MONTGOMERY – Fort Payne High School senior kicker Evan McPherson has certainly been putting his best foot forward this season. Friday night, McPherson had a punt and a field goal that came up one yard shy of the longest kicks of all time to grab the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 6.
McPherson, rated the top kicking specialist in the nation in the Class of 2018, booted a 60-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining in the first half versus Brewer to give Coach Paul Ellis’ Wildcats a 17-7 lead on the way to a 39-14 win. That kick tied Michael Proctor of Pelham with the second-longest field goal made in AHSAA state history. Sage Ledbetter of Auburn kicked a 61-yarder versus Smith Station in 2015 on a free kick, and Proctor booted his 60-yarder against Mountain Brook in 1991 – also on a free kick.
McPherson’s field goal came via the more traditional method with Carson Burt delivering the snap to holder Alex McPherson, Evan’s younger brother. Alex is an eighth grader. The senior kicker also delivered an 84-yard punt, which was one yard shy of the 85-yard boot delivered by Russellville’s Joe Kirkpatrick in 1969 against Cherokee Vocational. McPherson’s punt moved him into No. 2 ahead of Taylor Pharr of Shades Valley, who kicked an 81-yard punt versus Carver-Birmingham in 2005.
McPherson sent a warning two weeks ago when he kicked a 54-yard field goal in a 27-24 loss to Etowah. The ball was kicked just shy of the 45-yard line making it officially 54 yards. Also an outstanding soccer player, he led Fort Payne to the Class 6A state title as a freshman in 2015. He earned MVP honors scoring the championship match’s only goal – ironically with a header coming in the 87th minute of the two-overtime, sudden-death win over Northview.
His spectacular kicking effort versus Brewer edged out Boaz’s 45-44 win over Crossville, a game that netted 954 yards of total offense by both teams. The total ranked fourth all-time in the AHSAA with Hewitt-Trussville and Manatee (FL) setting the current record (1,287 yards) last season in the 78-56 Huskies’ win.
The Pirates of Coach Jeremy Sullivan had 261 yards rushing and 198 passing for 459 yards, and the Lions of Coach Miles Holcomb had 228 rushing, 267 passing and 495 total yards. A plethora of players got into the act.
Christian Collins had 28 carries for 272 yards and four touchdowns and five catches for 37 yards to account 309 of the total yards. Quarterback Easton Hardin was 15-of-24 passing for 198 yards and two TDs with Jason Smith making six catches for 132 yards and a score. Crossville’s leader was Blanton Jones, who completed 23-of-29 passes for 267 yards and a TD. He also had 67 yards rushing for 334 total yards.
His favorite target was Banks Jolley, who had 15 catches for 232 yards and a TD. Jay Luther also had 17 carries for 144 rushing yards and three scores. Jolley’s receiving yards rank 33rd on the AHSAA list of most yards receiving in a single game. The leader is Chris Simpson, who had 412 yards receiving on 20 catches in a win over Alabama Christian in 2000.
Other top performances reported this week include:
EAST LIMESTONE NOTCHES PUGH’S 100TH WIN: • East Limestone’s 16-6 homecoming win over Lawrence County also produced Coach Jeff Pugh’s 100th career coaching win. Pugh is 100-90 overall with a 69-58 record at East Limestone. He is in his 12th year as the Indians’ head coach. Pugh also had 11 wins at Crossville and 18 at West Limestone.
JERMAINE BROWN, ST. LUKE’S EPISCOPAL: Rushed for 267 yards and passed for 209 to account for seven touchdowns as the Wildcats beat J.U. Blacksher 56-21. He had four passing TDs, three rushing TDs and 476 total yards on the night. The 476 total yards ranks 23rd on the AHSAA Record Book’s total yardage list. Jack Poundstone of Trinity Presbyterian set the current record (614 yards) in 2008 with 492 yards passing and 122 rushing in a playoff win over Cordova. Brown moves ahead of current University of Alabama freshman running back Brian Robinson, who had 470 yards for Hillcrest-Tuscalossa in a 41-40 loss to Clay-Chalkville in 2015. Robinson had 447 yards rushing and 23 passing receiving in that game.
