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AHSAA Prep Spotlight for Week 3 Houston County Defense Takes Center Stage in Win over McKenzie Tigers

   MONTGOMERY – Houston County (4-0) limited McKenzie to minus 5 yards total offense in its 55-0 Class 1A, Region 2 victory Friday night to land in the AHSAA Spotlight for Week 3 of the 2017 football season.
    The victory was the third straight shutout of the season for Coach Mike Atkins and his Lions as Houston County dominated from start to finish.
   Defensive coordinator Michael Stevens listed these superlatives. The Lions had 14 plays that resulted in negative yardage for a total of minus-3 yards rushing; limited the Tigers to minus-2 yards passing; allowed only one first down – coming late the fourth quarter; and limited McKenzie to 12 series with three plays and out.
Houston County's Zydarian Brown returned two fumbles for touchdowns, plays covering 20 and 15 yards, and Immanuel Dawsey had a 40-yard interception return for a score as the Lions defense scored three times in the win. The defense came up with six turnovers.
     The minus-3 yards rushing allowed ranks ninth best in AHSAA history, according to the AHSAA Record Book online at www.ahsaa.com. The minus-5 yards total offense also is the only game reported where the opposing team finished with negative yards rushing and passing.
     Greensboro limited Uniontown to minus-67 yards rushing in 1977 for the AHSAA’s top defensive performance (against the rush).
     The third week was highlighted by several strong defensive efforts and some clutch plays that led to milestone wins for several schools.
     Highlights reported this week include:

MILESTONES
BRENAN ASHMORE, EAST LIMESTONE:
The team manager for East Limestone score a touchdown in a pre-arranged play following the 51-26 win over Limestone County rival Ardmore. Ashmore was born with hydrocephalus, a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates within the brain, and is unable to play sports. Ashmore took a handoff on his special play, went around the right end and crossed the goal line for his touchdown as fan from each side stood in unison to show their appreciation of this extraordinary display of sportsmanship by both teams.
RHETT POWERS, ROGERS:   The place-kicker kicked a 27-yard field goal, his first of the season, and also had five extra points, in a 44-7 win over West Limestone. Powers, who has Asperger’s syndrome, has made 21 point-after kicks this season for unbeaten Rogers (3-0) this season.
ETHAN MOORE, WINSTON COUNTY: Was 10-of-15 passing for 135 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and another score to lead Winston County past Tanner 32-27. He also added a 69-yard kickoff return for a fourth TD as Yellow Jackets handed the Rattlers their first region defeat since 2009. Tanner had won 54 region games in a row.
ZAE BOYD, LAWRENCE COUNTY: Rushed for one touchdown and also caught a pass for a second score to help the Red Devils beat Russellville 25-6. It was the school’s first win over the Golden Tigers in 72 years. Boyd played at Russellville last season but moved to Lawrence County this year. Quarterback Austin Blankenship also passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another for Lawrence County.
ROBERT HOUSTON, LAFAYETTE: The senior gained 294 yards rushing on just 14 carries and scored five touchdowns as the Bulldogs (3-1) beat Fayetteville 45-7. He now has 3,052 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns for his career. Jartavius Whitlow set the record last year finishing his prep career with 4,025 rushing yards and 48 rushing TDs. Houston had 734 yards through four games this season – 183.5 yards per game.
LOGAN GASKIN, SARDIS: Finished with 157 combined yards and accounted for seven touchdowns in the Lions' 46-27 win over Geraldine. The senior quarterback passed for 78 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards with three scores. 
BOB JONES WINS NO. 75 FOR COACH ROSE: The Patriots beat Sparkman 17-14 to give head coach Kevin Rose his 75th win at Bob Jones. Rose, in his ninth season as head coach, is 75-23 overall at the school with eight straight playoff appearances. He also was head coach at Sheffield for seven seasons where his teams made the playoffs six times and amasses a 43-35 record. He is 118-58.

 

BUZZER BEATERS
JOE GREEN, EUFAULA:  Scored on an 8-yard run with 12.5 seconds left, giving the Tigers a 28-23 win over (3-1) a 28-23 win over Central-Clay County. Green finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns.  The Tigers have now won two straight weeks at the buzzer – beating Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee 29-22 with the tying TD coming with 22 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game. Eufaula then won in overtime.
GUSTAV JENSEN, CHEROKEE COUNTY: The junior foreign-exchange student from Denmark connected on the game-winning 20-yard field goal in overtime, lifting the Warriors to a 15-12 victory over Anniston.


