Milestone Victory Grabs AHSAA Offensive Spotlight
Pate Keys Warriors’ Come-from-Behind Win over Hoover for Freeman’s 200th Coaching Win
AHSAA, MONTGOMERY – Thompson High School’s Warriors trailed 17-0 in the first half but stormed back behind the play of senior quarterback Sawyer Pate to outscore Hoover 48-13 the rest of the way to win the key Class 7A, Region 3 football clash 48-30 Friday night.
That was plenty enough reason for Warriors head coach Mark Freeman to be pleased.
However, this night to remember was made even bigger since it was the 200th coaching victory of his career and grabbed the AHSAA Offensive Spotlight for Week 2 of the 2019 season.
Pate led the Warriors’ comeback win completing 19-of-26 passes for 194 yards and three TDs, two to senior receiver Mike Pettway. Trailing 17-0 in the first quarter and 27-21 late in the first half, Thompson (3-0) outscored the Bucs 27-3 the rest of the way. Junior running back Jarrett Crockett added 148 yards rushing and three TDs for the Warriors.
Freeman, now 200-50 in his 21st season as a head coach, is 36-13 at Thompson. His first two teams were 5-5 in 2015 and 2016. The Warriors finished 12-1 losing to Hoover in the semifinals in 2017 and reached the Class 7A state finals finishing 11-2 in 2018. He compiled a 50-7 record at Spanish Fort from 2011-2014 with back-to-back Class 5A state titles and a 29-1 record in 2012 and 2013.
He served as head coach at Gulf Shores for two seasons leading the Dolphins to a 9-4 record in 2011, best in school history. He coached 10 years at Bessemer Academy compiling a 100-21 slate with four AISA state championships. His overall record in the AHSAA is 99-29.
The milestone win edged two 400-yard passing efforts and a 501-yard total offense performance. Zyquez Perryman of Pleasant Grove completed 26-for-31 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-14 victory over Briarwood Christian.
Eli Pearce of West End in Walnut Grove was 22-of-55 passing for 422 yards and four touchdowns, three to Jeremiah Roberson, and rushed 14 times for 69 yards and two scores in a 65-44 loss to Cleveland. Pearce had 491 total yards/]. Roberson finished with eight receptions for 118 yards and teammate Jackson Tidmore caught six passes for 121 yards.
Maddux Herring of Ariton accounted for 501 yards and six touchdowns in a wild 54-49 win over Geneva County. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns and added 190 yards rushing and three more scores on 30 carries. His TD passes went for 65, 60 and 15 yards and the scoring runs were 7, 10 and 5 yards. Herring also earned seven tackles on defense.
Other top offensive performances reported:
TYVN ELLIS, FAIRVIEW: Had 30 carries for 312 yards and six touchdowns as the Aggies nipped DAR 62-41. Fairview finished with 505 rushing yards for the game.
LEVI ARRINGTON, BILLINGSLEY: Rolled up 379 yards total offense and accounted for five touchdowns as the Bears beat Loachapoka 35-18. He ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries and completed 9-of-18 passes for 178 yards and two scores.
ETHAN CLANTON, SAND ROCK: Totaled 256 yards rushing on 25 carries in a 20-14 win in overtime against Ider. Ian Clanton scored all three TDs for the Wildcats, including a 20-yarder in the OT period.
KALEB JONES, COLLNSVILLE: Accounted for seven touchdowns, five rushing and two passing, as the Panthers beat North Sand Mountain 54-28. He rushed for 158 yards on 14 carries and touchdown runs of 1, 2, 37, 1 and 37 yards, and completed 5-of-9 passes for 112 yards with his TD connections covering 25 and 22 yards. Teammate Malachi Orr added 126 yards rushing and a 28-yard scoring run on 15 carries. Jones also had an interception on defense in the final quarter.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed 27 times for 241 yards and touchdown runs of 55 and 45 yards in a 45-21 win over White Plains. Teammate Ashton Gulledge also had 14 rush attempts for 127 yards and three touchdowns (24, 1, 2 yards) and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Tristin Billingsley in the win.
