Success Unlimited Academy defeated the Wiregrass Kings 58-44 on Saturday to win the Montgomery school its first-ever state championship.
The Alabama Christian Sports Conference wrapped up its basketball season this past weekend in Birmingham and Success Unlimited’s Armanie Burton was chosen as the tournament’s most valuable player after leading the Mustangs to an 18-4 record and the school’s first state title in any sport.
Burton also was chosen as the conference’s most valuable player and was first team all-conference. Teammate Kendall McCall was chosen to the all-conference’s second team.
“Christian Character” nominees from the school were Devin Johnson (male) and LaDaisa McNeil (female).
The Success Unlimited junior varsity defeated Ezekial to finish the season undefeated at 19-0. Robert Willis was chosen as the most valuable player while Mustang teammate Kelvin Reese was selected to the all-conference team.
Updated at 9:12 am on February 14, 2018
Saint James advances to Regional with win over Escambia County
By TIM GAYLE
It’s not unusual to see opposing teams throw all types of gimmick defenses at St. James point guard Damien Madison.
It is unusual to
see the Trojans counter with sophomore Andrew Sadie.
Sadie scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half, downplaying his ability to get the ball in traffic and score despite a physical beating under the boards.
“Damien always takes the pressure off of all of us because Damien is just an incredible player,” Sadie said. “Our team was just finding me open. I just happened to be the one open tonight. Our team just did a great job of finding me. I wasn’t doing the hard stuff, I just had the easy job of putting the layup in.”
Sadie’s first-half performance was instrumental in St. James advancing to its fourth regional in school history with a 62-51 win over Escambia County in the St. James gym on Tuesday night, marking the first time in school history both the boys’ and girls’ programs hit the 20-win mark in the same season.
The Trojans (20-8) will face Ashford (21-10) in the South Region semifinals on Saturday in the Dothan Civic Center at 1:30 p.m.
“It feels good, especially to leave St. James with a win,” said Madison of his last home game. “It feels real good.”
Madison hit a pair of 3-pointers to put St. James up 6-2 before the Blue Devils (20-10) countered with waves of defenders designed to physically intimidate the Trojans’ leading scorer.
“We’ve seen it, they’re just a lot more physical and then they had a lot more guys to defend him, which made him have to work extremely hard,” Card said. “They could go with 23 (Xavier Lymon) on him, 2 (Malik Brown), 5 (Jordaun Patterson), they could go ‘big’ on him. They gave him a lot of different looks and really got physical with him.”
As a result, Madison finished the first half with nine points, managing just one field goal and one free throw in the 14 minutes after his quick start. Those remaining 14 minutes of the first half, at least from a St. James’ perspective, were all Andrew Sadie.
“He can feel proud about what he did in the first half,” Card said. “He scored some key baskets for us when we had Damien struggling a little bit. Damien got off to a good start, but at one point we didn’t know where our offense was going to come from and that’s when Andrew stepped up and really carried us in the first half.
“For him to get scores against that team that is extremely athletic and extremely skilled, particularly when we needed it, was big. And this is a big game. He came up big tonight.”
And while it might have been surprising to some, Madison said he sees it every day in practice.
“That’s how he plays,” Madison said. “If he gets the ball around the basket, then he’ll get fouled or score for us. He played big tonight. They probably weren’t expecting him to play like he did. For him to come out and play like that tonight was real big. It helped us get the win tonight.”
Madison, meanwhile, finished with 23 points, the 17th time in 26 games he’s gone over the 20-point mark and right at his season average of 22.2.
Tyler Pines was another big factor for the Trojans, coming up with crucial rebounds in the fourth quarter and finishing with 10 points.
“Tyler does a lot of different things that doesn’t show up in the box score,” Card said. “He’s a willing defender, he loves to get out there and mix it up, he’s a tremendous rebounder, he’s a very good ballhandler and just does a lot of things to help you.”
Malik Brown led Escambia County with 24 points. Demetrion Barnes had all nine of his points on a trio of 3-pointers in the first quarter to pull the Blue Devils back into the game and Nick Davison had all eight of his points in the third quarter as Escambia County made one last run at the Trojans before St. James finished off the visitors at the free-throw line.
“It’s always great to get to the regionals, especially in my brother’s (Steven) senior year,” Sadie said. “Going to Dothan is going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can win some more and do our best.”
Andalusia 58, Catholic 53
ANDALUSIA – Freshman D.J. Carter poured in 20 points but it wasn’t enough as Andalusia downed Catholic 58-53 in a sub-regional matchup on Tuesday night.
Andalusia will face UMS-Wright in the South Region semifinals on Saturday. Catholic ended the season at 18-12. B.J. Barker and Derrick Parker each had 13 points for the Knights.
PCA 58, Randolph County 29
Ben Segars led the Panthers with 17 points and Cooper Meadows added 16 points as PCA improves to 24-5 on the season and advances to the Regionals at Alabama State to play American Christian on Monday at 10:30. BJ Comer added 11 points, Michael McCarty scored 9 points, and Elijah Jones grabbed 17 rebounds.
Updated at 6:40 pm on February 10, 2018
Saint James comes from behind to win area tournament
By ART PARKER
It looked like Catholic was on cruise control going into the locker room with a 21-15 halftime lead. The Knights had few turnovers and were playing good defense.
But the second half was another story as Saint James took control and went on to 44-36 victory to win the area tournament. Catholic turned the ball over twice as much as Saint James and most of that occurred in the second half when the Trojans pressed the Knights. “We got rattled. We started to run it over when they pressed. I honestly don’t know why we didn’t handle it. We haven’t had problems with it this year,” Catholic coach Robb McGaughey said.
Intensity is the best way to describe the Trojans effort. All Tournament selection Steven Sadie said, “We made them turn it over and threw them off rhythm. It was all about intensity. The more intense we made it the more difficult it was for them.” Sadie’s Trojan teammate and Tournament MVP Damien Madison used the same description. “I think it describes our year. We got better as time went on and our intensity grew. Today we played defense with intensity as much as possible. That was the difference in the game,” Madison said.
Catholic will travel in the sub-regional game Tuesday night to face Andalusia. Saint James will have the luxury of being at home and face Escambia County.
Catholic now stands at 18-11 and Saint James is at 19-8.
Both teams shot poorly from the free throw line. Catholic converted 11 of 20 attempts and Saint James made 11 of 21 from the charity stripe.
Madison led all scorers with 20 points. D.J. Carter led Catholic with 15 points.
Madison was the Tournament MVP. Others on the All-Tournament team were: Sadie and Colin Duncan from Saint James.
Garrett Cook and B.J. Barker from Catholic were also named to the All-Tournament team along with Trinity ‘s Charlie Lott.
Updated 9:18 am on February 10, 2018
PCA wins area title
Prattville Christian defeated Southside Selma 59-42 Friday night to take the area title. Cooper Meadows and Elijah Jones each posted double doubles again for the Panthers. Cooper Meadows had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Elijah Jones had 10 points and 12 rebounds. BJ Comer led the way in scoring with 17 points and Ben Segars added 14 points as PCA improved to 23-5 on the season and will host Randolph County on Tuesday night at 7:00 in a sub-regional game.
Updated 12:16 pm on February 9, 2018
Wildcats loss to Saint James a major disappointment
By TIM GAYLE
It came quietly and unexpectedly, with only a few teary-eyed goodbyes marking the historic moment.
Trinity, which tied for the 4A Area 4 regular-season championship with Catholic, fell behind early and never recovered, suffering a season-ending 56-48 loss to St. James in the area tournament on Thursday night in the Catholic gym.
The loss signaled the end of an era for Wildcat coach Jack Schweers, who has led the team since 1994. The 74-year-old Schweers announced back in January he would be stepping down for health reasons at the end of the season. His 27 years as a high school coach included one at Monroe County, one at Prattville and the final 25 at Trinity, where he earned his 400th career coaching victory earlier this season.
This year’s team was potentially one of his best coaching jobs after his illness zapped his strength and his leading scorer, senior post player Luke Hufham, suffered a broken thumb midway through the season that left Schweers juggling his lineup to replace the team’s top scorer and leader.
The Wildcats rebounded late, winning their final six games of the regular season to share the area championship with Catholic at 6-2. A coin flip favored the Knights, placing the area tournament in Catholic’s gym and leaving the Wildcats with a tougher journey to the playoffs as the area’s second seed.
“I believed we could make it to the regional, if we could win this tournament and host (a sub-regional game),” Schweers said. “We had won six in a row.”
Trinity’s first postseason game, shockingly, turned out to be their last. The Wildcats (14-6) fell behind 9-0 and never recovered, surging back on a pair of occasions to tie the game, but always battling from behind until they ran out of time on Thursday night.
“They came out there smoking, (ahead) 9-0,” Schweers said. “If we don’t get that broken scoreboard, they might have run us out of there. But we got back in there, we just never could get the lead.”
The Trojans led 15-7 at the end of the first quarter, but a malfunctioning horn on the scoreboard clock forced a 24-minute delay. When play finally resumed, Trinity scored the next eight points to tie the game at 15-15.
It was still tied 21-21 at halftime before the Trojans used a 9-0 run to regain the momentum in the game. Trinity trailed by six entering the fourth quarter and never got closer than three, that coming on a Jack Yohn 3-pointer with 1:33 left. The Wildcats missed their next three shots and fell behind by seven with less than a minute to play.
“We talked to the team about being confident about who they are, don’t be afraid to take chances and take shots,” St. James coach Nigel Card said. “They’ve been playing basketball for a long time. They just have to believe in themselves and trust the results.
“We rebounded the ball very well tonight. We tried to force some (Trinity) guys to take some shots that weren’t accustomed to shooting. They hit some, but they missed the ones we needed (them to miss) and we rebounded the ball because he had his guys out of position and not in their normal pattern of offense.”
The Trojans (18-8) opened the game with a box-and-one defense, utilizing the defensive talents of Stephen Sadie on Hufham. When Charlie Lott started heating up from the outside, Card switched to a triangle-and-two defense to keep Lott from taking over the game.
“We felt like that was their best two and any time you try to take somebody’s best two out of the game, it’s going to have an effect on the team,” Card said. “The bigger the game, the more the pressure. I really felt that in a game that really meant something, kids have a tendency to struggle if they’re not having success early. That’s what I was banking on.”
St. James will face Catholic for the area tournament championship on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., but Thursday’s win assured the Trojans of a playoff berth. The winner of the St. James-Catholic game will face the loser of the Andalusia-Escambia County game at home in a sub-regional game on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the Catholic-St. James loser will travel to face the Andalusia-Escambia winner.
Damien Madison led St. James with 24 points, including 11 in the first quarter. Sadie added 11.
Lott led Trinity with 16 points, scoring half of that in the second quarter. Hufham finished with eighth, scoring just four points in the first half.
Catholic whips LAMP, will face Trojans
By TIM GAYLE
Garrett Cook scored 23 points, dominating the paint in the Area 4 tournament opener for Catholic to help the Knights subdue LAMP 57-45 at Catholic Thursday night.
“He came through real big for us,” Catholic coach Robb McGaughey said. “He’s been playing well the last few games. Once he settles down and plays the way he’s capable of playing, it really opens up things for us.
“They really packed in the zone. We had something prepared for it and we executed it well. Once we got the lead, we pulled it out to make them go ‘man’ and we just had the size advantage. It’s not a secret, it’s not a complex formula. We try to get the ball to our better players and we’re blessed to have some really good big guys who can score around the basket.”
BJ Barker added 19 points to keep the Golden Tigers from mounting any serious threat after falling behind early.
Catholic (18-10) will face St. James for the area tournament championship on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., but Thursday’s win assured the Knights of a return to the playoffs. The winner of the St. James-Catholic game will face the loser of the Andalusia-Escambia County game at home in a sub-regional game on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the Catholic-St. James loser will travel to face the Andalusia-Escambia winner.
LAMP (14-9) got 21 points from Jeffrey Owens and 11 from Quinn Stone as the Golden Tigers nearly duplicated last season’s success, but failed to get into the state playoffs.
“This year, we played some pretty good groups,” LAMP coach Marcus Townsend said. “We had a pretty awesome run right before Christmas. We ran into a little stumbling block toward the end. Our youth kind of showed up.”
For the second consecutive year, Townsend will have to replace the team’s top player after Owens stepped up and assumed that role this season.
“He’s definitely the leader because he does so many things other than score,” Townsend said. “He takes charges, fighting through picks, so many things that people don’t notice who don’t deal with basketball a lot. But he’s definitely going to be missed. We’ve got to come and work hard in the spring and the offseason and play a lot of basketball against other competition. That’s what Jeffrey did to get better.
“I think Micah Boone is a pretty good candidate for that and if we can keep the twins (Quinn and Mitchell Sloane) healthy, we should be OK. We won most of our games by committee.”
Updated at 5:48 am on February 8, 2018
PCA defeats Montgomery Academy
Prattville Christian’s big guys led the way with each posting double doubles as PCA improves to 22-5 on the season defeating MA 47-33 Wednesday night. PCA advances to the Class 3A Area 5 championship game on Friday night at 6:00
against Southside Selma. Cooper Meadows had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks while Elijah Jones added 10 points and 15 rebounds. BJ Comer added 14 points for PCA. Cooper Meadows, just a junior also surpassed the 1000 point mark in his varsity career and now stands at 1005 points.
Updated at 3:06 pm on February 6, 2018
Macon East repeats, takes AISA Class AA title
By Tim Gayle
Perhaps it was a foregone conclusion after returning two starters and a key sixth man from last year’s 33-0 team, but senior Logan Goree said the 2018 basketball season was a lot tougher for Macon East Academy.
“I feel like as a unit we put in more work together,” Goree said. “Last year, we would blow people out by 40 and get out of the game before halftime. This year, we had to work.”
Maybe so, but the return of Goree and senior point guard Kyle Edwards, along with super sophomore Mike Murry, was more than enough for anyone else in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state tournament as the Knights rolled to their 31 st consecutive win – and second consecutive state championship – with a relatively easy 67-40 win over Escambia Academy on Thursday afternoon at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
“I came from LAMP where we didn’t really win,” Edwards said. “Now we’ve lost two games in the two years I’ve been here.”
Macon East (33-2) won for the 66th time in 68 games with a stingy defense that held the athletic Escambia in check before the Knights pulled away in the second half.
“I felt like our team had what it took to control the tempo of the game,” Macon East coach Larry Chapman said. “They’re a tempo team. They really want to push it and break you down with the dribble. I felt like we would be able to defend them. But you have to take your hat off to their athleticism and their quickness.”
The idea was to put the ball in Edwards’ hands to break the backcourt press of the Cougars. A couple of 3-pointers by Murry opened up an eight-point lead at halftime and gradually the Cougars fell behind by 14 entering the final quarter as the Knights’ defensive pressure began to take a toll.
“The first half was more difficult than the second because we weren’t boxing out and that carried over from the last game,” Edwards said. “We kept up our defensive pressure and got a lot of turnovers. That stretched the game out for us.”
Goree finished with 27 points, including an 11 of 13 day at the free-throw line, but the story was the player the coaching staff calls the “Little Magician,” who had four assists and one turnover in the first half. Edwards finished with 12 points, including a 6 of 7 performance at the free-throw line, to earn most valuable player honors.
“It means a lot,” Edwards said. “I guess I got it because I control the flow of the offense.”
“It’s a no-brainer that Kyle Edwards is the MVP,” Chapman said. “He’s been that every game all year for two years. He’s a tremendous point guard. He keeps everything like we want it, under control. And when the ball is in his hands, he’s productive. He can hit shots, but he can score from the line because he’s so skilled with the ball, they have to foul him.”
Murry had 13 points as all three players were named to the all-tournament team.
“We won it last year and won it this year,” Goree said. “That just blows my mind. We put in the work and it happened.
“Last year was easy, this year was way more difficult because they (Escambia) had a lot of athletes from football. The first half, we weren’t boxing out a lot. In the second half, we came out and executed. And Kyle handling the ball just makes it even better.”
Macon East struggled to a 2-2 record early in the season, losing the opener to Class A champion East Memorial and another game to Class AAA Pike Liberal Arts, but ran off 31 consecutive victories on the way to a second consecutive title, something Chapman might not have envisioned after last year’s title run.
“My thinking was, now what? Because we lose some really good players and (Channy) Blackwell, who was hurt,” Chapman said. “But we stepped up and were able to win regardless of that. The scoring was what bothered me. But all of a sudden, Brock Taunton moves in. He’s a threat. Logan Goree, in this league, is a major, major player. Mike Murry is so much improved from a year ago. And we had Kyle. They couldn’t do anything (to neutralize him). And nobody can in this league. The fifth guy, we had no fifth guy, and here comes (Neil) Boone. He was amazing all year.”
Updated at 6:26 p.m. on February 4, 2018
EMCA defeats Evangel for state title
BY TIM GAYLE
There was a special place on the East Memorial bus for the gold trophy awarded to state champions of the Alabama Independent School Association’s state tournament.
“We’re going to get on the bus regardless,” EMCA coach Letwan Hall said. “We’re going to get on the bus with a silver trophy or a gold trophy. I told them it’s going to feel so much better getting on there with a gold trophy.”
The Wildcats walked out of the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl with a gold trophy, winning the Class A state championship with a 48-44 win over Evangel Christian Academy on Saturday night. It was the first win for the Wildcats (20-3) in four meetings with the Lions this season.
“They were tough all year,” Hall said. “I told them (EMCA players) just trust the process. We’ve lost to them three times, a couple of them were close, we’ve only got to beat them one time. We got down 15-2, that made my job harder, but I just told them to trust the process, one basket at a time.”
East Memorial did fall behind 15-2, but their first 10 possessions that resulted in that deficit included four turnovers and three blocked shots, a reflection of the Wildcats’ anxiety more than anything else.
“The biggest thing we needed to do is just settle down,” Hall said. “We weren’t running good offense. The defense was solid. We weren’t getting anything out of our breaks. (The Evangel defense) was almost like a zone, but a man look. So I pulled it out a little bit and went off the ball screen. Once we started getting baskets, that’s when things started turning.”
“It was rough,” added East Memorial point guard Lee Crawford, the tournament’s most valuable player. “I just wanted everybody to stay composed. If we stay composed, I knew we would get back in the game.”
The Lions were their own worst enemy, shooting just 30.8 percent from the field over the final 28 minutes of the contest while committing 15 turnovers during that span. While some of the turnovers could be attributed to East Memorial’s defense, the poor shooting was the result of EMCA slowing the tempo and limiting Evangel to just four fastbreak layups in the final three and a half quarters.
“They had a good game plan, we kind of saw it (in the semifinals against Chambers),” Evangel coach Kerwin Washington said. “We just didn’t understand how to get the ball inside. We tried to avoid contact instead of taking the contact and that was the key. We would drive and … we just didn’t understand how to finish and that’s on me.”
A 9-0 run early in the third quarter put the Wildcats in control but the Lions would rally with five unanswered points in the fourth quarter to regain a brief lead. In the end, though, Evangel would commit seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and hit just 4 of 11 free throws, sealing its fate.
“To beat a team four times is very, very difficult,” Washington said. “Hat’s off to Coach Hall. He did an incredible job with his guys this year. It’ll hurt for a while, especially for my seniors.”
Jamie Beckom led East Memorial with 14 points, followed by AJ Howard with 13 and Crawford with 11.
“Beckom got hot in the second half,” Washington said. “He was a big, big difference. He hit some shots that gave them momentum.”
Daryl Stewart led Evangel with 11 points, followed by Jalen Shine with 10. Both are among seven seniors on the roster for the Lions (24-5), whose only losses prior to Saturday were to Macon East Academy.
“It’s been an awesome year,” Washington said. “Having some guys come back and give us continuity was a plus. We’ve got five 10th graders that our program is going to be founded on the next couple of years. We’ll go back to work this spring and coach them up and get them ready to play.”
Tuscaloosa Academy 44, Lee-Scott Academy 43
Early on, it seemed as if Tuscaloosa Academy could do no wrong.
Later, the roles were reversed and a 17-point lead evaporated, leaving the Knights clinging to a lead they never surrendered to advance to the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA championship game with a 44-43 victory over Lee-Scott Academy on Saturday afternoon in the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
Tuscaloosa Academy (18-8) will play Lakeside (25-6) for the state championship on Monday at 7 p.m.
“Every year it’s a different team, different players,” said junior guard Hadrian McNeil, who had 17 points. “The point of the plan is to win a state championship. We just have to come together, play together, be a team, do it for your family, do it for God. Just ball out.
“They’ve beaten us the last two or three times we’ve played them. At some point in time, you have to step up and be a man and play hard. Do it for your team, do it for your school.”
Lee-Scott (20-10) has had the upper hand in meetings this season between the two – including a 60-43 win over the Knights a week earlier in the region tournament on the same floor – but no one could have foreseen what transpired in the first half as TA hit 75 percent of its shots (12 of 16) to storm out to a 22-5 lead before settling for a 28-11 halftime lead.
A key factor early was the return of Jamarques Darien, sidelined for seven games with a broken foot. He entered the game with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter and contributed seven quick points, playing for 22 of the 32 minutes and finishing with seven points.
“Jamarques is a great teammate and a great player,” McNeil said. “He helps us to be more fundamentally sound. He’s a role model, a leader, who helps us to know what to do, when to do it.”
And later in the game, as he limped noticeably as the pain in his right foot increased, TA coach Barry Sanderson would spell him defensively and put him back on the floor to help the offense.
“Jamarques makes me a better coach,” Sanderson said. “I learned real fast growing up in a coaching family that great players make you a better coach. He gives us a calming influence on the floor. We made some adjustments (from the last meeting) in our zone and I think it caught them off guard. Now give them credit, they made some adjustments at halftime and we were just one point better today.”
The comfortable lead evaporated in the third quarter as TA scored a field goal on just one of its 15 third-quarter possessions, allowing the Warriors to cut the lead to a point on two occasions, the final time coming with two-tenths of a second left on a pair of Jacob Carson free throws.
“We knew they’d make a run,” Sanderson said. “But the lead held up. Those guys have got great shooters and when you can make 3s, being up 18 or 19 can go to single digits fast. But the later it got in the game, those 3s are harder to make and I thought our defense held up at the end.”
Enough to propel a team into the state finals.
“When I took the job, they said, ‘Coach it’s going to be difficult because most of the players left,’” Sanderson said. “We had some tough breaks early, played a tough schedule, but I think it prepared us. And then we learned how to play without Jamarques for eight or nine games and then him coming back is huge. You want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the year and I think we are.”
Lakeside School 63, Morgan Academy 44
Jacari Richardson had 17 points and Jeffry Lynn and Isaac Paige each added 12 as the Chiefs ended Morgan’s Cinderella run with a lopsided victory in the AAA semifinals at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Saturday.
Lakeside (25-6) will play Tuscaloosa Academy (18-8) for the AAA state title on Monday at 7 p.m.
Dione Allen had 14 points and Jay Creech added 13 for Morgan (14-6), which was making its first trip to the Final Four since 1999.
Updated at 11:44 pm on February 2, 2018
Trinity takes Coaches vs. Cancer match with MA
By ART PARKER
“Give MA credit because they fought back and didn’t give up. It was a great game and this rivalry always makes for great games,” Trinity coach Jack Schweers said as he described the
annual Coaches vs. Cancer game with Montgomery Academy. Over the last ten years the Trinity-MA annual rivalry game has raised more than $50,000 to fight cancer. Trinity won the game 49-44.
Montgomery Academy had a terrible start and shot poorly in the first half. The Wildcats led 11-4 at the end of the first period and
19-14 at the half. Trinity was back at full strength with Luke Hufham fully recovered from a
But MA came alive early in the second half and went on a run to eventually tie the game at 21-21. Trinity managed to regain the leading heading into the final period and maintained the lead until 1:19 was left in the game when Trey Lindsey hit a fade away jumper to make the contest level at 44-44.