DEFENSE
RILEY RUSSELL, CHEROKEE COUNTY:  The senior linebacker had a school record 28 tackles to lead the Warriors to a 15-12 victory over Anniston in overtime. He also had four sacks among his stops.
HUNTER MOSLEY, LEXINGTON: Mosley tipped three passes at the line of scrimmage, blocked a field goal and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown and forced a fumble that led to a touchdown in Lexington’s 13-0 win over Clements.
LUKE CASSITY, J.B. PENNINGTON: The junior linebacker had 23 tackles and recovered a fumble in the Tigers' 20-14 win over Locust Fork.
JACOB WALDING, G.W. LONG: Returned a fumble interception for touchdowns in a 47-6 win over Barbour County. The Rebels forced eight Jaguars’ turnovers with Hunter Wofford recovering two fumbles, Kevin Janish, Dane Willis and Austin Johnson also had one each, and Dane Willis had an interception.
TRIKWESE BRIDGES, LANETT: Recorded 12 tackles, caused one fumble and recovered another one as the Panthers beat Vincent 55-14.
CHASE CARDWELL, NEW BROCKTON: Accounted for 12 tackles, including two sacks, as the Gamecocks shut out Zion Chapel 49-0.
DARIEN BOSSIE, PIEDMONT: Intercepted a pass that set up the Bulldogs’ go-ahead score in a 41-31 victory at Randolph County, and teammate Kaedon Jenkins had an interception in the final minute to seal the win.
GABRIEL RUSSELL, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Finished with 18 tackles, three sacks, for losses and 2 forced fumbles in Friday’s 34-0 victory over Wenonah.
BRETT JACKSON, SAND ROCK: Led the Wildcats’ defense with 12 tackles in Sand Rock’s 28-20 victory over Ider.
WES BAUMHOWER, FAIRHOPE: Intercepted Theodore’s first pass attempt of the game and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown as Fairhope posted a 17-14 win over the Bobcats.
B.J. ANDERSON, ANDALUSIA: Had two interceptions on defense and caught three passes for 139 yards and a touchdown on offense as the Bulldogs (3-1) beat UMS-Wright (2-1) in overtime 27-21.
TYREN DUPREE, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Had two interceptions on defense, rushed for 106 yards and a TD and passed for another score on offense as the Warriors nipped Anniston 15-12 in overtime.
LUCKY BOLEN, SPRING GARDEN: Made two interceptions for the Panthers’ defense, returning 11 yards for a touchdown, and Spring Garden beat Woodville 40-0.
KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 5-of-9 pass attempts for 164 yards and two touchdowns (52 and 60 yards) and rushed for 43 yards and two scores on nine carries in the Panthers’ 41-0 victory over Gaston. He also had one interception on defense.



PASSING
JAMES FOSTER, SIDNEY LANIER:
Completed 13-of-19 passes for 330 yards and six touchdowns in Thursday’s 51-7 victory over Russell County.
RYAN SPARKS, GADSDEN CITY: Was 19-of-31 in passing for 320 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Titans to their first victory of the season, a 38-35 win over James Clemens.
ETHAN WILLIAMS, ANDALUSIA: Was 7-of-15 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 114 yards on 14 carries with another score in Andalusia’s Class 4A, Region 1 27-21 overtime win over UMS-Wright.
BRAXTON BARKER, SPAIN PARK: Complete 22-of-34 passes for 290 yards and two TDs in a 27-24 loss to Hoover.
MAURICE ROBINSON, MURPHY: Passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 86 yards and another TD on just two carries in Murphy’s 48-12 win over Mary Montgomery.
PAUL TYSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Completed 14-of-15 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in Hewitt-Trussville’s 49-7 victory over Grissom. He was 12-for-12 in the first half.
BRADY HERRING, REHOBETH: Completed 15-of-25 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns in the Class 5A Rebels' 28-8 win over Booker T. Washington. Three of the TD passes were to Jace Stewart, covering 16, 42 and 62 yards, and the other was a 28-yard connection Preston Peterson.
JALEN PARKER, HOOVER: Was 13-of-21 passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 25-yard TD pass with 1:18 remaining, in a 27-24 victory over Spain Park.
JACK WEST, SARALAND: Was 11-of-14 passing for 183 yards and four touchdowns as the Spartans downed Blount 42-14.
KRISTIAN STORY, LANETT: The Panthers’ sophomore quarterback was 8-of-13 passing for 250 yards and four touchdowns as Lanett (4-0) beat Vincent 55-14. He was 16-of-19 for 334 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-6 win over Horseshoe Bend the previous week.
NATHAN TAYLOR, LEROY: Completed 21-of-28 passes for 219 yards and rushed for two TDs in the Bears’ 28-6 win over Citronelle.
LUKE HAMPTON, CEDAR BLUFF: Was 5-of-5 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns (57, 35 and 2 yards) in a 47-8 win over Gaylesville.
JAYSON JONES, FULTONDALE: Ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and complete 9-of-14 passes for with 134 passing yards in a 46-21 victory over St. James.

RUSHING
ISAAC HUGULEY, WEST MORGAN:
The running back rushed for 308 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries to lead West Morgan to a 45-24 victory over Colbert Heights.
MARVIN MADDOX, W.S. NEAL: Rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries as W.S. Neal beat Satsuma 42-32.
ASA MARTIN, AUSTIN: Rushed for 253 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries and also threw a 56-yard TD pass as the Black Bears defeated Hazel Green to improve to 4-0. The Auburn commitment also had 36 yards receiving on two catches. His scoring runs covered 90, 60 and 56 yards.
DREW SIMSON, NEW BROCKTON: Rushed for 293 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 25, 21, 8 and 3 yards in the Gamecocks' 49-0 win over Zion Chapel.
ARMANI GOODWIN, FLORENCE: The FHS track star had 20 rushing attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over Hartselle. His 65-yard run on the game’s third play let to his 1-yard TD run on the next play to set the tone for the night. His 90-yard touchdown run with 5:03 left sealed the Falcons’ win.
CRAIG KINSEY, ABBEVILLE: Picked up 213 yards rushing and scored twice in the Yellow Jackets' 38-14 win over Cottonwood.

TODD HOOVER, GULF SHORES: Had 28 carries for 206 yards and three touchdowns as Gulf Shores snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 37-20 victory over B.C. Rain. Hoover also had three catches for 76 yards.
KOLBE BLUNT, DAVIDSON: Gained 203 yards rushing on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns as Davidson shut out Baker 28-0. DANIEL MITCHELL, ROGERS: The running back rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns on four carries as the Pirates beat West Limestone 44-7. Mitchell scored on runs of 97, 42 and 53 yards.
JONATHAN FELLS, CARROLL: Ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries as the Eagles ((3-0) blanked Headland 29-0.

