MONTGOMERY – Alabama Christian Academy head coach Nate Sanford opted to have Prattville Christian kick off again when Friday night’s opening kickoff went out of bounds.
By NFHS rules he had the option of taking the ball where it went out of bounds, taking it 25 yards from the where it was kicked or having the kicking team back up five yards and kick off again, and when the next kick sailed out of bounds too, he made a very unconventional decision to force the Panthers to boot its next kick from its own 30-yard line.
On the third kickoff try, Alden Stroud, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound Eagles senior, collected the kick at his own 15-yard line and raced up the middle untouched for an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Alabama Christian went on to beat Prattville Christian 52-14 to grab the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for Week 5 of the 2017 high school football season.
The Eagles (6-0) showed marked improvement last year in Sanford’s first season as head coach by finishing 4-7 and clinching the school’s first playoff berth since 2009. ACA had struggled to four straight losing seasons and a 10-30 record before Sanford arrived.
The 6-0 start topped the school’s previous best start, a 9-3 campaign in 1990 that included five wins to open the year. Alabama Christian’s best record to date came in 1981 when the Eagles finished 8-1 but played outside the AHSAA in a private school league. This year’s 6-0 start also includes a 3-0 Class 4A, Region 2 record which has the Eagles on top of the region standings heading into the second half of the regular season.
Quarterback Reece Solar fired four touchdown passes and rushed for one TD in the win over Prattville Christian. The Eagles jump back into region play this week with a road game at Ashford. A win could move Alabama Christian closer to clinching its first region title since the playoff format was instituted in the 2000 season.
Other top performances reported this week include:
WRIGHT IS PASS PERFECT: West Blocton quarterback Curtis Wright was 11-of-11 for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-6 win over Verbena to write his name in the AHSAA Record Book. The 11-of-11 effort is second only to Oakman's Jon Avery, who set the best passing percentage record with his 15-for-15 performance in a win over Lamar County earlier this season. The previous record was set Hayden Maples of Fairview (10-of-10) in a 47-14 win over Holly Pond in 2013. Wright also rushed for 57 yards and another TD in the win.
PEDMONT’S STANLEY JOINS 3,000-YARD CLUB: Senior running back Lee Stanley became the sixth Bulldog to rush for more than 3,000 yards in a career with his 206-yard, two-touchdown performance as Piedmont beat Leeds 41-19. Stanley now has 3,166 career yards for Coach Steve Smith and joins a list of Piedmont rushers that includes Greg Nation (4,859), Taylor Hayes (3,846), Michael Ball (3,730), Darnell Jackson (3,217) and Derrick Griffie (3,188).
TWICE IS NICE: Dadeville 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior running back Kadore Glenn rushed for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games with his 21-carry, 307-yard performance in a 28-25 loss to Valley last week. He Had TD runs of 12, 47, 36 and 4 yards to account for all the Tigers’ TDs Two weeks ago he had an identical performance, 21 carries for 307 yards, and scored three touchdowns covering 53, 50 and 61 yards as Dadeville beat Holtville 48-26.
SCOTTSBORO’S TRIPLE THREAT: Wildcats defenders Peyton Grant, Noah Linville and Blaiz Johnson each returned interceptions for touchdowns as Scottsboro beat North Jackson 56-27. It was the first time in school history that an SHS team has scored three touchdowns in a game on interceptions.
McGILL-TOOLEN EXTENDS REGULAR-SEASON WIN STREAK: Senior Eric Garror picked off two passes and recovered a fumble as the Yellow Jackets beat Blount 22-7 for McGill’s 20th consecutive regular-season win.
MOHAMMAD NAKHIEH, BUCKHORN: Kicked three field goals of 38, 31 and 30 yards, including the last one in overtime as the Bucks handed Mae Jemison (5-1) its first loss of the season 16-13.
LiALLEN DAILEY, PINSON VALLEY: Caught a 39-yard touchdown pass in the final minute to force overtime and added a 9-yard, game-winning touchdown catch in the extra period in a 28-27 victory over Shades Valley to keep the Indians (6-0) undefeated.