However, Trinity began to hit free throws as the Eagles committed fouls and Charlie Lott put the icing on the cake from the charity stripe with 18 seconds remaining. “Those guys didn’t give up. We had to fight to win this one,” Lott said. “I think having Luke back really helped to get us on track the last few games.
Lott and Hufham had 13 points each to lead Trinity. Jack Yohn chipped in 9 points. The Wildcats will begin area tournament play on a six game winning streak and stands at 14-5.
MA was led by Ollie Lester and Ollie Bear with 11 points each and William Norrell added 8 points for the Eagles. Going into the 3A area tournament MA stands at 12-15.
Catholic 56, ACA 53
Catholic defeated 4A rival ACA 56-53 Friday night. Garrett Cook led the Knights with 22 points and 10 rebounds. D.J. Carter contributed 12 points. Alabama Christian Academy was led by Grayson Evans with 20 points and Carson Hunt with 11 points. Catholic now stands at 17-9.
Prattville Christian 44, Wetumpka 38
Cooper Meadows led the Panthers with 19 points and 6 rebounds as PCA won in OT after being down double digits in the second half. Michael McCarty led the comeback by scoring all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime as PCA improved to 20-5 on the season. Elijah Jones added 6 points and 12 rebounds.
By TIM GAYLE
Macon East sluggish, but victorious
It wasn’t what anyone expected as far as style points were concerned, but Mike Murry and Kyle Edwards rescued a struggling Macon East Academy team at the free-throw line as the Knights advanced to the championship game for the third consecutive year with a hard-fought win over Autauga Academy on Friday afternoon.
Macon East (32-2) extended its winning streak to 30 games with the 44-34 win over Autauga in the Alabama Independent School Association’s Class AA semifinals, but it was anything but easy. The Generals (12-11) played a deliberate tempo to keep the Knights from running and the officiating led to both teams getting in early foul trouble.
“We wanted to play basketball,” Macon East coach Larry Chapman said, “but we look up and we’ve got Logan Goree, our post player, with four fouls. And we have to, some way, try and protect him. If we keep playing it the way the trend of the game was being handled, that worried me. I told (assistant coach) Lincoln (Glass), we need to consider forgetting that team and worry about our team and protecting Logan and let the clock be a factor.”
Roughly half of Macon East’s 44 points came at the free-throw line as the Knights protected their precarious lead through most of the second half.
“It was a possession game,” Chapman said. “You could tell that early on. Then we went to a zone and that makes it even more of a possession game. It was a little unusual and we couldn’t rebound the basketball. My hat’s off to Autauga for the way they played. They were a lot more mentally quick than we were.”
The two teams struggled to an evenly contested 16-point first quarter as multiple players from both teams had at least two personal fouls.
“We’re a man-to-man team,” Edwards explained, “and we had to hide me, hide Logan, hide ‘Boonie’ (Neil Boone) in a zone. That also helped them get a lot of rebounds, not finding bodies and putting our body on somebody to box out.
“It is a little frustrating, but we would rather do that than lose. And when we’re knocking (free throws) down, it’s even better.”
Murry knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to put a little space between the Knights and the Generals as Macon East took a 21-12 halftime lead. The Knights rode a 28-20 lead into the final period and were content to spread the floor with Murry and Edwards handling the ball. Edwards finished with 17 points, hitting 10 of 14 free-throw attempts, while Murry had 15 points after hitting 5 of 6 at the line.
“Coach Chapman told us to run time off the clock and if someone came up, go past them and make plays,” Edwards said. “That’s what we did. And on defense, we had to box out and get all the loose balls.”
Macon East, which lost to Edgewood in the 2016 championship game and defeated Autauga in the 2017 title match, will face Escambia for the 2018 Class AA championship on Monday at 2 p.m.
“Personnel wise, they’re very good,” Chapman said. “Athletically, they probably are a lot deeper. But you’ve got to play. Our guys are capable of doing a lot of things if we ask them to. They did today and that was why we were able to win the game.”
Evangel Christian 52, Chambers Academy 33
The two teams struggled to an 18-18 halftime tie and were tied midway through the third quarter at 26-26 before the Lions got untracked and scored the game’s next 21 points on the way to a 52-33 win over the Rebels in the Class A semifinals at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Friday night.
“We were out of rhythm,” Evangel coach Kerwin Washington said. “They were packed in, in their zone, and they were just not going to give up anything in the paint. Our guys were impatient in understanding how we wanted to attack it. We were standing out at the 3-point line with nobody guarding us and they were still stuck in the paint.
“It’s just one of those games you just have to play. The calls weren’t going our way, shots weren’t going to down, but it’s just one of those where you have to persevere and get it done.”
Senior point guard Chester Pruitt finally cranked up the Lion offense, scoring many of his 17 points during that 21-point run along with Jalen Shine, who finished with 11.
“He’s the leader, stepping up and being able to settle our team down and give us points when we needed them,” Washington said.
“We had to start running,” Pruitt said. “We started off slow, real slow, and we weren’t supposed to. They slowed us down and we chased them. We didn’t play our game, we played the way they play.
“When I attacked, they collapsed and I’d dish it off. That’s what I had to start doing. If we had kept taking (outside) shots, that’s what they want. They want us to shoot, that’s why they packed it in the paint.”
Evangel (24-4) will face arch rival East Memorial for the second consecutive year in the Class A state championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“That’s going to be a war,” Washington said. “We’re going to limp into it but we’re going to be there to battle tomorrow night.”
“It’s going to be hard,” Pruitt added, “but we’ve got to try to win. Just play hard.”
East Memorial 72, Abbeville Christian 53
East Memorial scored 19 points in the first quarter and 17 in the second to cruise past Abbeville Christian 72-53 in the Class A semifinals at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Friday night.
East Memorial (19-3) will play Evangel Christian for the Class A state championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. The two rivals met four times last year, with EMCA winning both regular-season meetings and the region championship game before Evangel won the state championship game. This year, Evangel has won both regular-season meetings and the region championship game.
Lee Crawford led the Wildcats with 20 points, followed by Jamie Beckom with 15.
Dre Newman led Abbeville with 19 points, followed by Evan Grimsley with 12 and Marcus McKay with 10.
Escambia Academy 55, Pickens Academy 41
It took a while, but Escambia Academy finally got rolling in the second half and pulled away from previously unbeaten Pickens Academy on Friday to advance to the Class AA finals at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
“We knew they wanted to slow it down, but we kept telling our guys let’s try to play it fast because that’s our kind of game,” Escambia coach Hugh Fountain said. “It wasn’t pretty. We missed a lot of shots in the first half. They looked a little tired before the half so I told (Escambia players) let’s keep pushing. If we were tired, they had to be tired.”
Pickens (18-1) was led by Hamner Allen, who had 11 points, and Lee Acker, who had 10.
Tiqualle Taylor had 23 points and Neikel Robinson added 14 for Escambia (16-3), which will play for the AA state title on Monday at 2 p.m. against Macon East Academy, a team that hasn’t lost a AA game in two years and is making its third consecutive appearance in the finals.
“We don’t know a whole lot about them, but we know they’ve got an outstanding coach and an outstanding program,” Fountain said. “One of our goals this year was to get to the state championship game in basketball because we knew we had a good team. Now we’re there, let’s play and see what happens.”
Updated at 9:43 am on February 2, 2018
By TIM GAYLE
Tuscaloosa Academy 52, Hooper 49
Max Westjohn’s putback with 45.7 seconds left gave Tuscaloosa Academy the lead and Hadrian McNeil added a pair of free throws for insurance as the Knights edged Hooper Academy 52-49 in overtime in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon.
The Knights broke out of a 20-20 halftime tie with a strong second-half performance from McNeil, only to watch the Colts tie the game late in regulation by taking advantage of poor free-throw shooting by Tuscaloosa Academy.
TA rallied with six of the nine points scored in overtime, taking advantage of three Hooper starters on the bench and a pair of clutch free throws by McNeil, who finished with 31 points.
“He’s had to step up his scoring with Jamarques (Darien) out,” TA coach Barry Sanderson said. “Early in the year, trying to teach him what a good shot was and getting him under control was difficult. He didn’t play very well in the first half but I thought he came back in the second half and made some shots. When he makes shots, it opens up his drive and I think he got to the rim some, which was key for us.”
Darien, the Knights’ leading scorer who sat out the last nine games with a broken foot, played the first couple of minutes before returning to the bench in pain and sitting out the remainder of the game.
Hooper was shorthanded as well. Senior point guard Wyatt Barnett sat out with an injured foot, senior forward Mason Hill fouled out with 41 seconds left in regulation and the team’s leading scorer, Jared Kelly, fouled out with 3:21 remaining in overtime, leaving the Colts few scoring options down the stretch.
“We let a few little easy passes get away from us, along with a few shots,” Hooper coach Tommy Norman said. “That No. 10 (McNeil) kind of beat us on the drive. It was a back-and-forth game, we just fell a little short.”
The scrappy Colts got 16 points each from Kelly and Holden Hollingshead, fighting back from an early deficit to tie the game at halftime. Sanderson wanted to put pressure on the Colts with their point guard on the bench, but foul trouble changed his strategy.
“We wanted to press (Hooper) some,” he said. “I felt like we got some turnovers but we were overanxious and overran some plays, which gave them some easy baskets. Give Hooper credit. They were playing without their point guard, who was hurt, which was a key to the game. Those guys played great and made some big shots.”
Hooper (14-8) was bolstered by a large raucous crowd cheering on the Colts, who have experienced an athletic drought in recent years.
“It was nice to get that,” Norman said. “We had a heck of a crew here. That’s something to build on for next year.”
Tuscaloosa (17-8) will face Lee-Scott in the semifinals on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The two teams split during the regular season before the Warriors grabbed a 60-43 victory in the region tournament at the Multiplex last week.
“Lee-Scott is very, very well coached,” Sanderson said. “They can put five shooters on the floor. We can’t afford to go through scoring droughts against them, which is what we’ve done the last two times we’ve played them. But in tournament play, you just want to play and advance. There’s only four teams left and hopefully we’ll play our best game on Saturday.”
Lee-Scott Academy 56, Pike Liberal Arts 19
Pike Liberal Arts jumped out to a 2-0 lead but it went downhill from there as the Warriors grabbed a 13-2 lead at the end of the quarter and a 15-point halftime lead on the way to a 56-19 win in the AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday morning.
Jacob Carson led a balanced attack with 10 points. Ethan Green led Pike Liberal with five.
Lee-Scott will face Tuscaloosa in the semifinals on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to Monday’s championship game at 7 p.m.
Lakeside School 40, Glenwood School 33
Ju’Quan Grubbs had 12 points to help rally the Chiefs from a two-point deficit at halftime with a 40-33 victory over Glenwood in the AAA state tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
Lakeside will face Morgan in the semifinals on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., with the winner advancing to the state championship game on Monday at 7 p.m.
Bryce Valero led Glenwood with 15 points but 12 of those came in the first half and none in the fourth quarter as the Gators were outscored 11-6 in the final eight minutes.
Morgan Academy 45, Springwood School 39
Britton Adams scored 13 points, but none were bigger than his three-point play on a drive through the lane with 31 seconds left and the Senators clinging to a two-point lead.
Milam Turner added a free throw seven seconds later – one of his eight points scored, all in the fourth quarter – as Morgan earned its first trip to the Final Four since 1999 with a 45-39 win over Springwood in the AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday night.
Morgan will play Lakeside in the semifinals on Saturday at 11:30 a.m., with the winner advancing to Monday’s AAA championship game at 7 p.m.
Gus Davidson led Springwood with 19 points, followed by Christian Lancaster with 11.
Updated at 8:41 am on February 1, 2018
AISA Elite Eight
By TIM GAYLE
Macon runs over Russell Christian
The game wasn’t two minutes old when Macon East Academy coach Larry Chapman called a timeout.
His team never trailed and Russell Christian Academy wasn’t going to pose much of a challenge in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state tournament on Wednesday at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl, but that wasn’t the point.
“He told us to play defense,” senior forward Logan Goree said. “We were kind of struggling on defense early. We weren’t really awake yet. He brought us over to talk to us and just told us we needed to wake up and we started playing together.”
The defending AA state champions, winners of 29 straight games and 62 of their last 64, were leading 7-0 at the time. A Brenley Lippert 3-pointer put Russell Christian on the scoreboard before the Knights responded with 19 consecutive points.
“I just thought they probably hadn’t woke up yet,” Chapman said. “It wasn’t that they weren’t trying to do what we were asking. But this game was important because it was one more step toward a championship. I take my hat off to Russell Christian. They played hard, they never quit, they kept battling. I thought our starters played well.”
Goree dominated in the paint, scoring 27 points despite playing sparingly in the second and fourth quarters on the way to an 87-39 rout.
“Nobody appreciates Logan Goree, but he’s a worker,” Chapman said. “He’s amazing. He goes to work on every possession. As a consequence, what does he do? He dominates inside when he plays. And he works at it. He’s never satisfied.”
Kyle Edwards added 19 points, followed by Mike Murry with 12 and Keiron Taylor with 11 as Macon East built a 41-16 advantage at the half and a 60-24 lead after three quarters.
That led to extended playing time for the reserves as Macon East (31-2) advanced to the semifinals on Friday against Autauga at 1:30 p.m.
“You get the joy of watching your second team play,” Goree said. “That’s always good.”
James Swindell led Russell Christian with 16 points.
Autauga Academy 51, South Choctaw Academy 50
It was his only field goal, but it proved to be the most important.
Autauga Academy led for nearly the entire game before Mason Sikes hit a 3-pointer to put South Choctaw in front with 1:44 left. Passing the ball around the perimeter in search of an open shot, Turner Payton nailed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to provide the game-winning points and send the Generals into the Final Four with a one-point victory in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.
“He did really well for us in the region tournament consolation game, so he’s able to do it, we’ve just got to get him to do it,” Autauga coach Brad Parker said. “He knew he had to step up and he stepped up at the right time and hit a good shot.”
The younger brother of Tanner Payton, the leading scorer on last year’s team, Turner was between the Generals’ two perimeter shooters, Kendrick Rogers and Tripp Carr. With neither able to get an uncontested look at the basket, it was Payton who finally delivered, scoring his only points of the game with the game-winning shot.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Parker said. “It’s been like that all year. We’ll play good one half and bad one half. If we play a full game, you never know what’s going to happen.”
The Generals (12-10) will need a full game on Friday against defending state champion Macon East Academy, which has won 64 of its last 66 games. The two state finalists a year ago will meet in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m.
“They’ve got a great team, a great coach and great players,” Parker said. “Our work is cut out for us but as I told the players, this is where we want to be. You never know what’s going to happen when you get there. You’ve got to play the game.”
Pickens Academy 70, Emmanuel Christian 35
Hamner Allen led three players in double figures for unbeaten Pickens, which surged out to an early lead and coasted to a 70-35 victory over Emmanuel Christian in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.
Pickens (18-0) will face Escambia in the semifinals on Friday at 10:30 a.m., with the winner advancing to the AA championship game on Monday at 2 p.m.
Taylor Owens had 15 points and Lee Acker added 13 for the Pirates, which led by 11 points at the end of the first quarter and was never challenged.
Andrew Marcum led Emmanuel with 12 points.
Escambia Academy 83, Lowndes Academy 42
The up-tempo style of Escambia Academy proved to be too much for Lowndes Academy, which ran out of gas in the second half as the Cougars cruised to a 41-point win in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Wednesday night.
Escambia (16-3) will face Pickens in the semifinals on Friday at 10:30 a.m., with the winner advancing to the state championship game on Monday at 2 p.m.
Neikel Robinson led the Cougars with 18 points, followed by Tiquale Taylor with 17 and Fred Flavors and M.J. Jones with 13 points each.
Jesse Foley had 13 points to lead Lowndes, followed by Jon Johnson with 10.
Updated at 8:25 am January 31, 2018
AISA Elite Eight
By TIM GAYLE
Call it an EMCA hangover.
Whatever the cause, Evangel Christian was sluggish in its 73-41 win over Jackson Academy on Tuesday morning, running past the Eagles in a lopsided victory while looking anything but impressive in advancing to the Alabama Independent School Association’s Final Four.
Evangel (23-4) will face Chambers Academy on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday’s Class A state championship game.
“It was just a lack of intensity, a lack of focus, we didn’t play well at all,” Evangel Christian coach Kerwin Washington said. “It was a short turnaround from a big game on Saturday and some of that goes back on that. These guys are tired. I’m asking them to do a lot. The second group of guys that came in really played well for us and were a big part of the push in the second half.”
Evangel quickly built a 10-point lead, but the Eagles chipped away with a flurry of 3-pointers before the Lions surged back to a 33-20 halftime lead. Washington turned up the defensive pressure in the third quarter and built the lead to 24 points and coasted from there.
Darryl Stewart led Evangel with 22 points, followed by Aaron Alpert with 10.
“We definitely didn’t go into this game taking Jackson for granted,” Washington said. “We knew they were really going to be strong with their guard play. They showed that by the number of 3’s that they hit and that was with hands in their face. They are a talented bunch, we knew it was going to be a tough game. It’s just tough to come from a region championship game (against East Memorial on Saturday) and get focused on another game in a couple of days.”
Alvin Forward hit six 3-pointers to lead Jackson with 18 points.
“That’s him,” Washington said. “We guarded him. Sometimes we weren’t as close as I wanted us to be, but he’s cat-quick. He’s equal (in talent) to (Evangel point guard) Chester (Pruitt). Now I know what everybody else faces when they try to guard Chester. He (Forward) is a really solid basketball player.”
OTHER AISA GAMES
East Memorial 81, Patrician Academy 64
East Memorial cruised to a 23-point halftime lead before surviving a fourth-quarter scare from the Saints in an 81-64 victory on Tuesday night at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
EMCA (18-3) will face Abbeville Christian on Friday at 4:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the AISA Class A state championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Lamar Smith had 23 points, Lee Crawford added 20 and AJ Howard scored 14 as the Wildcats pulled away from a nine-point lead in the first quarter for a 47-24 advantage at halftime. EMCA still led by 20, 63-43, heading into the fourth quarter but the Saints chipped away and trailed by just 10 points midway through the quarter before the Wildcats pulled away late. Blake Reid had 23 points to lead Patrician, followed by Lee McBride with 17.
Abbeville Christian 50, Southern Academy 32
Dre Newman scored 16 points and Evan Grimsley added 13 as Abbeville Christian used a strong performance in the third quarter to pull away for a 50-32 victory in the Class A state tournament on Tuesday night. The Generals led just 21-17 at the half but outscored Southern 18-8 to take a comfortable lead into the fourth quarter and cruise into the semifinals, where they will face EMCA on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Cal Webb led a balanced Southern attack with eight points.
Chambers Academy 47, Marengo Academy 32
Payton Allen had 18 points and Rodricqus Dark added 11 as Chambers Academy raced out to an early 10-point lead and cruised to a 47-32 win over the Longhorns in the AISA Class A state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Tuesday afternoon. Chambers will face defending state champion Evangel Christian on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday’s state championship game. Hayden Campbell led Marengo with 13 points.
Updated at 8:20 am January 31, 2018
Trinity 58, BTW 35
The Trinity Wildcats leading scorer and rebounder returned from injury and coupled made an end of the season stretch run to grab a share of the regular season Area Championship with Catholic. The Knights slipped by surprising St. James tonight to get their half of the title.
Leading the Wildcats to their fourth straight Area win was Jack Yohn with 15 points. The aforementioned injured leading scorer and rebounder, Luke Hufham had 11 points and 10 boards.
Jitterbug guard Charlie Lott contributed 10. It was Trinity’s fifth win in a row overall since they dropped a heartbreaker to arch rival Montgomery Academy two weeks ago.
Catholic 36, Saint James 33
The Knights slipped past Saint James 36-33 in a lackluster performance. B.J. Barker led Catholic with 13 points. Charlie Ryan hit a pair of big 3-point shots in the second half that greatly helped Catholic.
Montevallo 48, Prattville Christian 43
Elijah Jones led the Panthers with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Cooper Meadows added 12 points and 8 rebounds. PCA falls to 19-5 on the season.
ACA 68, Holtville 53
The Eagles defeated Holtville 69-53 and were led by Colby Rives with 18 points, Ford Hilyer with 17 points, Reece Solar added 14 points and Grayson Evans chipped in 13 points.
Updated at 8:41 January 26, 2018
Wetumpka 60, Catholic 56
WETUMPKA – Catholic dropped its third game this week, losing to Wetumpka 60-56 as DJ Carter had 19 points and Matthew Taylor added 12.
Catholic (15-8) lost to Trinity on Tuesday and St. James on Wednesday with limited contributions from its post players, who were hampered by the flu. The Knights travel to Auburn High on Monday and St. James on Tuesday to close out the regular season before playing in the area tournament the following week.
Trinity 42, Saint James 28
It was a special night for Trinity Athletes Friday night, as seniors
were honored as well as long time basketball coach Jack Schweers before the Wildcats took the floor to battle rival St. James. Trinity turned in their second straight sterling defensive performance as they held the Trojans to 13 first half points to create some space in a physical battle. Most of the ‘Cats offense was provided by center Luke Hufham and guard Charlie Lott. Hufham definitely getting back to his pre-broken thumb playing condition, put up yet another double-double, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Lott threw in 13 points on an assortment of shots. With the win, Trinity goes to 11-5 overall and 4-2 in the Area, remaining tied with leader Catholic in the loss column. The Cats conclude Area play next week with a trip to LAMP on Monday and a home game with BTW on Tuesday. Charlie Lott’s greatest contribution to the win, however, was his defensive effort on Trojan high scoring guard Damien Madison who hung 43 on the Wildcats two weeks ago. Lott held him to 11 points Friday. St. James is 3-2 in the Area making for an exciting stretch run.
Macon East Academy 99, Emmanuel 35
CECIL – Five players scored in double figures as Macon East Academy cruised into the finals of the Class AA Region 1 tournament with a 99-35 win in the Macon East gym on Friday night.
Macon East won its first two games in the tournament by a combined score of 160-46 and will now face area rival Lowndes for the region title on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Emmanuel will play Autauga in the consolation game at 10:30 a.m. All four teams will advance to the AISA Elite Eight next Wednesday at the Multiplex.
Logan Goree, Kyle Edwards and Mike Murry all scored 20 points in the rout, while Brock Taunton added 16 and Ethan Honaker had 10.
Evangel Christian 58, Chamber 33
Kory Gaines’ 11 points and 15 rebounds help lead Evangel to the win over Chambers in the semifinals of the Class 1A Region 1 tournament at Macon-East Academy. Jalen Shine had 9 points and 3 rebounds. Chester Pruitt and Joseph Love finished with nine points each. The Lions (21-4) will play East Memorial on Saturday at 7:30.
Hooper Academy 53, Pike Liberal Arts 46
GREENVILLE – Sophomore Holden Hollingshead led a balanced attack with 18 points and six rebounds to lead the Colts to a 53-46 win over Pike Liberal in the semifinals of the Class AAA Region 2 tournament at Fort Dale Academy.
Hooper (13-7), which never trailed, will play Lakeside School in the region championship game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., while Pike Liberal Arts (10-7) will face Morgan Academy in the consolation game at 1:30 p.m. All four teams will advance to the AISA Elite Eight at the Multiplex on Thursday.
Seniors Mason Hill and Trace Edwards combined for 18 points and 16 rebounds while junior Jared Kelly chipped in 13 points.