STONE FINCHER, HACKLEBURG: Led the Class 1A Panthers (2-1) to a 48-17 win over Tharptown rushing for 220 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries. His scoring runs were 73, 49 and 54 yards – all three coming in a nine-minute stretch of the second quarter.
CAM BORDEN, WINTERBORO: Rushed for 121 yards on 10 carries with a 50-yard TD and a 61-yard punt return for another score in Winterboro beat Donoho 36-6. Teammate Nyjavion Brown also had 123 yards on 17.
LEE STANLEY, PIEDMONT: Picked up 136 of his game-high 191 yards in the fourth quarter as defending 3A state champion Piedmont beat Randolph County 41-31. He had scoring runs of 38 and 79 yards. The final TD put the Bulldogs ahead for good. Teammate Cardavion Myers added 163 rushing yards and four touchdowns and was 5-of-6 passing for 79 more yards.
B.J. SMITH, VALLEY: The sophomore running back rushed for 194 yards on 28 carries to help the Class 5A Valley beat Cleburne County 13-0  to end a two-year, 11-game losing streak. It was the first win for new head coach Buster Daniel.
NASSIR BOYD, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Ran 30 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-7 victory over Bessemer City.
TY SMITH-LINDSEY, OXFORD: Had 23 carries for 167 yards and three TDs in a 38-14 victory over Cullman.
SHADRICK BYRD, THOMPSON: Carried 14 times for 162 yards and TD runs of 36, 4, 2 and 60 yards in a 40-13 victory over Mountain Brook.

PASS RECEIVING
BRYSON PEAVY, ARITON: Caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in the Purple Cats' 41-20 win over Geneva County.
TORRENCE POLLARD, LEEDS: Caught TD passes of 93 and 15 yards, ran 18 yards for a score and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 42-14 victory over Dadeville.
BRADEN PYRON, MARION COUNTY: Totaled 172 total yards with 95 receiving and 77 rushing and scored two touchdowns in a 44-14 loss to Pickens County. He also kicked two extra points and had an interception on defense for the Red Raiders.
JARROD BARKLEY, COLLINSVILLE: Caught two passes for 112 yards for touchdowns covering 52 and 60 yards in the Panthers’ 41-0 win over Gaston.
LiALLEN DAILEY, PINSON VALLEY: Caught seven passes for 167 yards and two TDs in a 34-32 victory over Clay-Chalkville.


SPECIAL TEAMS
CARSON CARVER, SAND ROCK:
Carver’s fake punt on 4th-and-13 at the Wildcats’ 36-yard line with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter proved to be the pivotal play in a 28-20 victory against Ider. Carver ran 64 yards down the right sideline for the go-ahead score. He also caught and scoring passes of 8 and 39 yards. The first game right before halftime, and the last one came with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter.
JALEN EDWARDS, EUFAULA: Blocked a punt in the third quarter, setting up one Tigers touchdown, and Eufaula edged Central-Clay County 28-23.
DYLAN BLOUNT, WICKSBURG: Blocked an Opp punt leading to a 36-yard touchdown scamper by teammate Garren Richards and the Panther shut out Opp 41-0.
MICHAEL MOWRY, ARITON: Returned a kickoff 78 yards for one touchdown and rushed for 94 yards and another TD in Ariton’s 41-20 win over Geneva County.
D.J. HORTON, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned the opening kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers’ 47-8 victory over Gaylesville.
SHEDRICK JACKSON, HOOVER: Broke free of a would-be tackler in the second half and sped 58 yards for a touchdown on punt return to help push Hoover past arch-rival Spain Park 27-24 in the key Class 7A, Region 3 contest.


Hewitt-Trussville Downs Pell City in Champions Challenge Big School Game

   MONTGOMERY -- Hewitt-Trussville High School junior quarterback Paul Tyson passed for 236 yards and four touchdowns in the first half Friday night to lead the Class 7A Huskies to as 49-10 win over Class 6A Pell City in the final game of the 2017 AHSAA Champions Challenge high school football season-opening series at Cramton Bowl. The Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) hosts the annual event.
    Maplesville beat Fyffe 20-7 in the first game of the series Thursday night. Both games, televised live by the Raycom Network, were considered preseason contests.
    Tyson completed 11-of-12 attempts for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter. He connected with senior Logan Pitts for a 34-yard touchdown just two minutes into the game and followed two minutes later with a 21-yard strike to senior running back Elliott McElwain for the Huskies’ second score. McElwain capped a six-play, 76-yard drive later in the quarter with a 2-yard TD run, and Malachi Moore hauled in a 5-yard pass in the right flat for the final score of the opening period with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
    Pell City slowed the Huskies in the second quarter with some offense of its own. Coach Keith Etheredge’s Panthers used up more than four minutes with a 10-play, 57-yard drive late in the period to finally get on the scoreboard. Senior Sergio  Alvarez kicked a 28-yard field goal to cut the lead to 28-3.
   Coach Josh Floyd’s Huskies struck quickly as Tyson directed a six-play, 65-yard drive that culminated with Lee Reagan getting behind the Pell City defense and Tyson delivered with a perfect 27-yard TD connection as Hewitt took a 35-3 lead into the half. Tyson finished the first half 15-of-18 passing for 236 yards, four TDs, and also tacked on 15 yards rushing on two carries. He did not play in the second half.
    Antonio Reed  scored on a 29-yard run early in the third quarter for the Huskies’ fifth score and Sean Jackson bulled in from the 4 for the final Hewitt TD with 9:37 to play in the fourth quarter. Parker Colburn kicked six of the seven extra points. Joseph Seagle booted the last one.
    Pell City’s Maleek Robinson scored on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Jackson Burkhalter with 3:20 remaining to close out the scoring for Pell City.
    Hewitt-Trussville finished with 24 first downs, 231 yards rushing and 279 passing for 510 total yards.  Myles Mason had 45 yards on three carries and Red had 44 on three to lead the Huskies’ running game. McElwain had five catches for 66 yards and Reagan had 67 on four receptions.  Dazalin Worsham also had three catches for 52 yards.
    Pell City had 15 first downs, 84 rushing yards and 80 passing for 164 total yards. Burkhalter was 5-of-13 passing for 58 yards. Darius Garrett and Andrew Crow had two receptions each. Brett Staples’ 10 tackles led the Panthers’ defense. Trevor Sisk had seven tackles and an interception to pace the Huskies.