ETHAN WELLS, WICKSBURG: The Panthers safety broke up a pass in the end zone with 10 seconds left to preserve Wicksburg’s 42-35 win over Houston County rival Rehobeth. The Rebels were facing a fourth-and-15 when Wells broke up the pass to preserve the win. Rehobeth’s Brady Herring finished 10-of-22 passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Panthers quarterback Shawn Bowden rushed 22 times for 158 yards and four TDs and put Wicksburg ahead for good with a touchdown with 7:25 remaining.
JOHN ROBERTSON, NORTHSIDE: Rushed for 279 yards and scored four touchdowns on runs covering 64, 84, 1 and 6 yards in the Rams’ 49-21 win over Brookwood.
LA’DAMIAN WEBB, BEAUREGARD: The senior and reigning Mr. Football had 14 carries for 258 yards and four touchdowns ina 42-6 win over Northview.
KOBI McCOY, COLBERT COUNTY: Rushed for touchdowns of 75, 75 and 51 yards to finish with 250 yards overall in a 35-20 loss to unbeaten Deshler (5-0).
DEVIN RICHARDSON, FAIRFIELD: Ran 26 times for 238 yards and two TDs in a 41-39 victory over Midfield.
UZIAH McDANIELS, PARK CROSSING: Rushed for 234 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Thunderbirds to a 65-21 win over Gadsden City.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFFF: The sophomore rushed for 185 yards on 25 carries and scored six touchdowns in a 41-21 win over Glencoe. His 81-yard kickoff return to open the game set up his first score, a 2-yard run.
TODD HOOVER, GULF SHORES: Ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries to lead Gulf Shores to a 31-30 win over Faith Academy.
CHRIS HARDIE, VINCENT: Ran 20 times for 213 yards and four TDs in a 41-20 victory over Sumiton Christian.
ISAAC HUGULEY, WEST MORGAN: Picked up 208 yards rushing on 23 carries and had three touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Cherokee.
SETH WADSWORTH, SOUTHEASTERN: Piled up 193 yards rushing on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns as Southeastern beat Brilliant 41-21 for its first win of the season. He also completed 3-of-4 passes for 42 yards and another TD.
JACOB DENDY, ALBERTVILLE: Has 191 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 49-19 win over Boaz.
DEAUNDRE CARLTON, JACKSON-OLIN: Rushed for 190 yards and scored twice to lead Jackson-Olin to a 33-13 win over Calera.
JAHZARIAN LAMPLEY, PIKE COUNTY: Rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 6, 41 and 40 to spark the Class 3A Bulldogs to a 33-8 win over previously unbeaten Abbeville.
ARMONI GOODWIN, FLORENCE: The freshman ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 17-yard pass for a TD on offense and also had an interception on defense in a 55-31 loss to Bob Jones.
HUNTER GIBSON, SPARKMAN: Gained 172 yards on 27 rush attempts and scored once to lead the Senators to a 20-14 win over Hazel Green.
SHADRICK BYRD, THOMPSON: Rushed for 169 yards and a 32-yard touchdown on 12 carries as Thompson (5-0) beat Pelham 51-21.
PAYTON ANDERSON, FYFFE: Rushed for 154 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries, had 144 yards on kick returns and intercepted a pass on defense as the defending Class 2A state champion Red Devils (5-0) downed Plainview 43-27.
STONE FINCHER, HACKLEBURG: Rushed for 142 yards on 24 carries and caught three passes for 51 yards in the Panthers’ 22-6 win over Hubbertville.
DREW BLACKBURN, WINFIELD: Totaled 27 carries for 165 yards and one touchdown in the Pirates’ 21-7 win over Sulligent.
MICHAEL CROWDER, GARDENDALE: Was 23-of-32 passing for 333 yards and two touchdowns as the Rockets beat Chelsea 41-28.
IAN THIES, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Completed 18-of-21 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns in s 66-36 win over Hayden. He also rushed for two TDs to account for seven on the night.