Lee-Scott Academy 60, Tuscaloosa Academy 43
Tuscaloosa Academy grabbed a brief lead in its regional battle with Lee-Scott but a flurry of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter helped the Warriors pull away for a 60-43 victory in the AISA Class AAA Region 1 tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Friday afternoon.
Lee-Scott advanced to the region championship game against the Springwood-Glenwood winner on Saturday, while Tuscaloosa Academy (15-8) will play the loser in the consolation game at 1:30 p.m. All four teams in action on Saturday will advance to the AISA Elite Eight on Thursday at the Multiplex.
“I thought we held as good as we could,” TA coach Barry Sanderson said. “We don’t have a ton of scorers out there. I thought we defended, that’s what kept us in the game. Give them credit. They hit a stretch there where they took the ball inside-out and knocked down 3’s. That’s what good shooting teams do.”
The Knights started out slow, but crawled back into the game with a strong second-half performance, finally gaining the lead at 30-29 on a layup by Hadrian Meneil, who had 16 of his 17 points in the second half. The Warriors scored the game’s next four points, then pulled away early in the fourth quarter as Sam Aldridge hit a pair of 3’s, followed by another by Buck Dean and a fourth by Hayes Ward in six possessions for an 11-point lead three minutes into the final quarter.
TA will be either the third or fourth seed in next week’s Elite Eight – depending on the outcome of Saturday’s game – and Sanderson hopes to have Jamarcus Darien, who was averaging 22 points a game before breaking his foot and sitting out nine games.
“If he is (able to play), then that gives us a big lift; if he isn’t, they’re still going to play the tournament anyway and we’ll do the best that we can,” Sanderson said. “But obviously Jamarcus is a big key to what we do.” Jacob Carson led Lee-Scott with 17 points, followed by Aldridge with 15.
Updated at 10:22 January 24, 2018
Trinity shocks 4A rival Catholic
By TIM GAYLE
It took Luke Hufham a little while to find his shooting touch, but his hot left hand in the third quarter proved to be the difference in Trinity’s 59-41 win over Catholic in the Catholic gym on Tuesday night.
Hufham, sidelined almost a month with a broken right thumb, missed six of his first seven shots as he struggled to shoot left handed, but hit six of nine shots in a decisive third quarter that gave the Wildcats some breathing room.
“He can’t shoot it right handed hardly at
all,” Trinity coach Jack Schweers said. “Each game, I think, (he’s shown improvement). It was a disaster against Montgomery Academy, better against Altamont and then tonight. You can see what he means to us had he not broken that hand. He is a force.”
Hufham scored 15 points in the second half to finish with a game-high 19 points, along with eight rebounds. He had more rebounds than points in the first half as he missed basket after basket from close range, trying to find the proper touch with his non-shooting hand.
“In the second half, he had 15 points,” Catholic coach Robb McGaughey pointed out. “He just hustles. Give the kid credit. It’s his senior year and he’s going after it.”
It was the first area loss for Catholic (15-6), which fell to 5-1 with area games remaining against St. James on Wednesday at home and at St. James next Tuesday. The regular season champion gets to host the area tournament on Feb. 6-10, with the fourth and fifth seeds playing each other, with the winner advancing to play the top seed in their gym.
The two teams that finish second and third will play one game, with the winner advancing to the championship game and assured of a playoff berth, making Trinity’s win on Tuesday crucial after losing to St. James and Catholic earlier this season.
“What we’re looking at, with five (area) teams, is nobody wants to be the four or five (seed),” Schweers said. “Catholic was 5-0, now they’re 5-1, and us, LAMP and St. James, two of us will get in the two-three (game).
“I thought our defensive effort was definitely the difference early on. Offensively, we had so many opportunities and missed easy shots. I thought our defense, the whole way, was solid.”
The Wildcats extended their one-point lead to nine by halftime with eight second-quarter points from Jack Yohn, who finished with 17. Trinity (10-5 overall, 3-2 in area play) led by as many as 19 as the lifeless Knights would make a 3-pointer on offense, only to give up a quick layup on the other end.
B.J. Barker had 10 points in the first half and finished with 18 to lead Catholic, but the Knights struggled to generate any offense for most of the game and were never in sync on defense.
“I tried everything tonight,” McGaughey said. “Every motivational tactic, every strategy. You just have to give Trinity credit. I guess they wanted it more than our kids. Really, that’s what it came down to. They outhustled us, they outplayed us.”
Updated at 10:01 am January 24, 2018
Montevallo defeated MA 59-51 with a 24 point fourth quarter. Senior guards Daqwan Bryant and Jemarcus Green led the Bulldogs with 16 and 15 points respectively. The Eagles, now 11-13, were led by sophomore guards William Norrell and Ollie Bear who scored 16 points each. Ollie Lester tallied 10 points and Trey Lindsey scored 7 points.
ACA clobbered Elmore County 71-44 at home. Ford Hilyer led the Eagles with 21 points. Grayson Evans added 15 points and Reece Solar chipped in a dozen points.
Southside Selma upset PCA 62-43. Ben Segars led the Panthers with 23 points and 6 rebounds as PCA fell to 19-4 on the season. Michael McCarty added 11 points.
Macon East Academy smashed Lowndes Academy 66-28. Kyle Edwards had 16 points and 10 assists. Logan Goree had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead Macon East to an easy area victory in a game postponed from last week. Mike Murry added 12 points for the Knights, which wrapped up the top area seed for the upcoming region tournament this weekend at Macon East.
Updated at 2:32 pm on January 21, 2018
Trinity’s Jack Schweers collects 400th coaching win as Wildcats defeat Altamont
After 3 straight losses to rivals Catholic, St. James (OT) and MA on Friday night, Trinity got back in the win column with a victory over Altamont of Birmingham 66-37. The Wildcats got their leading scorer and rebounder Luke Hufham back-he has been out since early December with a broken thumb that required surgery. Still playing with a brace and shooting mostly left handed, Hufham had 13 points, 10 rebounds and was 1-1 from the free throw line left handed. Charlie Lott had 15 and Jack Yohn had 11 points. The Wildcats are now 9-5 this season.
Updated at 11:54 on January 20, 2018
MA defeated Trinity Friday night 53-47 after jumping out to a big halftime lead. Ollie Lester was hot for the Eagles in the first half and scored 9 of his 10 points in the first two periods. Travis Thompson assured the Eagles of the big early lead by draining a pair of three pointers before halftime. After being scoreless in the first halftime Trey Lindsey came back in the second half to score all 13 of his points. At one time MA led 47-27 but the Wildcats came roaring back. Inspired by the return of Luke Hufham, who scored 9 points playing left handed, the
Wildcats eventually gave the Eagles all they wanted narrowing the lead to 3 points with less than a minute remaining. William Norrell hit both sides of a one and one to put the game out of reach for MA. Charlie Lott and Jack Yohn led the ‘Cats with 15 points each.
Evangel Christian made short work of its arch rival East Memorial Christian 80-55 Thursday night, and with the victory the Lions establish themselves to beat in the state for AISA Class A. Daryl Stewart scored a game high 20 points with 3 assists and 4 steals. Chester Pruitt had 14 points, 6 assists and 9 rebounds. Jalen Shine tallied 10 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds while Kory Gaines chipped in 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. The Lions win place them at 18-4 and they finish as area champions and will be the top seed in the region tournament.
Prattville Christian demolished Montevallo 74-41 Friday night to captured its 18 th straight win. Elijah Jones led the Panthers with 23 points and 16 rebounds as PCA improved to 19-3 on the season. Cooper Meadows added 19 points and Ben Segars had 16 points. Freshman Jacob Comer also scored 8 points.
Updated at 12:44 am on January 17, 2018
MA defeated ACA 58-50 with Ollie Bear having a big game scoring 25 points. Trey Lindsey scored 12 points and Ollie Lester chipped in with 7 points. For ACA, Grayson Evans led with 19 points and Ford Hilyer tallied 13 points. MA now stands at 9-12.
MA defeated Luverne High School 44-35 in the MLK Classic. William Norrell led MA with 16 points. Trey Lindsey added 9 points. Nate Meacham had 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Prattville Christian extended its win streak to 17 games with a narrow victory over Ellwood Christian 55-54. Cooper Meadows led the number 4 ranked Panthers in Class 3A over the number 4 ranked team in Class 1A. Meadows had 20 points and 5 rebounds. PCA improved to 18-3 on the season. BJ Comer added 14 points and 6 rebounds. Ben Segars also added 14 points and 5 rebounds.
Updated at 7:59 pm on January 13, 2018
Prattville Christian game back in the last minute to get a win over Catholic 42-39 after forfeiting a big leads for most of the game. Cooper Meadows led the Panthers with 13 points and 7 rebounds as PCA improved to 17-3 on the season. Ben Segars added 12 points and 5 rebounds; Elijah Jones added 10 points and 5 rebounds; BJ Comer had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. With less
than a minute to play, Comer made the play of the game with a bucket and a subsequent free throw to give the lead to the Panthers for good. For Catholic B.J. Barker had 20 points and Charlie Ryan had 9 rebounds. Catholic drops to 15-5.
Montgomery Academy defeated Elmore County on Saturday afternoon 63-53. Trey Lindsey led the MA attack with 23 points while Nate Meacham added 14 points. Ollie Bear added a dozen points for the Eagles. Donavan Jones and Kawn Bickley led Elmore County with 16 points each.
Updated at 5:04 am on January 13, 2018
Catholic slipped past LAMP 52-49 at home last Friday night to win a key area matchup after being down by 11 points in the third quarter. Charlie Ryan led the Knights with 13 points. B.J. Barker and D.J. Carter scored a dozen points each.
Prattville Christian Academy defeated Montgomery Academy 40-31 Friday night in area competition. Cooper Meadows led the Panthers with 17 points and 13 rebounds as PCA improved to 16-3 on the season and 3-0 in area play. Elijah Jones added 8 points
and 16 rebounds. MA made a comeback late in the game and pulled to within three points at 34-31, but failed to make much needed shots. Ben Segars and B.J. Comer scored 8 and 7 points respectively. For MA, Ollie Bear tallied 11 points and William Norrell had 9 points. MA is 6-11 for the season.
Evangel Christian easily defeated Chambers Academy Friday night 55-28. Chester Pruitt scored 10 points to lead Evangel to the area win over Chambers. Aaron Alpert had 10 points. The Lions are 17-4.
Updated at 11:49 am on January 10, 2018
Montgomery Academy slipped past Montevallo 42-40 Tuesday for an area win. Trey Lindsey led the Eagles with 13 points. Ollie Bear had a dozen points and Ollie Lester chipped in 10 points. Nate Meacham had a big night rebounding for the Eagles. MA is 6-10 on the season.
Prattville Christian clobbered Southside Selma 75-36 Tuesday. Ben Segars led the Panthers with 18 points and PCA improved to 15-3. BJ Comer added 17 points and 7 assists and Cooper Meadows also scored 17 points. Elijah Jones had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Trinity secured its second win of the season against Tallassee on Tuesday 57-51. The ‘Cats won in a way they have rarely or ever done in the 24 years that Coach Jack Schweers has guided them-they won from the free throw line. Very few Wildcat teams during that span would be called good free throw shooting teams, but Trinity was 29 for 38 from the charity stripe, but even more amazingly, they were 17 for 20 in the fourth quarter when the outcome was on the line. From the line Jack Yohn was 6-6, Charlie Lott 8-10 and Grant Sanderson was 9-11. Yohn lead the Cats with 16, Lott and Sanderson had 14 each. The Wildcats go to 8-3 on the season.
Catholic whipped Wetumpka Tuesday 50-37. B.J
. Barker led the Knights with 22 points. Garrett Cook scored 11 points and Charlie Ryan had 10 rebounds. Catholic is now 14-4 on the season.
In a rematch of last year’s AISA Class A state championship game, the Evangel Christian Academy (ECA) defeated East Memorial Christian Academy (EMCA) 66-60. Chester Pruitt
scored a game high 19 points with 8 assists and 5 rebounds for ECA. Jalen Shine had 15 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds while DeSean Powell chipped in 12 points and 7 rebounds. The Lions are 16-4.
ACA got a big area win Tuesday as the Eagles defeated Elmore County 42-36 omn the road. Colby Rives led 12 with points and Grayson Evans added 11 points.
Southside Selma defeated Prattville Christian 50-24. Jake Bius led the Panthers with 9 points as PCA falls to 5-7 on the season.
Updated at 8:58 am on January 7, 2018
Catholic started fast and held a comfortable margin throughout to defeat MA Saturday afternoon and eased to a 51-39 victory. The Knights dominated the boards and allowed the Eagles only 20 points in the first three periods. B.J. Barker led the Knights
with 16 points. Garrett Cook had 11 points while Charlie Ryan had 10 points and collected 13 rebounds. Joseph Bear led MA with 14 points. Nate Meacham and Trey Lindsey scored 9 and 7 points respectively.
Catholic now stands at 13-4 for the season.
Full report in the January 11, 2017 printed edition of The Montgomery Independent.
Montgomery Academy slipped past ACA in a CCC thriller last Friday night 46-45. MA surrendered an early lead when ACA made a determined comeback in the fourth quarter. Ollie Bear hit a 3-pointer with a minute to play to get MA back to within a point. ACA coughed up the ball and with 18 seconds remaining Trey Lindsey hit a shot from the top of the key to give MA the slightest of victories. Lindsey and Bear scored 11 points each to lead MA, Ollie Lester added 9 points and William Robertson scored 8 points. For ACA senior Grayson Evans tallied 14 points. Reece Solar added 11 points and Jalen Clark contributed 10 points.
Prattville Christian demolished Autaugaville on Friday 54-22 with Cooper Meadows and Elijah Jones leading the Panthers with double doubles. Meadows had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Jones addind 12 points and 10 rebounds, including 3 dunks. Ben Segars led in scoring with 17 as PCA improved to 14-3 on the season. BJ Comer added 7 assists and 7 steals.
Evangel Christian clobbered Eastwood Christian 70-34 Friday. Kory Gaines scored 16 points and seven rebounds and Jalen Shine added 16 points and eight rebounds to lead Evangel for the win over Eastwood. Daryl Stewart had 15 points, four assists and four steals. The Lions improve to 15-4.
Catholic defeated Trinity last Friday night 55-46. B.J. Barker led the Knights with 23 points. D.J. Carter had 13 points and Garrett Cook added 10 points to go along with his 16 rebounds.
Evangel easily defeated Abbeville Christian 68-45 in the Lakeside Tournament. Chester Pruitt had 24 points and five assists for the Lions, who captured third place. DeSean Powell added 11 points and six rebounds and Jaden Gardner chipped in six points and 10 rebounds. Pruitt was selected to the All-Tournament team. The Lions are now 13-4.
Macon-East slipped past Evangel in the semi-final of the Lakeside Tournament. Chester Pruitt scored 13 points for Evangel
Evangel Christian whipped Chambers Academy 64-22 in the Lakeside Tournament. Aaron Alpert scored 10 points to lead the Lions. Ronald Holland and DeSean Powell both chipped in nine points each. The Lions (14-4) will host Eastwood on Friday.
Catholic smashed BTW 58-29. Garrett Cook led the Knights with 15 points and B.J. Barker tallied 11 points. Catholic stands at 11-4 before facing area rival Trinity.
Evangel clobbered Hooper Academy 60-36. Chester Pruitt had 18 points and five assists to help Evangel get the win over Hooper in the first game of the Lakeside Tournament. Kory Gaines added 10 points and six rebounds and Jalen Shine chipped in nine points and six steals.
Autaugaville defeated Prattville Christian 30-21, Tyler Hughes led the Panthers with 9 points and Stillman Davis added 7 points and 5 rebounds as PCA fell to 5-6 on the season.
Updated at 9:31 pm on December 29, 2017
PCA easily defeats Trinity to win CCC title
Prattville Christian Academy (PCA) defeated Trinity 67-48 to win the championship game of the Capital City Classic. The victory was the 12th straight win for the Panthers and they currently stand at 13-3 for the season.
“This was a big win for us. You know, we lost in the championship game the last two years and it left a bad taste in our mouth. Our guys came prepared and they wanted to win really bad,” PCA coach Jason Roberson said. Roberson played for Trinity coach Jack Schweers in high school and was the tournament MVP in 1995.
Elijah Jones led PCA with 16 points. Tournament MVP Cooper Meadows collected 15 points and B.J. Comer scored 12 points.
Trinity was led by Jack Yohn 21 points and Charlie Lott scored 13 points.
Full report to be published in the January 4th printed edition of the Montgomery Independent.
Capital City Classic Final Scores Final
PCA def. Trinity 69-48 to win the Championship
Saint James def. Jackson 52-39
Ellwood def. MA 68-57
Tallassee def. ACA 53-51
Updated at 10:25 am on December 29, 2017
Capital City Classic Final Scores Second Round
Trinity def. Montgomery Academy 64-58
PCA def. Ellwood 48-43
Saint James def. ACA 61-45
Jackson def. Tallassee 53-38
Notes on PCA and Trinity Semi Final victories
The Trinity Wildcats built what looked like insurmountable leads in the first and second halves but Montgomery Academy did not go quietly and the stage was set for another thrilling finish between very old rivals. The Wildcats prevailed 64-58. Trinity senior Jack Yohn poured in 20 points and teammate Chase Lee was not far behind with 19 points, and Charlie Lott, always a pest to opponents, scored 16 points. Grant Sanderson and Parker Hughes iced the game for the ‘Cats with late free throws. Trey Lindsey led the Eagles with 18 points after spending unexpected time on the bench with foul trouble. Ollie Lester had 16 points for the Eagles while William Norrell and Nate Meacham contributed 10 points each.
Prattville Christian got past a stubborn Ellwood Christian squad 48-43 to advance to the championship game. Cooper Meadows led the Panthers with 22 points as PCA improved to 12-3 on the season. The Panthers will play in the CCC Tournament Championship game for the third consecutive year and attempt to avenge their 44-42 overtime lost to Trinity in last year’s tourney. Elijah Jones added 10 points for PAC, Ben Segars had 9 points, and B.J. Comer scored 7 points with 5 assists.
Trinity faces Prattville Christian in the Championship at 5:00. It will be the Cats 15th Championship game appearance, having won 8 of those contests. PCA coach Jason Roberson was the Tournament MVP in 1995 while playing for Trinity coach Jack Schweers.
PCA will face Trinity in the Championship game Friday at 5:00 at Trinity.
Upated at 9:02 pm on December 27, 2017
Capital City Classic
Final Scores Round One
Ellwood Christian def. Jackson 64-61
Prattville Christian def. Tallassee 74-34
Trinity def. ACA 70-44
Montgomery Academy def. Saint James 53-44
Notes – Boys
Prattville Christian 74, Tallassee 34
B.J. Comer led the Panthers with 20 points as PCA improves to 11-3 on the season. Cooper Meadows added 17 points and Ben Segars scored 16 points.
MA 53, Saint James 44
Trey Lindsey had a dominating performance and scored 20 points to lead the Eagles. Travis Thompson was successful five times behind the arc and poured in 15 for MA. Ollie Lester added 7 points for the Eagles. Damien Madison led the Trojans with 18 points and Andrew Sadie added 9 points.
Updated at 9:26 pm on December 22, 2017
Catholic whipped Autaugaville 50-22 in the Larry Chapman Tournament Friday. The Knights outscored Autaugaville 20-3 in the third quarter. D. J. Carter led the Knights with 15 points as Catholic improved to 9-2.
Updated at 8:59 pm on December 21, 2017
Catholic defeated Ellwood Christian in the Larry Chapman Tournament 51-44 Thurs
day night after trailing 26-21 at halftime. The Knights held Ellwood to only 3 points in the third quarter. “We came out slow and were not putting
forth the effort we need. I told the guys at halftime to quit playing around and get the job done,”
Catholic coach Robb McGaughey said. “They came out and did what they were supposed to do.” Catholic was out rebounded significantly in the first half but controlled the boards in the second half.
Garrett Cook led the Knights with another splendid performance pouring in 21 points and collected a dozen rebounds. D.J. Carter tallied 14 points. Charlie Ryan scored 7 points and had 9 rebounds. Justin Buford led Ellwood Christian with 19 points.
Catholic now stands at 8-2.
An additional report in the December 28, 2017 edition of The Montgomery Independent
Montgomery Academy defeated Autaugaville in the Larry Chapman Tournament 47-32. William Norrell 21 points with a trio of 3-pointers.
Trey Lindsey had 18 points with 4 3-pointers. William Robertson and Nate Meacham had 8 rebounds each. The Eagles improve to 3-6. Keon Steele led Autaugaville with 13 points.
An additional report in the December 28, 2017 edition of The Montgomery Independent
ACA dropped the Championship game of the Buffalo Wild Wings Challenge to Appalachian 51-50. Ford Hilyer paced ACA with points. ACA is now 2-10 for the season. Prior to the Appalachian game ACA defeated Winston County 65-28. Hilyer led ACA with 19 points. Braxton Alford and Jalen Clark had 11 points each.
Updated at 8:32 pm on December 20, 2017
MA defeated Brookwood 40-28 on Wednesday to improve to 2-6 for the season. Senior Ollie Lester led the Eagles with 15 points and William Robertson added 10 points. Trey Lindsey collected 9 assists. The Eagles hit of 8-11 free throws.
Catholic got past Greenville in a hard fought game Wednesday 55-52 in overtime. Garrett Cook put in an extraordinary effort with 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Knights while B.J. Barker poured in 16 points. The Knights are now 7-2 for the season.
Updated at 9:56 am on December 20, 2017
LAMP bounced back from an area loss and defeated ACA last Monday 67-57. Micah Boone led LAMP with 22 points and Quinn Sloane added 19 points. Winless ACA was led by Grayson Evans with 24 points and Reece Solar with 13 points.
PCA whipped MA 56-43 last week with B.J. Comer leading the Panthers with 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals as PCA improved to 9-3 on the season and 1-0 in area play. Elijah Jones added 14 points and 13 rebounds and Cooper Meadows scored 12 points. For Montgomery academy William Norrell had 10 points, Nate Meacham and Trey Lindsey had 8 points each. Ollie Lester scored 7 points and Oliver Bear had 6 points.
MA defeated Altamont for its first win of the season 41-40 in overtime. Trey Lindsey led the Eagles 14 points and hot the game winner in overtime from 3-poimnt range. Nate Meacham added 11 points and Ollie Bear added in 10 points.
Prattville Christian clobbered Autaugaville 78-52 Tuesday night with Cooper Meadows leading the Panthers with 31 points, 12 rebounds, including 3 dunks on the night. Elijah Jones added 17 points and 13 rebounds. Ben Segars added 12 points and BJ Comer had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4 assists as PCA improves to 10-3 on the season.
PCA slipped by MA 36-32 last week. Caleb Florea and Tyler Hughes led the Panthers with 9 points each. Stillman Davis and Jackson Holley added 8 points each and Davis also grabbed 11 rebounds. PCA improved to 4-4 on the season. Britton Kohn led the Eagles with 11 points, 5 steals and 6 assists. Jack Cleary notched 7 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. MA stands at 2-3.
PCA defeated Autaugaville 25-13 Tuesday night with Jacob Comer leading the Panthers with 10 points and 6 steals. Stillman Davis added 4 points and 8 rebounds as PCA improved to 5-4 on the season
Updated at 11:44 on December 16, 2017
Catholic easily defeated BTW Magnet Friday night 61-28 with the outcome never in doubt. D.J. Carter and B.J. Barker led the attack for the Knights with 13 points and Garrett Cook added 12 points. Catholic took a 22-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
After a 40-20 halftime lead the Knights prohibited BTW from scoring in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter. Many of Catholic’s younger players played quite a few minutes in the fourth quarter. “I like the way we came out quick tonight and played aggressively. We got a big lead and maintained it throughout,” Catholic coach Robb McGaughey said. The Knights are now at 5-2 for the season.