SERGIO ALVAREZ, PELL CITY: Kicked four field goals, including a game-winning 32-yarder in the second overtime, in a 19-16 victory over Cullman. The four field goals in a game ties 13 others for second most in a contest. The record (5) has been set five kickers with Crosby Gray of Spain Park and Sage Ledbetter of Auburn the most recent kickers to accomplish the feat in 2015 and 2013, respectively. Athens’ Bram McGrady, Deshler’s Carson McGregory and Anderson Jacks of Cleburne County each kicked four field goals in a single game in 2013.
RILEY RUSSELL, CHEROKEE COUNTY: The senior linebacker posted 29 tackles in the Warriors’ 45-0 loss to unbeaten Saks. The total ties him for fourth all-time with Adam Crosby of New Brockton (2006) and Carlos Salinas of Frisco City (1999). Hamilton’s Andy Stidham holds the record with 36 versus Haleyville in 1996. Melvin Cotton had 31 for Holt versus Bibb County in 1998, Joshua Carpenter had 30 in a Jackson win over Thomasville last season, and Mike DuBose had 30 for Opp in a 1968 win over Pike County. Russell’s career total now stands at 415.
ROBERT HOUSTON, LAFAYETTE: Rushed 23 times for a school-record 336 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 40-0 win over Horseshoe Bend. He has 1,302 yards on 108 carries (12.6 avg.) and 15 rushing TDs this season.
CAMERON PETTUS, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, returned a fumble 13 yards for a touchdown, intercepted two passes and caught two passes for 75 yards in Lauderdale County’s 55-21 win over Lexington. Teammate Levi Greer also returned a kick 79 yards and a punt 69 yards for touchdowns.
JOHN MARK ABERCROMBIE, MEEK: Rushed 35 times for 344 yards and five touchdowns in Meek's 42-28 win at R.A. Hubbard. Abercrombie had touchdown runs of 63, 37, 1, 3 and 21 yards. He added three 2-point conversions for 36 total points scored
ASA MARTIN, AUSTIN: The senior running back piled up 305 yards on 25 carries and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead the Black Bears to a 28-12 victory over Florence.
CAM PEOPLES, CENTRAL-CLAY COUNTY: Rushed 27 times for 285 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-14 win over Lincoln.
CHRIS HARDIE, VINCENT: The 255-pound running back had 275 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 20 carries as the Yellow Jackets beat Woodland 34-7.
TAE PROVENS, MADISON COUNTY: Totaled 249 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 20 carries and also caught a 72-yard pass for a TD in a 48-28 win over DAR. His rushing TDs came on runs of 69, 74, 2 and 12 yards.
JARED WILSON, CHARLES HENDERSON: Piled up 220 yards rushing and scored on a 24-yard run in Charles Henderson’s 51-22 victory over Trinity Presbyterian.
CARDAVION MYERS, PIEDMONT: Rushed for 209 yards and three touchdowns (55, 6 and 7 yards), threw for 62 yards and a 37-yard score to Darien Bossie, and had an interception on defense in the Bulldogs' 33-27 win at Weaver.
JAYSON JONES, FULTONDALE: Rushed for 203 yards and scored on runs of 5 and 84 yards, threw for 57 yards, and scored on 74-yard punt return in a 56-8 victory over J.B. Pennington.
XAVIER FLORENT, ELBA: Led a trio of Elba running backs over 100 yards in the Tigers’ 62-34 win over Central-Hayneville. Florent had 16 carries for 193 yards and two touchdowns, Deborian Wilkerson added 136 yards and three TDs on eight carries, and Bryon Johnson totaled 104 yards and one score on 10 carries as Elba totaled 433 rushing yards and 516 total yards in the win.
AUSTIN CALHOUN, KINSTON: Gained 235 yards on 22 rush attempts with TD runs of 6, 25 and 38 yards as the Bulldogs downed McKenzie 57-28. Kinston teammate Brody Horton added 189 yards on 18 carries with TD runs covering 60, 14 and 10 yards.
JONATHAN FELLS, CARROLL: Helped the unbeaten Eagles (6-0) beat Rehobeth 24-8 with 201 rushing yards on 24 carries. He scored once.
TRAJAN PUGH, BLOUNT: Rushed for 191 yards on 20 carries and scored four touchdowns on runs of 2, 43, 93 and 7 yards as the Leopards lost a close 52-49 decision to Spanish Fort.
DREW BLACKBURN, WINFIELD: Rushed for 168 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead Winfield past Good Hope 28-12.