CONNER RUSH, MOODY: Rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns covering 38 and 90 yards on 26 carries in a 21-7 win over St. Clair County. Teammate Terrence Moore added 17 carries for 184 yards and had one TD on a 49-yard run.
JAKOBI HUNTER, LEEDS: Had 24 carries for 246 yards and five touchdowns while adding nine tackles in a 33-27 victory over Elmore County.
JERRY BURTON, PRICEVILLE: The junior running back had 40 rush attempts for 242 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-29 win over St. John Paul II.
JORDAN INGRAM, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and caught four passes for 31 yards in the Saints’ win over Baldwin County.
CAM BASS, SCOTTSBORO: The senior running back rushed 19 times for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Jacob Manning had 135 yards and one TD on 17 carries as the Wildcats beat Ardmore 41-27.
A.J. POWELL, VESTAVIA HILLS: Rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-7 victory over Spain Park.
KELSTON FIKES, LEROY: Totaled 167 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 14 carries as the Bears beat R.C. Hatch 41-14.
RASHAWN McALPINE, SARALAND: Rushed for 164 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries in a 49-13 win over Daphne.
ROYDELL WILLIAMS, HUEYTOWN: The senior had 27 rush attempts for 157 yards, including touchdown runs of 5 and 8 yards, as the Gophers beat Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 39-17. He added 33 receiving yards and threw 40-yard pass from the wildcat formation for 230 total yards.
REGINALD DAVIS, LEE-MONTGOMERY: The all-purpose back rushed for 147 yards on 15 carries and scored twice on runs of 14 and 4 yards as the Generals beat Jeff Davis 59-14. He also caught three passes for 79 yards to account for 226 of Lee’s 566 total yards.
L.T. SANDERS, GARDENDALE: Picked up 167 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Rockets’ 30-7 win over Huffman.
AUSTIN CLARKE, McADORY: Ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-7 victory over Northridge.
LUKE MORRIS, SARDIS: Ran for 205 yards on 22 carries with a 74-yard touchdown and also caught a 4-yard TD pass as the Lions nipped Southside-Gadsden 33-31.
TRENT DAVIS, ETOWAH: Had 203 total yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Devils’ 49-7 win over Crossville. Playing just three quarters, he had six rush attempts for 125 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 78 yards and a third score.
SEAN JACKSON, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Gained 169 yards on 14 rush attempts and added 65 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns in a 50-33 victory over Oak Mountain.
CAMERON FAISON, REELTOWN: Needed just six carries to gain 148 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Rebels downed Fayetteville 63-14. He scored on Reeltown’s first offensive snap of the night on s 79-yard jaunt.
COLTON PATTON, DESHLER: Rushed just four times but totaled 131 yards and three touchdowns (65, 1 and 52 yards) in Deshler’s 55-0 win over Elkmont.
DYLAN BLACKBURN, JAMES CLEMENS: Gained 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in a 35-17 victory over Bob Jones.
TAVION RUPERT, SPARKMAN: Had 34 carries for 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Senators beat Gadsden City 51-27.
KIERAN CRAIG, HUNTSVILLE: Scored on a 98-yard run and finished with three touchdowns and 115 yards on just five carries as the Panthers downed Grissom 43-14.
ZAK BURNETT, GUNTERSVILLE: Led the Wildcats to a 49-42 win over Madison County passing for a school-record 362 yards completing 23-of-34 pass attempts. The previous record set by Chaz Rogers in 2006 versus Brooks was 248 yards.
HESS HORNE, EUFAULA: Completed 19-of-32 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 49-38 loss to Dothan.
JAMAL LANE, DOTHAN: The Wolves quarterback completed 12-of-22 for 254 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-38 win over Eufaula.
ALEX HOWELL, MURPHY: Completed 20-of-30 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers rallied from a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Fairhope 26-24. Howell threw the game-winning TD pass with 1:30 left.
TATE WARR, MILLRY: Passed for 347 yards and five touchdowns and ran for a sixth TD as Millry beat Elberta 47-7.