Maplesville Beats Fyffe 20-7 in Champions Challenge Battle at Cramton Bowl

  MONTGOMERY --  Maplesville’s Nate Watson struck for big plays on three of his four first-half touches as the defending Class 1A state champs downed Class 2A defending state bchampion Fyffe 20-7 in the first game of the 2017 Champions Challenge season-opening football series at Cramton Bowl Thursday night.
    The AHSAA’s  12th annual Champions Challenge, hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), will conclude Friday night with Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville taking on Class 6A Pell City in the large-school game at Cramton Bowl at 7 p.m. Raycom Media is televising the contest live over its stations in Alabama. Check out www.pathtotheplayoffs.com  for local TV information. The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting the contest over the internet and its network of radio affiliates.
     Both teams rolled into the preseason contest with winning streaks of 23 and 15 games respectively after winning state titles at the AHSAA 2016 Super 7  State Championships at Auburn last December. The game will count on neither team’s record, however, since it was scheduled as a jamboree contest.
   Watson, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior already verbally committed to Mississippi State, scored on the first play of the first and second quarters, taking the opening kickoff at his own 22-yard line and speeding untouched up the middle for a 78-yard score to start the game. He hauled in a 57-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Thomas Schoener on the first play of the second quarter for a 14-0 Red Devils lead. Late in the second period, he got open once again and raced 73 yards with a pass thrown by freshman quarterback Jackson Abbott  for his third TD of the game.
    In between Watson’s spectacular plays Fyffe kept the ball for almost 15 minutes but saw an untimely penalty and some big defensive plays by Coach Brent Hubbert’s defense to keep them from establishing any real momentum.
    Fyffe kept the ball for 14:51 of the first half to Maplesville’s 9:09. However, the 1A team had 146 yards passing and 219 total yards on 20 plays. Fyffe’s 2A Red Devils had 89 total yards – 82 rushing and 7 yards passing.
    Coach Paul Benefield’s team from DeKalb County cut the lead to 20-7 in the third period when Brody Dalton made an exceptional catch of Payton Stoner’s 24-yard pass for the TD with 6:51 left in the third period. Both teams played their reserves the rest of the game.
    Maplesville had 323 total yards on the night. Watson finished the game with 131 yards receiving on his two catches, had 78 yards on kick returns and seven yards rushing for 216 total yards. Abbott was 4-of-6 passing for 79 yards and a TD, and Schoener was 3-of-5 for 65 yards and a TD – all in the first half. Ryan Morrow was the game’s leading rusher with 100 yards on 15 carries, and Abbott had 32 on seven rushes.
    Fyffe rushed for 207 yards on 44 attempts and passed for 31 for 238 total yards. Payton Anderson and Cage Cochran each rushed for 34 yards on 12 and 4 carries, respectively.  Dalton’s 24-yard catch led the receivers.
    Stoner had an interception he returned for 31 yards on defense for Fyffe.  Dalton had seven tackles and Luke Martin had six. Maplesville linebacker Tristen Thetford had 10 tackles and teammates Jakavian McKenzie and Noah Walls had six stops. Latrell Wilson also returned an interception 25 yards.

Teams Set For 2017 Champions Challenge At Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Aug. 24-25

      MONTGOMERY – Four high schools, including two defending state champions,  will officially kick off the 2017 AHSAA high school football season Thursday and Friday at Cramton Bowl in the 12th annual Champions Challenge football classic hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
       The head coaches and selected players gathered at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Tuesday for the Champions Challenge press conference. Media on hand came in early for the annual Media Day. Montgomery Department of Leisure Services Director Scott Miller was on hand to officially welcome the teams and media to the city. Enterprise High School volleyball coach Janie Wiggins and Auburn High School cross country/track coach Dan Norton were also on hand to discuss the start of those two fall sports as well.  
       Three-time defending Class 1A state champion Maplesville (14-0) and defending 2A state champion (15-0) Fyffe will meet in the small-school game Thursday night at 7 p.m. Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville (11-1) and Class 6A Pell City (6-5) will play in the large-school game Friday night at 7.
     Both games will be televised live across the start by Raycom Media. WVUA Sports Director Gary Harris will handle the play-by-play and former University of Alabama standout Mike Johnson will be the color commentator. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over its statewide radio network.
    Benefield, 256-52 overall with 210 wins at his alma mater, saw his team record just four turnovers (four fumbles) in last season’s 15-0 season. He said his team is looking forward to the trip from DeKalb County. “I’ve been coaching 36 years and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” said Benefield. “I’ve never felt that I had to work a day in my life since I’ve been coaching.”
    He predicts the challenge will be difficult.
      Coach Brent Hubbert’s Maplesville team met Fyffe last year in a jamboree game to start the season with the contest ending in a 7-7 tie. His team lost a solid senior class but has another one returning, he said.
    “Each year we go through an identity change,” said Hubbert. “This group is growing. We’ve had a summer of growth as individuals. We aim to help make these young men better human beings off the field and, we (also) want to teach them to prepare for adversity.”
      Pell City (6-5) reached the Class 6A state playoffs in Coach Keith Etheredge’s first season at the helm in 2016. He moved to Pell City from Leeds where he served as head coach for 10 seasons compiling a 113-39 record and capturing four state championships. Etheredge’s teams have been known for their explosive offenses and smothering defenses.
    Floyd finished his third season at Hewitt-Trussville leading the Huskies (11-1) to a 10-0 regular season record for the first time in the school’s 92-year football history.  Hewitt-Trussville also won the Class 7A, Region 8 title and outscored opponents 552-289 on the year.
   Floyd came to Trussville from Shiloh Christian (Ark.) where he led the school to a 99-21 record over 10 seasons with four state titles in five trips to the Arkansas state high school finals.
    The former prep quarterback’s high school coach was current Auburn University Coach Gus Malzahn.
    “Winning championships are great,” said Etheredge. “I’ve won four (at Leeds) and every one was very, very special to me. But coaching and teaching is about building relationships. That’s the most important part of coaching. If I can touch one life as a coach, I feel I’ve done my job. But, I want to do a lot more.”
     Floyd said he also understands there is much, much more to coaching than just X’s and O’s.
    “I’m a younger coach, but I know there’s so much more about this game than just playing on the football field,” he said, “There’s nothing more fulfilling as a coach than a few years down the line getting messages from those kids you coached. They will tell you, ‘Coach, we remember things you said when you didn’t even know we were listening.’”
    Andalusia beat Brooks 34-13, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa downed Demopolis 42-7 and Hoover topped Central-Phenix City 23-7 in last year’s Champions’ Challenge.