LANIER CHEATTOM, SHEFFIELD: Accounted for six touchdowns in a 41-22 win over Hatton. He ran 10 times for 163 yards, including TDs of 5, 46 and 11 yards, and was 6-of-9 passing for 85 yards and three TDs (34, 8 and 18 yards).
RASHAD CLARK, MOODY: Ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns and added a fourth score with a 77-yard kickoff return as the Blue Devils beat Woodlawn 35-12. He also had seven tackles and a fumble recovery on defense.
DAYMOND EASON, MAY JEMISON: Had 141 yards rushing on 19 carries and completed 4-of-7 passes for 80 yards in a 29-26 win over Brooks. He scored on runs of 1 and 60 yards and also completed a key pass for 2-point conversion.
J.R. TRAN-RENO, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Had only eight touches but turned them into four touchdowns as Briarwood Christian beat St. Clair County 31-6. He rushed for three TDs covering 70, 1 and 1 yards and caught a 63-yard touchdown pass.
JAHZARIAN LAMPLEY, PIKE COUNTY: Returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and rushed for 152 yards and three scores on nine carries as the Bulldogs beat Coosa-Central 65-0. He had rushing TDs of 32, 17 and 54 yards).
QUINTIN YOUNG, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: Ran for 150 yards and three TDs in a 41-7 victory over Gardendale.
ALEX CARPENTER, MADISON ACADEMY: Ran 10 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns (76 and 44 yards) in the Mustangs’ 52-0 win over Haleyville.
PAYTON ANDERSON, FYFFE: Rushed for 131 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries – in just over two quarters – and the Red Devils (6-0) beat Sand Rock for their 21st straight victory.
DESHMOND TROTTER, SHADES VALLEY: Rushed for 198 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries and completed 18-of-22 passes for 175 yards and another TD as the Mounties nipped Parker 35-32. He finished with 373 total yards.
PAUL TYSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Completed 26-of-35 passes for 338 yards and five touchdowns and added a rushing TD in a 52-18 victory over Bob Jones as the Huskies (6-0) remained unbeaten. The victory was the 16th regular-season triumph in a row for Hewitt.
KRISTIAN STORY, LANETT: The sophomore was 5-of-12 passing for 247 yards and three touchdowns and rushed five times for 71 yards and one TD as Lanett (7-0) beat Fayetteville 42-7. Story is now 60-of-95 passing this season for 1,617 yards and 19 TDs despite attempting just 13.6 passes per game.
NOAH LOWERY, CHARLES HENDERSON: Passed for 271 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-22 win over Trinity Presbyterian. He had TD passes of 13 and 68 yards to Kelshun Campbell and also connected with Chance Pollard for touchdowns covering 30 and 72 yards.
MALACHI BENNETT, FAIRFIELD: Completed 10-of-14 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-6 victory over Shelby County.
REGGIE THOMPSON, OPP: Totaled 306 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bobcats past Slocomb 35-14. He was 12-of-18 passing for 180 yards and a TD and rushed for 126 yards and a TD on 10 carries. Teammate Ashton Patel added 134 yards on 17 rush attempts and scored three touchdowns.
DEVIN MITCHELL, FAIRHOPE: The junior was 17-of-22 passing for 285 yards and three touchdowns in the Pirates’ 30-14 win over Baker. He also rushed for 70 yards and a 12-yard TD and finished with 355 total yards.
TAYLOR GOVER, EUFAULA: Passed for 233 yards and a touchdown as Eufaula beat Greenville 40-14.
ALEX MOORE, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Led the unbeaten Leopards (6-0) to a 51-19 win over Flomaton completing 12-of-18 passes for 235 yards and five touchdowns.
JACK SAMSEL, SPANISH FORT: Completed 17-of-20 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown as the Toros built a big lead, then had to rally to beat Blount 52-49.
LOGAN SMOTHERS, ATHENS: Completed 23-of-32 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score in a 27-14 win over Decatur.
CONNOR CANTRELL, JAMES CLEMENS: Was 14-of-22 passing for 199 yards and four touchdowns in the Jets’ 42-0 win over Grissom.
ETHAN WILSON, ANDALUSIA: Had 213 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 38-28 win over Thomasville. He was 0-of-18 passing for 143 yards and two scores and rushed 12 times for 70 yards and two TDs.
