Friday, December 06, 2019






Calhoun County Flexes its Muscle as ‘Mighty Eight’ go 8-0 in First Round of the Playoffs

AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 1, State Playoffs

MONTGOMERY – Eight high schools in Calhoun County reached the AHSAA State Football Playoffs this season, and after the first-round dust had settled last Friday night, all eight were still standing.
    All eight posted impressive first-round victories – albeit in every class from 1A through 6A. There is no 7A school located in the county.
    The Calhoun County contingent collective captured the AHSAA Prep Football Spotlight for the first round of the state playoffs.
    The “Mighty Eight” have been mighty strong all season. Donoho (9-1), coached by Mark Sanders, the only private school in the mix, beat Berry 34-6 in the Class 1A first round. His record is 20-12 in three seasons at Donoho and 37-26 overall. Ohatchee (10-0), which finished unbeaten in the regular season for the second straight year, downed Southeastern 55-13 in the Indians’ Class 2A playoff opener. Coach Scott Martin is 46-20 overall during his six-year tenure.
    In Class 3A, Piedmont (10-1), last year’s 3A state runner-up, blanked J.B. Pennington 35-0 and Walter Wellborn (10-1) ran past Locust Fork 54-14. Coach Steve Smith has led the Bulldogs for the last 14 seasons, amassing a 157-29 record with three state titles in that stretch. He is 242-74 overall in 25 years as a head coach. Jeff Smith, a Wellborn grad himself, is in his11th year as the head coach at his alma mater where his teams have gone 72-48. Smith is 148-103 overall with head-coaching stints at Ohatchee and Hueytown. His son Judd is a member of his coaching and younger son Jett is the team’s quarterback.
   In Class 4A, Jacksonville (9-2), senior Ron Wiggins rushed 11 times for 214 yards and five touchdowns in the Golden Eagles beat Cordova 55-26 in their first-round playoff win. Coach Clint Smith has compiled a 64-26 record in eight seasons at Jacksonville and is 121-73 overall in 18 years as a head coach. Anniston (7-4) beat Fayette County 19-6 in another Calhoun County playoff win. The Bulldogs, coached by Rico White, posted their first playoff win since 2011 with the victory. White, in his second season as head coach, has a 13-9 record at Anniston. Known for rebuilding struggling programs, his overall head-coaching slate is 43-81 in 12 seasons.
     Alexandria (8-2) also relied on its strong defense to beat Sylacauga 10-7 in the Class 5A playoffs last weekend. Head coach is Todd Ginn, who is 14-7 in his second season at his own alma mater. Ginn is just the fourth head football coach at Alexandria since 1948. Hall of Fame Coach Lou Scales served as head coach from 1948 – 1985, closing his career with the 1985 Class 4A state title and a 220-141-12 record in 38 seasons.
    Ginn’s dad Larry Ginn, who is also a member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, compiled a 195-54 record from 1986-2006 with two state championships. His career was cut short by his death following a battle with cancer. Frank Tucker directed the Valley Cubs from 2007-2017 compiling a 77-44 coaching record.
    Oxford (10-1), coached by Keith Etheredge, beat Chelsea 55-14 in the first round of the 6A playoffs. Etheredge, who has a 135-50 record as a head coach, is in his first year at Oxford. His teams at Leeds won four state championships and finished second once in his 10-year stint.
    The Calhoun County “Might Eight” outscored their opponents last week 286-73 – averaging 35.8 ppg and allowing only 9.1. The “Eight” currently own a combined 73-12 record this season an 85.9% winning rate.
    The games will get tougher in the second round this Friday. Donoho faces Decatur Heritage (11-0) at West Morgan High School’s field Friday in the Class 1A second round. Ohatchee hosts Collinsville (10-1) in Class 2A; Piedmont hosts Lauderdale County (9-2) and Walter Wellborn hosts unbeaten Susan Moore (11-0) in Class 3A; Jacksonville travels to Huntsville to face St. John Paul II Catholic (9-2) and Anniston hots Fairview (8-2) in Class 4A; Alexandria visits Madison County (9-2) in 5A; and Oxford is on the road at Cullman.
    In other highlights from last week’s first round of the state playoffs and the last week of the regular season:  

The Warhawks’ senior, had 20 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the Warhawks’s 37-16 defeat at Leroy in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs and finished his season with 3,517 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns on 234 carries in 11 games. His rushing total surpassed the previous record (3,483 yards) set by Jamarius Henderson of Dale County High School at Midland City in 2014 by 34 yards. Henderson gained his total in 15 games. Ironically, the two schools are less than 10 miles apart in Dale County, located in the Wiregrass.
DEVONTAE HOUSTON, HANDLEY: The Tigers’ senior running back set the Handley single-season records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with  235 yards and five TDs in his team's 50-14 Class 4A first-round playoff win over West Blocton. His performance gives him 2,270 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground thus far this season. The previous single-season rushing record at Handley (2,052 yards and 28 TDs) was set by Stacy Garrett in 1991. Houston also had an 88-yard scoop of a fumble and score on defense, caught two passes for 39 yards and added a run for a two-point conversion in last week's win.
DONTA DANIEL, CENTRAL COOSA: In the final game of the regular season on Nov. 1, Daniel rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries, completed three passes for 72 yards and another TD, caught a 59-yard pass and had 11 tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble on defense as Central beat Talladega County Central 42-14. The victory snapped a 30-game losing streak that dated back to 2016.