North Defense Leads Team to 14-13 Win over South in 58th Annual North-South Football Game

   MONTGOMERY – The North All-Star defense came up with the big plays Thursday night en route to a 14-13 football win over the South in the 58th playing of the AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game at Cramton Bowl.
    The game closed out the 2017 All-Star Sports Week competition with the North sweeping baseball,  boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ and girls’ basketball and volleyball while splitting a doubleheader in softball to go 11-1 in contests for the week.
     The victory was the third in a row for the North and closed the South’s edge in the series to 30-26-2. The South’s last win came in 2014 in a 20-12 win. The North won the first game played in 1948 at Tuscaloosa, 33-0.
    The North struck first Thursday night when Connor Landers scooped up a South fumble and rambled 46 yards into the end zone for a touchdown at 7:57 in the first quarter. The fumble was caused by North linebacker Will Evans of Haleyville, a University of North Alabama signee, when he jarred the ball loose from South receiver Maurice Young of Wetumpka.  Evans finished with 11 tackles and was named the North MVP.
    The South responded quickly, marching 67 yards on seven plays and scored when Jeff Davis receiver Tyler Wesley hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Warren of Leroy and tied the game at 7-7 on C.J. Roberts’ extra point kick with 5:08 left in the quarter.
    Evans blocked a South punt early in the second period and recovered at the South 2 to set up the North’s final TD. After a loss back to the 11, Trevor Oakes of Hartselle connected with Florence receiver Jakobi Byrd two plays later for a 6-yard TD pass. Cullman place-kicker Tristian Skinner booted the all-important extra point to give the North a 14-7 lead with 7:35 left in the half.
    The South defense, which also played well all night, provided the big play late in the third quarter when Clifton Robbins of Dothan sacked North quarterback Koy Chapman of Gordo for a six-yard loss at the South 41 and caused a fumble that was recovered by South teammate Taryon Edwards of Lee-Montgomery.
     It took just five plays for the South to reach the end zone – the TD coming on a 31-yard pass from Warren to Wesley with 8:12 left in the fourth period. South head coach Scott Horne of G.W. Long, who had both his team’s place-kickers unavailable due to injuries, elected to go for two but the play failed and the South trailed 14-13.
      The North drove to the South 3 later in the period but turned the ball over on a fumble forced by Enterprise linebacker Keonte White’s tackle of Scottsboro running back Dekarlos Billingsley near the goal line.
    The South couldn’t mount another threat, however.
    The North, coached by Parker’s Andre Robinson, finished with only seven first downs, 69 yards rushing and 41 passing for 110 yards. The South had 16 first downs, 68 yards rushing and 175 passing for 243 yards.
     Billingsley led all rushers with 64 yards on 14 carries for the North. Charles Blackmon of Linden had 35 yards on eight carries and Roberts of Carroll-Ozark had 29 on six carries for the South. Warren was 10-of-14 passing for 124 yards and two TDs for the South and Wesley, the South MVP, had four catches for 66 yards and two scores. T.R. Miller quarterback Caleb Winton was 5-of-13 passing for 51 yards. Oakes and Chapman combined to complete six passes for 41 yards.
     Josh Hatcher of Handley had 13 tackles for the North and Evans had 11. White had seven to lead the South.