SHELDON LAYMAN, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Passed for 191 yards and three touchdowns in the Jackets’ 55-7 win over Alma Bryant. He also rushed three times for 66 yards.
KALEB MOORE, HACKLEBURG: The junior rushed for 113 yards and passed for 120 for 233 total yards and accounted for three TDs as the Panthers came from behind to nip Phillips 26-20. He was 8-of-15 passing with two scores and had 15 rush attempts with one TD. Hackleburg trailed 14-0 at the half but outscored the Bears 26-6 in the second half.
GRAHAM PEPPER, WEST LIMESTONE: Completed 9-of-14 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-7 victory over Danville.
TREY HIGGINS, OXFORD: The freshman was 9-of-16 for 173 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start as the unbeaten Jackets (7-0) beat Southside-Selma 42-0. He also rushed for 45 yards.
JACK WEST, SARALAND: The senior completed 10-of-13 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns in the Spartans’ 41-3 victory over Gulf Shores.
LUKE IVEY, SPRING GARDEN: Completed 7-of-11 pass attempts for 135 yards and three touchdowns (15, 10 and 5 yards) in the Panthers' 42-8 victory at Coosa Christian. Teammate Luke Welsh added 122 yards and two scores on 13 rush attempts and also had an interception for Spring Garden.
MYRON MONROE, FAIRFIELD: Caught seven passes for 170 yards and three TDs, including a 59-yard score, in a 30-6 victory over Shelby County.
BRAYDON HILL, HOKES BLUFF: Caught five passes for 155 yards and four touchdown grabs (of 26, 37, 42 and 40 yards) as the Eagles edged Oneonta 27-21.
JALEN McMILLIAN, SPAIN PARK: Caught five passes for 114 yards, with TDs of 38 and 49 yards, in a 35-26 victory over Huffman.
STONE FINCHER, HACKLEBURG: Had seven catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 12 times for 112 yards and two scores, including a 52-yard run, in a 26-20 Panthers’ win over Phillips.
JAELYN FLEMING, GADSDEN CITY: Caught four passes for 99 yards, with TD catches of 34 and 44 yards, in a 41-0 victory over Buckhorn.
AMAREEA ABNEY, SAKS: In a span of 57 seconds in the third quarter, Abney made two interceptions on defense and caught an 84-yard TD pass on offense in between the two steals as the Wildcats (6-0) beat Cherokee County 45-0.
BRANDON BISHOP, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Returned an interception 70 yards for the game-winning touchdown in a 22-15 victory over Paul Bryant.
HAYDEN PARKER, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Had 16 tackles and recovered two fumbles as the Eagles rebounded from a 12-0 deficit to beat Daleville 28-20. Teammate Will Solomon was also credited with six tackles and 10 assists.
DREW ROGERS, LOCUST FORK: The senior linebacker and fullback sparked the Hornets to a 20-8 win over Holly Pond with 15 tackles, two quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries on defense. He also rushed for 103 yards and two TDs on 15 carries, caught two passes and punted four times.
KALEB WHATLEY, GAYLESVILLE: Recorded 14 tackles and an interception in a 21-20 overtime loss to Woodville. He also scored a rushing TD on offense.
WYATT GRICE, NEW BROCKTON: Had eight solo tackles, six assists and one quarterback sack in the Gamecocks' 42-14 win over Cottonwood.
KEVIN PARREIRA, OPP: Had 12 tackles, including three quarterback sacks, and also had a pass break-up in the Bobcats' 35-14 win over Slocomb.
TREVELL SMITH, HOUSTON COUNTY: Recorded 12 tackles on defense and rushed for 147 yards and two scores on offense in the Lions’ 46-24 loss to Brantley.
COLLIN BUSSMAN, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown, recovered a fumble and tackled the punter on a broken play as Mountain Brook defeated Tuscaloosa County 31-7.
GARRETT SANDERS, ST. CLAIR COUNTY: Intercepted two passes and caused a fumble in a 31-6 loss to Briarwood Christian.
STEVEN MOON, SATSUMA: Was in on 14 tackles as Satsuma beat Escambia County 30-14. He also rushed for 82 yards and two TDs.
MALIK LANGHAM, LEE-HUNTSVILLE: Blocked a punt that was recovered for a touchdown, assisted on a safety, made 10 tackles (including four for a loss) and broke up two passes in a 40-22 win at Ardmore.