JACKSON BILLINGS, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Was 23-of-25 passing for 338 yards and three touchdowns and added two TDs rushing in a Class 3A first-round playoff win over Pisgah.
HAL SMITHART, OPP: Was 16-of-26 passing for 323 yards and four touchdowns – to four different receivers – but it wasn’t enough to overcome defending Class 3A state champion Flomaton in the first round of the state playoffs as the Hurricanes won 58-28.
SAWYER PATE, THOMPSON: Was a perfect 11-for-11 passing totaling 215 yards and four touchdowns as the Warriors beat Austin 54-20 in the first round of the 7A state playoffs. Thompson led 47-7 at the half and did not attempt a pass after intermission.
GRIFFIN HANSON, MARS HILL BIBLE: defending Class 1A state champion Panthers (11-0) won their 21st game in a row as the eighth grader fired four touchdown passes covering 48, 47, 61 and 88 yards in a 63-7 playoff win over Woodville. He finished 5-of-7 for 273 yards.
TYQUAN RAWLS, WETUMPKA: Completed 17-of-22 passes for 165 yards and two TDs and rushed for 72 yards on 14 carries as he engineered the Indians to two late touchdowns in a 22-21 Class 6A first-round win over Bessemer City.
Completed 12-of-22 passes for 167 yards and added 80 yards rushing on 10 carries, including TD runs of 1, 2 and 46 yards, in a 20-13 Class 2A playoff victory over Addison.
SPENCER ARCENEAUX, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Passed for 146 yards and three touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets (11-0) beat Enterprise 35-10 in the first round of 7A state playoffs.

DAVID HALL, ONEONTA: Ran for 240 yards and four TDs in a 37-29 victory over Good Hope.

JERRY BURTON, PRICEVILLE: Ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-23 Class 4A playoff victory over Rogers. He had 239 yards in Priceville’s 30-16 win over Brewer in the final game of the regular season to surpass 2,000 yards rushing on the year.
TRAY DUNCAN, STANHOPE ELMORE: Picked up 203 yards rushing on 21 carries to lead the Panthers to a 35-13 Class 6A playoff win over Paul Bryant.
HUNTER LOVE, FORT PAYNE: The workhorse running back had 37 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-17 Class 6A playoff win over Hartselle. His final TD came with 1:50 left to give the Wildcats the lead for good.

ERIC WATTS, OPELIKA: Rushed for 198 yards and scored four touchdowns, including two covering 51 and 72 yards, as Opelika downed McAdory in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
ANGELO HUNTER, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Ran 28 times for 197 yards a touchdown as the Falcons clinched their first state football playoff victory in school history with a 56-42 Class 4A victory over Brooks.

CHRISTIAN ANGULO, FALKVILLE: Scored six touchdowns on runs veering 19, 2, 28, 8, 35 and 13 yards as Falkville downed Waterloo 47-19 in a Class 1A playoff win.
KELSTON FIKES, LEROY: Scored four touchdowns and rushed for 174 yards on 20 carries as the Bears downed Daleville 37-16 in the 2A state playoffs.
ETHAN HEGGY, HACKLEBURG: Rushed 15 times for 176 yards and two touchdowns (80 and 23 yards) and also caught a 31-yard touchdown pass as the Panthers knocked off Valley Head 34-19 in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.
KALEB JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Ran for 190 yards on nine carries with three touchdowns and completed 4-of-5 pass attempts for 95 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown toss to Michael Tucker, as the Panthers beat Colbert County 63-28 in the Class 2A state playoffs. Michael Tucker also had 103 yards and four rushing TDs for Collinsville.
NATHANIEL CORNELISON, PISGAH: Had 22 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-28 Class 3A playoff loss to Westminster Christian.