TOBIAS ROBINSON, CHICKASAW: Completed 9-of-17 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns and rushed five times for 87 yards and two more scores to lead the Chieftains’ to a 46-6 win over Choctaw County.
KYLE HIPP, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN: Finished 8-of-12 passing for 238 yards and four touchdowns as the Warriors defeated J.U. Blacksher 51-7.
JACK HAYES, PIEDMONT: Completed 19-of-26 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns as the Bulldogs beat Pleasant Valley 28-0. All four scores went to four different receivers.
ROBBY ASHFORD, HOOVER: Was 15-of-29 passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 103 in the Bucs’ 48-30 loss to Thompson.
PATE OWENS, HOMEWOOD: Passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 33 yards and another score as the Patriots beat Pelham 42-14.
PATRICK JOHNSON, BREWER: Completed 12-of-19 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns in Brewer’s 29-21 comeback win over Arab.
MICHAEL RICH, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Was 9-of-18 passing for 190 yards and two scores and rushed six times for 62 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' 33-31 loss to Sardis.
BRITTON KOHN, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY: Was 11-of-18 passing for 158 yards and one TD and rushed for 101 yards and three scores on 10 carries as the Eagles downed Beulah 46-18.
KEYONTEZE JOHNSON, PINSON VALLEY: Had seven receptions for 185 yards, including TD catches of 69 and 42 yards, in a 23-7 victory over Shades Valley.
JAMARIUS CARTER, MONTEVALLO: Caught 10 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-24 victory over Dallas County.
HAYES FLOYD, ARITON: Caught five passes for 173 yards and a touchdown of 60 yards in the Purple Cats' 54-49 win over Geneva County.
TRE SHACKLEFORD, AUSTIN: Caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, including the game-winning 43-yarder in the final minute, to lift the Bears past Florence 30-25.
JABRE’ BARBER, DOTHAN: Grabbed five receptions for 155 yards with TD receptions of 76 and 54 yards in the Wolves' 49-38 win over Eufaula. Barber also had two kickoff returns for 52 total yards.
AULDEN BATTLES, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Caught five passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' 33-31 loss to Sardis.
CAMPBELL LEACH, GUNTERSVILLE: Caught five passes for 143 yards in a 49-42 win over Madison County. Teammates Jack Harris and Cooper Davidson had 101 and 97 yards on 8 and 7 catches, respectively.
DONAVON BROWN, BOB JONES: Snagged six passes for 142 yards and a 27-yard TD in a 35-17 loss to James Clemens.
LYRIC GURLEY, BUCKHORN: Hauled in four passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns covering of 40, 24 and 65 yards in a 36-35 victory over county rival Hazel Green to claim the Cotton Classic.
JAKOBE FLETCHER, WEST MORGAN: Caught six passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns and gained 79 yards on 12 rush attempts in a 32-25 loss to Randolph.
JERRON SMITH, HAZEL GREEN: Had 90 receiving yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 5-yard run in a 36-35 loss to Buckhorn.
RODARIUS THOMAS, EUFAULA: Caught three passes for 117 receiving yards with two grabs resulting in touchdowns covering 47 and 43 yards in the Tigers' 49-38 loss to Dothan.
BLAKE WISDOM, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Had 106 yards receiving including a 41-yard touchdown catch, and also rushed for a 40-yard touchdown, as Lauderdale County beat East Lawrence 32-20.
JACOB HOPPER, SARDIS: Hauled in seven receptions for 81 yards and three touchdowns (7, 7 and 15 yards) as the Lions rallied to beat Southside 33-31.
MALACHI HOLT-BENNETT, FAIRFIELD: Snared three touchdown passes and also picked off a pass on defense in a 48-14 victory over John Carroll.
Junior Grabs Week 2 AHSAA Defense Spotlight
Defensive Tackle Lee Hunter Rules Defensive Front to Lead Blount to Third Straight Win
AHSAA, MONTGOMERY – Blount High School junior defensive tackle Lee Hunter has been the anchor of what is shaping up to be one of the Leopards’ best defensive teams in year. Last week, the 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior totaled 14 tackles, including five stops for losses, in a 48-4 win over B.C. Rain.