Prep Football Squads Announced For 58th North-South All-Star Game

      North-South all-star squads for the upcoming 58th AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game have been selected. The two 37-member teams comprised of 2017 seniors were announced by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Tuesday.
      The North-South Game will be played Thursday, July 20 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. The annual game will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network and broadcast by the AHSAA Radio Network.
      The game will be the last all-star game of in this year’s AHSAA Summer Conference. The AHSACDA will also host all-star games in baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, and for the first time, cross country.
      Head coach for the South is G.W. Long High School’s Scott Horne. North head coach is Parker High School’s Andre Robinson. Horne has a 74-20 career record in eight years as the Rebels’ head coach. His teams have compiled a 55-7 slate averaging 11 wins per season over the last five years. Long has reached the 2A semifinals each of the last two years going 12-1 each year and currently owns a 25-game region winning streak. Robinson, now in his second tenure as Parker’s head coach, is 64-55 overall in 15 years as a head coach. He coached the Thundering Herd from 1997-2003 before becoming a college assistant coach, then returned to the high school ranks in 2013 at Birmingham Carver, then moved back to Parker in 2014 and has guided the Herd to a 22-11 slate the last three years.
      Eight players who helped their teams play in state championship games last December have been selected to play in this summer’s game. Named to the South squad are defensive end Carlton Martial and running back Treymarius Roberson of Class 7A runner-up McGill-Toolen Catholic; defensive back Will Boler and linebacker Zach Yancey of Class 6A state runner-up Opelika.
       Named to the North squad are defensive back Jamar Richardson of Class 2A runner-up Aliceville; linebackers Jay Brown and Josh Hatcher of Class 4A state champion Handley; and defensive lineman Richardo Palao of Class 7A state champion Hoover.
      Coaches named to Robinson’s North staff are Michael Robertson of Hokes Bluff; Bill Smith of Munford; Mark Heaton of Russellville; Richard Dutton of Lawrence County; Kelvis White of Mae Jemison; Scott Sharp of Madison County; and Cedric Brown, the administrative coach, from Southside-Selma.
      Named to the Horne’s South staff are Jason Massey of Leroy; Wesley Sims of J.U. Blacksher; Lee Carter of Jeff Davis; Pat Thompson of Sweet Water; Tim Perry of Wetumpka; James Lucas of LaFayette; and Greg Howard of Alabama Christian, the South administrative coach.
      The South holds a 30-25-2 edge in the North-South series which began in 1948. The North won 14-0 last year in a game called due to inclement weather in the second quarter.
       The AHSADCA operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Membership includes coaches of all AHSAA sports as well as administrators of member schools.
      The rosters: 


NORTH ALL-STAR TEAM

First name

Last name

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Dekarlos

Billingsley

Scottsboro

RB

5'10

197

Trent

Brake

Corner

OL

6'5

285

Jay

Brown

Handley

OLB

5'10

193

Dawson

Cazola

Gardendale

OL

6'2

298

Dakota

Chapman

McAdory

LB

6'1

235

Koy

Chapman

Gordo

QB

6'0

190

Keilend

Clayton

Clay-Chalkville

DL

6'2

290

Isiah

Cox

Walker

WR

5'11

178

Austin

Davis

Thompson

DB

5'11

175

Reynard

Ellis

Shades Valley

RB

6'1

223

Will

Evans

Haleyville

LB

6'2

216

Davyn

Flenord

Central - Clay County

WR

6'3

185

Austin

Freeman

Scottsboro

DB

6'0

170

Jeremy

Garth

James Clemens

DL

5'10

230

Josh

Hatcher

Handley

LB

6'0

190

Jay

Hawthorne

Bob Jones

DB

6'0

170

Jalik

Jaggwe

Austin

WR

6'1

190

Khalil

Keith

Winterboro

OL

6'5

290

Spencer

Kemble

Winfield City

ATH

6'2

190

Connor

Landers

Hartselle

LB

5'11

225

Caleb

Meyer

Hartselle

DL

6'1

250

Engene

Minter, Jr.

Parker

WR

6'5

205

Patrick

Nuss

Vestavia Hills

OL

6'7

286

Zac

Oden

Montevallo

QB

6'2

185

Ricardo

Palao

Hoover

DL

6'2

275

Cade

Pugh

Helena

OLB

6'0

190

Jamar

Richardson

Aliceville

DB

6'1

175

Jakari

Robinson

Munford

OL

6'2

298

Tristian

Skinner

Cullman

K

5'11

185

Thomas

Smith

Florence

DB

6'3

200

Antonio

Stanton, Jr.

Bessemer City

Ath

5'9

169

Tucker

Walters

Bob Jones

OL

6'2

290

Will

Wetzler

Mountain Brook

LB

6'0

210

Larry

Wooden

Spain Park

RB

6'0

190

David

Woodruff

Winfield City

OL

6'5

320

Jamal

Woods

Hueytown

DL

6'3

262

Ladarius

Woods

Decatur

RB

5'11

195

NORTH COACHES

Andre

Robinson

A. H. Parker (Head Coach)

Michael

Robertson

Hokes Bluff

Bill

Smith

Munford

Mark

Heaton

Russellville

Richard

Dutton

Lawrence County

Kelvis

White

Mae Jemison

Scott

Sharp

Madison County

Cedric

Brown

Southside-Selma (Administrative Coach)

SOUTH ALL-STAR TEAM

First name

Last name

School

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Jamal

Hourel

Andalusia

RB

5'11

210

Thomas

Kanaley

Andalusia

OL

6'5

285

TreShun

Floyd

Auburn

DE/LB

6'1

215

NeColby

Maxwell

Benjamin Russell

RB

5'8

196

Robert

Lacey

Blount

OL

6'3

280

DeNadio

Madison

Blount

DE/LB

6'1

240

Tommy

Spivey

Brantley

WR

6'1

170

C. J.

Roberts

Carroll

RB

6'0

205

Trent

Kelley

Central - Phenix City

OL

6'5

320

Margarius

Buchanan

Dadeville

ATH

5'9

165

Brian

Mitchell, II

Daphne

DL

6'4

230

James

Clemmons, III

Davidson

WR

6'1

185

Clifton

Robbins

Dothan

DE/LB

6'2

230

Keonte

White

Enterprise

DE/LB

5'11

230

Cameron

McElroy

Eufaula

DL

6'0

300

Kendarian

Handy

Jackson

DB

6'2

200

Travis

Bell

Jeff Davis

DL

6'0

263

Travez

Bozeman

Jeff Davis

ATH

5'10

179

Travon

Mathis

Lanett

DL

6'3

265

Taryon

Edwards

Lee - Montgomery

DL

5'11

300

Mike

Huntley, Jr.

