 24 and 26 yards to Brown, and 31 yards to Anthony Hudson. Rogers sneaked in from the 1 on both his scores. The Dragons’ defense did the rest limiting Scottsboro’s strong offense to just 29 yards passing. Senior DeKarlos Billingsley led the Wildcats of Coach Pat Nix with 179 yards rushing on 27 carries and scored three TDs on runs of 63, 15 and 4 yards.
The trip to the football semifinals is the first in Wenonah school history. Cheatham, 158-128 in 28 seasons as head coach, led the Dragons to a 6-1 record and second-place finish in Region 5 this season. Briarwood won the region title beating Wenonah 15-14 at Wenonah in the regular season to finish 7-0.
The Lions, coached by Fred Yancey, beat Mortimer Jordan 15-0 last week to advance to the semis for the first time since 2011. Yancey, 255-90 in 27 seasons at Briarwood and 296-110-1 overall, guided his team to state 3A titles in 1998 and 1999 and the 5A crown in 2003. Briarwood has finished runner-up three times (2004, 22007 and most recently (2010).
Rogers’ Spotlight performance edged out two strong efforts by Kadarius Toney of Blount and Garrett Sanders of G.W. Long. Toney, a University of Florida commitment and member of the Alabama All-Stars set to play Mississippi in the 30th meeting of the Classic Dec. 10, passed for 493 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 108 yards and two more scores as Blount fell 54-51 to Park Crossing in the 6A quarterfinals. The 601 total yards ranks second behind AHSAA state record-holder Jack Poundstone’s 614 yards for Trinity Presbyterian against Cordova in the 2008 state playoffs. The 493 yards passing is 10th best in AHSAA history.
Sanders accounted for 338 all-purpose yards and scored six touchdowns – four different ways –as the Rebels (12-0) beat Southern Choctaw 42-14 in the Class 2A state playoffs. He rushed for 190 yards on 30 carries with three rushing touchdowns on runs of 24, 11 and 2 yards, caught a 68-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Register, returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score and raced 52 yards with an interception on defense another TD. He was also a perfect 6-of-6 on point-after kicks to account for all 42 of G.W. Long’s points.
McKEEN BREAKS STATE RECORD: Briarwood Christian senior swimmer Sadler McKeen swam a 4:27.05 in the 500-yard style race at the AHSAA Central Sectional meet at Birmingham’s CrossPlex to break the AHSAA state record (4:27.36) set in 2013 by Spain Park’s Will Freeman. Freeman is now a sophomore at Alabama.
The record set by McKeen, the only senior on the Lions’ team, was the first set in the AHSAA Sectional in state history. All previous records were set in the state meet. It was also the first to be set in the 1A-5A divisions. In previous years, all swimmers competed in the same division.
ALABAMA ALL-STAR TEAM WATCH:
BUBBA THOMPSON, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: The senior quarterback passed for 366 yards and four TDs and also scored the go-ahead TD as the defending state champion Yellow Jackets (13-0) advanced to the Super 7 Class 7A state finals for the second year in a row with a 35-21 win over Central-Phenix City. Thompson is one of two quarterbacks selected for the 30th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game at Cramton Bowl, Dec. 10.
MARLON WILLIAMS, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Had seven catches for 141 yards and two scores in McGill’s semifinal win over Central-Phenix City. His 59-yard TD reception sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter. Like Thompson, he is also a member of the Alabama All-Star Team set to play Mississippi’s all-stars Dec. 10.
CHADARIUS TOWNSEND, TANNER: Was 11-of-20 passing for 294 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-42 Class 2A loss to Lanett. Townsend was selected as a defensive back for the Alabama All-Stars.
Other top performances reported included:
LA’DAMIAN WEBB, BEAUREGARD: Rushed for 190 yards on 22 carries and scored six touchdowns as the Hornets (11-1) moved into the Class 5A semifinals with a 56-21 win over previously unbeaten Carroll (12-1). Webb’s scoring runs covered 20, 16, 36, 3, 11 and 29 yards. He heads into Friday’s semifinal battle at Jackson with 2,581 yards rushing on 219 carries with 40 rushing touchdowns. He has 45 TDs overall.
DILAN KILPATRICK, FYFFE: Ran for 310 yards and six touchdowns on 25 carries as the undefeated Red Devils (13-0) downed LaFayette 53-20 in the Class 2A quarterfinals to hand the Bulldogs ( 12-1) their first loss.
