Saturday, December 14, 2019






AHSAA Had No Instant Replay Challenges Reversed in Last Week’s Football Games

   MONTGOMERY – AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones reported that four calls on the field were challenged during the last week’s AHSAA high school football action with no calls being reversed.
   For the season, 10 challenges have been reviewed with only two being overturned, both coming in the first week’s action. DVSports Instant Replay reviews are showing a 20% rate of reversal. Instant Replay is in its second year of implementation. The NFHS has granted the AHSAA a three-year period to experiment with instant replay in regular season games.
    “East Limestone at West Limestone had one challenge on a catch in the end zone and after review, the play stood as called,” said Jones. “The Priceville-Good Hope game had one challenge on the final play of first half to determine whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line. The play stood as called.”
    Jones said there were two challenges in the Tallassee vs. Handley game.  “The first challenged whether the receiver touched a punt, and the other was on a catch/no catch situation. Both plays stood as called on the field.”
    Jones reported that 10 Instant Replay reviews this fall have consisted of the following:
4  Catch or no catch
2  Fumble or no fumble
2  Ball breaking the plan of the goal line (also reviewed whether a fumble in one challenge)
1  Illegal participation
1  Illegal forward pass
1  Touching of a punt


   A total of 28 schools have participated in AHSAA contests utilizing Instant Replay this season with six scheduled for this week.

Friday, September 6
Davidson at Baker
Enterprise at Auburn
Hayden at Lawrence County
Hoover at Thompson
Madison Academy at East Limestone
Smiths Station at Central-Phenix City

Class 7A

Central-Phenix City
Gadsden City
Jeff Davis
Class 6A
Sidney Lanier
Class 5A
East Limestone
Class 4A
Good Hope
West Limestone
Class 3A
Carbon Hill
Class 2A
Callaway (GA)


Minor vs. Jackson-Olin Featured in AHSAA TV/NFHS Network Game of the Week Thursday

week 2 helmets.JPG

234 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools Sept. 4 – Sept. 12

    MONTGOMERY – Two Birmingham neighbors, Minor and Jackson-Olin high schools, will square off in the AHSAA TV Network’s Football Game of the Week Thursday night as the prep season moved to Week 2.
     In addition, the NFHS Network’s AHSAA School Broadcast Program will live-stream a record 234 events over the Sept. 4-Sept. 12 time period with 111 football games, 122 volleyball matches and on swim meet scheduled already.
      Jackson-Olin (1-1) and Minor (0-2) will grab the spotlight Thursday night, however, as the e second installment of the AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week. The Class 6A, Region 5 battle will be produced by NFHS Network TV partner WOTM under the direction of executive producer Vince Earley. The game will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the WOTM Network in Alabama. Tommy Wood and Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM/NFHS Network production.
      Jackson-Olin’s Mustangs rolled to the school’s first perfect 10-0 regular season in 2018. Coach Tim Vakakes’ squad won the Region 5 title with a 6-0 record before losing 35-32 in the first round of 6A state playoffs to Decatur. The 10 regular-season wins surpassed the previous best established by Jackson-Olin in 1990. That team was anchored by future University of Alabama and NFL star David Palmer, who earned the state’s Mr. Football honors for that season. Leading this year’s team is Alabama commit Quandarrius Robinson, a 6foot-5, 230-pound linebacker rated among the top defensive prospects in the nation.
    The Mustangs had a 12-game regular-season win streak snapped last week in a 38-12 loss to Shades Valley. Vakakes, now in his seventh season, took over a struggling program in after 2013 and has seen his team go from 1-9 the first year to last year’s 10-1 finish.
    Coach Adrian Abrams is in his second season as head coach at Minor. He led the Tigers to the 6A state playoffs last season. Minor dropped a close 10-7 decision to Muscle Shoals in the first round.  The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Ramsay 21-18 in the 2019 season opener and fell 20-7 last week to Paul Bryant in another hard-fought game. Minor won the region title in 2016 with a perfect 6-0 mark and 11-2 overall record. Among the Tigers’ standouts is all-purpose back Jamari Jemison, a big-play man on offense in the backfield and at receiver.
      Four varsity games are set for Thursday night with Wenonah vs. Woodlawn and Lee-Montgomery vs. Jeff Davis both set for the NFHS Network’s live-stream events. On Friday, 55 football varsity games are scheduled including five games in Class 1A; three in Class 2A; four in Class 3A; five in Class 4A; four in Class 5A; 18 in Class 6A; and 16 in Class 7A. Another NFHS Network record will be set Monday, Sept. 9 when 25 junior-varsity and nine freshman football games are live-streamed.
      Volleyball is also setting records on the NFHS Network with 122 matches set over the weekend and early next week. Thursday’s slate is the largest ever for the AHSAA with 24 varsity matches and 22 junior-varsity matches for a total of 46 events planned by AHSAA member schools in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program.
       Among the top matches will be Addison at Hatton, Enterprise at Auburn, John Carroll Catholic at Mountain Brook and Pelham at Brewer. The 234 total surpasses last week’s previous record-setting total (177) by 57 events.
    The complete AHSAA schedule of events set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network tonight through September 12 can be found at the following link:

    A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:

For information concerning the AHSAA TV Network’s cable availability, got to the following link:

Opelika’s Kory McCoy Sparks Opelika to 21-13 Victory over Arch-Rival Auburn

AHSAA Week 1 Defensive Football Spotlight

    MONTGOMERY – In a series that had been almost dead-even over 90 years, Opelika High School linebacker Kory McCoy took made sure the series would not get any tighter … not on his watch.
    McCoy had 12 tackles and one sack to earn lead the Bulldogs to a 21-13 victory over Auburn last week to earn the AHSAA Defensive Football Spotlight for week 1 in the process. Coach Erik Speakman has seen his defense allow just 20 points in the first two games this season – thanks in big part to the big-play leadership of McCoy. He had plenty of help, however. Teammate Dino Martin added nine tackles and two sacks as Opelika extended its lead in the series to 47-44-3.
    Auburn had won the last two to close the gap. Most years, this rivalry goes down to the wire. In fact, 12 of the last 20 games have been settled by a touchdown or less. Since the series started in 1917, only 96 points separate the two teams. The Bulldogs have scored 1,473 points (16.2 ppg) and Auburn has scored 1,377 (15.1 ppg) over that span. The series has been highlighted by 28 shutouts, 15 by Opelika and 13 by Auburn. The 1944 game ended in a 0-0 tie.
    Other top defensive performances reported from last week’s games include:

DYLAN CREECH, GENEVA: The Panthers' linebacker recorded 18 tackles on defense, three for losses, including a key stop short of a first down on third-and-3 at the 18 in the final minute of Geneva's 34-26 win over Geneva County. Creech also rushed for 137 yards on 14 carries, including a 56-yard TD run.

JACKSON BRATTON, MUSCLE SHOALS: Totaled 11 tackles, including one sack, and forced a fumble as the Trojans beat Bob Jones 46-19.
JAYLEN FAISON, DOTHAN: Recorded 10 tackles and an interception as the Wolves downed Wetumpka 54-41 for the new consolidated school’s first win.
SEAN SMITH, PIEDMONT: Blocked a punt that set up the Bulldogs' first touchdown and had nine tackles in their 28-16 win over Addison. Four of his tackles resulted in losses.

WILL TURNER, HEADLAND: Led the Rams’ defense with 13 tackles in a 36-34 win over Highland Home.

CHASE TRAVIS, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Had two interceptions in a 17-14 loss to Chelsea.
MICHAEL CHENG, DECATUR HERITAGE: Intercepted a pair of passes in Decatur Heritage’s 42-6 win over Sumiton Christian. His first pick set up a TD and he returned the second one for a touchdown.
TREY STITTS, CEDAR BLUFF: Sealed a 14-12 win over Spring Garden with an interception with 1:17 remaining.
ANTOINE WILLIAMS, PINSON VALLEY: Recorded nine tackles, including 2½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks, in a 27-7 victory over Ramsay.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS, GAYLESVILLE: Totaled 10 tackles in Gaylesville’s 46-6 win over Asbury.
WILL BROOKS, VESTAVIA HILLS: Returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown in a 49-7 victory over Homewood.


Chelsea’s Cooper Neal Boots the Hornets to a 17-14 Win over Briarwood Christian’s Lions

AHSAA Week 1 Special Team Football Spotlight

    MONTGOMERY – Chelsea High School place-kicker Cooper Neal delivered a 49–yard field goal in the second quarter to lift the Hornets to a 17-14 win over Briarwood Christian last Friday.
    Neal earned the AHSAA Special Teams Football Spotlight as Chelsea beat the Lions for the first time since 2016 and for just the 10th time in the 33-year series. Briarwood owns a 21-10-1 series edge. The victory evened the record for the Hornets (1-1) of Coach Dustin Goodwin in the series during his tenure. Briarwood (0-1), coached by first-year head coach Matthew Forester, got a big boost from its special teams when Luke Prewett returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter to cut Chelsea’s lead to 14-7. Neal drilled his 49-yarder, that cleared the goal post by a good 10 yards.
    Neal also had two extra points in the win and edged Evan Byrd of Lexington, who booted a 27-yard field goal in the fourth period to lift the Bears to 3-0 win over Rogers. It was Lexington’s first victory over their rivals since 2014...
    Other top special team performances reported from last week’s games include:

JAYLEN STINSON, OPELIKA: Punted for a 50-yard average, blocked a kick, had eight tackles and an interception as the Bulldogs beat rival Auburn 21-13.
JASON PEREZ, COLLINSVILLE: Booted a 48-yard field goal eight seconds into the second quarter and was 5-for-5 on extra points in the Panthers' 40-13 win over Crossville. He also had an interception on defense.
LUKE PREWETT, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD in the Lions’ 17-14 setback to Chelsea.
EMMANUEL HENDERSON, GENEVA COUNTY: Accounted for 298 combined yards in rushing and kick/punt returns and had three touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 34-26 loss to Geneva. He had 144 yards and TD runs of 49 and 4 yards rushing and had kick returns of 66 and 44 yards and a punt return of 38 yards. The 66-yarder was returned for a TD.

CHAZ POPE, SPRING GARDEN: Had an interception in the third quarter and a big kick return down to Cedar Bluff's 6-yard line to set up Luke Welsh's go-ahead touchdown with 5:40 remaining in the Panthers' 14-12 loss to Cedar Bluff.