Lee - Montgomery

QB

5'11

174

Thronton

Rudolph

Lee - Montgomery

OL

6'1

308

Carlton

Martial

McGill-Toolen Catholic

DE/LB

5'10

210

Treymarius

Roberson

McGill-Toolen Catholic

RB

5'10

175

Clayton

Kelley

New Brockton

DB

5'9

183

Max

Weeks

New Brockton

K/P

6'5

193

Will

Boler

Opelika

DB

6'0

175

Zach

Yancey

Opelika

DE/LB

5'10

205

Jackson

Tate

Park Crossing

WR

6'0

195

Matt

Trehern

Saraland

OL

6'3

295

Keandrae

Rutledge

Southside - Selma

DE/LB

6'0

190

Zye'Kee

Pruitt

Theodore

DB

6'0

175

Samuel

Plash

UMS-Wright

OL

6'3

250

Charles

Crawford

Vigor

DB

5'10

172

Nathan

Harrison

B. T. Washington

OL

6'0

315

Maurice

Young, Jr.

Wetumpka

WR

6'0

170

Cephus

Johnson

Davidson

QB

6'4

195

SOUTH COACHES

Scott

Horne

G. W. Long (Head Coach)

Jason

Massey

Leroy

Wesley

Sims

J. U. Blacksher

Lee

Carter

Jeff Davis

Pat

Thompson

Sweet Water

Tim

Perry

Wetumpka

James

Lucas

Lafayette

Greg

Howard

Alabama Christian (Administrative Coach)



Teams Set For 2017 Champions Challenge At Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Aug. 24-25

      MONTGOMERY, AL – Four teams have been selected for the 12th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 24-25 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
      The 2016 Champions Challenge, which will kick off the 2017 prep football season, will feature one game at 7 p.m., each night. Defending 1A state champion Maplesville and defending 2A state champion Fyffe will meet in the small-school game on Thursday. Hewitt-Trussville and Pell City will play in the large-school game Friday.
     The pairings were announced Tuesday by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), the AHSAA’s coaching organization, which hosts the event each year.
      “We are very excited about the two games we have lined up,” Briggs said. “The Fyffe versus Mapleville game pits two schools that were undefeated last season while the big-school game is a clash between two of the state’s up-and-coming programs. Each have storied histories and strong communities that love high school football. We thank the City of Montgomery for all they do to make these games possible each year.”
     Both games will be televised live over the Raycom Network in Alabama with WSFA TV 12 as the anchor station. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the games live over its statewide radio network.
     Fyffe (15-0), coached by Paul Benefield, beat Aliceville 28-0 in the 2016 Class 2A finals at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was the Red Devils’ second state championship in the last three years.   Fyffe outscored opponents 700-113 with the championship game win the Red Devils’ sixth shutout of the season.
    Coach Brent Hubbert’s Maplesville Red Devils (14-0) beat Pickens County 40-12 last December to claim Maplesville’s third straight Class 1A state title and extended Maplesville’s current winning streak to 23 in a row. His team outscored opponents 683-101 in 14 games last season.
     Pell City (6-5) reached the Class 6A state playoffs in Coach Keith Etheredge’s first season at the helm in 2016. He moved to Pell City from Leeds where he served as head coach for 10 seasons compiling a 113-39 record and four state championships. Etheredge’s teams have been known for their explosive offenses and smothering defenses.
    Floyd finished his third season at Hewitt-Trussville leading the Huskies (11-1) to a perfect 10-0 regular season record for the first time in the school’s 92-year football history.  Hewitt-Trussville also won the Class 7A, Region 8 title and outscored opponents 552-289 on the year.
   Floyd came to Trussville from Shiloh Christian (Ark.) where he led the school to a 99-21 record over 10 seasons with four state titles in five trips to the Arkansas state high school finals.
    The former prep quarterback’s high school coach was current Auburn University Coach Gus Malzahn.
     Benefield has s 255-52 career record including 210-41 at Fyffe. Hubbert is 143-23 at Maplesville and 160-38 overall.  Ethredge is 113-39 in his 11-year career (107-34 at Leeds) and Floyd is 121-33 overall and 22-12 at Hewitt over the last three seasons.
    Andalusia beat Brooks 34-13, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa downed Demopolis 42-7 and Hoover topped Central-Phenix City 23-7 in last year’s Champions’ Challenge.


Piedmont’s Steve Smith Named Alabama All-Star Head Coach for 2017 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game

    MONTGOMERY – Piedmont High School head football coach Steve Smith will be the head coach for the Alabama All-Star football squad for the 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game next December.  The game will be played at Hattiesburg on the University of Southern Mississippi campus for just the second time in the game’s storied history.
    AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese made the announcement at the District 6 meeting Monday night held at Jacksonville State University’s Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.
    Smith replaces former Opelika High School Coach Brian Blackmon, who stepped down as head coach for the 2017 game after resigning at Opelika and accepting a position with Auburn University’s athletic department as a football analyst last month. Blackmon was announced as head coach in late January.
     “I am very honored and humbled,” Smith said. “I really enjoyed my two times in the game as an assistant coach. I am looking forward to this opportunity.”
     Smith served as an assistant coach in last year’s game, a 25-14 win over Mississippi at Cramton Bowl and in the 2009 all-star game played at Mobile. Alabama holds a 22-8 edge in the series which began in 1988. However, Mississippi is 1-0 in games played in Mississippi. The All-Star Classic between the two states started a home-and-home rotation in 2015. The first 28 games were played in Alabama.
      UMS-Wright’s Terry Curtis was Alabama head coach in 2016. The 2017 game is set for Saturday, Dec. 16.
    Smith, was an All-State quarterback graduating in 1987 from Cherokee County High School. He played at Jacksonville State University from 1988-91 and served as a graduate assistant coach on JSU’s 1992 national championship team.  He became the head coach at Cedar Bluff High School in 1995 and compiled an 85-45 record over the next 11 seasons. He moved to Piedmont in 2006. His teams won 3A state championships in 2009, 2015 and 2016 — finishing last season with a 25-game winning streak, the longest current football winning streak in the AHSAA.
     His Piedmont teams have compiled a 123-23 record overall, including 28-8 in 11 playoff appearances and 71-7 in region games. His teams have gone undefeated or suffered just one loss in region play every season since 2007.
    He will be coaching in his third Alabama-Mississippi all-star game. He first coached in 2009 and again last year.
    “Coach Smith is one of our state’s most outstanding head coaches,” said Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
     The rest of the Alabama All-Star staff for next December’s game will be announced in the near future, Briggs said. The AHSADCA, in conjunction with the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) administers the all-star game each year.