Blount, coached by Lev Holly, improved to 3-0 on the year and Hunter, considered one of the top junior defensive linemen in the nation already, saw his stock rise even more. His tenacious play kept him in the B.C. Rain backfield much of the night and earned him the AHSAA Football Defense Spotlight for the Week 2 of the 2019 season.
The Leopards beat arch rival and 2018 Class 5A state finalists Vigor in Zero Week 38-7. Blount followed with a 43-0 win over Robertsdale and takes a 3-0 record into this week’s Friday matchup with Class 6A, Region 1 foe St. Paul’s Episcopal. Hunter, who had a quarterback sack last week, has helped his team outscore opponents 129-21 this season. The defense is allowing just 7.0 ppg – best Region 1 and fourth in Class 6A behind Paul Bryant (6.3), Oxford (6.7) and Albertville (6.7).
Hunter’s performance edged out an outstanding all-around effort by Wenonah senior Jayden Sanders, who had eight tackles, two intercepted passes and a fumble he returned 37 yards for a Dragons touchdown in Wenonah’s 50-0 win over Woodlawn. On offense, Sanders caught two TD passes, a two-point conversion and threw a 28-yard TD pass.
Other top defensive efforts reported for Week 2:
OTHER DEFENSIVE NOMINATIONS
JOE SKARUPA, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Was credited with 21 tackles in a 43-29 loss to Priceville.
BLAKE CARROLL, ARITON: Totaled 17 tackles, including two for losses, in Ariton's 54-49 win over Geneva County. Carroll also rushed for 95 yards and a 15-yard TD run.
WILSON TURNER, HEADLAND: Had 15 tackles, a sack and caused a fumble as the Rams beat B.T. Washington 38-12. Teammate Zach Lawrence also had 12 tackles with two sacks and another tackle resulting in a safety.
LEE HUNTER, BLOUNT: Had 14 tackles, including five for a loss and a sack, in the Leopards’ 48-14 victory over B.C. Rain.
JAVAR STRONG, MUSCLE SHOALS: Returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 62-0 victory over Columbia.
JASON BROOKS, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in a 49-21 victory over Bayside Academy.
BROOKS WEEKS, EUFAULA: Posted 11 tackles and an interception in the Tigers’ 49-38 loss to Dothan. Teammate Keith Bain also had 10 tackles, a fumble recovery and interception and Luke Bush had 11 stops and a fumble recovery.
TRAD JENKINS, SAMSON: The Tigers’ two-way standout recorded 13 tackles, including two sacks, and also rushed for 169 yards and four touchdowns as Samson blanked Calhoun 50-0.
THOMAS GLISSON, OPP: Had 11 tackles and an interceptions to lead the Bobcats to a 35-12 win over Straughn.
EVAN CRAIGHEAD, MADISON ACADEMY: Intercepted two passes in a 42-20 victory over East Limestone.
JOE McCORMICK, MOODY: Totaled nine tackles with three sacks as the Blue Devils beat St. Clair County 21-7.
BRADY JACKSON, SAND ROCK: Totaled 10 1/2 tackles in the Wildcats' 20-14 overtime win against Ider.
D.J. LEE, GAYLESVILLE: Returned a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown in the Trojans' 20-12 loss to Victory Christian. He also completed 5-of-6 passes for 83 yards and ran for 56 yards on 22 carries with a 2-yard touchdown.
LUKE WELSH, SPRING GARDEN: Recovered a pair of fumbles on defense, rushed for 107 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 10 and 24 yards to lead the Panthers to a 41-21 victory over Winterboro.
Sophomore Nails 57-yard FG to Grab AHSAA Special Teams Spotlight
Fort Payne’s Alex McPherson Follows in Brothers’ Footsteps to Keeps Family Kicking Tradition Alive
AHSAA, MONTGOMERY – Fort Payne High School sophomore place-kicker Alex McPherson was the holder in 2017 when his older brother Evan kicked a 60-yard field goal versus Brewer for the longest field goal made from the traditional center snap and hold in AHSAA history. Evan also had the AHSAA’s third longest punt of all time, 84 yards, in the same game.