Central Duo Boyd Ogles and Javon Wood Seal Coach Danny Horn’s 300th Career Win

AHSAA Week 1 Offensive Football Spotlight

    MONTGOMERY – Quarterback Boyd Ogles and receiver Javon Wood left no doubt about the significance defending Class 5A state champion Central-Clay County’s season-opening game versus Benjamin Russell last Friday night at Alexander City’s newly-dedicated Martin-Savarese Stadium.
     This game was for their coach. The duo hooked up for touchdown passes covering 53 and 48 yards in the first half and the Volunteers cruised to a 38-14 victory over the host Wildcats. The triumph was the 300th career coaching win for Coach Danny Horn.  The quarterback-receiver tandem shared this week’s AHSAA Prep Football Offensive Spotlight with their beloved coach.
     Horn (300-86) became the eighth prep coach to win his 300th career coaching victory in the AHSAA. Terry Curtis of UMS-Wright (304-85) won his 300th in 2018. Buddy Anderson of Vestavia Hills, in his 42nd year, is the leader with a 336-150 record.
     Glenn Daniel (302-169-16), who coached 38 of his 43 years at Luverne, was the first 300-game winner in the AHSAA. He coached from 1947-1992 – beating Andalusia 7-6 in his final season for his 300th win. Houston Academy Coach Jamie Riggs (313-85), Curtis, Anderson and Horn are the only active coaches in the 300-win club currently coaching in the AHSAA.
     Ogle was 9-of-11 passing for 192 yards and three touchdowns – all but two completions coming in the first half. Wood had two catches for 111 yards and two scores before intermission and also had an intercepted pass on defense to set up another score.
     For Horn, who recorded coaching victory No. 299 in the Class 5A state finals last December with a 43-42 win over Vigor in the Super 7 Class 5A state finals. The milestone was one he didn’t dwell on.
     “Honestly I hadn’t thought much about it, but I’m glad it’s over with,” Horn said. “It’s like I always say, it’s a culmination of over the years having good players and good assistant coaches. They all contributed to it. Now I just basically show up and holler at the officials; that’s all I do.” 

     A native of Ashland, Horn coached his alma mater Clay County for 20 years. The Panthers won six state championships (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2005) and compiled a 225-40 record during his tenure there. He then moved to Benjamin Russell from 2009-17, leading the Wildcats to a 12-2 record and Class 6A semifinal appearance in 2015. BRHS was 62-43 under his direction. He returned to Clay County last season and led the Volunteers, a new school formed in 2012 by the consolidation of Lineville and Clay County high schools.  Last year’s state title was the seventh coached by Horn. His tenure at Clay County High School included a state-record 55 straight victories from 1994-1997.
     The milestone victory edged out three outstanding performances, one rushing, one passing and one rushing and passing combined.
    Class 3A Locust Fork quarter Charlie Cater was 22-of-34 passing for 276 yards and one touchdown and rushed 24 times for 233 yards and five TDs as the Hornets beat Cleveland 39-37. He finished with 58 offensive plays for 509 total yards and had a hand in all six Locust Fork scores. He now has more than 850 total yards after two games this season.
    Jalen White of Class 2A Daleville rushed for 309 yards with five touchdowns on 17 carries and added a sixth touchdown on a fumble recovery in Daleville's 58-41 win over Wicksburg. He also recorded 12 tackles, four for losses, and had an interception on defense.
    And Class 2A West End quarterback Eli Pearce completed 22-of-46 passes for 350 yards and five touchdowns in a 61-42 Patriots loss to Pleasant Valley. He also rushed for a sixth TD.
   Other top offensive performances reported for Week 1 include:

D.J. LEE, GAYLESVILLE: Ran for 308 yards on 31 carries and scored five touchdowns to lead the Trojans past Asbury 46-6. He also accounted for four 2-point conversions and posted seven tackles with a sack to give new Coach Brian Knapp his first victory.

KAHARI McREYNOLDS, GENEVA: Rushed for 289 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries and added an interception and nine tackles, including a touchdown-saving stop on a punt return, in the Panthers' 34-26 win over Geneva County.  He had TD runs of 29, 10, 15 and 3 yards, scored on two 2-point conversion and had nine of his 22 carries go for 15 or more yards.

DEON GILLILAND, MONTEVALLO: Had 14 carries for 252 rushing yards with scoring runs of 86, 16 and 35 yards as the Bulldogs nipped Shelby County in a shootout, 56-50.
JAYLEN NOBLES, SLOCOMB: Rushed for 217 yards on just 11 carries with four touchdowns and had a 50-yard interception return on defense to set up another score in the Red Tops' 48-14 win over Cottonwood. His TD runs were from 26, 20, 69 and 64 yards. He also completed one pass for 30 yards.
JAIRRICE PRYOR, CLEMENTS: Rushed for 216 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-14 win over Tanner. He also completed three passes for 17 yards and another score.
MEKHI BURDETTE, MADISON COUNTY: Had 212 yards rushing on 12 carries with scoring runs of 16, 49 and 60 yards in a 46-23 win over Westminster Christian.
DARRIAN MEADS, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed 27 times for 197 yards and an 18-yard touchdown in a 21-0 win over Southside-Gadsden.
JALEN WHITE, DOTHAN: Rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries in the Wolves' 54-41 win over Wetumpka.
KADIN BENNEFIELD, BOAZ: Ran for 178 yards on 19 carries, scoring on runs of 70, 7 and 6 yards in a 28-19 loss to Guntersville.
DYLAN HUNTER, EAST LAWRENCE: Rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-13 loss to St. John Paul II Catholic.
AUSTIN GAVIN, SAINT JAMES: Needed just nine carries to gain 166 yards and scored three touchdowns as the Trojans beat Straughn 42-19. He also returned a kickoff 85 yards for a fourth TD.
KARMICHAEL CATTLING, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Had 10 rush attempts for 158 yards and two scores as the Warriors downed Ragland 47-18.
TYHLEN WILLIAMS, AUSTIN: The senior scored four touchdowns in the first half of Austin’s 56-14 win over Decatur with scoring-runs of 6, 3, 69 and 3 yards. He finished with 137 yards rushing on 11 carries.

TYLER DANZEY, HEADLAND: Rushed for four touchdowns and scored a two-point conversion in the Rams' 36-34 win over Highland Home. He rushed for 105 yards on 18 carries with TD runs of 18, 15, 6 and 7 yards and also returned three kicks for 104 yards.