JACOB HAMMAC, FLORALA: The sophomore quarterback was 24-of-34 passing for 285 yards and three touchdowns as the Wildcats downed St. Michael’s 41-27. His favorite target was junior Shun White, who had nine catches for 131 yards and all three TDs. Hammac was 27-of-39 for 365 passing yards and five touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 42-35 win over McKenzie two weeks ago The game was the first varsity match in St. Michael’s young football history.
CHAPPELLE WADE, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Completed 14-of-29 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns (59 and 35 yards) in the Rams’ 41-13 victory at Cherokee County.
WILLIE MILLER, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: Was 17-of-30 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns in the Cougars’ 28-0 win over James Clemens.
GRAHAM PEPPER, WEST LIMESTONE: Had 330 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns in a 42-14 win over Elkmont. He passed for three TDs and rushed for one.
JAMES FOSTER, SIDNEY LANIER: Completed 16-of-31 passes doe 235 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 73 yards on 10 carries to lift the unbeaten Poets (6-0) to a 34-20 come-from-behind win over Jeff Davis.
HAYDEN BRYANT, BRILLIANT: Completed 15-of-24 passes for 227 yards and one TD, rushed for 128 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns in a 41-21 loss to Southeastern. His favorite target was his younger brother Kade Bryant, who had 179 receiving yards, including the touchdown pass.
CASEY BAYNES, TALLASSEE: was 15-of-24 passing for 167 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a fourth score to lead the Tigers from 22-point second-half deficit to a 33-29 win over T.R. Miller.
ETHAN WILSON, ANDALUSIA: Led the Bulldogs to a 47-7 win over Opp connecting on 12-of-14 pass attempts for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a TD.
LUKE NAIL, MADISON ACADEMY: Was 10-of-15 passing for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-7 win at Tanner.
AUSTIN CALHOUN, KINSTON: Accounted for four touchdowns and 272 yards of offense, rushing for 186 yards and two scores and passing for 86 yards and two TDs on a 6-of-12 passing performance in the Bulldogs’ 56-22 win over Zion Chapel.
TUCKER BROWN, WILSON: Wilson: Brown was 10-of-18 passing for 210 yards and one touchdown and ran for two scores in a 28-7 win over Lauderdale County to keep Wilson (5-0) unbeaten.
RICK RODGERS, LAMAR COUNTY: Was 10-of-11 passing for 187 yards and a touchdown in 49-19 win over Berry.
SETH WILLIAMS, PAUL BRYANT: Pulled down four catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-15 win over Tuscaloosa Central. He had TD reception of 87 and 81 yards in the third quarter to help the Stampede overcome a 15-14 deficit.
CAMERON McKINNEY, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Caught eight passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns (59 and 35 yards) in the Rams’ 41-13 victory at Cherokee County.
AUSTIN HILL, NORTH SAND MOUNTAIN: Caught eight passes for 159 yards, including an 83-yarder for a TD that forced the game into overtime, and also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown as the Thundering Herd edged Ider 34-28.
CONNER HOWELL, GARDENDALE: Caught 11 passes for 156 yards and a 29-yard touchdown and added an interception on defense in a 41-28 victory over Chelsea.
C.J. WILLIAMSON, GUNTERSVILLE: Caught five passes for 160 yards, and one touchdown in a 35-13 win over Madison County.
JAY WILLIAMS, SARALAND: Snagged seven passes for 145 yards and one touchdown in the Spartans’ 25-21 win over Murphy.
DAN PARKER, AMERICAN CHRISTIAN: Had six catches for 131 yards and a TD in the Patriots’ 47-6 victory over Holt.
KOBIE STRINGER, G.W. LONG: Snared eight passes for 128 yards and a 41-yard touchdown in the Rebels’ 28-7 loss to New Brockton.
B.J. ANDERSON, ANDALUSIA: Caught four passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-7 win over Opp.