Last week, it was Alex’s turn. The 5-foot-7, 125-pounder booted two field goals covering 42 and 57 yards and two extra points for eight total points to lift the Wildcats to a 20-13 win over Albertville to earn the AHSAA Football Special Teams Spotlight for Week 2 of the 2019 season. Both field goals came in the first half with the 57-yarder coming with one second left before intermission to cut Albertville’s lead to 7-6. Coach Chris Elmore’s Wildcats scored two fourth-quarter TDs to win by seven points.
Alex also remained perfect this season on extra points and is 12-of-12 on the year. His 57-yarder, ironically, tied oldest sibling Logan’s best kick in high school. Logan McPherson drilled a 57-yard field goal against Boaz in 2012 to set the Fort Payne school record which Evan broke in 2017. Logan, who earned all-state honors as a punter/kicker in 2012, served as a punter at Louisiana Tech from 2013-16 – averaging 40.4 yards on 62 punts as a sophomore.
Evan, currently a sophomore at Florida, was an Under Armour All-America selection in high school and was selected to the 247 True Freshman All-America Team last season connecting on 17-of-19 field-goal attempts for the Gators. He was perfect on all 50 PAT kicks and finished as a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2018. He is currently 2-for-2 on field goals this season and has extended his perfect streak of PAT kicks in college to 55 with 5-of-5 in Florida’s first two games.
The longest field goal in AHSAA history was a 61-yarder kicked by Auburn’s Sage Ledbetter in 2015 on a free kick. Pelham’s Michael Proctor held the record prior to that kick with s 60-yard field goal, also on a free kick, versus Mountain Brook in 1991. Proctor attended Alabama and was the Crimson Tide’s starting kicker for 47 straight games from 1992-1995. He led the SEC in field goals made (22) and kicking points scored (97) in 1993 and finished his college career ranked 4th all-time in kicking points scored in the SEC at the time. He currently ranks 12th all-time in the SEC and third in UA history.
McPherson’s booming kick edged out place-kicker Jaren Van Winkle of Clay-Chalkville for the Week 3 Special Teams Spotlight. Van Winkle kicked four field goals and had one extra point in the Cougars’ 19-14 win over Park Crossing. His four field goals including kicks from 40, 32, 37 and 31 yards. His performance ties 16 others for second-most field goals in a single game.
Daphne’s Diego Guajardo and Spanish Fort’s Matthew Quinn each had four in a game last year – the most since Spain Park’s Crosby Gray kicked five in a 15-14 win over Thompson in 2015. Ledbetter also had five in an Auburn win over Jeff Davis in 2013; Decatur’s Josh Woodard kicked five in a 15-0 win over Grissom in 2001; Tim Rogers of Mountain Brook had five in a 21-17 win over Huffman in 1990; and Ricky Beck of Geneva had five in a 15-0 win over Pike County in 1970.
Other outstanding special-team performances reported from last week’s games include:
EMMANUEL HENDERSON, GENEVA COUNTY: Totaled 259 yards on six kickoff returns, including TD returns of 99 and 80 yards, in the Bulldogs' 54-49 loss to Ariton. He accounted for 394 all-purpose yards, adding six pass receptions for 74 yards with a 26-yard TD, and 61 rushing yards and a 17-yard TD run to finish with four touchdowns.
TREY STITTS, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned a punt 44 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and returned the second-half kickoff 82 yards for another special teams score in the Tigers' 49-6 win at Asbury.
EDWIN WHITE, UMS-WRIGHT: Returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to break a 7-7 tie in the final minutes of the fourth quarter against Andalusia sealed the 21-7 victory with an interception near the final buzzer.
MEES DECROSS DEJONGH, SCOTTSBORO: The foreign exchange student from the Netherlands kicked 5-of-5 extra points in a 41-27 win over Ardmore.