JUSTIN STUBBLEFIELD, DAR: Passed for 356 yards and five touchdowns and ran for a sixth score in the Patriots’ 49-12 win over Douglas.
TUCKER KILCREASE, BRANTLEY: Completed 17-of-23 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 59-20 win over New Brockton. He also rushed four times for 50 yards and a fourth score.
HESS HORNE, EUFAULA: Was 13-of-15 passing for 328 yards and three touchdowns – all in the first half – as the Tigers downed Beauregard 63-19.
HAL SMITHART, OPP: The Bobcats’ quarterback was 19-of-31 passing for 310 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-34 loss to Elba.
RISHARD DENSMORE, BESSEMER CITY: Completed 9-of-16 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns and added 89 yards rushing and two TDs in a 42-35 victory over Spain Park.
HARRISON BARKER, SPAIN PARK: Was 29-of-39 passing for 358 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-35 loss to Bessemer City. He now has 850 passing yards in two games this season.
JAMAL LANE, DOTHAN: Led the Wolves to their first victory as a program with 255 totals yards and three touchdown as Dothan beat Wetumpka 54-41 at Rip Hewes Stadium.  Lane was 10-of-21 passing for 219 yards and three TDs and rushed for 36 yards on 10 carries.
MALIK INABINETTE, MONTEVALLO: Passed for 270 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 57 yards in a 56-50 win over Shelby County.
WILL CROWDER, GARDENDALE: Completed 18-of-21 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns, including the 22-yard game-winner with 4:53 to go, in a 21-14 victory over Athens.
ZAC BURNETT, GUNTERSVILLE: Had 273 yards passing and two touchdowns in a 28-19 victory over Boaz.
CAL GEORGE, HARTSELLE: The junior quarterback completed 14-of-21 pass attempts for 218 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 80 yards and a pair of scores in Hartselle’s 49-29 win over Brooks.
DAMIONE WARD, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: Passed for 204 yards and two touchdowns and added 126 yards rushing and three more scores in a 38-37 victory over James Clemens. He accounted for 330 of the Cougars’ 373 yards.
PATRICK JOHNSON, BREWER: Finished 10-of-12 passing for 212 yards and rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries in Brewer’s 37-8 win over Danville. He finished with a pair of rushing touchdowns and one touchdown pass and 297 total yards.
BRADY TROUP, ETOWAH: Completed 10-of-12 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead the Blue Devils past Moody 43-13.
LOGAN SMOTHERS, MUSCLE SHOALS: Completed 7-of-12 passes for 154 yards and a 33-yard TD, ran eight times for 79 yards and TDs of 15, 3 and 2 yards and punted twice for a 42-yard average in a 46-19 victory over Bob Jones.
MARTAVIOUS GLANTON, ABBEVILLE: Passed for 139 yards, rushed for 109 and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 10-yard run in the second overtime as Abbeville beat Ashford 34-28. He accounted for three TDs adding a 53-yard touchdown run and a 30-yard TD pass to Gabriel Shell.
SETH BROWN, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Completed 9-of-14 passes for 201 yards and two TDs and ran for 104 yards and two more scores in a 37-13 victory over East Lawrence.
SAWYER PATE, THOMPSON: Completed 12-of-14 passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-13 victory over Foley.
CADE CARRUTH, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Was 15-of-25 passing for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-19 victory over West Forsyth (Ga.).
ELI SAWYER, VESTAVIA HILLS: Passed for 170 yards and three TDs and ran for another score in a 49-7 victory over Homewood.
COLIN DANIEL, CORNER: Threw for five touchdown passes in a 45-0 win over Oak Grove. His TD tosses covered 24, 11, 25, 64 and 65 yards.
SLADE ALEXANDER, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Completed 7-of-15 pass attempts for 138 yards, including  a 70-yard touchdown, and rushed for 81 yards on 10 carries and three TDs (22, 27 and 11 yards) in Cherokee County's 42-7 win at St. Clair County. It was the first victory for new head coach Jacob Kelley.

JATHAN JACKSON, HAMILTON: Threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Bryant Loving with 55 seconds left, and also ran for a touchdown in the Aggies’ 19-14 win over Cordova.
SAMUEL COSBY, CEDAR BLUFF: Completed 12-of-24 pass attempts for 133 yards, including a game-winning 8-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal to Preston Burt with 1:29 remaining in the Tigers' 14-12 victory at Spring Garden. Cosby also ran for 63 yards on 28 carries and a 3-yard touchdown.

LANDON GREEN, NORTH SAND MOUNTAIN: Threw two touchdown passes and scored the game-winning TD in the fourth quarter for a 28-26 victory over Dade County (GA).


COOPER KELLEY, SPAIN PARK: Caught nine passes for 185 yards and a TD in the Jags’ 42-35 loss to Bessemer City.
DEE BECKWITH, FLORENCE: Was a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 99 yards and two touchdowns, had 64 yards rushing and 151 yards receiving with two more scores to lead the Falcons to a 33-20 win over Buckhorn. He totaled 314 yards on the night.

EVAN DELP, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Hauled in three receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-19 loss to Appalachian.
DEVIN FULLER, EUFAULA: Caught five passes for 122 yards and also rushed for three touchdowns (1, 10, 35 yards) on just three carries in Eufaula's 63-19 win over Beauregard.