Trinity defeated LAMP 69-52 in an early season showdown between two Top 20 Area rivals Friday night. The Wildcats defense was chilling to LAMP’s offense as and the Wildcats pressure held LAMP to just 3 field goals in the game’s first 10 minutes, allowing the Cats to build an 18-6 lead that established their control for the rest of the game. Trinity lead 29-18 at the half but really exploded late in the third quarter when they built a 61-35 lead that carried into the 4th quarter. The Tigers were able to close that spread in a battle of reserves.
Trinity Coach Jack Schweers said “I think the first half was our best stretch of defense this year. We turned the ball over too much, which is what got us in trouble in our only loss. Luke Hufham had his sixth Double-Double in six games this year, this time getting 19 and 12. Jack Yohn also had a Double-Double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Chase Lee contributed 11 points. Jeffrey Owens ended up with 14 points to lead LAMP. Trinity is 5-1 going into the Christmas break. The Wildcats will host the 23rd Annual CCC Christmas Tournament, starting Wednesday, December 27th.
Trinity is the Defending Champions, The Wildcats have won the Tournament 8 times
Evangel Christian pummeled Morgan Academy 64-38 Friday night. Daryl Stewart scored 12 points to lead Evangel to the win over Morgan. Chester Pruitt added 11 points and Solomon Ayeni finished with nine points. The Lions (10-2) will play Success Unlimited next Saturday in the Larry Chapman tournament at AUM.
Prattville Christian whipped Prattville 75-65 Friday night. BJ Comer led the Panthers with 27 points and 11 rebounds and also had 5 steals. Cooper Meadows added 13 points and 16 rebounds and Ben Segars scored 16 points as PCA improved to 7-3 on the season.
Updated at 9:26 on December 10, 2017
Catholic defeated Montgomery Academy 58-45 and hit ten (10) 3-point shots in the game with all but one of those coming in the first half, which led to the Knights large 34-18 lead at intermission. The Eagles came back and outscored the Knights in the third period drawing much closer, but it wasn’t enough and Catholic notched another victory. MA was led by Trey Lindsey and Ollie Bear with 15 points each. For Catholic, freshman Jalen Thomas led with 14 points and B.J. Barker tallied a dozen points. D.J. Carter and Garrett Cook scored 10 points each. Catholic improved to 4-2 with the win.
Prattville Christian got past Ellwood Christian 57-50 Saturday. B.J. Comer led PCA with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Cooper Meadows added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Segars added 13 points. Elijah Jones grabbed 11 rebounds as PCA improved to 6-3 on the season.
Updated at 10:41 am on December 6, 2017
The Trinity Wildcats were unforgiving in a 53 point devastation of a young and inexperienced BTW squad, 73-20 Tuesday night. The Cats got out to a 42-10 halftime lead as high rising senior Luke Hufham scored 19 of his game high 23 points in the 1st half alone. Charlie Lott provided the outside shooting and contributed 19. Jack Yohn had his usual workmanlike performance as he scored 12 points and chipped in with another solid defensive effort. Grant Sanderson was a welcome return from the flu. Unfortunately, sophomore Will Aaron was lost for the season with a freak fractured leg suffered Friday night. The good news was senior Thomas Helms was impressive in his first meaningful minutes after recovering from ACL surgery. Trinity goes to 4-1, 1-0 in the Area. It was BTW’s first game of the year. Trinity will host 1A powerhouse Ellwood Christian of Selma on Friday night.
Dadeville defeated Alabama Christian Tuesday night 75-55. For ACA Jalen Clark led with 15 points and Grayson Evans also tallied 15 points.
Prattville Christian walloped Wetumpka 60-40 Tuesday night. Elijah Jones led the Panthers with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Ben Segars added 15 points and BJ Comer scored 13 points as PCA improves to 5-3 on the season.
Prattville defeated MA 58-46 Tuesday night. The Lions improved their record to 4-4. Quan Johnson led Prattville with 16 points and Jaylen McCary chipped in 14 to lead the Lions. Trey Lindsey scored 19 points and Nate Meacham added 13 points to lead the Eagles in scoring. MA drops to 0-3 on the season.
Catholic slipped past LAMP Tuesday night 58-50. BJ Barker 19 points. Garrett Cook 19 points 14 rebounds. The Knights are 3-2 on season.
Updated at 12:42 on December 1, 2017
Prattville Christian got past Trinity in a thriller Friday night 60-59. Michael McCarty led the Panthers with 19 points and 6 steals while Ben Segars added 18 points. PCA improved to 4-3 on the season.
Montgomery Catholic whipped ACA 48-39 Friday night. B.J. Barker led the Knights with 16 points and Landon Pritchett added 10 points.
Montgomery Academy slipped past LAMP in JV Boys hoops Thursday night at MA 35-34. Jack Cleary made a layup with 6 seconds remaining to give the Eagles the lead. Jennings Lawson had 13 points and Cleary had 6 points.
Trinity defeated PCA 53-26 Friday night. Stillman Davis led the Panthers with 12 points as PCA falls to 1-2 on the season.
Updated at 9:54 pm on November 30, 2017
LAMP survived an early battle with Montgomery Academy and went on to win 78-64 Thursday night. Jeffrey Owens led LA
MP with 28 points. Quinn Sloan added 22 points and Micah Boone tallied 12 points in the victory. LAMP was impressive at the charity stripe sinking 20 of 24 free throws. MA was led by Ollie Lester with 19 points followed by Trey Lindsey with 16 points, William Norrell added another dozen for the Eagles. LAMP is now 6-1 for the season and MA is 0-1.
Evangel Christian easily disposed of Edgewood Academy Thursday night 61-34. Kory Gaines scored 19 points and gather 10 rebounds to lead Evangel. Daryl Stewart added 17 points, 6 steals and 4 assists. Chester Pruitt chipped in 13 points, 7 steals and 7 assists. The Lions are 8-1 on the season .
Updated at 8:38 am on November 29, 2017
Evangel Christian walloped Crenshaw Christian Tuesday night 70-32 in AISA Class A action. Daryl Stewart and Jalen Shine each scored 11 points to lead Evangel to the win over Crenshaw. Joseph Love added 10 points. Preston Owens finished with 14 points for the Cougars. The Lions are now 7-1 and will host Edgewood on Thursday.
Prattville Christian easily defeated Alabama Christian 73-58 Tuesday night. Elijah Jones led the Panthers with 15 points and 26 rebounds. BJ Comer and Ben Segars each added 18 points and Cooper Meadows had 13 points as PCA improves to 3-3 on the season. For Alabama Christian Ford Hilyer led the Eagles with 26 points, Colby Rives added 11 points and Jalen Clark tallied 10 points.
Updated at 2:42 pm on November 28, 2017
Evangel Christian defeated Autauga Academy 48-41 Monday night. Chester Pruitt and Daryl Stewart both scored 12 points to lead the Lions over the Generals. Ethan Johnson added 11 points. The Lions (6-1) will host Crenshaw Christian next.
Updated at 11:39 am on November 22, 2017
Bullock County overcame a one point halftime deficit to defeat Montgomery Catholic 60-50 and take the
championship of the Knights of Columbus Tournament. Keeson Boarders led Bullock with 15 points and Kavaris Shelly added 11 more points. Catholic, missing quite a few players due to a prolonged football season, was paced by B.J. Barker with 18 points. Garrett Cook scored 13 and Landon Pritchett added another 7 points. The Knights now stand at 1-1 for the season.
“I liked the effort by our guys tonight, we just came up a little short. We are playing a lot of younger players due to football season but they are getting valuable experience at the varsity level. In the next couple of days we will have six players join us that haven’t practiced because of football. That’s when we will start to put things together,” Catholic coach Rob McGaughey.
Prattville Christian Academy (PCA) defeated Dallas County 67-46 in the final round of the Capstone Classic at Shelton State. Ben Segars led the Panthers with 24 points. which he scored all in the second half as PCA improved to 2-3 on the season. Cooper Meadows added 17 points, BJ Comer had 13 points, and Elijah Jones scored 11 points. PCA will travel to Alabama Christian (ACA) on Tuesday.
Updated at 4:55 am on November 22, 2017
PCA went down to defeat for the second time in the Capstone Classic at Shelton State Community College. Hillcrest of Tuscaloosa bested the Panthers 70-63. Ben Segars led the Panthers with 27 points. Cooper Meadows added 14 points and B.J. Comer had 13 points as PCA falls to 1-3 on the season.
Catholic whipped Marbury 68-52 in the opening round of The Knights of Columbus Tournament at Montgomery Catholic High School on Monday. B.J. Barker led the Knights with 27 points and a half dozen assists. Garrett Cook poured in 18 points and collected 15 rebounds. Catholic (1-0) will face Bullock County in the tournament championship round Tuesday afternoon.
Prattville Christian (PCA) embarrassed Westminster-Oak Mountain 67-23 to earn its first win of the season. Cooper Meadows led the Panthers with 24 points. B.J. Comer added 10 points and Ben Segars grabbed 10 rebounds. PCA will play next in the Capstone Classic at Shelton State in Tuscaloosa.
Updated at 12:44 pm on November 16, 2017
Trinity opens season with consecutive victories
The first 8 minutes of the Trinity Wildcats’ 2017-2018 season had the Cats looking a lot like the Golden State Warriors, as they scored 28 points in the first quarter and eventually won 61-55. The game got off to an explosive start as Luke Hufham had a thunderous dunk on the first possession and Jack Yohn, Charlie Lott and Walt Johnston followed with 3 pointers. Trinity lead 28-13 after one quarter and would push that margin to 20 before Tallassee, behind senior guard Travon Skipper, would settle down and find a solution to dealing with Trinitys full court pressure. Skipper scored 15 of his game high 17 points through the 3rd quarter, allowing Tallassee to climb all the way back, cutting Trinity’s lead to 48-45 going into the fourth quarter. The Cats then went back to work, extending their lead to 56-45 where they would hold the visitors at bay until the final horn, and a 61-55 win. Junior guard Charlie Lott lead Trinity with 17 points, followed by Luke Hufham with 15, Jack Yohn With 12 and Grant Sanderson with 11.
Chase Lee scored a career high 29 points on five 3’s and 6-6 from the free throw line to lead the Trinity Wildcats to a satisfying 62-52 road win over Prattville Christian. The senior point guard confidently knocked down outside shots when PCA sagged to contain Trinity’s inside players Luke Hufham and Jack Yohn. The win in PCA’s gym may have been Trinity’s first there. No one could remember them having won there previously. Leaping Luke Hufham, the senior high riser had 18 points and 15 rebounds and Charlie Lott chipped in with 10. Michael Mc Carty led PCA with 14 points and Elijah Jones added 11. Trinity(2-0) will travel to Birmingham on Friday to play Altamont. PCA will host Westminster-Oak Mountain on Friday.
Evangel Christian 56, Springwood 31
Chester Pruitt scored 10 points to lead Evangel (3-0) in the season opener over Springwood. Kory Gaines and Jaden Gardner each chipped in eight points. Gus Davidson had 13 points for the Wildcats. The Lions will host Macon-East on Thursday, November 16.
DOTHAN – Even after dominating Thomasville for the better part of 32 minutes, even after storming the court in a wild celebration, even after getting a bear hug from teammate Ashley White, St. James senior Micala Fisanick couldn’t believe her team had earned a trip to the state tournament.
“I was looking forward to a moment like this ever since I was not even thought of,” she said. “I was sitting down by some of my teammates and I was like, I can’t believe this is happening.
“It is unbelievable, to work so hard. To see it actually play out in front of our eyes is incredible.”
St. James earned its first-ever trip to the state tournament in Birmingham with a 36-26 win over Thomasville in the South Regional finals on Wednesday morning in the Dothan Civic Center. To say the win was a gritty, hard-fought defensive struggle would be putting it mildly. The two teams battled for the first half of both the first and third quarters without scoring a point, struggling to find any offensive rhythm for most of the morning.
“I think the first part of the first quarter, we were so tight,” St. James coach Katie Barton said. “We were driving in there and banking it off the backboard. We were really tight. They just needed to relax and settle down.”
The Trojans looked bad in the first quarter, missing their first five shots from the field and adding a pair of turnovers before Mallory Taylor finally made a move on the baseline for a layup and the first points of the game with 4:14 left in the quarter. As bad as St. James had looked, Thomasville was far worse, making just one field goal in 12 first-quarter shots while committing four turnovers. Yet the Tigers trailed just 6-2 entering the second quarter.
St. James rolled out to a 23-9 halftime lead, then went nearly five minutes in the third quarter without a point, allowing Thomasville to stay within striking distance with a 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. After a quick basket by Fisanick, the Trojans would go 5:07 without a point, allowing the Tigers to pull within four.
“We got a little bit in panic mode there and we were a little careless with the ball,” Barton said. “We had about five or six turnovers in the third quarter there that we probably shouldn’t have had, so we just had to settle down and go back to running St. James’ stuff and focusing more on us and taking care of the ball.”
Barton called a timeout with 2:45 left after St. James had missed seven consecutive shots.
“I think that we started to get panicked,” White said. “I think they got in our heads a little bit but once Coach took the timeout and she talked to us a little bit that’s when we got relaxed … and got in the flow of things and finished out with the win.”
Coming out of the timeout, Fisanick threw a pass to Annie Skoneki who threw the ball back to Fisanick as she raced down the lane for an easy layup to put the Trojans back in control.
“Annie made a great read,” Barton said. “She saw (Fisanick) was open. Micala made a great cut and she finished. We told them we only wanted layups or short jumpers in the paint and right out of the get-go, Annie found her.”
Taylor added a pair of free throws for a comfortable cushion as the Tigers missed their last seven shots from the field, shooting just 24.4 percent (7 of 24) for the game.
“Sometimes, we’ve just got to slow down a little bit,” said Fisanick, who had 21 points in the win to earn most valuable player honors in the regional. “For a short amount of time, we were kind of playing their game instead of ours. We just had to switch back to our game.”
The win put St. James (25-6) in the state tournament for the first time in its current format that started in 1994. The Trojans lost in the 1A semifinals to Red Level in 1984, in the 2A semifinals to Mars Hill Bible in 1989 and in the 2A finals to Mars Hill Bible in 1990 when the top eight girls teams qualified for the state tournament at Calhoun Community College.
“I just think it’s a good stepping stone,” Barton said. “Tradition is big and these girls have had a lot of great players that came before them and now they’re leaving their mark on the program and that’s a huge thing for them.”
It also marks the first trip to the state tournament for Barton, the school’s winningest coach who started coaching at the school in 2001-02.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “This is actually my first time as a coach going to the Final Four. These girls have worked hard from the beginning of the season and really invested in each other and sacrificed a lot so it just feels amazing to watch their hard work pay off.”
St. James will face Deshler (32-1) on Tuesday in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex at 3 p.m. The Tigers qualified for Birmingham with a 78-56 win over Danville for their 21 st consecutive win. Deshler’s only loss was to LeFlore, who qualified for the 6A state tournament on Tuesday with a 63-40 rout of Blount.
Joining Fisanick on the all-tournament team was White, along with the Thomasville trio of Alexandria Newberry, Mariah Williams and Tiyanna Blanks, Antania Hayes of Monroe County, Jaya Stewart of Monroe County and Virginia Dukes of UMS-Wright.
Updated at 1:46 pm on February 20, 2018
In a rematch of last year’s State Title game, The Ezekiel Academy Varsity Lady Knights basketball team claimed their first ever State Championship by defeating the Evangel Lightning in a hard fought one point thriller by a final score of 38-37. The Knights claimed their title at the Alabama Christian School Conference which was held at Samford University this past weekend.
-Special to The Indy
Updated at 9:19 am on February 14, 2018
Saint James girls smash Escambia, head to Dothan
By TIM GAYLE
The St. James girls didn’t hear too much about Escambia County before Tuesday night’s matchup but they heard all about Kelly Joyner.
The former standout was a member of the last team from St. James that reached the South Region semifinals in 2013 before losing to UMS-Wright. Meanwhile, the players knew little or nothing about their sub-regional opponent, Escambia County.
“We had no idea,” St. James senior Micala Fisanick said. “She would not let us watch any film. She told us very little about that team. People at school were asking me what I think. We had no idea, so we came out and in that first half we played as hard as we possibly could and got the outcome we wanted.”
The Trojans owned a 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 36-11 lead at the half on the way to an easy 57-18 sub-regional victory over the Lady Blue Devils in the St. James gym on Tuesday night.
“I watched some game film on them but once you get to this point, you just look at it like everybody’s good,” St. James coach Katie Barton said. “We came out and our pressure kind of hurt them early and I think that helped us. We executed early. I thought later in the game we kind of relaxed.”
The starters left the floor late in the third quarter with a 45-13 lead, content that the speeches about Joyner would now be replaced by a new chapter.
“It just means so much,” Fisanick said. “I was thinking just before the game, ‘I am not ready for this to end.’ This team is so awesome and we’re so close. It means the world that we get to keep going forward.”
The Trojans (23-6) will face UMS-Wright (14-13) in the South Regional semifinal at the Dothan Civic Center on Saturday at noon. The winner will advance to the regional final next Wednesday at 9 a.m.
“I’m excited,” Barton said. “It’s been five years since we’ve been to the regional tournament. My girls are tired of me talking about Kelly Joyner, but it was her senior year. I just told them the last time we went we had the first-round matchup with UMS-Wright. We’re going back five years later. It’s been a little bit too long, so we’re just happy to be back in the regional tournament.”
Ashley White led St. James with 15 points, followed by Seanna Brooks with 12 and Fisanick and Annie Skoneki with nine points each. Canna Betts had nine points to lead Escambia County.
Five years ago, UMS-Wright pulled away for a 47-35 win. On Saturday, the Trojans hope to write a new chapter to the rivalry.
“She was telling us how we’re going to play UMS-Wright, who they lost to,” Fisanick said. “So I’m pretty excited to get another chance at them
Saint James girls whip Catholic, take area title
By TIM GAYLE
The two teams were locked in a tight defensive battle for all of the first quarter and the first couple of minutes in the second quarter.
When Catholic point guard Aleigha Walden went to the bench with her third personal foul, however, all the momentum shifted to St. James.
The Trojans scored the last 12 points of the first half, then cruised to a 42-30 victory over Catholic in the Class 4A Area 4 tournament championship game at St. James on Friday evening.
It was the first area tournament championship for St. James (22-6) since 2008, which gives the Trojans the home court advantage on Monday in the sub-regional round against Escambia County at 7 p.m.
“It’s nice to have one more home game,” St. James coach Katie Barton said. “The last couple of times we’ve gone to sub-regionals, we’ve been on the road and it’s an hour and a half, two-hour drive. It’s nice to be playing in our gym.”
The last time St. James hosted a sub-regional game (2008), the Trojans defeated Alabama Christian. Since then, the sub-regional round has not been kind to St. James. After winning at ACA in 2009, the Trojans lost at Livingston in 2010, at Andalusia in 2012, at Charles Henderson in 2014 and at Straughn in 2016. Their only win outside of Montgomery in that 11-year span came in 2013 at Charles Henderson, earning St. James its last berth in the regionals.
Catholic (15-11) will be on the road at Monroeville against Monroe County on Monday at 7 p.m. The Knights were at home last year, beating Ashford 62-36 to advance to the regionals in Dothan, where they defeated Monroe County 47-33.
“St. James came out determined and just outplayed us tonight,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said. “We’ve got to want it more than the team we play and we’ve got to make it happen.”
St. James held a slim lead (14-13) entering the second quarter but with 5:32 remaining in the first half, Walden picked up her third personal foul and went to the bench. The Knights didn’t score again until Walden returned to the floor and hit a 3-pointer with 7:29 left in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 10 points.
“We’ve got to keep her out of foul trouble,” Clark said. “We’ve got to play smarter and learn from it and stay on the floor. Obviously, it changes the entire chemistry of our team.”
Without Walden on the floor, Catholic’s offense struggled to find any continuity and maintain possession of the ball against the St. James defense.
“We talked about, beforehand, that any time Aleigha was out of the ballgame I was going to pressure (Catholic),” Barton said. “That’s what we decided to do this game was put some pressure on some of her other players early. Aleigha’s the leader of that team and runs the offense and she does a great job with that.
“When she ended up picking up that third foul in the first half, that’s what we did and I thought it was a game changer.”
That translated to the other end of the floor as well, with Micala Fisanick hitting a 3-pointer, assisting on another basket, then converting a three-point play with a free throw as part of a 12-0 run to take a 27-16 lead into the locker room at the half.
“Aleigha does a great job helping off on defense and closing gaps,” Barton said. “With her out of the game, the other girls played hard but they’re just a little less experienced. We feed off of our defense a lot, so when our defensive intensity went up, I feel like that’s one of the reasons Micala’s offensive intensity turned up.”
Fisanick was the tournament’s most valuable player and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Ashley White and Annie Skoneki, the Catholic duo of Walden and Jessie Clark, Trinity’s Madison Johnston, LAMP’s Aariel Johnson and BTW-Magnet’s Alysia Rogers.
Updated at 12:08 pm on February 9, 2018
Saint James continues to roll
By TIM GAYLE
St. James had four players in double figures and another (Morgan Parrish) with eight as the Trojans rolled into the area tournament championship with an easy 62-24 rout of BTW-Magnet on Wednesday night.
Annie Skoneki led the Trojans with 14 points. Micala Fisanick, Ashley White and Mallie Taylor all followed with 11 points each.
“My girls came out and played hard,” Barton said. “It was good having two days of practice (leading up to the tournament). We don’t get that often, so it’s nice to get in two days of practice and they were focused and played with a lot of energy. I just liked the overall effort.”
St. James (21-6) will face Catholic for the area tournament championship in the St. James gym on Friday at 5:30 p.m., but Wednesday’s win assured the Trojans of a berth in the state playoffs. The winner of the St. James-Catholic game will face the loser of the Monroe County-Escambia County game at home in a sub-regional game on Monday at 7 p.m., while the Catholic-St. James loser will travel to play the winner. Christiana Hannon had 11 points to lead BTW-Magnet.
Catholic wins easily
By TIM GAYLE
Jessie Clark picked up the offense with scoring both on the perimeter and in the paint and the Catholic defense held Trinity in check in a 44-22 win in the Area 4 tournament at St. James on Wednesday night.
Clark finished with a game-high 17 points, followed by Aleigha Walden with 13.
“The last time we played them, they played a great game and they hit the shots they had to hit, but I didn’t feel like we were very intense on defense,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said. “So we worked really hard on trying to step up the intensity, getting up in their face a little more and not letting them have open looks. And controlling the boards.”
Madison Johnston had seven to lead Trinity. Madison McKelvey, the team’s leading scorer, managed just six.
“We had played them very well the other times we had played them, but I also knew we had shot the ball well those other times,” Trinity coach Blake Smith said. “I was afraid the law of averages might catch up. And they did a better job of not letting us get it in the paint on the post feeds.”
Catholic (18-10) will face St. James for the area tournament championship on Friday at 5:30 p.m., but Wednesday’s win assured the Knights of a return to the state playoffs. The winner of the St. James-Catholic game will face the loser of the Monroe County-Escambia County game at home in a sub-regional game on Monday at 7 p.m., while the Catholic-St. James loser will travel to play the winner.
For Trinity, the disappointing loss meant the end of the 2017-18 season for the Wildcats, but Smith was pleased with his team’s improvement this season.