 


 

North-South Coaches Named
     Briggs announced last month the head coaches for the 58th annual North-South All-Star Football Game in February.  Parker High School’s Andre Robinson will coach the North squad and G.W. Long’s Scott Horne will serve as head coach for the South.  The North won last July 14-0 in a game called due to inclement weather in the second quarter. The game is played annually during the AHSAA’s Summer Conference and AHSADCA All-Star Sports Week. Other all-star games scheduled for the 2017 All-Star Week are baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball and volleyball.
    Robinson begins his 12th year as a head coach next season. He owns a 64-55 career record with one year at Carver-Birmingham and 10 at Parker. He has served two stints at Parker, going 39-37 in seven seasons before moving to the college ranks, then returned to the Class 6A Thundering Herd in 2014 and has gone 22-11 the last three seasons.  Horne has been G.W. Long’s head coach for the past eight seasons. His 74-20 head-coaching record includes a 64-7 overall slate this decade (2011-16) including a 39-2 region record. His last three teams have gone 35-3 with two straight trips to the Class 2A semifinals.




New Blocking, Kicking Rules Address Risk Minimization in High School Football

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 22, 2017) — New rules on blindside blocking are the most recent steps taken by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee in minimizing the risks associated with the sport.

The establishment of a new definition of a blindside block in Rule 2-3-10 and the addition of Rule 9-4-3n prohibiting a blindside block were two of 11 rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 20-22 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s actions this year once again addressed risk minimization, officiating, competitive balance and game administration,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.

The definition of a blindside block established by the committee is “a block against an opponent other than the runner, who does not see the blocker approaching,” and now results in a 15-yard penalty.

The committee stated that the blindside block “involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury. Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.”

“As has been the case for many years, the NFHS Football Rules Committee continued to place their main emphasis on risk minimization,” said Todd Tharp, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “With this new definition of a blindside block and the penalty to be assessed, the committee stresses the importance of proper coaching techniques under the rules and accurate enforcement by the game officials.”

Another significant risk-minimization change was elimination of a pop-up kick in new Rule 6-1-11. A new definition of a pop-up kick in Rule 2-24-10 is defined as “a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee.”

The committee implemented this change in an effort to reduce risk of injury due to the increased use of the pop-up kick on onside kickoffs. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction, as noted with new Rule 6-1-11 PENALTY.

The NFHS Football Rules Committee also expanded Rule 2-32-16 regarding a defenseless player by adding specific examples of a defenseless player. Those examples include, but are not limited to:

a)      A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass;

b)      A receiver attempting to catch a pass who has not had time to clearly become a runner;

c)      The intended receiver of a pass in the action during and immediately following an interception or potential interception;

d)      A runner already in the grasp of a tackler and whose forward progress has been stopped;

e)      A kickoff or punt returner attempting to catch or recover a kick, or one who has completed a catch or recovery and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier;

f)       A player on the ground including a ball carrier who has obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first;

g)      A player obviously out of the play or not in the immediate vicinity of the runner; and

h)      A player who received a blindside block with forceful contact not initiated with open hands.

A great deal of time was spent by the committee creating specific criteria to define exactly what a defenseless player is,” Tharp said. “Coaches can use these examples to focus on the proper mechanics of blocking and tackling, and game officials now are able to use this expanded definition to focus on continued risk minimization of the players.”

Changes to Rule 7-1-6 expand on the situations required for encroachment to occur after the ready-for-play and after the snapper has placed his hand(s) on the ball. The rule previously stated that encroachment occurred if “any other player breaks the plane of the neutral zone.” In addition, now defensive players are restricted from contacting the ball prior to the end of the snap or making contact with the snapper’s hand(s) or arm(s) until the snapper has released the ball.

The remaining changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee touched on a new ball specification (1-3-1h), uniforms [(1-5-1b(3)], game officials (1-5-4), post-scrimmage kick fouls (2-16-2h), penalty time clock management (3-4-7), prosthetic limbs (4-2-2l) and forward-pass interference (7-5-10), in which the previous foul for non-contact face guarding was eliminated as forward-pass interference.

Regarding the uniform change in Rule 1-5-1b(3), effective with the 2021 season, “the jerseys of the home team shall be a dark color that clearly contrasts to white.”

“The committee revised the rule to provide schools and manufacturers more clarification regarding the game’s current trend of utilizing lighter gray shades,” Colgate said. “The requirement for teams to wear contrasting colors to white is not a new rule, and it is the committee’s expectation that this new clarification will allow changes to be made during normal replacement cycles.”

A complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Football.”

According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, football is the most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 1,083,308 participants in 11-player football. Another combined 28,943 boys participated in 6-, 8- and 9-player football. In addition, 2,140 girls participated in one of the four football offerings during the 2015 season.