T.J. LEONARD, DAR: Caught 10 passes for 120 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-12 victory over Douglas. He had a fifth TD on a punt return.
MICHAEL PETTWAY, THOMPSON: Caught three passes for 100 yards, including TD catches of 80 and 13 yards in the first quarter, as the Warriors beat Foley 42-13.
J.J. EVANS, MONTEVALLO: Nabbed six receptions for 118 yards and three touchdowns and teammate Jamarian Carter had four catches for 108 yards and a 50-yard TD as the Bulldogs beat Shelby County 56-50.
JACK HARRIS, GUNTERSVILLE: Caught four passes for 110 yards and two TDs in a 28-19 victory over Boaz.
SEAN ZERKLE, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC:  Hauled in five receptions for 106 yards and a TD as the Falcons beat East Lawrence 37-13.
JAMICHAEL ROGERS, BESSEMER CITY: Had four catches for 102 yards and two TDs in a 42-35 victory over Spain Park.
HAYDEN NEIGHBORS, HUNTSVILLE: Caught nine passes for 99 yards, including a 10-yard TD in a 30-15 victory over Mae Jemison.

Pelham Favorite Son, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney, Honored with Retirement of his Panthers’ jersey


      PELHAM – Two-time college football national championship coach Dabo Swinney returned to his alma mater Friday night to be honored as the first Pelham Panther player to have his jersey retired. Swinney, whose Clemson Tigers routed Georgia Tech 52-14 on Thursday to open the defense of their 2018 title, was joined at the halftime ceremony by his wife and three sons and several members of his family.   

    “This is amazing,” Swinney said before the ceremony. “This is where it all started for me, literally. I played my youth league games right here on this field on Saturdays. I grew up dreaming of being able to play for the Panthers.”
     Swinney, who was a walk-on who earned three letters for Alabama Coach Gene Stallings, said he was humbled to have the Pelham administration bestow the honor of retiring his No. 81 jersey.
      “To be able to grow up to be a Panther, go on to Tuscaloosa and Clemson and now, to be back to have this recognition, is amazing. I’m blessed and honored and grateful.”
      In his halftime remarks, Swinney challenged the Pelham students to work hard to make their dreams come true. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know back then,” he said. “In today’s world, I would have been labeled an ‘at-risk’ kid. I had every box checked for at-risk. Yet, I was able to go to college and get my education with no financial support. I always tell people, if you dream big and your commitment is greater than the goal, then you can do anything.”
     Swinney’s wife, the former Kathleen Bassett, was his Pelham sweetheart, the coach told the crowd. She and the couple’s sons – Will, Drew and Clay – were on hand at midfield for the celebration. The two older children, Will and Drew, followed in their father’s footsteps as walk-on wide receivers – only at Clemson. Drew wears his father’s now-retired jersey number for the Tigers.
     The three-time national coach-of-the-year award winner who owns a 117-30 career record at Clemson bpreflected on lessons he learned and memories from his days at Pelham High.
     “For me, it’s the relationships, the teammates, the funny times spent in the field house,” he said. “I remember the challenge of those times, the work ethic that was taught through the game and from my experiences here at Pelham.”


Jaiveyon Tucker Returns Interception 102 Yards in the J.U, Blacksher’s 53-0 Win over McIntosh

Performance is Newest Entry in AHSAA Record Book

   Senior defensive back Jaiveyon Tucker, intercepted a pass last week two yards deep in the Bulldogs’ end zone and raced 102 yards on the return for a touchdown to spark Coach Wesley Sims’ squad to a 53-0 win over McIntosh. Tucker’s effort wrote his name in the AHSAA Record Book – tying for fifth longest pick 6 in state history. Ironically, Tucker intercepted a pass versus Jay (FL) in a spring game last May and ran it back 100 yards. That interception, however, was called by because of a penalty.
     Tucker joins Malcolm Buggs of Opelika in the AHSAA Record Book, who also had a 102-yard interception return in 2012 in a 35-21 won over Carver-Montgomery in the Class 6A state playoffs. Seven others have had interceptions of 103 yards or longer. The AHSAA state record is shared by Jimmy Pitts of Notasulga and Tommy Wilson of Demopolis. Pitts had interception in a 52-0 win over Autaugaville in 2018, and Wilson ran back his pick in a 49-7 victory over American Christian in 2012.
     Guntersville’s Kevin Gentle returned an interception 107 yards in a 20-17 win over Dora in 1993.  He also entered the AHSAA Record Book as a place-kicker in 1993 with what was then the longest field goal (59 yards) in state history from a traditional snap, hold and kick. He booted the 59-yard field goal and added a 51-yarder in a game versus Scottsboro. The two kicks are longest in a single game in state history by a single player.
    Three players, R.J. Orr of Center Point (2018), Dameian Archibald of Sipsey Valley (2013) and Jack Peavey of Madison County (2013) each returned an interception 105 yards for a score in an AHSAA game. Austin Pruett of Cherokee County (2018) had a 103-yard return and Kyriq McDonald of James Clemens returned an interception 101 yards in a 2015 win over Mountain Brook.
   Eleven other players have been reported with interceptions of 100 yards -- the first entered in the record book by Mike Holtzclaw of Fort Payne versus Albertville in 1963.
      Check out the AHSAA Record Book football submissions at the following link:

Hontzas Kicks Hoover to 17-14 Win with 30-Yard Field Goal Just before Midnight

      MONTGOMERY – Lighting delayed by more than two hours the Hoover High School junior place-kicker Constantine Hontzas’ kickoff for the AHSAA 2019 Kickoff Classic football clash with defending Class 7A state champion Central-Phenix City. And with the clock bearing down on midnight at Cramton Bowl, he had to wait through two timeouts before ending the game with a game-winning 30-yard field goal.
       Neither delay seemed to bother him. Hontzas earned the AHSAA Special Teams Spotlight for Week Zero with his clutch performance, which also included kicking two extra points, delivering three kickoffs for a net return of 15 yards and booting five punts for a 39.6-yard average – and more importantly, no return yardage.
       His winning field goal capped a dramatic 11-play drive that started with 4:22 left at the Bucs’ 2-yard line and ended with three seconds left and the ball on the Red Devils’ 13-yard line. Central called back-to-back timeouts each time just seconds before the snap, but Hontzas calmly kicked the ball through the uprights as time expired.
     Other top performances reported include:

CONSTANTINE HONTZAS, HOOVER: Kicked game-winning 30-yard field goal on the game’s final play to lift the Bucs to a 17-14 victory over defending Class 7A champ Central-Phenix City.
WILL EDWARDS, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Playing in his first varsity football game, the senior kicker was perfect on all six extra points and kicked a 37-yard field goal in the Warriors' 50-24 win over Coosa Christian.