“We had the seniors on the floor at the end and Maddie Johnston stole a pass with four seconds left,” he said. “That’s a senior, down by 22 or whatever, competing until the end. We don’t know how the story is going to unfold. It’s our job to work hard and love well. Handle however that story ends. Obviously, we believe God is writing that story. He placed us in a position tonight that this is where we are. You handle it with love, with dignity, caring for each other and continuing to work hard until the end.
“What I hate (this season) is the ending. We’ve played a lot better the last month of the season. (Catholic) did some things differently, there’s no question, they played well. But I just hate it to end like that. As a program, we had some good younger players who liked to compete, so we’re excited about that.”
Updated at 5:46 am on February 8, 2018
Catholic defeated Trinity
The Knights whipped the Wildcats in the area tournament played Wednesday night at Saint James 44-22. Catholic was led by Jessie Clark with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Aleigha Walden had 13 points and 5 steals. Trinity was led by Madison McElvey with 6 points.
Updated at 10:43 am on February 7, 2018
MA whips PCA, will play for area championship
By ART PARKER
MA advanced to the area championship game with a 44-19 victory over PCA played at Montevallo High School. MA played without senior center Caroline Kirkham and Head Coach Barry Fencher both at home with the flu. JV coach Erica Henderson stepped in while Fencher was absent. Gabby Rameriz broke her scoring slump by leading the Eagles with 14 and Margaret Head followed with 13 points. Kaitlyn Reyes scored 9 points and Mary Grace Story added 8 points as PCA ends the season with a record of 20-7. Montgomery Academy, now 22-3, will defend its area title against rival Montevallo in the championship game. One of the Eagles defeats this season came at the hands of Montevallo.
Autauga Girls win state
By TIM GAYLE
Autauga Academy’s fourth-quarter stat sheet was an offensive nightmare: 0 for 5 shooting from the field, 0 for 5 shooting from the free-throw line, three turnovers.
Emily Smith’s jumper with 30 seconds left had given Wilcox Academy a one-point lead and now Anna Leigh McGraw was at the line for a one-and-one, hoping to add to the lead with 7.3 seconds left.
“I was trying to keep as much faith in myself and my team as I could,” Autauga junior guard Tay Washington said. “I was scared a lot, so I held back a lot.”
McGraw missed the free throw and the Lady Generals raced the length of the court, getting Washington the ball for a six-foot baseline jumper to beat the buzzer and give Autauga a 28-27 victory and their first state title in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon.
“I was out of timeouts but we have our fastbreaks we run, so I told them we have to get it and go,” Autauga coach Greg Parker said. “I knew they were going to double Katie (White) because she made the play on Friday and she saw Tay. Tay’s a playmaker. She does it every day in practice. I’m in awe of some of the things she does.”
It wasn’t her best performance on Monday. She made back-to-back baskets midway through the third quarter to put her team in front by four, but those were her only field goals in seven attempts before the final shot. In addition, she had four turnovers and missed all four attempts at the free-throw line, including one-and-ones in the final minute. Yet, with the game on the line, her drive down the baseline and floater for the win wiped out all of the earlier misses.
“It just happened that I had it,” she said. “He just told us to get it and go and I just got the ball and got it and went. It feels amazing (to win a state championship). It’s a blessing.”
Amazing because Autauga (20-4) won a state title with little tradition in girls’ basketball and no outstanding stars. Both wins in the Final Four came on last-second shots for their only made field goal in the fourth quarter.
“Tay did it today, Katie White did it Friday,” Parker said. “They just want to win. I don’t have enough to say about them. Tay stepped up today, Katie stepped up Friday, Kasey Hafley stepped up in the Elite Eight game.”
Hafley led Autauga with 14 points, while Ashley May had 11 for Wilcox, followed by Smith with 10.
Updated at 6:22 pm on February 4, 2018
By TIM GAYLE
Patrician Academy 54, Southern Academy 39
Mae Ethridge led a balanced attack with 19 points to lead a strong second-half surge that gave Patrician Academy the AISA Class A state girls basketball championship with a 54-39 win over Southern in the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Saturday afternoon. Ethridge was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Kennedy Lewis added 13 points and Abby McPhearson had 12 as the Lady Saints trailed by five points at the end of the first quarter and one point at halftime before scoring 31 points in the final 16 minutes to take home the title.
Augusta Arnold scored 22 points for Southern, giving her 74 points in three state tournament games. Amelia Harrison added 11.
Tuscaloosa Academy 42, Fort Dale Academy 28
Kelsey Curry found a little time to play offense as well.
Given the unenviable task of guarding 6-foot-4 center Lucy Bates on defense, Curry’s shooting touch was just as valuable as Tuscaloosa Academy’s leading scorer helped the Knights advance to the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA finals with a 42-28 win over Fort Dale Academy in the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Saturday morning.
Tuscaloosa Academy (23-2) will face Glenwood School (23-6) for the AAA state title on Monday at 5 p.m. The Gators are the only team from Alabama to defeat TA this season, handing the Knights a 50-27 loss a week earlier on the same floor in the region tournament championship.
“We’re so excited,” Curry said. “We got beat in this game last year and I think that’s kind of been in our heads for the last year. We just wanted to get back there. We know that we’re capable of it. We have something special.”
Curry went 6 of 13 from the floor to finish with 20 points, two rebounds, three steals, three assists and three blocked shots, but two factors lifted TA to victory: a decisive (20-10) edge in creating turnovers and the 5-foot-10 Curry’s defense on Bates, who had nine rebounds and three blocked shots but was just 2 of 8 from the field.
“Kelsey had a tough task guarding her,” TA coach John David Smelser said. “We wanted to push her up the lane a little bit and make her take tough shots and I thought for the most part Kelsey was able to do that. She did an outstanding job guarding her. She’s four inches shorter, five inches shorter. It takes a lot of grit and effort to guard somebody like that and I thought Kelsey played exceptional.”
Curry, meanwhile, was quick to point out the team effort on defense.
“I’m just really proud of the way we played,” she said. “We played really hard. I think Coach said it was one of our best games defensively all year and that’s what it was going to take. Everyone was always coming backside to help if they were going to lob it over me, so it wasn’t just me.”
Anna Blake Langford had 11 points for Fort Dale (17-7), which trimmed an 11-2 deficit to four points early in the second quarter but had trouble handling the ball at times against the TA defense, having five or more turnovers in three of the four quarters.
Glenwood School 42, Lee-Scott Academy 35
Morgan Grant had 20 points and Quan Holton added 11 as the Lady Gators raced out to an early lead and maintained it throughout for a 42-35 victory over area rival Lee-Scott on Saturday afternoon at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
Glenwood (23-6) will face Tuscaloosa Academy (23-2) for the second time in nine days after knocking off the Knights in the region tournament championship game. This time, the stakes are higher as the two will meet for the AAA state championship on Monday at 5 p.m.
Kenedi Cleveland led Lee-Scott with 12 points.
Updated at 11:36 pm on February 2, 2018
MA girls rally late to beat Wildcats
By ART PARKER
Montgomery Academy overcame a sluggish start and poor offensive play in the first half to eventually slip past Trinity 26-24 Friday night. Both teams played good defensively in the first three quarters that ended with Trinity holding a 19-16
lead. The Eagles refused to quit and eventually took the lead when Margaret Head gathered in a rebound and hit a layup with less than five minutes remaining. MA coach Barry Fencher said it was good to see his team come back after such a sluggish opening. “We been trying to teach patience and sometimes we passed up some good shots. But when we needed to come alive the girls came around and closed the game out well.” Fencher said.
Leighton Robertson led MA with 8 points and Caroline Kirkham added 6 points with 7 rebounds. Head contributed 5 points to go with her 10 rebounds, and Millie Stevenson had 4 points. MA now stands at 21-3 heading into the area tournament.
Trinity was led by Madison McKelvey and Mackenzie Avant with 8 points each. Kenslee Harrison and Madison Johnston had 4 points each. Trinity heads into the area tournament with a 7-10 record.
Catholic 54, ACA 33
Catholic defeated ACA 54-33 at Alabama Christian Friday night. Catholic was led by Aleigha Walden with 26 points and 6 assists. Jessie Clark had 15 points and 15 rebounds while Nona Johnson had 8 points and 12 rebounds. ACA was led by Josie Barlow with 15 points.
Prattville Christian 55, Wetumpka 18
Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals as PCA improved to 19-6 on the season. Mary Grace Story added 10 points and 5 assists and Tori DeMaio had 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals.
By TIM GAYLE
Autauga Academy 34, Pickens Academy 33
There’s more to Pickens Academy than just Olivia Lewis and the Autauga Academy Lady Generals almost found out the hard way. The end justifies the means, however, and the end result was a 34-33 victory over the Pirates in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Friday afternoon.
“I knew if we stopped No. 11 (Lewis), we had a good shot,” Autauga coach Greg Parker said, “because I knew we had guards that could play. We worked on that yesterday (in practice) for about an hour and a half. We knew if we stopped 11, we had a really good shot to win.”
Lewis managed just four points, held to a pair of first-half field goals. “We just knew she was their best player,” said Autauga senior Faith Petrunic, “and we had to make sure she couldn’t get the ball inside.”
Kasey Hafley hit a pair of 3-pointers to stake Autauga to a 6-0 lead as neither team scored in the first five minutes. Pickens scored both of its first-quarter goals in the final 31 seconds, with a 3-pointer by Carolina Lewis and a fastbreak layup by Olivia Lewis trimming the deficit to 6-5 entering the second quarter.
Baskets by Petrunic and Bayley Smith extended Autauga’s lead to five points at the half and the game remained that way for much of the second half. But the Generals were held without a field goal during that fourth-quarter stretch and the scoreless drought along with poor (8 of 23) free-throw shooting allowed Pickens to tie the game with 30 seconds left with a basket by Audrey Fondren, who finished with a game-high 10 points, and take the lead on a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds left by Allison Latham, who scored all seven of her points in the fourth quarter.
“I think we panicked a little bit because we thought they would come out in some zone (defense) and they came out in man,” Parker said. “I think ‘in-your-face’ man kind of flustered us a little bit.”
Autauga’s only fourth-quarter basket came at the buzzer as Hafley grabbed a miss on the drive by Katie White and put it back to force overtime.
“I think we just stressed ourselves out a little and got in our own heads,” Petrunic said.
White had a free throw 26 seconds into the overtime period and Petrunic added two more with 19 seconds left to put the Generals in the state finals. Pickens (14-6) had four turnovers and four missed shots in overtime before Fondren put back a miss just ahead of the buzzer.
Autauga (19-4) will face Wilcox on Monday at noon for the AA state championship.
“These girls have been together for a long time, I’m just driving,” said Parker, the boys’ basketball coach who took on additional duties this season. “This team is relentless, they’re unselfish. They’re the best team I’ve ever coached.”
Wilcox Academy 40, South Choctaw Academy 39
Laken Harvell scored 13 points and Ashley May added a huge 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to help Wilcox Academy advance to the Class AA finals with a 40-39 win over previously unbeaten South Choctaw Academy in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Friday morning.
Wilcox will play Autauga for the AA state championship on Monday at noon. The two teams had met each other twice during the regular season and were tied 23-23 at the half. South Choctaw surged ahead by one point entering the final period, but May – who had a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter – hit a huge perimeter shot to put her team ahead by four in the final moments of the game.
Karley McDaniel had 14 points to lead South Choctaw and Emily Phillips hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first half to finish with nine.
Patrician Academy 68, Abbeville Christian 54
Patrician Academy had a simple goal entering Friday’s semifinal matchup with Abbeville Christian: stop Joiner Hughes.
Abbeville Christian’s leading scorer, who went over the 2,000-point mark a week ago in the regionals, struggled to shake Patrician’s Kennedy Lewis – who was assigned the difficult task of holding her in check – during the early moments of the game but eventually wiggled free to finish with 22 points but by then the Saints had built an 11-point halftime lead that was too much to overcome.
Paisley Sorrells led Patrician with 21 points, followed by Mae Ethridge with 20 and Abby McPhearson with 14. The Saints will play Southern for the Class A state championship on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Southern Academy 57, Sparta Academy 54
Augusta Arnold scored 18 of her 36 points in the fourth quarter to help provide one of the most exciting fourth quarters of the AISA state tournament as Southern edged Sparta 57-54 on Friday night at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
Southern will face Patrician for the Class A state title on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Sparta held a 33-32 edge heading into the final period before the two teams staged an eight-minute shootout, featuring a four-point play from Arnold to open the quarter, followed by another 3-pointer and 10 of 13 shooting at the free-throw line.
Magan Chapman added 11 for Southern. Maggie Brock had 24 points for Sparta, followed by Roxie Weaver with 11.
Updated at 9:48 am on February 2, 2018
By TIM GAYLE
Tuscaloosa Academy 49, Lakeside School 30
It was time for the most experienced player to take charge. Even if she’s only an eighth grader.
Tuscaloosa Academy had rolled out to a big lead at halftime in their AISA Class AAA state tournament opener but a lackluster second half allowed Lakeside to creep back into the game. And with their leading scorer sitting on the bench, someone needed to take charge.
“Somebody’s always got to step up,” point guard Chloe Johnson said. “That’s a big part of every team, somebody’s got to stand up and be a leader. I just think that’s a big part of how we got out there and kept scoring.”
It was Johnson, the most valuable player of the tournament as a 12-year-old sixth grader two years ago, who took charge late in the third quarter with an assist on one basket, followed by a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions to restore order and lead the Knights into the semifinals with a 49-30 win over Lakeside School at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday night.
Tuscaloosa (22-2) will face Fort Dale on Saturday at 10 a.m., with the winner advancing to the AAA state championship game on Monday at 5 p.m.
For Tuscaloosa, the win restored a little normalcy after losing their first game of 2018 in the region final on Saturday, a stunning 50-27 rout by Glenwood on the same floor.
“We were ranked No. 1 going into last week,” TA coach John David Smelser said. “I don’t think my girls understood not only how tough it is to get to that spot but then to defend that spot. After that loss, I challenged them tonight that the last time you played, you were No. 1 and you didn’t play very well. Now you can make a statement.”
The statement was made early as the Knights built a 16-5 lead five minutes into the contest. That’s when the team’s leading scorer, Kelsey Curry, got tangled up and went to the floor hard, banging her head. She spent virtually all of the remainder of the game sitting on the bench after scoring five points in five minutes.
“Kelsey’s one of our best players and when she goes down, it’s like a piece of the puzzle is broken off, we’re losing that piece,” Johnson said. “When she goes out, we’ve got to be able to pick up the momentum and pick up the intensity and keep playing our best.”
Curry could have returned if needed, Smelser said, but clearly the Knights were not the same team without their popular wing player.
“Emotionally, I could really tell a difference in my team,” Smelser said. “Even though we were winning by 20 at times, the look on their faces was like we were getting beat. We did a poor job of staying intense, focusing on her being out and continuing to play our game.”
But the Knights extended their lead to 20 points, 31-11, at the half, largely because Lakeside went nearly 11 minutes between a pair of field goals by Sydney Williams, who scored 18 of the Chiefs’ 30 points.
In the second half, it was Tuscaloosa who went nearly six minutes without a basket as Lakeside chipped into the lead. That’s when Johnson assisted on a basket by Grace Pelphrey, who finished with 12 points, and scored five of her 20 points on the next two possessions to help the Knights coast into the semifinals.
“There was a point in the game where I looked at her and said you’ve got to go score and she did,” Smelser said. “She was aggressive, she got to the rim, she knocked down some shots. I think if she can continue to be aggressive and be a scorer like that, when we get back to full strength we’ll be tough to beat.”
Fort Dale Academy 53, Edgewood Academy 44
Fort Dale jumped out to an early lead, weathered a brief rally by the Wildcats, then cruised into the AAA semifinals with a 54-44 win over Edgewood in the AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon.
Junior shooting guard Anna Blake Langford had six points in the first quarter, then eight more in the second as Fort Dale jumped out to an 11-2 lead, watched Edgewood trim it to six midway through the second quarter, then extend it back to 10 points at the half. While Edgewood managed to keep the game competitive with several 3-point shots, the Eagles were able to maintain that margin for the remainder of the game.
Fort Dale will face Tuscaloosa on Saturday at 10 a.m. in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to the AAA state championship game on Monday at 5 p.m.
Langford finished with 25 points, followed by Bailey Coker with 14. C.J. Weldon had 15 points to lead Edgewood, followed by Kelley Green with 11.
Lee-Scott Academy 61, Northside Methodist 31
Mary Prewett and Sara Young buried Northside Methodist in a flurry of 3-pointers as the Warriors cruised to a 30-point victory over Northside Methodist in the AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon.
Young had 14 points and Prewett added 12 as Lee-Scott advanced to the semifinals against area rival Glenwood on Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner will play for the AAA state title on Monday at 5 p.m.
Megan Andrews had nine points to lead Northside Methodist, which trailed by 21 points at the half.
Glenwood School 45, Monroe Academy 32
Quan Holton scored 19 points and J.J. Woods added 10 as the Lady Gators jumped out to an early lead and defeated Monroe Academy 45-32 in the AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday morning.
Glenwood will face area rival Lee-Scott on Saturday at 1 p.m., with the winner advancing to the AAA state championship game on Monday at 5 p.m. Ruth Dees led Monroe with nine points.
Updated at 8:44 am February 1, 2018
AISA Semi Final
By TIM GAYLE
Autauga Academy 46, Russell Christian 29
The Autauga girls had some success from their pressure defense in the second half, turning a one-point halftime lead into a comfortable margin on the way to a 46-29 win over Russell Christian in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Wednesday morning.
The Lady Generals (18-4) got 13 points from Katie White and 12 from Kasey Hafley but clearly displayed little energy in the first half.
“We struggled early but you could see at halftime in their faces that they knew that now that the jitters were out, we’re going to start playing and you saw we played a lot better in the second half defensively,” Autauga coach Brad Parker said. “They just weren’t moving. I think it’s because they were probably still asleep. But when we move, we’re very difficult to get the ball inside against. When we get running and moving, I think it’s tough for people.”
Madison Adams scored 15 of her team’s 29 points.
Autauga will face Pickens on Friday at noon, with the winner advancing to the state championship game on Monday at noon.
Pickens Academy 62, Macon East Academy 27
Pickens Academy surged unexpectedly to a 15-point halftime lead, then cruised past a lifeless Macon East squad 62-27 in the Class AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Tuesday afternoon.
The Knights trailed by five points at the end of the first quarter, but never got untracked as the team’s leading scorer, Madisyn Kennedy, managed just seven points and one field goal in the contest.
“It looked like we were trying to get it over with,” Macon East coach Glynn Lott said. “That’s what I told (the players after the game), ‘you wanted it to be over with, it’s over with.’ We scrimmaged the JV boys (on Tuesday) and we were a lot better than that, so I don’t know. We got out of our game early and they took Madi away and her body language told you that she was done. She scored two points from the floor and we can’t win if she scores two points from the floor.”
The Pirates were forced to substitute some in the second quarter because of foul trouble, yet pulled away to a 32-17 halftime lead.
“We quit running,” Lott said. “When we run, we’re decent; when we don’t, we’re not. We got them in foul trouble and instead of making a run with their starters on the bench, we played even with them at best. That was the game plan, take the ball to the goal, and we did in the first quarter. When we got them in foul trouble, for some reason we stopped taking it to the goal.”
Olivia Lewis led Pickens with 17 points, followed by Caroline Lewis and Audrey Fondren with 10 points each.
The Knights played long stretches in the second half with freshman Emily Nickles and eighth grader Maddie Ross. Sophomore Emi Lott led the team in scoring with 10 points.
“Maddie Ross has been playing well lately and hit a couple of (3-point) shots for us,” Lott said, “but you give up some defense to play her on offense. And Emily Nickles, you get a little height when you put her in the game but she’s not as fast. You’re just trying to make three or four players into one or two there, trying to get them experience. I think being here for the first time, for some of them, was an intimidating factor.”
Macon East finished the season at 8-14, struggling with an inexperienced team that returned just Kennedy as a starter against one of Class AA’s most challenging schedules.
“We had one senior (Bailey Dees) and she had never played before,” Lott said. “And we lost four starters off of last year’s team. With just Madi coming back, I guess we did better than expected, especially with our region and the schedule we played. You hope those games make you better, but I don’t know if they did this year or not.”
South Choctaw Academy 66, Emmanuel Christian 10
Faith Copeland scored 24 points and Emily Phillips added 19 as unbeaten South Choctaw built a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised to an easy victory in the AA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.
South Choctaw will face Wilcox in the semifinals on Friday at 9 a.m., with the winner advancing to Monday’s state championship game at noon.
Carley Cook had six points to lead Emmanuel Christian, which was held to just one field goal in each of the second and third quarters and trailed 60-6 entering the fourth quarter.
Wilcox Academy 39, Lowndes Academy 31 Laken Harvell scored 15 points and Emily Smith added 14 as Wilcox Academy rallied past Lowndes in the AA state tournament on Wednesday.
Wilcox will face South Choctaw on Friday at 9 a.m., with the winner advancing to the state championship game on Monday at noon.
Laiken Hussey had 15 points and Hannah Till added 10 for Lowndes, which led early before trailing 10-7 at the half.
Updated at 8:35 am January 31, 2018
AISA Elite Eight
Patrician Academy 45, Evangel Christian 26
Patrician took advantage of a cold-shooting Evangel Christian team to pull away in the second quarter and cruise to a 45-26 win over the Lady Lions in the AISA Class A state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Tuesday afternoon. Patrician Academy will face Abbeville Christian on Friday at 3 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m.
An early 3-pointer from Karley Blankenship and another in the final seconds by Corryne Blanks helped Evangel tie the game at 6-6 heading into the second quarter, but Evangel would hit on just three field goals over the next 16 minutes – one by Blanks in the second quarter and one each from Chloe Perry and Ellejae Reynolds in the third period.
Still, Perry’s 3-pointer pulled the Lady Lions within six points midway through the third period but Evangel’s ice-cold shooting at the free-throw line (the Lions were 10 of 26) sealed their fate.
Abby McPhearson led Patrician with 15 points, followed by Mae Ethridge with 14, while Blanks led Evangel with 13.
Abbeville Christian 50, Jackson Academy 17
Joiner Hughes scored all of the points her team would need as the Lady Generals ramped up the defense in a 50-17 rout of Jackson Academy in the Class A state tournament. Abbeville Christian will face Patrician Academy on Friday at 3 p.m., with the winner advancing to the championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m. Hughes, who went over the 2,000-point career mark on Friday, added to her total with a 23-point effort on Tuesday. That was more than enough to take care of the Lady Eagles, who scored just two points in the third quarter and four in the fourth. Macie Eckstein and Paige Alford each had six points to lead Jackson.
Southern Academy 36, Chambers Academy 34
Augusta Arnold scored 16 points to lead Southern Academy past Chambers in a hard-fought contest at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Tuesday afternoon. Southern will face Sparta in the Class A semifinals on Friday at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to the state championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m. Shelly Keebler led Chambers with 14 points.
Sparta Academy 61, Marengo Academy 29
Sparta Academy held Marengo to just one field goal in the first half, cruising into the AISA Class A Final Four with an easy victory over the Longhorns on Monday morning at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl. Sparta will face Southern on Friday at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday’s championship game at 5 p.m. Sparta led 25-5 at the end of the first quarter and 44-9 at the half. Maggie Brock led the Lady Warriors with 17 points, followed by Amber Kirksey with 14. Mary Grace Sheffield had 15 points to lead Marengo.
Montgomery Academy 54, LAMP 10
MA stomped Lamp 54-10 with Gabby Ramirez pouring in 22 points. Margaret Head added 8 points and 7 rebounds. MA improved to 20-5.
Catholic 46, Saint James 43
Catholic defeated Saint James at STJ 46-43. Catholic was led by Jessie Clark with 21 points including going 8 for 8 from the line, and 10 rebounds. Aleigha Walden had 14 points and Nona Johnson had 5 points and 12 rebounds. For Saint James Micala Fisanick led Saint James with 21 points.