TREVOR YOUNG, WOODVILLE: Recorded 18 tackles and a fumble recovery on defense and had three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown on offense as the Panthers nipped R.A. Hubbard 21-20.
LAMONT MITCHELL, PARK CROSSING: Scored two touchdowns on defense in Park Crossing’s 65-21 road win over Class 7A Gadsden City. He returned a fumble 15 yards and an interception 67 yards for his scores.
HUNTER JEDNAT, SATSUMA: Intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble in Satsuma’s 20-19 win over Citronelle.
J.D. PETTAWAY, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Intercepted two passes and had 10 tackles in a 33-13 win over Chickasaw. He returned one of his picks 86 yards for a touchdown.
CORNELIUS SMITH, HEADLAND: Totaled 15 tackles in a 35-14 loss to Providence Christian.
KALEB WHATLEY, GAYLESVILLE: Posted 14 tackles, including one tackle for a loss, and rushed for 75 yards on 11 carries in the Trojans’ 35-6 loss at Appalachian.
AUSTIN KEASLER, SOUTH LAMAR: Recorded 12 tackles with two sacks in a 14-8 win over Curry.
TREVELL SMITH, HOUSTON COUNTY: Had 16 tackles and teammate Dorien Collier had 15 as the unbeaten Lions (6-0) nipped Ashford 23-20.
JALEN SIMS, FULTONDALE: Had 15 tackles to lead the Wildcats to s 37-13 win over Hale County.
KHARI McREYNOLDS, GENEVA: The defensive back had two interceptions in the Panthers’ 21-7 win over Samson.
TIM McCLENDON, CARROLL: swiped two interceptions to lead the unbeaten Eagles (5-0) to a 26-13 win over W.S. Neal.
COLBY COPELAND, KINSTON: Picked off two passes for interceptions and forced two fumbles In the Bulldogs’ 56-22 win over Zion Chapel.
CADE DICKINSON, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Made two interceptions as the Lions (5-0) beat Mortimer Jordan 25-17.
KAMERONE BROWN, THEODORE: Made two interceptions on defense as the Bobcats shut out Enterprise 39-0.
TREVOR SISK, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Returned an interception for a touchdown as the Huskies (5-0) beat Center Point 59 -0 for their second shutout win in a row.
JAYDON HILL, BOB JONES: Intercepted two passes and forced a fumble in a 55-31 win at Florence.
JACOB MANNING, SCOTTSBORO: Returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to spark the Wildcats to a 56-27 win over North Jackson. He had 152 yards on three returns, caught five passes for 68 yards and threw a 38-yard TD pass as Scottsboro overcame a 21-14 deficit at halftime with 42 second-half points.
KAKIYAH JOHNSON, CALERA: Returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD in the Eagles’ 33-13 loss to Jackson-Olin.
HENRY BECKETT, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Nailed field goals of 43 and 44 yards and punted four times for s 43-yard average in a 37-13 loss to Goshen. He also booted all four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
JUSTYN ROSS, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown and caught three passes for 74 yards and a 43-yard TD as the Red Devils beat Opelika 46-19.
NATE TOMEY, CEDAR BLUFF: Kicked two 36-yard field goals in the first quarter and booted three extra points in a 35-21 win over Collinsville.
JOHN BANNISTER, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Blocked a punt which was recovered for a Warriors’ touchdown in Cherokee County’s 41-13 loss to Carver of Birmingham.
JUAN GOMEZ, SCOTTSBORO: Tied a school record with eight point-after kicks as the Wildcats beat North Jackson 56-27.
JACE STEWART, REHOBETH: Returned a kickoff 80 yards in the Rebels’ 42-35 loss to Wicksburg.
JEREMIAH WHITE, GENEVA COUNTY: Scored three touchdowns, including a 75-yard kickoff return, and rushed for 121 yards in a 59-50 loss to Highland Home. The 109 points was the most in a game in both teams’ school history.
D’QUARIOUS FRYER, CARROLL: Blocked a punt and returned it five yards for a touchdown as Carroll thumped W.S. Neal 36-13.