JAYLEN JONES, SHEFFIELD: Returned a kickoff 80 yards, returned a fumble 85 yards and made three catches for 39 yards in 39-19 win over Wilson

JASON PEREZ, COLLINSVILLE: Kicked five extra points and made a 35-yard field goal in the Panthers’ 50-6 win at Plainview.
SMITH COON, DECATUR: Returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown in Thursday’s 45-14 loss to Huntsville.
NATHAN WILLIAMS, ASHVILLE. Kicked field goals of 37 and 32 yards in the Bulldogs' 35-0 win over Ragland. 

Russell Paces Lee-Montgomery to 7-0 Shutout Win over Park Crossing

AHSAA Defensive Spotlight

    MONTGOMERY – Lee-Montgomery senior linebacker James Russell didn’t let a two-hour lightning delay rain on his performance Friday night. The 6-foot-1, 213-pound linebacker totaled 15 tackles to lead the Generals to a 7-0 win over Montgomery County rival Park Crossing in the season opener at Alabama State University Stadium Friday night. 
   He grabbed the AHSAA Defensive Performance Spotlight for his effort that handed new Lee Coach Eric Hudson his first head-coaching victory as the Generals’ leader. The victory was the third win in a row in the four-game series over the Thunderbirds. The shutout was the first in the series and Lee’s first shutout since Sept. 15, 2017, and the 118th in the school’s 65-year history.
   Russell edged out two other strong efforts by Wilson Turner of Class 4A Headland and Quadarrius Robinson of Class 6A Jackson-Olin. Turner and Robinson had 16 and 12 tackles, respectively, in season-opening wins.
   Quarterback Harrison Barker of Spain Park was the AHSAA Offensive Spotlight for Week Zero, and Hoover place-kicker and punter Constantine Hontzas was earned the AHSAA Special Teams Spotlight.
    Other top performances reported include:

WILSON TURNER, HEADLAND: Totaled 16 tackles and teammates Zach Lawrence and Ty Dailey had 15 and 12 tackles, respectively, as Headland beat Straughn 42-14.
QUANDARRIUS ROBINSON, JACKSON-OLIN: Recorded 12 tackles, two pass deflections and a game-clinching sack in a 26-24 victory over Fairfield. The win was the 12th regular-season victory in a row for Coach Tim Vakakes’ Mustangs.

RICHARD BRINSON, UMS-WRIGHT: Scored on a 7-yard fumble return and a 55-yard interception return to spark the defending Class 4A state champion Bulldogs to an 18-13 win over St. Paul’s Episcopal.
JADON RICHARDSON, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Had 13 tackles and forced a fumble in the Red Devils’ 17-14 loss to Hoover in the Kickoff Classic.
JOSH SMITH, HOOVER: Had 12 tackles, one sack and recovered a fumble at the Bucs’ 3-yard line late to set up Hoover’s 98-yard game-winning drive in the 17-14 win over Central-Phenix City at Cramton Bowl.
TYRONE JOHNSON, CARVER-MONTGOMERY: Registered 11 tackles, including one for a 5-yard loss, as the Wolverines beat Jeff Davis 18-13 in the Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl.
JUWAN TAYLOR, JEFF DAIVS: Had 10 tackles, including three for losses totaling 12 yards, in the Vols’ 18-13 Kickoff Classic loss to Carver-Montgomery.
ROOKS SEALE, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY: Registered 10 tackles, forced a fumble and returned a blocked kick 60 yards in the MA’s 50-14 win over Brookstone (GA).

CHANCE STARLING, JAMES CLEMENS: Recorded an interception and a forced a fumble in a 23-13 loss to Grayson (Ga.).

DAKOTA SHRADER, LEE-HUNTSVILLE: Returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown in a 49-0 victory over Columbia.

LAMAR CROSKEY, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: Intercepted two passes in a 37-14 victory over Dothan.

WILLIAM ELOM, WEONAH: Intercepted two passes and scored on a 10-yard run in a 14-6 victory over Linden.

LOGAN BREWER, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Scored on a 20-yard touchdown reception and a 67-yard interception return in a 35-6 victory over Northridge.