KAHARI McREYNOLDS, GENEVA: Rushed for 173 yards and a 66-yard TD on 17 carries and also caught a 20-yard TD pass in the Panthers’ Class 3A first-round loss to
LUKE REEBALS, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Rushed for 169 yards on 10 carries with touchdowns of
21, 55 and 12 yards and added a 63-yard touchdown pass reception in Lions’ 42-26 Class 5A playoff victory over Marbury.
BRYAN GALLOWAY, GOSHEN: Rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and also threw for 56 yards on 7-of-12 passing with a TD for Goshen in a 36-0 win over Thorsby in the Class 2A state playoffs.
CAULLIN LACY, FAITH ACADEMY: Rushed for 143 yards on 28 carries as the Rams (11-0) won their first AHSAA playoff game, 
beating Charles Henderson 31-0 in the 5A stat playoffs. He scored on runs of 3 and 54 yards and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
MEKHI BURDETTE, MADISON COUNTY: Ran 25 times for 131 yards, including touchdown runs of 3 and 5 yards, in a 21-14 Class 5A playoff win over Corner.
NARKAVIS CAMPBELL, T.R. MILLER: Ran for 128 yards on 25 carries as the fourth-seeded (7-4) Tigers upset previously unbeaten Pike County 25-13 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
LUKE WELSH, SPRING GARDEN: Gained 117 yards rushing on 12 carries with three scores (21, 20 and 39 yards) in Spring Garden’s 28-20 first-round Class 1A playoff win over Hubbertville.
ROYDELL WILLIAMS, HUEYTOWN: Williams, a selection for the Alabama All-Star team which faces Mississippi in the annual classic Dec. 14, had 12 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-24 Class 6A first-round playoff win over Selma for the Gophers (10-1).
JAYLEN NOBLES, SLOCOMB: Rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns on 32 carries on offense and had five tackles, an interception and a caused fumble on defense in the Red Tops' 49-42 win over Geneva County in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 1. Emmanuel Henderson led Geneva County with 327 yards on 30 carries and scored four TDs. Neither team advanced to the playoffs.

CHRIS HOPE, JAMES CLEMENS: Delivered the game-winning TD reception and two-point conversion catch as the Jets nipped Vestavia Hills 21-20 in the Class 7A state playoffs. He snagged a 16-yard pass from Connor Cantrell for the score that brought James Clemens to within one at 20-19 with 28 seconds left and followed with the two-point pass play from Cantrell for the win. He finished with eight receptions for 110 yards and also recovered a blocked punt in the contest.
KEYONTEZE JOHNSON, PINSON VALLEY: The defending Class 6A state champion Indians’ senior wide receiver ca
ught 10 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-7 Class 6A playoff victory over Homewood. His TD catches covered 32 and 54 yards. Johnson has been selected to play in the 33rd Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic set for Dec. 14 at Hattiesburg, Ms.

KEVON HANKINS, MUSCLE SHOALS: Snagged four passes for 69 yards and a TD and had 75 rushing yards and another TD on nine carries as the Trojans (11-0) beat Albertville 6!-20 in the 6A playoffs.

TED BORDEN, FLORENCE: Kicked a 42-yard field goal on the final play of the game to give the Falcons a 24-21 Class 7A playoff win over Mountain Brook.
GRAYSON MYLES, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Booted two field goals late to give the Saints a 20-14 Class 6A playoff win over Sidney Lanier.
GABE HENSON, AMERICAN CHRISTIAN: Had field goals of 30 and 37 yards in the Patriots’ 50-0 Class 4A playoff win over Holtville.
JASON BROOKS, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Returned a kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown and also hauled in two TD reception in the Leopards’ 49-36 Class 3A playoff win over Geneva.






Totaled 23 tackles and forced a fumble in a 24-21 Class 7A playoff loss to Florence.
BLAKE CARROLL, ARITON: Finished with 13 tackles on defense and rushed for a touchdown on offense in the Purple Cats’ 40-19 win over Chickasaw in the Class 2A state playoffs.
KANJII CHANDLER, GARDENDALE:  Recorded 10 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble at linebacker on defense and also scored on an 8-yard run as the Rockets beat Minor 17-11 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
JACKSON DULLARD, FLOMATON: Had seven tackles and four sacks in the defending Class 3A state champion Hurricanes’ first-round playoff 58-28 victory over Opp.
LOGAN DUFFNER, MORTIMER JORDAN: Totaled 11 tackles, including three for a loss, four pass break-ups and an interception in a 41-14 Class 5A playoff win over Boaz.
WILL ADAMS, LAUDERDALE COUNTY: Had nine tackles, two for loss, and a sack in the Tigers’ 46-20 win over Sylvania in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
LANDON GOWENS, SPRING GARDEN: Made the game-ending tackle for a loss of Hubbertville quarterback Gage Key as time expired, allowing the Panthers to escape with a 28-20 victory that moved Spring Garden into the second round for the fifth straight year. He also recovered a fumble in the second quarter.

JOSEPH DAVIS, HOOVER: Had five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Bucs’ 21-3 Class 7A playoff triumph over Sparkman.








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