Prattville Christian 46, Montevallo 45
Rachel Stephenson hit the game winning three pointer with 6 seconds left in the game as PCA upset Montevallo. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 23 points and Tori DeMaio added 8 points and 22 rebounds. PCA improves to 18-6 on the season.
Trinity 55, BTW 38
Trinity whipped BTW 55-38 and was led by Mackenzie Avant with 15 points. Madison Mckelvey had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Madison Johnston had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Emma Kate Smith had 10 points and 6 assists.
Updated at 10:19 pm on January 23, 2018
Bombs fly as ‘Cats whip Catholic
By TIM GAYLE
The Lady Wildcats got three 3-pointers in the first half from Madison McKelvey, which might have been expected, but also had three from Kenslee Harrison, which was not, to help Trinity to a 10-point lead at the half on the way to a 50-33 victory over Catholic in the Catholic gym on Tuesday night.
“Kenslee Harrison stepped up and made some big shots tonight,” Trinity coach Blake Smith said. “We’ve been trying to get her to be a little more aggressive and she was tonight so that helped.”
The loss was the first for Catholic (12-6) in area play and all but guaranteed Trinity (6-9) one of the top three seeds for the upcoming area tournament. Trinity improved to 3-2 in area play but split with the Knights and has one game remaining against unbeaten area rival St. James on Friday.
“We were up double figures on (Catholic) the first two games and they came roaring back,” said Smith, referring to a game in the Capital City Conference tournament as well as the first area meeting. “Tonight, they got in foul trouble so we had that lead and they were in foul trouble, which made it very difficult for them to cut into the lead.”
McKelvey and Madison Johnston each had 14 points to lead Trinity.
The defeat was a huge blow for the Knights, which dropped to 5-1 with area games remaining against St. James on Wednesday and next Tuesday.
“They shot lights out,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said. “I thought they shot the ball very well. We just couldn’t get it going tonight. ‘Senior Night,’ you’d think they would be a little more intense, but (Trinity) really wanted it and came after us. We didn’t step up and did what we needed to do.”
Nona Johnson led Catholic with nine points, followed by Jessie Clark and Aleigha Walden with eight points each.
Updated at 10:16 pm on January 23, 2018
MA denied chance to win area
By ART PARKER
The second game of the season between
Montgomery Academy and Montevallo would be the game to determine who would host the area tournament, and hence, hold a post season advantage. There were several
scenarios in plays based upon the outcome of the game and the outcome of
Montevallo’s game Saturday.
Now, none of that means anything because the issue was decided as Montevallo smacked MA 40-28. And the Bulldogs never saw the lead until the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Eagles held a 3-point advantage after the first, second and third quarters. When the fourth quarter began Montevallo tied the game with a 3-point shot at 21-21. It wasn’t long before the Bulldogs went on a 14 point run with no answer from MA during that time. While Montevallo was pouring in the points they were pressing MA and causing havoc.
MA’s long range shooter Gabby Ramirez fell cold in the second half and the big inside player, Caroline Kirkham, was held to a pair of points all night long after rarely seeing the ball.
Margaret Head had a solid game with plenty of rebounds and led the Eagles with 10 points. Ramirez had 7 points.
Updated at 10:02 pm January 23, 2018
ACA beat Elmore County 61-60. Josie Barlow was our leading scorer with 27 points. Lindsey Glass added 9 points and 6 rebounds. Carli Schofield had 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Anna Katherine Palmer collected 5 points and 8 rebounds. Zoe Stiff had 4 points and 5 rebounds and Mary Hall helped the Eagles to control the boards with 11 rebounds.
Prattville Christian whipped Southside Selma 45-25 as Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 30 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, and 4 assists as PCA improved to 17-6 on the season. Rachel Stephenson added 9 points and Tori DeMaio grabbed 11 rebounds.
Updated at 11:48 am on January 20, 2018
MA defeated Trinity 34-25 Friday night. Leighton Robertson led the Eagles with 14 points and Caroline Kirkham had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Trinity was led in scoring by Madison McKelvey with 12 points. MA improves to 17-4.
Montevallo defeated Prattville Christian 35-29 with Kaitlyn Reyes leading the Panthers with 23 points. PCA fell to 16-6 on the season. Tori DeMaio had 11 rebounds and Rachel Stephenson added 10 rebounds.
Updated at 12:38 am on January 17, 2018
MA defeated ACA 52-22. Leighton Robertson had 16 points and Caroline Kirkham had 13 points and 9 rebounds. MA improves to 16-4.
Carver defeated MA 49-46 in MLK Classic. Mya Barnes led Carver with 17 points. MA was led by Caroline Kirkham with 16 points followed by Margaret Head with 12 points.
Prattville Christian walloped Ellwood Christian 56-15 as Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 25 points, 10 steals, and 8 rebounds. PCA improved to 16-5 on the season. Melanie Drey added 11 points and 7 steals. Mary Grace Story also scored 11 points.
Updated at 7:56 pm on January 13, 2018
Prattville Christian slipped past Catholic 32-31 in a Saturday afternoon thriller. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 17 points and 5 rebounds as PCA improves to 15-5 on the season. Reyes hit a pair of
free throws with 38 seconds remaining to give PCA the lead. Melanie Drey added 8 points and 6 rebounds. For Catholic Jessie Clark led the way with 12 points.
Montgomery Academy whipped Geneva County 61-33. Caroline Kirkham finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds, Gabby Ramirez had 19 points. The Eagles improved to 15-3.
Updated at 5:21 am on January 12, 2018
Montgomery Academy defeated Prattville Christian Academy 26-16 Friday night in area play. Millie Stevenson led the Eagles with 13 points, Leighton Robertson had 6 points and Caroline Kirkham collected 5 points. MA improved to 14-3. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Panthers with 11 points as PCA falls to 14-5 on the season.
Catholic defeated LAMP in an area basketball game 69-47.
Catholic was led by Jessie Clark with 31 points and 13 rebounds. She was 14 of 16 from the line. Aleigha Walden added 20 points, 9 assist and 8 steals. The Knights are now 12-4 and 5-0 in area play.
Updated at 12:15 pm on January 10, 2018
The Ezekiel Academy Varsity Girls team defeated Hope Christian Academy 81-33 in conference play Tuesday night
at Samford University in
Birmingham. The Lady Knights had 4 players in double figures and remain undefeated on the season. Necie Townes led all scorers with 24 points while shooting 55% from the field. Townes also had 11 steals for the Knights. Danaisha Wester chipped in 18 points and had 7 rebounds. Nizhoni Thompson also added 15 points, 6 steals, and 4 blocks. Sadie Graham poured in 10 points. Point Guard Becca Ballard had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Ezekiel is a home school team.
Trinity defeated Tallassee Tuesday night 48-33. Trinty was led in scoring by
Madison McKelvey with 21 points. Emma Kate Smith followed with 10 points. Madison Johnston grabbed 10 rebounds.
East Memorial Christian Academy (EMCA) girls defeated Evangel Christian Academy (ECA) 58-52 in overtime last Tuesday night. Sheria Clements led EMCA with 36 points. Corryne Blanks led ECA with 22 points.
Catholic defeated Wetumpka 46-31. Catholic was led by Jessie Clark with 17 points and 13 rebounds, Aleigha Walden had 15 points and Nona Johnson added 11 points. The Knights are now 11-4.
Prattville Christian whipped Southside Selma 50-18 Tuesday night. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 25 points and 10 rebounds and PCA improves to 14-4 on the season. Mary Grace Story added 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals.
Updated at 6:21 pm on January 6, 2018
Montgomery Academy got revenge for its lost to Catholic in the CCC Tournament. The Eagles whipped the Knights 58-22 at Bear Field House Saturday afternoon. Gabby Rameriz continued her hot shooting and led MA with 18 points. Leighton Roberson had a big day for MA with
17 points. Aleigha Walden led Catholic with 10 points and Jessie Clark collected 9 points.
Complete report in the January 11, 2017 printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Updated at 8:49 am on January 6, 2017
Catholic defeated Trinity 53-49 last Friday night with a come from behind victory. Trinity scored the first 15 points of the game. The Knights cut the lead to a handul by halftime. Trinity led by 3 points entering into the fourth quarter. Catholic knocked down 4 out of 5 free throws late in the fourth quarter to escape with a win. Catholic was led by Jessie Clark with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Aleigha Walden had 18 points and 7 assists. Trinity was led by Emma Kate Smith with 15 points and Madison Johnston had 14 and collected 13 rebounds. Catholic is now 9-3 overall and 4-0 in the area before a big rematch with Montgomery Academy.
Prattville Christian whipped Autaugaville 58-22 last Friday night. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 25 points, 6 steals, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds as PCA improved to 13-4 on the season. Rachel Stephenson and Kayla Porter each scored 8 points and Stephenson also added 8 rebounds. Mary Grace Story finished with 7 points, 7 assists, and 6 steals.
Montgomery Academy defeated Southside-Selma 55-41 to improve to 11-2 (2-0) in the area. Gabby Ramirez led the Eagles with 18 points while Caroline Kirkham had 14 points.
Macon East lost to Glenwood 63-33 last week. Madisyn Kennedy led the Knights with 20 points.
MA defeated ACA 52-22. Leighton Robertson led the Eagles with 15 points and 12 steals. Gabby Ramirez tallied 12 points, Caroline Kirkham had 11 points and Millie Stevenson collected 10 points. MA improved to 13-2 before a return match with Catholic.
Macon East lost to Hooper 59-55. Madisyn Kennedy had 27 points and 12 rebounds. Bailey Dees had 7 points and 17 rebounds. Dawn Johnson had 6 points and 6 rebounds
Updated December 20, 2017 at 7:35 pm
Catholic holds off MA to win CCC
Despite being significantly out-rebounded and committing more turnovers, Catholic withheld a late surge by Montgomery Academy to win the Capital City Classic 63-56. The Knights are now 8-3. Catholic led by 16 points going into the fourth quarter but the Eagles pulled to within 3 points thanks to the 3-point shooting of Gabby Ramirez. The sharpshooting MA freshman led all scorers with 31 points.
But Catholic had a sharpshooter of their own in the talented Aleigha Walden, who scored 23 points but hit an amazing 16 of 20 from the charity stripe. Jessie Clark had her usual excellent game and scored 21 points.
Walden was named the Tournament MVP. “MA is a very good team and I am pleased to see our girls hold them off and not panic when they made that big run,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said.
Full report to be published in the January 4th printed edition of the Montgomery Independent.
Capital City Classic – Final Scores Final Round
Catholic def. MA 63-56 to win the Championship
Saint James def. Tallassee 45-31
Calhoun def. ACA 55-41
PCA def. Trinity 39-28
Updated at 6:37 pm on December 28, 2017
Capital City Classic
Final Scores Second Round
Catholic def. Trinity 44-31
Montgomery Academy def. 36-33
Saint James def. Calhoun 49-26
Tallassee def. ACA 40-30
Catholic will face Montgomery Academy in the Championship Game at 3:30 at Trinity.
Notes – Girls
MA 36, PCA 33
Caroline Kirkham led MA with 16 points and Gabby Ramirez added 11 points. Kaitlyn Reyes led PCA with 16 points.
Catholic 44, Trinity 31
Aleigha Walden had another big game for the Knights with 21 points. Jessie Clark had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Nina Johnson collected 5 points and 6 rebounds.
Updated at 9:11 on December 27, 2017
Capital City Classic
Final Scores Round One
Trinity def. Tallassee 56-38
Catholic def. ACA 51-23
Prattville Christian def. Calhoun 53-39
Montgomery Academy def. Saint James 38-33
Prattville Christian 53, Calhoun 39
Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 30
points, 8 steals, and 5 rebounds as PCA improves to 11-3 on the season. Tori DeMaio added 8 points and 13 rebounds and Mary Grace Story had 8 points, 7 steals, and 5 rebounds.
MA 38, Trinity 33
Millie Stevenson led MA with 12 points Caroline Kirkham had 8 and Margaret Head 7 points.
Updated at 3:31 pm on December 22, 2017
Montgomery Academy pounded Jeff Davis in the Larry Chapman Tournament Friday afternoon, 45-17. Caroline Kirkham had 16 points and Gabby Ramirez 8 points. Margaret Head collected 7 points and 8 rebounds. MA improves 8-1.
Updated at 5:27 pm on December 20, 2017
Montgomery Academy defeated Greenville 58-53 in the Larry Chapman Classic Wednesday. Caroline Kirkham had 21 points, Margaret Head and Gabby Ramirez had 10 points each. Leighton Robertson finished with 9 points. Adriana Taylor led Greenville with 19 points.
Updated at 9:59am on December 20, 2017
Montgomery Academy thumped Prattville Christian last Monday night 50-20. The Eagles improved to 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the area. Caroline Kirkham led MA with 15 points, Margaret Head added 12 points and 8 rebounds, Leighton Robertson had 8 points. Kaitlyn Reyes (pictured right) led the Lady Panthers with 20 points as PCA falls to 9-3 on the season and 0-1 in area play.
Prattville Christian pummeled Autaugaville 65-14 Tuesday night. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and 5 steals as PCA improved to 10-3 on the season. Mary Grace Story added 12 points, 9 steals, 7 assists. Melanie Drey scored 10 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Tori DeMaio added 10 rebounds.
Updated at 4:51 pm on December 16. 2017
Montgomery Academy defeated Altamont to win the Scholars 4 Tournament. Tournament MVP Caroline Kirkham led MA with 15 points. Margaret Head 8 points and Gabby Ramirez 14 joined her on the All-Tournament Team. Leighton Robertson added 11. MA now stands at 5-1.
Updated at 11:22 am on December 16, 2017
Catholic whipped BTW Magnet 68-35 Friday night with a red hot Aleigha Walden pouring in 21 points to lead the Knights. Jessie Clark had 15 points. Nona Johnson collected 8 points and Carrie Belsterling had 7 points. The Knights moved the ball around the floor very well with what coach Jill Clark described as excellent teamwork. “We passed the ball very well but still made too many mistakes with turnovers. Overall, we had a very good game,” Clark said. Catholic is now 5-1 for the season.
Montgomery Academy defeated John Carroll in the first round of Scholars 44-40. MA was led by Caroline Kirkham with 17 points and 13 rebounds, Margaret Head had 11 points and 7 rebounds while Gabby Ramirez had 13 points. MA will face Altamont for the tournament championship. MA improved to 4-1.
Prattville Christian defeated Prattville 63-44 in the Autauga County Tournament. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 32 points and 12 rebounds. Tori DeMaio added 9 points and 14 rebounds and Rachel Stephenson had 8 points and 11 rebounds as PCA improves to 9-1 on the season. PCA will attempt to win back to back Tournament titles against Marbury.
Updated at 9:24 am on December 10, 2017
Montgomery Academy defeated Catholic 41-27. Caroline Kirkham had 9 points and 13 rebounds while Gabby Ramirez led the Eagles with 19 points. MA improved to 3-1 . Aleigha Walden led Catholic with 12 points.
Prattville Christian romped over Ellwood Christian 58-15 with Kaitlyn Reyes leading the Lady Panthers with 29 points and 6 steals. Mary Grace Story and Melanie Drey each added 10 points and 4 steals as PCA improved to 8-1 on the season.
Updated at 10:38 am on December 6, 2017
Macon East was defeated by Fort Dale 59-39 Monday night. Madi Kennedy had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Dawn Johnson had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
PCA easily defeated Wetumpka 45-28 Tuesday night with Kaitlyn Reyes leading the Lady Panthers with 27 points. Tori DeMaio added 11 rebounds as PCA improves to 7-1 on the season.
Montgomery Catholic defeated LAMP 49-30 in a game played at LAMP Tuesday night. The Knights were led by Nona Johnson with 14 points and Aleigha Walden with 11 points and 10 assists. Walden broke the school record for career assists. She now has 552 the old record was 542. The Knights are now 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in area play.
Montgomery Academy defeated Prattville 60-36 Tuesday night as Caroline Kirkham led the Eagles with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Freshman Leighton Robertson had 15 points and Gabby Ramirez 10.
Alabama Christian defeated Dadeville Tuesday night 54-37. ACA was led by Lindsey Glass with 16 points, 6 steals, and 4 assists. Josie Barlow had 13 points, and Zoe Stiff had 13 and 8 rebounds. Mary Hall added 9 rebounds.
Updated at 10:04 am on December 3, 2017
Montgomery Catholic got past Cornerstone of Birmingham 42-39 Saturday. Aleigha Walden led the Knights with 21 points and 5 assists. Nona Johnson had 9 points and 7 rebounds while Jessie Clark had 7 points and 13 rebounds. The Knights are now 3-1 on the year.
Brewbaker Tech defeated MA 74-42 on Saturday. MA was led by Caroline Kirkham with 17 points and Margaret Head had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. MA will hosts Prattville on Tuesday
Updated at 12:37 am on December 1, 2017
Prattville Christian defeated Trinity 32-28 Friday night. Mary Grace Story led the Lady Panthers with 10 points and Kaitlyn Reyes and Rachel Stephenson added 8 points each. PCA improved to 6-1 on the season.
Montgomery Catholic defeated ACA 60-40 in a game played at Catholic Friday night. Catholic had 4 players in double digits. Nona Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jessie Clark had 12 points and 16 rebounds. Aleigha Walden had 11 points and 10 assists. Daphne Hardy had 10 points and 8 rebounds. For ACA Josie Barlow had 15 points and Zoe Stiff had 9 points.
Updated at 9:47 pm on November 30, 2017
Montgomery Academy got off to a big start with a 52-15
victory over LAMP at MA. LAMP failed to score in the first period and trailed 32-5 at halftime. Caroline Kirkham led the Eagles with 16 points. Gabby Rameriez knocked down 11 points. Margaret Head, Grace Jackson and Kay Yelverton had 6 points each. MA is 1-0 and will play at Brew Tech Saturday.
Updated at 6:55 am on November 29, 2017
Prattville Christian defeated Alabama Christian 50-26 on Tuesday at ACA. Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers with 20 points and also surpassed the 1,000 point mark in her varsity career only 6 games into her junior season. Kelsie Junker added 13 points as PCA improves to 5-1 on the season. PCA will travel to Trinity on Friday.
Updated at 5:21 am on November 22, 2017
Alabama Christian Academy (ACA) finished second in the Knights of Columbus Tournament after losing the
championship game to Marbury 47-34. ACA played well in the first half and gave the Bulldogs all they wanted, trailing only 19-17 at the half. But Marbury pulled away in the second half as ACA failed to stop an effective Bulldogs offensive effort. Artasia Cannon led Marbury with 19 points and India Robbins added 11 points.
Joslin Barlow led ACA with 10 pints, Zoe Stiff added 6 points and both Lindsey Glass and Anna Palmer had a handful of points each. “I thought we played hard against a good team and we did a lot of good things,” ACA coach Vittoria Poole said. “We worked well putting pressure on them and forced a lot of turnovers and that was a very positive sign. We did not rebound well and that probably made the difference. It will be something that will require attention.” ACA will visit Catholic on December 1st.
Catholic defeated Bullock County in the consolation event in the Knights of Columbus Tournament. Jessie Clark led the Knights with 18 points and a dozen boards. Aleigha Walden had 8 points and 11 assists while Nona Johnson added 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Knights are now 1-1 on the season and coach Jill Clark was
pleased with the effort of the team in their second game of the season. “We got some new players and we need to learn to play together and take care of the ball. We have had some early injuries and we are working through some things. The most important thing is that I saw a great deal of improvement over the first game of the season,” Clark said. The Knights will host ACA on December 1st.
Updated at 9:31 am on November 21, 2017
Marbury bested Montgomery Catholic in the first round of The Knights of Columbus Tournament be held at Catholic High School. The Bulldogs defeated the Knights 61-54. Aleigha Walden led Catholic with 23 points. Jessie Clark and Nona Johnson had 15 and 14 points respectively. Catholic is 0-1 and will play Bullock County Tuesday afternoon.
Prattville Christian (PCA) got past Westminster-Oak Mountain 53-43 and was led by Kaitlyn Reyes with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Kelsie Junker added 14 points as PCA improved to 4-1 on the season. PCA will play next at Alabama Christian on Tuesday, November 28th.
Updated at 12:45 pm on December 15, 2017
Prattville Christian 68, Trinity Presbyterian 29
Kaitlyn Reyes led the Lady Panthers by pouring in 38 points. Kelsie Junker added 12 points and Tori DeMaio had 8 points and 11 rebounds. PCA improves to 3-1 on the season and will host Westminster-Oak Mountain on Friday.
Macon East 58, EMCA 58-55
Madisyn Kennedy had 32 points and 21 rebounds. Dawn Johnson had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Emily Nickles has 7 points and 11 rebounds. Emi Lott had 8 points and 3 rebounds.
WETUMPKA – It isn’t your normal week at Wetumpka High, but it’s something a group of seniors promised each other six years ago.
That’s when several football players looked into the future and predicted they would be playing for a state championship one day as high school seniors.
“It would mean a lot because we’ve been talking about this since about the sixth grade,” Rico Bozeman said. “We’ve been working for it. This team’s really special. We’ve always been playing together and we’ve always been winning. We’ve got a good chemistry.”
Bozeman is one of those seniors, a guy who contributed as a defensive end two years ago and earned a starting role a year ago before emerging as one of the state’s best in 2017.
“He’s an incredible young man,” Wetumpka coach Tim Perry said. “Tremendous work ethic, extremely coachable. Once you teach him something or correct something, he doesn’t make that mistake again. He’s a great weight room guy. He’s one of several guys in the offseason that even as a freshman came in (for voluntary offseason work) four days a week.”
Last year, Wetumpka had a good team that went 8-2, then lost in the first round of the 6A state playoffs at McAdory. The juniors, who would have one last shot at a state title in 2017, knew they would need to improve during the offseason.
“I needed to get more physical,” said the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Bozeman. “I was always hitting the weight room hard, coming out to the field and going through the tires, too, staying in shape.”
The emergence of Jadarious Martin at quarterback to complement Kavosiey Smoke in the backfield gave Wetumpka all the weapons it would need on offense, but the defense through the first three weeks was struggling to keep up its end of the bargain, allowing far too many points (an average of 25 per game) and far too many yards (310.3) to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Suddenly, everything changed.
“It clicked,” Bozeman said. “At the beginning of the season, we were kind of lacking a little bit. Against Stanhope, it just turned around. I don’t know what happened, but it just turned around.”
A lot part of the success starts with the team’s leading tacklers, linebackers Bubba (141 tackles) and Chase Adams (80), but it extends to the leader of the defensive line as well. Bozeman, as one of the team captains, is the third leading tackler on the team with 58 stops, along with 12 sacks and 10 quarterback pressures.
“He’s a great student of the game,” Perry said. “He studies film on the weekend and at night, studies the opponents’ tendencies. He corrects the defensive line and gets guys lined up.
“As a player, he’s extremely quick off the ball, very good with his hands. Over the years, he’s developed some real good rush moves. Our offensive tackles, he frustrates them. They can’t block him. He disrupts our offense (in practice). There have been very few offensive tackles that have been able to consistency block him without holding him.”
As Wetumpka (13-1) prepares for its first-ever championship game on Friday in Bryant-Denny Stadium against Pinson Valley (14-0), it’s been anything but routine for the Indians. Perry said he believes his team can remain focused at practice this week but is concerned about the reaction of the players once they arrive for the game.
“The concern for me as a head coach is I hope we don’t get too distracted once we get there with all the events,” he said. “I just hope we don’t get overwhelmed, that we can go out and play like we’re capable of playing.”