Spain Park’s Harrison Barker Passes for 488 Yards, 4 TDs in Season-Opening Win

AHSAA Prep Offensive Spotlight for Week Zero

     MONTGOMERY –Quarterback Harrison Barker made the most of his first start as a senior Friday night. The son of former University of Alabama quarterbacking legend Jay Barker completed 28-of-38 passes for 488 yards and four touchdowns as Coach Shawn Raney’s team beat Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 42-33.
    The 488-yard effort earned Barker the first AHSAA Prep Offensive Spotlight of the season and was the 14th highest passing performance in AHSAA history, according to the AHSAA Record Book, and the third best effort since 2016. The top two efforts from 2018 were 507 yards by current Alabama freshman Tua Tagovailoa versus Oak Mountain in 2018 and Aaron Dove’s 503-yard effort versus Coosa Christian in 2017. James Raines passed for 563 yards in s 71-22 Berry win over Brilliant in 2016. The state record of 565 yards was set Chris Smelley of American Christian in a 43-31 Class 1A playoff loss to Brantley in 2005.
     Barker edged out three other top offensive efforts from Azenda Pennington of Georgiana, Emmanuel Henderson of Geneva County and senior quarterback Robby Ashford of Hoover in Week Zero action.
     Earning the AHSAA Defensive Spotlight for Week Zero was Lee-Montgomery senior linebacker James Russell, and the AHSAA Special Teams Spotlight goes to Hoover junior place-kicker Constantine Hontzas.
    Pennington piled up 478 total yards in Georgiana’s 40-14 win over St. Luke’s Episcopal. He was 17-of-31 passing for 321 yards and three TDs and rushed for 157 yards and one TD on 15 carries. 
     Henderson tied a state record with a 99-yard TD run and totaled 325 yards rushing in Geneva County’s 54-37 season-opening win over Samson. He had five rushing touchdowns. His other TD runs covered 29, 53, 29 and 14 yards and he had a sixth touchdown with a 55-yard punt return.
     Hoover’s Ashford directed the Bucs to a 17-14 come-from-behind victory over defending Class 7A state champion Central-Phenix City in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl. The Bucs trailed 14-0 at the half. Ashford, who was 9-of-21 passing for 140 yards and one TD, caught an 8-yard TD pass from freshman receiver R.J. Hamilton in the third period to finally get Hoover on the board.
    With 4:22 to play, the Bucs forced a Central fumble at their own 3-yard line and Ashford then directed a clutch 84-yard, 11-play drive that ended with Constantine Hontzas booting a 30-yard field goal on the last play of the game to give Hoover the win. Ashford completed passes of 28 and 20 yards and had a big 13-yard run for a first down to stop the clock at the Central 16-yard line with three seconds remaining to set up the winning kick.
       The victory also snapped Central’s 14-game winning streak.
    Other top offensive performances reported for Week Zero included:


CARSON DANIEL, BROOKS: Completed 18-of-22 passes for 339 yards and five touchdowns in 69-38 win over Lauderdale County

ETHAN ARMSTRONG, BROOKWOOD: Completed 22-of-30 for 337 yards and three TDs and added 10 rushes for 61 yards and a TD in a 30-26 victory over West Blocton.

NICK McFARLAND, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Completed 21-of-24 passes for 328 yards and four TDs in a 68-34 victory over DAR.

SAWYER PATE, THOMPSON: Completed his first four passes – two for TDs -- and finished 12-of-18 passing for 214 yards and three scores and added a 2-yard TD run in a 40-14 victory over Davidson. His TD passes covered 4, 70 and 2 yards.

SETH BROWN, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Completed 22-of-32 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns and added 161 yards rushing on 18 carries and four more touchdowns in a 68-34 victory over DAR.

ZYQUEZ PERRYMAN, PLEASANT GROVE: Completed 14-of-27 passes for 282 yards and two TDs in a 32-25 victory over Mortimer Jordan.

ETHAN TEAL, DALE COUNTY: Passed for 148 yards and one TD and rushed for 111 yards on 10 carries with a score in a 34-27 win over county rival Ariton.
MADDUX HERRING, ARITON: Was 11-of-20 passing for 228 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 63 yards and a fourth TD in the Purple Cats’ 34-27 loss to Dale a County.
KOURTLAN MARSH, MORTIMER JORDAN: Passed for 222 yards and two touchdowns and had 65 rushing yards and one score in a 32-25 loss to Pleasant Grove.

CHARLIE CATER, LOCUST FORK: Combined for 350 yards with 188 rushing and 162 passing in a 46-28 loss to St. John Paul II Catholic.
ROSS REYNOLDS, ARAB: Accounted for 301 yards, including 13-of-18 passing for 207 yards, and threw four TD passes in a 28-21 victory over Boaz.
JALEN VINSON, RED BAY: Completed 11-of-18 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns and added 65 rushing yards in 36-0 win over Colbert Heights

LOGAN SMOTHERS, MUSCLE SHOALS: Completed 15-of-23 passes for 206 yards and added eight rushes for 98 yards and a 41-yard TD run in the Trojans’ 42-3 victory over Deshler.

KOLE WILLIAMS, CARVER-MONTGOMERY: Was 11-of-20 passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 35 yards and another score as the Wolverines downed Jeff Davis 18-13 in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic.
MARCUS WEBB, JEFF DAVIS: Completed 14-of-26 passes for 189 yards and rushed 15 times for 67 yards and a TD in the Vols’ 18-13 Kickoff Classic loss to Carver-Montgomery at Cramton Bowl.
TYQUAN RAWLS, WETUMPKA: Completed 9-of-19 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 126 yards and another TD on 14 carries to lead the Indians to a 35-24 come-from-behind victory over Fairhope.
BRITTON KOHN, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY: Accounted for four touchdowns and 213 total yards in the Eagles’ 50-14 win over Brookstone (GA). He was 15-of-21 passing for 178 yards and two scores and rushed for 35 yards and two TDs.
DRE NEWMAN, HEADLAND: Completed only 3-of-10 passes, but all three were for touchdowns as the Rams opened the 2019 season with a 42-14 win over Straughn. Newman finished with 143 yards passing, rushed 14 times for 86 yards, returned a punt 55-yards for a TD and scored two 2-point conversions.

KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 6-of-12 passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns (12, 32, 36 yards) — all to Garrett Skelton — in the Panthers’ 50-6 victory at Plainview.