DEQUAN CHARLESTON, LINDEN: Scored five touchdowns on just eight touches as unbeaten Linden (13-0) beat previously unbeaten Georgiana (12-1) in the Class 1A quarterfinals 52-12. Charleston rushed for 140 yards and three TDs on six carries, caught a 17-yard TD pass and returned a punt 48 yards for his fifth score. Charleston also intercepted a Panthers pass to set up one of his touchdowns.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed 26 times for 194 yards and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass as the Eagles reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2004 with a 28-21 Class 4A comeback win over Cherokee County.
LEE STANLEY, PIEDMONT: Gained 170 yards on 11 carries, including a 51-yard touchdown in the first half, AS Bulldogs (13-0) beat Weaver 52-28 in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
WELDRIN FORD, OPELIKA: Had 32 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns as Opelika knocked off defending Class 6A state champion Spanish Fort 21-17.
ANTONIO ROBINSON, AUSTIN: Rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-21 Class 6A third-round win over Muscle Shoals. He also converted two key third downs to help the Black Bears (10-3) run out the clock to seal the win.
TYLER ABSTON, JACKSON: Ran for 108 yards on eight carries as Class 5A, Region 1 third seed Jackson knocked off Region 1 top seed and defending state champion St. Paul’s Episcopal 35-9 in the 5A quarterfinals. He scored on a 51-yard run and had a 40-yard gain to set up the Aggies’ first score.
DEE WILLIAMS, ELBA: Rushed for four touchdowns and 110 yards in the defending state champion Tigers’ 52-44 Class 2A loss to Aliceville.
TRE STORY, LANETT: Completed 13-of-18 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers (11-2) downed Tarrant 48-42 in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
LANDON JOHNSON, HOKES BLUFF: Completed 5-of-8 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 6-yard scoring pass to Braydon Hill early in the fourth quarter and scored a TD in a 28-21 Class 4A victory over Cherokee County. He also and made an interception on defense with 1:17 left to seal the win as the Eagles.
TYREN DUPREE, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns, including a 54-yard score on just the third play of the game. He also completed 5-of-10 pass attempts for 85 yards before suffering an ankle injury in the third quarter of the Warriors' 28-21 Class 4A loss to Hokes Bluff.
C.J. YARBROUGH, TANNER: Had four catches for 132 yards and three scores as the Rattlers lost to Lanett 48-42 in the 2A playoffs.
QUARTEZ HENDERSON, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Caught five passes for 101 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown, in the Warriors' 28-21 Class 4A loss to Hokes Bluff.
TAYLOR HAYES, PIEDMONT: Fired three touchdown passes to Austin Brazier and ran for two more scores in the Bulldogs' 52-28 Class 3A playoff victory over Weaver. Hayes finished the game rushing for 160 yards on 16 carries.
KENDARIAN HANDY-HOLLY, JACKSON: Made two interceptions on defense and scored a rushing TD on offense in the Aggies’ 35-9 Class 5A playoff win over St. Paul’s Episcopal.
JAYSON EVANS, HOOVER: Recovered a Gadsden City fumble in the end zone for a TD right before the half to spark a 35-point rally as Hoover (11-2) downed the Titans 42-14 in the Class 7A semifinals to earn a berth in the Class 7A state finals Nov. 30.
HOLT WATSON, G.W. LONG: Intercepted two passes in the Rebels’ 42-14 Class 2A win over Southern Choctaw.
KAEDON JENKINS, PIEDMONT: Picked off a Weaver pass and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown in the Bulldogs' 52-28 Class 3A playoff win over their Calhoun County rivals.
TROY YOUNG, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Intercepted a pass and rushed for two first-quarter TDs as the Leopards (12-1) advanced to the 3A semifinals with a 44-12 win over Oakman.
JAKE LANE, PARK CROSSING: Booted a 41-yard field goal as time expired to lift Park Crossing (13-0) to a 54-51 win over Blount. The win sends the Thunderbirds into the Class 6A semifinals for the first time. Lane, who had four field goals on the night, 41, 24, 26 and his final 41-yard kick. It also marked the second time he has had a game-winning field goal in the last five games for Coach Smitty Grider’s team.
MAURICE GOODMAN, WEAVER: Ran back the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to put the Bearcats up 7-0 in Weaver's 52-28 Class 3A loss at Piedmont.
DEVORIAN WILKERSON, ELBA: Returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown during Elba’s 52-44 Class 2A loss to Aliceville.