Bozeman believes his team can focus on the task at hand, but admits the hype surrounding the playoffs – where the city has sponsored a pep rally before every home playoff game each Thursday – can be exhilarating at times.
“Just making it to the third round,” he said, “we were like, ‘wow.’ Even the second round. We knew we were going to do it, but it was a ‘wow’ moment.”
Wetumpka High has reached the semifinals just twice in school history and the 1995 team lost to Blount in its first trip, so a trip to the Super 7 is unique for both teams playing for the 6A championship. That’s why the Indians will be making the trip a day early.
“We’re doing that for the players,” Perry said. “Since this is the first time we’ve made it to the finals, we wanted to make it a real special event for the players. The coaching side of me said let’s just treat it like another game and take the same approach. The other side of me said that since this is so special and such a hard goal to achieve, we want to make it special for them.”
The Indians will arrive in Tuscaloosa on Thursday evening, then go out for a night of bowling. On Friday, they’ll wake up and eat a catered meal for breakfast at a local church. After a walk-through at the University of Alabama’s Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility, they’ll return to the motel for lunch. After a pre-game meal at the same church, they’ll return to the indoor practice facility for a walk-through before making the Walk of Champions to the north entrance of Bryant-Denny Stadium for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
Class 6A SEMI-FINAL
Updated at 8:08 am December 2, 2017
Wetumpka shows explosiveness, becomes only Tri-County team to play for title
By Tim Gayle
WETUMPKA – It was the biggest call of the game. And it wasn’t made by a coach.
Backed up in the shadows of its own goal line, Wetumpka was forced to punt with just over five minutes remaining, guaranteeing Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa good field position as the Patriots hoped to turn up the pressure with a touchdown to cut into a 10-point lead.
Kavosiey Smoke had other ideas. As teammate Jadarious Martin prepared to take the snap near his goal line, Smoke turned toward his teammate as he barked out the signal to snap the ball to his punter. Martin took the snap and bolted for the right side of the field. Eighty-two yards later, he was in the end zone and the Indians had secured their first-ever trip to the state championship game with a 44-27 victory.
Wetumpka (13-1) will play Pinson Valley (14-0) next Friday in Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Class 6A state championship at 7 p.m.
Martin’s run out of punt formation was a stunning turn of events that no one could have predicted, not even Wetumpka coach Tim Perry.
“That was a fake called by an outstanding football player,” Perry said. “It’s something we’ve worked on all year but we’ve never really called it in a game. I didn’t know what was going on.”
They may have been playing in the biggest game in the history of Wetumpka High football, but Smoke never contemplated the stakes when he made the call.
“I just made the call,” Smoke said. “I read it and called the play.”
Martin said he never gave it a second thought when his senior backfield mate called for a fake.
“They were squeezed down and I know if I hit the outside, I’ll burn all of them and that’s what happened,” he said.
A disbelieving Sam Adams watched his Hillcrest High team end the season at 10-4 after grabbing a 14-7 lead at Hohenburg Field, only to have Martin and Smoke shred one of the state’s top defenses with three long touchdown runs.
“The fake punt was the play,” Adams said. “It was difference in the game. I thought we were getting back the momentum and were going to get good field position. Then they pulled that off and at the time they did it changed everything. I mean everything. The fake punt and they won the turnover battle, that’s what did us in.”
Wetumpka turned up the defensive pressure with its front line holding the Patriots to 13 rushing yards on 12 carries in the first half, forcing Hillcrest to the air.
“They were planning to run the ball,” senior safety Nick Turner said, “but we went out in ‘man’ and just played lockdown everywhere, made them work harder for everything.”
Colby Smelley surprised the Indians with a quick-hitting passing attack that led to Nassir Boyd’s 1-yard touchdown run on the Patriots’ second possession to break a scoreless tie. Wetumpka battled back to tie the game on Smoke’s touchdown plunge out of Wildcat formation, but Smelley, who completed 19 of 29 passes for 201 yards, went back to the air and found Aundra Gee down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass and a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Unfazed, the Indians struck back in their customary big-play form, using a 75-yard run by Martin three plays later to tie the game once again.
“All the receivers were covered downfield,” the junior quarterback said. “I knew they had dropped back in a zone and I knew I had an open field. That’s when I made a good play.”
The game would turn in the Indians’ favor late in the second quarter and early in the third with the help of a pair of Turner interceptions. The first came as he broke on a slant-in pass to Ernest Ross at the Hillcrest 45, setting up Martin’s 21-yard pass to Keedrick Adams with 34 seconds left for a 21-14 halftime lead.
The second came on the fourth play of the second half when he stepped in front of another Smelley pass, returning it 35 yards for a touchdown.
“It was a different play than they had been running,” Turner said, “but I just read the play and went up under him and made a play on it. I was just telling my defense to calm down and stay positive and be strong on every possession. When I saw (the Hillcrest receiver) come back and break on the ball, I just broke with him, get it and go. Go, go, go.”
The touchdown gave the Indians a 14-point lead two minutes into the second half.
“It was huge, momentum right out of the gate,” Perry said. “It allowed us to grab the momentum early in the second half and we kind of rode that.”
Hillcrest answered with an impressive drive and another Boyd touchdown, but Wetumpka countered with a 30-yard field goal by Robert Stewart with 8:47 left to make it 31-21. That set the stage for Martin, who finished with 237 yards on 26 carries, to finish off the Patriots with his run out of punt formation.
After Tyquan Rawls picked off Smelley for the third time, Smoke ran 98 yards out of Wildcat formation to finish with 153 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Smoke’s touchdown run came after a bad snap on the previous play forced him to fall on the ball just five feet from his own goal line. On the next play, he broke through a crowd of players on the Hillcrest side of the field and took off for the end zone for a 44-21 lead.
“I just kept moving,” Smoke said. “Don’t ever stop, keep your feet moving.”
Bubba Adams led the defensive effort with nine tackles, including three for loss. Older brother Chase Adams had eight tackles, including one for loss and Rawls added five tackles in a defensive effort that held Hillcrest to 61 rushing yards on 24 carries.
“Other than a couple of plays we shut down their running game,” Chase Adams said. “Our guys up front made the difference. They are really good. There is really not a team we’ve played in this state that has handled our guys up front.”
Now, the Indians get the opportunity to play for a state championship for the first time in the history of the football program.
“It means a lot to Wetumpka,” Turner said. “We’ve made a lot of history, but we didn’t come this far not to get (a championship).”
THIRD ROUND AHSAA PLAYOFFS
Updated at 11:38 pm November 24, 2017
Andalusia too much for ACA
By TIM GAYLE
The top ranked Andalusia Bulldogs thumped Alabama Christian (ACA) in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs Friday night 45-13.
Alabama Christian struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the quarterfinal matchup with Andalusia, so it was only a matter of time before Ethan Wilson cranked up the Bulldogs’ aerial game.
The left-handed senior had one early touchdown pass negated by a penalty but struck just before halftime on a bomb to Sebaskin Stallworth, then hit tight end Rodney Drish on the first possession of the third quarter to break open a tight game and propel the Bulldogs to a rout of the Eagles at Wade Norton Field on Friday night.
The win sent Andalusia (12-1) to the semifinals against region runner-up UMS-Wright next week. Alabama Christian, making just the third trip to the quarterfinals in school history, ends the season at 10-3 after setting a school record for wins.
“We don’t make extraneous goals,” ACA coach Nate Sanford said, “because a lot of that is out of your control. We try to focus not only on every day but every rep, every drill, every practice, on what we can control. Tonight, as so often happens when you play a really great team, we didn’t do those things we’ve been doing all year long. Not to take any credit away from Andalusia … but you can’t do things like turn the ball over four times. We’ve had eight turnovers on the season. Why would we want to give a team like Andalusia any more help than they already had? That’s the only frustrating part about it.”
A 28-yard Reese Burkhardt field goal provided the only points for much of the first half before Caleb Smallwood’s interception of a Grayson Evans’ pass set up Andalusia at the ACA 29. Wilson kept for 12 yards, then handed off to Roosevelt Weaver for the remaining 17 yards and the game’s first touchdown with 6:43 remaining.
The Bulldogs got the ball back at their 11 with 93 seconds left and threw a couple of short passes before Wilson uncorked a 56-yard bomb to Stallworth for a 17-0 halftime lead.
“ACA had a great defensive plan,” Andalusia coach Trent Taylor said. “They put a lot of folks up there around the line of scrimmage and it was obvious they wanted to stop the run. They did a really good job of it in the first half. We were finally able to do a few things in the second half, just running inside zones, with our offensive line.”
Weaver finished with 132 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Josh Gurley had 130 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, but much of that came after Wilson’s two touchdown passes. The senior completed 9 of 16 passes for 165 yards and also rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“We tried the take the ball out of 9’s hands,” Sanford said, referring to Wilson, “and for the most part we did a pretty good job of that. But they had playmakers all over the place. (Receiver Bridges Anderson) bailed them out of a couple of situations – he just climbs the ladder and goes and gets the ball – and 2 (Weaver) knew what to do when he had space. And 24 (Gurley)? I didn’t know who 24 is.”
ACA, meanwhile, never got untracked. Reece Solar completed just 9 of 14 passes for 89 yards and was intercepted in the end zone to turn back the Eagles’ only real scoring threat in the first three quarters. Solar had 40 yards on 13 carries.
Alden Stroud took a pitch from Jackson Hibbard and ran 79 yards for Alabama Christian’s final touchdown in the closing seconds, but managed just 43 yards on 13 carries.
Wetumpka 69, Spanish Fort 41
WETUMPKA — Kavoisey Smoke scored five touchdowns to lead Wetumpka to a 69-41 win over Spanish Fort in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at Hohenburg Field on Friday night.
Wetumpka (12-1) will play host to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (10-3), a 29-27 winner over Opelika, in the semifinals of the state playoffs next Friday at Hohenburg Field. It will mark the second time in school history the Indians have reached the semifinals. This year’s squad will try to match that 1995 team for the school record in wins next week.
But the 2017 edition set a few records of their own, scoring the most points ever in a 6A quarterfinal and the most combined points. Clay-Chalkville’s 85-50 win over Scottsboro set the playoff record in both categories in 2014.
Smoke scored on a 3-yard run midway through the first quarter to put the Indians on top and then scored on a 41-yard run after the Toros had tied the game. Early in the second quarter, quarterback Jadarious Martin scored on a 13-yard run, but Spanish Fort rallied with two touchdowns to leave the teams tied 21-21 at the half.
Martin ran 58 yards to break the tie early in the third quarter before the defense got in on the scoring to put the Indians in control. Malik David returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown and Robert Laprade returned a fumble 25 yards for another score to give Wetumpka a 41-21 lead.
Smoke added another touchdown run, this one from 4 yards, before Spanish Fort scored and Martin answered with a 65-yard dash to the end zone to make it 55-28.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Toros returned an interception for a touchdown, but Wetumpka quickly regained the momentum as Smoke scored on runs of 49 and 4 yards to extend the lead to 69-34
SECOND ROUND AHSAA PLAYOFFS & AISA CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Updated at 12;29 am November 18, 2017
UMS-Wright 28, Catholic 14
UMS-Wright controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and eventually wore down Catholic to pull off a second round playoff victory 28-14. The Knights were off to a fast start with an interception by Trey Wilkinson in the first quarter to set up a first quarter scoring drive. With 7:00 minutes remaining in the first quarter Catholic quarterback Hunter Ferrell hit D.J. Carter with a 17 yard pass to put
the Knights ahead. The Bulldogs tied the game early in the second quarter and took the lead just three minutes before halftime. Will Chapman opened the scoring with a 13-yard TD pass to Keyshawn Woodyard. Will Courtney also had a 3-yard run in the first half. Ferrell connected with Carter again on the first play of the Knights next possession for a 65 yard touchdown to send the game into intermission at 14-14.
Dylan Casstevens scored on runs of 4 and 1 yards to put UMS in front for good.
The second half was all Bulldogs as the visitors consumed almost half of the third quarter with a drive that gave them the lead for good at 21-14. Dylan Casstevens scored from the 4 yard line to complete the drive. He later scored from the one yard line before the third period was over to complete the scoring.
“There was no doubt that our failure to establish the running game hurt. And our defense had to stay on the field quite a bit during their drives,” Catholic head coach Aubrey Blackwell said. Catholic only had one run of note and that was when Ferrell scrambled after being chased from the pocket for a 53 yard gain.
“Their size played a major role,” Catholic linebacker William Hooper said. “We had not faced that much size firing off the ball like they did. They are a great football team.”
UMS-Wright now stands at 10-2 for the season and will advance to the Class 4A quarterfinal round next week when they host Bibb County (11-1). Catholic finishes the season at 10-2, one of the best in school history.
See full report in next’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
American Christian 35, Montgomery Academy 21
It was an incredibly simplistic plan.
“Our offense doesn’t always look like that,” American Christian (ACA)
coach Chris Smelley said, “but we thought we had an advantage physically so we just wanted to let No. 2 run the ball for us. Parker Davis has been a warrior for us all year and I was just proud to see him step up in a huge moment like this.”
Davis lined up in Wildcat formation and ran. And ran. And ran some more.
When he was finished, the senior had carried the ball 39 times for 271 yards, giving the Patriots a 35-21 victory over Montgomery Academy in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs at McLemore Field on Friday night.
“We tried every trick we’ve got,” Montgomery Academy coach Gary Nelson said. “We slanted, twisted, moved, blitzed, fired people. We weren’t playing (pass) coverage for most of the third quarter. It was a very simple game plan, just line up and be bigger than us. Credit to them for exploiting the matchup. The bottom line is, when they went up 7-0, from that point on, we could match them but we’re probably never going to get up.”
ACA (9-3) went 73 yards in 10 plays with a Davis touchdown to open the game, only to see Montgomery Academy (9-3) counter with a 74-yard drive in 12 plays capped by a Trey Lindsey quarterback sneak.
“We game planned that, just being more physical than they are,” Davis said. “They said, ‘Hey Parker, you’re going to have a lot of carries.’ I said, ‘I’m up to it, let’s do it.’ My best friends are on the offensive line and they said, ‘we’re ready.’”
The turning point to the game came in the second quarter when the Eagles threw on three straight downs, followed by a punt. ACA drove 80 yards late in the first half for a 20-7 lead, using Davis’ only pass of the game, a 20-yard lob to a wide-open Brantley Ward to put the Patriots up by two touchdowns.
“I said, ‘Hey Coach, tell me if I’m going to throw so I can take off the glove,’” Davis said. “He didn’t tell me. They’re going to know I’m going to throw if I have the glove off. You’ve just got to put enough under it so my guy can do the work.”
Lindsey hit Oliver Lester with a 68-yard bomb on the second play of the third quarter to draw within 20-14 and the Eagles would get their chance when a holding penalty and two incomplete passes led to ACA’s only punt of the game, but MA was stopped two feet short of a first down on a fourth-down pass to CJ Paymon at the ACA 25.
“Right after that, they said, ‘Parker, you’re going to tote it every single time, so be ready,’” Davis said. “I feel good. I think I’ll take an ice bath when I get back to the field house.”
Davis then carried the ball on 20 of the next 22 plays for 156 yards – including touchdown runs of 10 and 1 yard –before leaving to a rousing ovation from the ACA fans.
See full report in next’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Andalusia 30, Saint James 8
ANDALUSIA-Andalusia dominated Saint James in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs with a 30-8 win at home. With a 9-0 lead at halftime, Andalusia padded the lead to
16-0 before the Trojans got their offense in gear. After a lengthy drive Saint James quarterback Josh Garnett hit the end zone on a quarterback sneak. Steven Sadie carried the ball up the middle for a 2-point conversion,
But the Saint James comeback quickly came to a halt as Andalusia scored on two more occasions while holding the explosive Trojans offense in check.
Andalusia will travel to Montgomery next week to meet the lone survivor in the Capital City Conference, Alabama Christian, in the class 4A semi-final. Saint James ended the season at 8-4.
See full report in next’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Alabama Christian 38, W.S. Neal 7
Alden Stroud rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Reece Solar passed for one and ran for another as Alabama Christian garnered its school-record 10th win with a 38-7 victory over W.S. Neal at Wade Black Norton Field on Friday night in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
ACA (10-2) will play host to top-ranked Andalusia in the 4A quarterfinals next Friday night. The Eagles have reached the quarterfinals just twice in school history as John Poitevint’s teams lost in 1989 to Catholic (7-6) and in 1990 to Reeltown (28-0).
On Friday night, ACA built a comfortable lead over W.S. Neal (6-6) as Solar completed 10 of 19 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown and Stroud rushed for 181 yards on 10 carries and two more scores.
Garrett Cottingham had one catch for 44 yards and Cole Schlemmer scored a touchdown on a 17-yard catch. Carson Hunt had two receptions for 43 yards and Stroud added 40 yards on three receptions out of the backfield.
Defensively, John Wilson Jarrett had nine tackles and David Coulter had nine tackles and a sack. Blake Bryant had seven tackles and an interception, Alex Harmon had seven and Ty Tavares had seven stops and a sack. Jackson Hibbard had six tackles.
See full report in next’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Wetumpka 27, G.W. Carver 7
Jadarious Martin threw for a pair of first-half touchdowns and Kavosiey Smoke added another in the third quarter as the Indians defeated Carver 27-7 at Cramton Bowl in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Friday night.
The Indians (11-1) will play host to Spanish Fort (11-1) next week at Hohenburg Field in the 6A quarterfinals. Carver ends the season at 5-7.
Martin threw to E.J. Rogers for a 39-yard touchdown in the first quarter and found his favorite receiver, Keedrick Adams, with a 16-yard touchdown strike later in the first half. Carver managed to score before halftime, giving Wetumpka a slim 13-7 advantage.
The Indians added to the scoreboard in the second half as Smoke connected with Adams for a touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Wetumpka’s Darren Nolen returned an interception for a touchdown late in the game to round out the scoring.
Bibb County 41, Tallassee 16
CENTREVILLE – Tallassee took a seven-point lead late in the first quarter on a Casey Baynes’ pass, but Bibb County rallied with 28 unanswered points as the Choctaws took a 41-16 win over the Tigers in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.
Bibb County (11-1) will travel to Mobile to play UMS-Wright (10-2) in the 4A quarterfinals next week. Tallassee ends the season at 10-2.
Baynes hit Kalvin Levett with a 56-yard touchdown pass with 3:05 left in the first quarter, but Tallassee wouldn’t score again until the pair hooked up on a 60-yard touchdown pass late in the third. Erin Heard then erased any Tallassee dreams of a comeback with a 60-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage.
Baynes completed 17 of 34 passes for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns but was intercepted four times. Levett had 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns on seven receptions, while Markevious Mathews led the rushing attack with 58 yards on 13 carries.
Darryl Harris led Bibb County with 135 yards on nine carries, followed by Heard with 128 yards on 15 carries and Myles Kornegay with 109 yards on nine carries. The trio combined for four touchdowns.
Central 42, Robert E. Lee 14
PHENIX CITY – The top-ranked Red Devils scored three quick touchdowns in the first quarter and cruised to a 42-14 victory over their region rivals in the second round of the 7A state playoffs.
Peter Parrish threw three first-quarter touchdown passes, including 34 and 20 yards to heralded prospect Justyn Ross, for a 21-0 lead. The pair hooked up again in the second half for another touchdown.
Central (11-0) will play host to McGill-Toolen in the 7A semifinals next week. Robert E. Lee (7-4) ends the season in Garrett-Harrison Stadium for the second time in three years after losing in overtime in the 2015 quarterfinals.
Spanish Fort 48, Sidney Lanier 26
SPANISH FORT – Spanish Fort led just 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, but scored 28 points over the next 12 minutes to rout the Poets 48-26 in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.
Spanish Fort (11-1) will travel to Wetumpka to play the Indians at Hohenburg Field in the 6A quarterfinals. Sidney Lanier ends the season at 10-2.
Conner Hegan scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage on a 70-yard run and Jack Samsel threw for five touchdown passes to help the Toros to a 35-3 halftime lead before Lanier scored a pair of touchdowns late.
Opelika 27, Park Crossing 21
OPELIKA – Opelika scored 20 unanswered points, including back-to-back possessions that turned a deficit into victory as the Bulldogs defeated the Thunderbirds for the second consecutive season at Bulldog Stadium.
Opelika (9-3) will travel to Tuscaloosa next week to face Hillcrest (9-3), a 34-27 winner at Saraland, in the 6A quarterfinals. Park Crossing (10-2) ends the season for the second consecutive year in Bulldog Stadium after falling in the 2016 semifinals.
Park Crossing held a 14-0 lead early but unraveled in the fourth quarter. Cade Blackmon hit Omar Holloway with an 84-yard pass to tie the game before Bruce King intercepted Cam Taylor’s pass on the next Thunderbird possession. Conner Smith then ran 13 yards for the game-winning points to send the Bulldogs into the quarterfinals.
Luverne 34, Aliceville 30
ALICEVILLE — Last year’s 2A runner-ups traded touchdowns with visiting Luverne for most of the night, but a 19-yard touchdown run by Luverne’s Marcus McGhee with 5:43 remaining sealed the victory. The Yellow Jackets marched down field in their ensuing possession, but fell short of a comeback, and the Tigers took over on downs with less than a minute left.
“My hats off to my kids, because I’ve seen this all year. We do fight and I’ve been very pleased with that throughout the whole year,” Aliceville coach Melvin Pete said.
Aliceville trailed Luverne 20-18 at halftime, and the third quarter was a scoreless affair. The Yellow Jackets struck first in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown run by Zavien Wilkins to take a 24-20 lead. Wilkins scored again on a 25-yard run, making it 30-27. He finished with 173 yards rushing on 31 carries.
“Give credit to Aliceville. They played their behinds off, and our guys did too and we knew it was going to be a battle all the way,” Luverne coach Scott Rials said. “We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game, and we just had to get out there and play and never give up. If you get down, keep your head up and keep playing hard.”
Aliceville quarterback Kavon McGraw rushed for 111 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. He also completed 5 of 10 passes for 110 yards and threw a 29 yard touchdown pass to Andrevious Johnson. Elijah Plott finished with eight tackles.
The Yellow Jackets finished the year with an overall record of 6-5.
“In your first year, you hope that you put everything in the right perspective, and honestly I think that they just wanted it just a little bit more,” Pete said. “We fought, but sometimes you’ve got to take on the fight as a coach a little bit more, so we’re learning lessons and we will continue to learn lessons.”
Luverne (10-2) advances to the quarterfinals and will travel to Leroy (10-2) next week.
–Joey Chandler, Tuscaloosa News
Escambia Academy 30, Autauga Academy 20
TROY – Trey Turner and Patrick McGhee combined to rush for 224 yards and held Autauga to just 54 yards on the ground as Escambia Academy stunned the Generals 30-20 in the AISA Class AA championship game at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Escambia (12-1) avenged their only loss this season as well as a 28-21 setback in the 2016 championship game as the Cougars won their second state title. Autauga (12-1) lost for the first time in 26 games.
The Cougars did it by jumping out to a quick 18-0 lead on a quarterback sneak by Jabe Dawe, a 51-yard bomb from Dawe to Neike Robinson and a fumble return by Jason Davis.
Dawe completed just three passes, but two went to Robinson for 66 yards and a touchdown and the other went to Fred Flavors for a 66-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to put the Cougars back in control, 24-7, after Tripp Carr’s 58-yard touchdown pass to James Woods trimmed the deficit to 18-7 heading into halftime.
Turner had 23 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown, scoring midway through the fourth quarter for a 30-7 lead. McGhee added 102 yards on 15 carries.
Defensively, MJ Jones had eight tackles and a forced fumble to lead Escambia and Turner had eight tackles and an interception return for 29 yards.