JALEN WHITE, DALEVILLE: Piled up 281 yards rushing and scored and four touchdowns on 16 carries in the Warhawks’ 38-28 win over Elba.
RYAN MORROW, MAPLESVILLE: Ran for 283 yards with TD runs of 1, 62, and 91 yards and a caught a TD pass in a 40-6 victory over Fultondale.

JEREMIAH GIBBS, JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC: Had 24 carries for 275 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-20 victory over St. Clair County.

CARLOS CORBIN, HUNTSVILLE: Ran 22 times for 225 yards, with TD runs of 4 and 49 yards, in a 49-14 victory over Decatur.

MARK HOWARD, GRISSOM: Had 20 carries for 224 yards and TD runs of 3, 9, 1 and 40 yards in a 47-27 victory over Hazel Green.
JAIRRICE PRYOR, CLEMENTS: Ran for 221 yards, including seven runs of 10 yards or more, and scored on TD runs of 27 and 2 yards in a 50-6 victory over Elkmont.
ARMONI GOODWIN, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Ran for 218 yards and four TDs, including the go-ahead 39-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter of a 40-33 victory over Pinson Valley.
WISE GORDON, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Gained 198 rushing yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns, setting the school record for career touchdowns (38) in the process, in the Eagles’ 42-13 win over New Brockton.
JEVON JACKSON, AUSTIN: Had 14 rush attempts for 205 yards with touchdown runs of 12 85 and 10 yards. He also hauled in a 31-yard touchdown reception in Austin’s 45-14 win over Hartselle.

JOSEPH McKAY, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Had 27 carries for 177 yards, including a non-scoring 62-yard run, as the Red Devils fell 17-14 to Hoover in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl.
ROYDELL WILLIAMS, HUEYTOWN: Ran 17 times for 148 yards, caught three passes for another 56 yards, and scored on runs of 1 and 73 yards and a 44-yard catch in a 32-19 victory over Homewood.

TRENT DAVIS, ETOWAH: Rushed 30 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Blue Devils' 31-24 win over Gadsden City. All but 22 of Davis' yards came in the second half.

KIERSTON ROGERS, THEODORE: Ran for 200 yards on 33 carries and scored twice in the fourth period to lead the Bobcats to a 35-21 win over Daphne.
JARRIS WILLIAMS, BLOUNT: Rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns as Blount beat Vigor 38-7 in the annual Battle of Prichard.

RASHAWN McALPINE, SARALAND: Gained 134 yards on 17 carries with TDs covering 5, 13 and 30 yards and also caught a 66-yard TD pass to lead the Spartans past Andalusia 42-20.
CHRISTOPHER COTTON-TAYLOR, CALERA: Finished with 133 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 27-20 victory over Pelham.

L.T. SANDERS, GARDENDALE: Logged 16 carries for 130 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over Mae Jemison.

DUVINE BEEBE, NEW HOPE: Ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-30 victory over Holly Pond.

JEFFERY ROWSER, RAMSAY: Ran 22 times for 123 yards with a 1-yard TD run in a 21-18 victory over Minor.

EVAN SMITH, OAK MOUNTAIN: Ran for 100 yards, including a 59-yarder to set up a field goal, and scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards as Oak Mountain overcame nine fumbles to beat Chelsea 17-0.

DARTAVIOUS BRITTON, COOSA CHRISTIAN: The senior halfback finished with 268 combined yards in the Conquerors' 50-24 loss to Westbrook Christian. He rushed 14 times for 159 yards and two TDs and completed 2-of-2 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

CAMERON HOVEY, REHOBETH: The Rebels’ senior running back rushed for four touchdowns (2, 2, 7 and 4 yards) in the Rebels’ 36-22 win over Ashford, snapping a 16-game losing streak.



JERRON SMITH, HAZEL GREEN: Caught TD passes of 72, 30 and 41 yards in a 47-27 loss to Grissom.

JUSTIN STUBBLEFIELD, DAR: Caught 10 passes for 159 yards and two TDs in a 68-34 loss to Westminster Christian.

ADRIAN MILTON, MURPHY: With the Panthers facing a third-and-44 in the final quarter, the receiver hauled in a 52-yard TD reception for the clinching score as Murphy beat Baldwin County 19-7.  He also had an 11-yard TD catch late in the first half.
EVAN DELP, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Had had three receptions for 158 yards and two scores in the Conquerors’ 50-24 loss to Westbrook Christian.

REGINALD SUMMAGE, JEFF DAVIS: Grabbed nine receptions for 136 yards as Jeff Davis lost 18-13 to Carver-Montgomery at Cramton Bowl.
KEION JACKSON, DALE COUNTY: Caught three passes for 126 yards, including an 88-yarder in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors nipped Ariton 34-27.
NADARIUS HARRIS, CARVER-MONTGOMERY: Hauled in five receptions for 119 yards with a 57-yard touchdown in the Wolverines’ 18-13 win over Jeff Davis in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic.
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY: Caught nine passes for 108 yards and two TDs in the Eagles’ 50-14 win over Brookstone (GA). He also had seven tackles on defense.
GARRETT SKELTON, COLLINSVILLE: Caught three passes for 80 yards and three touchdowns (12, 32, 36 yards) in the Panthers’ 50-6 win at Plainview.

NICK GRIFFIN, MUSCLE SHOALS: Had six catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns covering 6 and 57 yards in the Trojans’ 42-3 win over Deshler.
: Caught seven passes for 67 yards, including TD catches of 8 and 15 yards in a 40-33 loss to Hewitt-Trussville.

RIVER HELM, WEST LIMESTONE: Caught TD passes of 56 and 44 yards in a 21-2 victory over Tanner.