Javon Brown scored two late touchdowns for Autauga to make the score respectable. He finished with 85 yards on 17 carries. Carr completed 9 of 17 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown, while Woods finished with 118 yards on four receptions. Multi-purpose star Kendrick Rogers managed just two receptions for 24 yards, along with one carry for 2 yards and one kickoff return for 15 yards.
Khalid Young led Autauga with 11 tackles, followed by Jakari Howard with nine.
Patrician Academy 22, Chambers Academy 20
TROY – Patrician Academy’s defense held Chambers in check on five possessions in the second half to pull off a stunning 22-20 victory in the AISA Class A championship game at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon.
The win capped an amazing postseason run for Patrician (9-4), which entered the playoffs with a 6-4 record before upsetting Region 1’s fourth seed (Lowndes), which had defeated them just three weeks earlier, second seed Crenshaw and top seed Chambers, which entered the finals with a 12-0 record after losing in the championship game a year earlier.
It was the ninth state championship for the Saints, which had lost in 2014 and 2011 in their previous two trips to the championship game.
All of the scoring came in the first half as Anderson Newman threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Duren, ran 7 yards for another score and threw 87 yards to Blake Reid for a 22-14 lead late in the first half.
C.J. Lyons, who accounted for 251 all-purpose yards with 188 yards rushing, 122 receiving yards and 11 yards on a kickoff return, scored a pair of touchdown to give Chambers a brief 14-7 lead before the Saints rallied. Hunter Davis ran 48 yards with 41 seconds left for Chambers, but the potential tying two-point conversion run by Jordan Gillespie was stopped short, leaving Patrician in front 22-20.
Neither team would score in the second half, but Chambers drove to the Patrician 17-yard line twice before turning the ball over on downs, once when a run failed to pick up the first down and the second time on an incomplete pass. The last two possessions ended with interceptions.
Newman completed just three passes, but they covered 160 yards. Dalton McKenzie led the Saints with 77 yards on 15 carries.
Monroe Academy 34, Bessemer Academy 14
TROY – Griff McKenzie passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Monroe Academy cruised past their bitter rival 34-14 in the AISA Class AAA championship game on Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
It was the ninth state title for the Volunteers (13-0), who lost to the Rebels in the 2015 and 2016 finals and the 2014 semifinals. Monroe last won a state title in 2013 with a 31-6 win over Bessemer.
McKenzie threw to his brother Dalton for the game’s first touchdown and then to Clay Moye for a 14-0 lead before Bessemer (8-6) answered with a 2-yard run by Austin Clarke. McKenzie responded with another touchdown pass to his brother, then scored on runs of 5 and 1 yards to give the Volunteers a 34-7 lead.
He finished with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries and completed 9 of 12 passes for 76 yards and three more touchdowns. Dalton McKenzie rushed for 73 yards on 18 carries and caught four passes for 36 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Ty Hatcher completed 6 of 12 passes for 108 yards and the Rebels’ final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
FIRST ROUND AHSAA PLAYOFFS & SECOND ROUND AISA PLAYOFFS
Last Updated at 12:42am November 11, 2017
Montgomery Academy 26, Bayside Academy 13
Montgomery Academy coach Gary Nelson collected his first ever playoff win as the Eagles came from behind with an impressive second half to down Bayside 26-13 in the first round of the AHSAA Class 3A playoffs at McLemore Field.
Montgomery Academy (9-2) will play host to American Christian Academy, a 38-6 winner over Slocomb, next Friday at McLemore Field in a second-round game. Bayside Academy ends the season at 5-6.
“A special victory for us and the guys deserve to win,” Nelson said. “They made the big plays and were
well prepared. I was really proud of our defense making adjustments and keeping up with Bayside’s offense since they can run a very confusing mix of plays.”
It was the first time the Eagles have defeated the Admirals in three tries and the first time Bayside has ever lost a first-round playoff game.
Trailing 7-0, Keefe White returned the Admirals’ kickoff 49 yards to put MA in business at the Bayside 46-yard line. On the next play Eagles’ quarterback Trey Lindsey connected with sophomore receiver William Robertson for a touchdown. The point after touchdown was missed and the Eagles trailed at intermission 7-6.
The second half belonged to MA. Lindsey threw to C. J. Paymon for a short touchdown and Paymon came back in the fourth quarter to score on a 2-yard run. Keefe White scored the final MA touchdown with a 38-yard run. Paymon ended the night with 98 yards and White gained 89 yards.
Lindsey was effective leading the Eagles offense. The junior signal caller was 9 of 18 for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lindsey’s favorite target, Nate Meacham, made a couple of spectacular catches and also picked off an Admirals’ pass.
Paymon led the Eagles defense with 14 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Mason Young added 12 tackles and Brown Simmons had 10 tackles.
Saint James 62, West Blocton 13
Shaw Woodson and Steven Sadie had first-quarter interception returns for touchdowns as the Trojans cruised to an easy rout of West Blocton in the first round of the 4A state playoffs at Carlisle Field on Friday night.
St. James (8-3) will travel to face Andalusia (10-1), a 42-14 winner over Childersburg, in the second round of the state playoffs next Friday. West Blocton ends the season at 6-5 after dropping to 1-10 in first-round playoff games since 1992.
The Trojans scored first on Woodson’s 42-yard interception return, but West Blocton took a 7-6 lead on Christian Wright’s 18-yard touchdown dash. After Sadie returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, Tony Amerson took over with touchdown runs of 6, 48 and 4 yards in the second quarter to turn the game into a rout. Sadie added a 35-yard scoring run to help the Trojans to a 43-7 lead at the half.
Josh Garnett added to the lead with a quarterback sneak from a yard out before West Blocton’s Keontae Taylor ran 10 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Chandler Armagost and Will Wales added fourth-quarter touchdown runs for the Trojans.
Montgomery Catholic 17, Sipsey Valley 0
Catholic stopped Sipsey Valley’s first possession, then held the Bears to three first downs over the next 36 minutes to earn a hard-fought 17-0 win in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs on Friday.
Catholic (10-1) will host UMS-Wright in a second-round game next week after winning their first playoff game since 1989.
“We made it last year and it was kind of new to all of us,” senior linebacker Parker Dennis said. “We’re not used to making the playoffs or being successful. This year, we knew what we had in mind. We want to go as far in the playoffs as we can.”
Sipsey Valley (4-7), which made the playoffs after Hale County was forced to forfeit all of its games last week, has never won a playoff game in three attempts.
The Knights scored on their second play from scrimmage on a lateral from Hunter Ferrall to Kamryn Jackson as the senior receiver weaved his way through the Bears’ defense for 83 yards, but for the remainder of the game, the yards were hard to get and the points even harder as the high-powered Catholic offense was held in check.
“They didn’t lose a game in their region by less than a touchdown,” Catholic coach Aubrey Blackwell said. “That’s a really good football team. They’re young. I expect good things out of Sipsey Valley in the future.”
Sipsey Valley picked up three first downs on the game’s first possession, driving to a first and 10 at the Catholic 20 before Jordan Moore’s fourth-down pass to Jax Morris came up two yards short. The Bears would pick up just one first down the remainder of the half and neither team moved the ball in the third quarter before the Knights finally put the game out of reach on a 27-yard pass from Ferrall to DJ Carter with 8:33 left.
Ty Washington led the Bears with 54 yards on 18 carries.
Tyler Price had 162 yards on 27 carries for the Knights.
Alabama Christian 33, Northside 28
SAMANTHA – In a matchup of two teams chasing historic seasons, Northside’s first-ever nine-win season came to an end as the Rams lost to Alabama Christian, 33-28, in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs on Friday.
Northside could not overcome a dominating performance by Alabama Christian running back Alden Stroud. Stroud had 320 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries.
“Alden means to the most to our team,” Alabama Christian coach Nate Sanford said. “He means as much as one player can mean.”
After the two teams traded scores twice, Stroud ran 85 yards after a big stop by the Eagles’ defense on fourth down. Alabama Christian took a 19-14 lead going into the half.
Northside suffered a big loss early in the game when running back John Robertson left the game with an injury.
“He’s been the bell cow for us all year,” Northside coach Chris Hilliker said. “Him getting knocked out, that hurt our mentality a little bit.”
After a scoreless third quarter, the Rams took a 22-19 lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Corken to Darvis Smith. The Eagles then scored 14 unanswered points to take a commanding 11-point lead with five minutes left.
Northside kept at it, driving 80 yards in less than three minutes to cut the lead to five, but failed to recover an onside kick.
Reese Solar ran for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first game at quarterback in a month to help the Eagles win their first playoff game since 1992. ACA (9-2) will play host to W.S. Neal, which pulled off a stunning 21-12 upset of Munford, in a second-round game at Wade Norton Field next Friday.
Solar, who suffered a broken jaw at Ashford four weeks ago, returned in a limited role as punter last week but returned to quarterback with 125 rushing yards and 60 passing yards after completing 5 of 10 passes.
Defensively, Cole Schlemmer led the Eagles with 10 tackles, followed by Dawson Lockier with seven, Grayson Evans with six, Garrett Cottingham with six, Ty Tavares with six and Blake Bryant with six and a fumble recovery.
Next week’s game will mark just the sixth second-round appearance by Alabama Christian in the school’s history. Northside dropped to 0-11 in its playoff history. –Matthew Speakman, Tuscaloosa News
Autauga Academy 63, Lakeside School 28
PRATTVILLE – Turner Payton had two of Autauga Academy’s four interceptions, returning one of them for a touchdown, and Javon Brown had 16 carries for 181 yards and four touchdowns to help Autauga Academy return to the Class AA state finals with an easy win over Lakeside School.
The Generals (12-0) will face Escambia (11-1) at Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday at 3:30 p.m., in a rematch of last year’s AA championship game. Autauga defeated the Cougars 42-20 at home on Oct. 20.
Tripp Carr completed 12 of 15 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, completing five of those passes to Kendrick Rogers for 100 yards and three others to James Woods for 53 yards. Woods also had a punt return for a touchdown.
Jamal Epkins scored another touchdown, rushing for 61 yards on nine carries, and Djay Gardner added another touchdown.
Defensively, Granger Armstrong had 10 tackles and an interception to lead the Generals. Khalid Young followed with nine tackles, Jakari Howard had seven tackles, Trint Camp had six tackles and an interception and Brown had six tackles.
Escambia Academy 50, Macon East Academy 13
CECIL – Colin Harris scored on a pair of touchdown runs for Macon East Academy, but the defense couldn’t contain Escambia as the Cougars ran away with a 50-13 win on Friday night.
Trey Turner and Patrick McGhee each scored a pair of touchdowns and Jabe Dawe threw for one and ran for another to help Escambia reach the AA finals for the second consecutive season.
Escambia (11-1) earned a rematch with Autauga (12-0) for the Class AA title at Troy University on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Autauga defeated the Cougars last year in the championship game and 42-20 earlier this season.
Tallassee 35, Thomasville 32 (OT)
TALLASSEE – Quinton Jeter’s 25-yard field goal in overtime provided the game-winning points as Tallassee edged Thomasville in a first-round game at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers (10-1) will travel to Bibb County (10-1), a 41-12 winner over Dale County, for a second-round game next Friday. Thomasville (7-4) lost for the fourth time in its last six games.
Tallassee, winning its fourth consecutive first-round game at home, gave up a big play early on Corrigan Thibodeaux’s 68-yard touchdown pass to Bralen Washington, but rallied with three touchdowns over the next 15 minutes for an 18-7 lead.
Casey Baynes connected on short scoring tosses to Kalvin Levett and Jake Burton and Levett added a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown to put Tallassee in front before Thomasville came back with a pair of quick touchdowns late in the first half for a 22-18 lead.
Washington scored on a 13-yard run and Quez Ausbon added a 1-yard run for the halftime lead and the visitors added a field goal midway through the third quarter for a 25-18 lead.
Baynes, who completed 10 of 13 passes for 123 yards, hit Burton with a 42-yard touchdown pass to tie the game and Markevious Mathews added an 84-yard touchdown run 37 seconds into the fourth quarter for a 32-25 lead.
Thibodeaux, who completed 6 of 8 passes for 146 yards, answered with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jacory Lee with 6:55 left to tie the game and force overtime.
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 34, Stanhope Elmore 0
TUSCALOOSA — Hillcrest High School advanced to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs for the fourth consecutive season with a 34-0 shutout over Stanhope Elmore on Friday night.
The Patriots’ special teams became the difference-maker after a scoreless first quarter.
Joseph Gannon made two field goals, 38 and 35 yards, to put Hillcrest up 6-0. Cagan Campbell scored on a 44-yard punt return, and by halftime Hillcrest had a 20-0 advantage. Gannon also went 4 of 4 on extra point attempts.
“In the first half of this game that was a big difference,” Hillcrest coach Sam Adams said. “We feel like we have a lot of confidence in our kickers and our punters and we did a good job on coverage, and that is how you win games in the playoffs is the kicking game, so I was proud of that.”
Hillcrest held Stanhope Elmore to 115 yards of total offense. Five of the Mustangs’ nine first downs came from penalties.
“We played a very sloppy game and had a lot of penalties that are just inexcusable,” Adams said. “Field conditions weren’t great, but it was like that for them too, so we are just excited to get another win and play one more next week.”
Colby Smelley led the Patriots offense. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, both to receiver Tre Ross.
Stanhope Elmore wrapped up the season with an overall record of 5-6.
“We just didn’t play well. They’ve got a great football team, and that is why they are where they are at,” Mustangs coach Brian Bradford said. “They played a great game and we didn’t.”
Hillcrest (8-3) travels to Saraland (8-3) next week. –Joey Chandler, Tuscaloosa News
Park Crossing 35, Bessemer City 6
Uziah McDaniels scored an early touchdown and Cam Taylor threw for two more as Park Crossing renewed its postseason rivalry with Bessemer City in an easy victory on Friday night at Cramton Bowl.
The Thunderbirds (10-1) will travel to Opelika next week for a second-round game. The Bulldogs ended Park Crossing’s season last year in Bulldog Stadium with a semifinal rout.
The Purple Tigers (4-7), dating back to their days as Jess Lanier, have only won one first-round playoff game on the road since reaching the 6A finals in 1986 and that was their shocking 28-24 win over Park Crossing in 2015. In the last two meetings, the game has never been in doubt.
Carver 13, McAdory 7
McCALLA – The Yellow Jackets had all of the tradition and history on their side.
That didn’t seem to faze G.W. Carver, which got a 70-yard touchdown run from Justin Lewis and a 25-yard touchdown run by Terrance Webster to pull off a stunning 13-7 win at McAdory on Friday night.
McAdory (6-5), which was making its 20th consecutive playoff appearance and were 10-3 at home in first-round games, could never get untracked on offense. Carver’s Willie Spears is only the third Wolverine coach to make the playoffs in his first season and had to win three straight region games to close out the season to earn a berth. Now, the Wolverines (5-6) will be returning home to play Wetumpka, a 41-7 winner over Blount, in a second-round playoff game next Friday at Cramton Bowl.
Wetumpka 41, Blount 7
WETUMPKA – Jadarious Martin threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two more as the Indians had a surprisingly easy victory over Blount at Hohenburg Field to win its first home first-round game since 2010 on Friday night.
Wetumpka (10-1) will face G.W. Carver, which stunned McAdory 13-7, in a second-round playoff game next Friday at Cramton Bowl. Blount ends the season at 6-5.
Martin threw a 22-yard pass to Robert Lapadre to open the scoring before the Leopards rallied to take a brief lead. Martin countered with touchdown runs of 25 and 73 yards and threw another touchdown pass, this one to Keedrick Adams, to put the Indians comfortably in front.
Tailback Kavosiey Smoke threw his second touchdown pass of the season when he connected with Adams in the fourth quarter. Terrance Thomas added a 50-yard touchdown run for Wetumpka, which snapped both a three-game losing skid to Blount and a three-game skid in playoff games.
McGill-Toolen 35, Jeff Davis 14
MOBILE – Bryan Hill scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter to give the Yellow Jackets an early lead as they cruised to a 35-14 win over Jeff Davis in the first round of the 7A state playoffs at Lipscomb Complex on Friday night.
McGill-Toolen (11-0) will travel to Auburn for a second-round game next Friday. Jeff Davis (5-6) finished the season with five losses in its last six games and hasn’t won a playoff game since beating McGill-Toolen in 2003.
Robert E. Lee 28, Fairhope 7
FAIRHOPE – Kaniaus Johnson ran for a touchdown and completed 10 of 14 passes for 110 yards and another score to lead Robert E. Lee to a shockingly easy 28-7 win over the Pirates at Fairhope Municipal Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Johnson’s touchdown pass helped the Generals (7-3) to a 7-7 tie at the half before Lee’s defense took control in the second half.
Both of the Pirates’ regular-season losses were to highly regarded teams who had lopsided wins in first-round action on Friday night as 7A McGill-Toolen disposed of Jeff Davis and 5A St. Paul’s Episcopal routed Marbury. But Fairhope (8-3) saw its season come to an unexpected early end as the Generals rolled into a second-round rematch with unbeaten Central High in Phenix City next week.
Lee, which had beaten Murphy in 2015 for its only first-round playoff win since 2001 before Friday night, was forced to forfeit all of its wins last year for the use of an ineligible player and missed the playoffs.
Poets advance to second round
By TIM GAYLE
Sidney Lanier’s Noah Hart caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from James Foster with just under five minutes left to give the Poets a 21-20 victory over Paul Bryant in the opening round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Cramton Bowl on Thursday night (November 9, 2017).
“I checked to a slant but I saw (the defender) sitting inside so I just broke it to the fade and my quarterback got me the ball,” said Hart, who caught three passes for 46 yards but had another apparent touchdown reception ruled out of bounds on the final play of the first half. “This is my first time winning a playoff game so it’s a big win for us.”
Lanier (10-1) will play host to Pelham or travel to Spanish Fort for the second round of the playoffs next Friday. It was the Poets’ first playoff victory since 2006 and they looked the part, putting together an uninspired performance on Thursday.
“I think the guys just found some character and resolve and we just stuck together,” Lanier coach Marvin Cunningham said. “The coaching staff and I talked about just keeping them focused on playing football and not the winning or losing side of it. We just wanted to play football and not worry about the scoreboard.”
The Stampede, aiming for the program’s first playoff victory, took a 19-14 lead with 8:16 left on a quick slant-in pass from Ty’Javian Edwards to Seth Williams that turned into a 69-yard scoring play, but opted to kick the extra point and Jack Leach’s kick made it a six-point game.
Lanier then used a 35-yard kickoff return by Adjante Oliver to start an eight-play drive at midfield. Five runs by Jacory Merritt set the stage for Foster’s pass to Hart in the left corner of the end zone.
Foster gave the Poets a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard quarterback sneak in the first quarter before the Stampede (6-5) rallied with a 29-yard field goal by Leach and a 12-yard pass from Edwards to Lionel Grant for a 10-7 lead. Leach added another field goal, this one from 30 yards, to give Paul Bryant a six-point lead at the half as Lanier’s final play of the first half, a 28-yard pass from Foster to Hart, was ruled out of the back of the end zone.
Lanier would take a 14-13 lead on another Foster quarterback sneak before the Stampede rallied in the fourth quarter with Williams’ touchdown reception.
Paul Bryant would have one last shot after Hart’s touchdown catch, driving as deep as the Lanier 29 with six seconds left, but Williams got under his 46-yard field goal attempt, sending the ball straight up into the air as time ran out.
“It means a lot to us,” said Merritt, who finished with 79 yards on 21 carries. “Our goal is to proceed into the playoffs one game at a time and that’s one mindset. We came out with the win.”
Gary Quarles led the Stampede with 174 yards on 28 carries, while Edwards was 6 of 9 for 120 yards, all of it coming in the second and fourth quarters.
Foster was 16 of 24 for 217 yards and a touchdown for the Poets.
Defensively, Dezuro Hewitt led Paul Bryant with 10 tackles, followed by Jemarcus Burrell with eight. Glenn Adams led Lanier with 11 tackles, followed by L’Dontay Garrison and Oliver with eight tackles each.
FINAL WEEK OF THE REGULAR SEASON
Last updated at 1:26 am November 4, 2017
Macon East 38, Clarke Prep 34
CECIL – It was almost as if you had drawn it up in the dirt.
Tucker Neven and Brock Taunton connected three times in the final 13 minutes, with quarterback Neven hitting his favorite receiver for 73 yards and a touchdown and 32 yards and a touchdown to rally Macon East Academy to a 38-34 victory over Clarke Prep in the first round of the AISA Class AA playoffs on Friday night.
The final touchdown, to an uncovered Taunton running alone down the right sideline, provided the game-winning points with 4:18 remaining.
“It was just one of those plays that we drew up on the side right here,” Taunton said. “We just worked our magic.”
Neven avoided a blitzing Dylan Thomas by stepping up and letting go of the ball just as he drew even with the line of scrimmage.
“I stepped up in the pocket and rolled out,” Neven said. “The linebacker came for me and nobody was covering Brock. I was looking for Brock pre-snap and I saw his guy coming for me.”
Macon East (10-1), winning its first playoff game since 2007, will face Escambia (10-1) next Friday night at home for the right to advance to the Class AA championship game. Escambia crushed Cornerstone 55-0 in the Cougars’ first-round game.
“I think they believe they can win,” Lott said of his players. “We’re playing with house money right now. We’re on the other side of the stick. Everybody thought we should win tonight because Clarke Prep was 3-7, but they played probably the best schedule in the state this year. So next week everybody will think Escambia will win so we can just play and throw it up and see what happens.”
Clarke Prep ends the season at 3-8, losing in the first round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Gators faced nine playoff teams this season.
“They had a great game plan early,” Macon East coach Glynn Lott said. “They had us confused a little bit in the first half. But we stress special teams and JC (Ceman) and Brock are both weapons when they get it. The biggest thing that scares you is when (Ceman) gets put out for getting in a pile and doing whatever.”
In a game full of big plays, Mike Murry ran 69 yards on only his second carry of the night to give Macon East a 20-14 halftime lead, then Ceman ran down a botched kickoff and returned it 83 yards for a touchdown and a 26-21 lead after Clarke Prep had taken its first lead of the game moments earlier.
From there, it was the Gators’ brawn versus the Knights’ big-play tandem of Neven and Taunton.
“They pretty much tell me what’s open,” Lott said. “They know the offense well. We pretty much run the same stuff they ran at other places and some of their plays they’ve done at different places we’ve shared. They’re all cupball players. They’ve all played on the sidelines. I remember Brock when he was here the first time and he was in the cupball game all night long. That’s basically what they’re doing, they’re just playing in space.”
Taunton, Neven and Ceman all went to school initially at Macon East Academy before transferring to other schools. They were reunited this season in helping the football Knights to their first region title since 2001.
“We’ve been doing this since we were about 6, going to elementary school together,” Neven said, “and going up through high school.”
Taunton had transferred to Edgewood, then Wetumpka before returning to Macon. Ceman also went to Edgewood, then Park Crossing, before returning to Macon and Neven went to Fort Dale, then Park Crossing before coming back to Macon.
“It just feels like we’re coming back home,” Neven said. “We split ways, but it’s a great feeling to come back and being on a good team. Hopefully, we can carry it on.”
After Ceman’s kickoff return, Clarke Prep answered with a pair of touchdowns to take a 34-26 lead. Neven and Taunton teamed up for a pair of touchdowns to rally the Knights, using the long touchdown pass to pull within two, then fooling the Gators with a sideline route for a 29-yard gain before the game winner.
“We just went to that as we played,” Taunton said. “It worked because the cornerback went with the slant-and-go and it just opened up that play. (On the long touchdown play), it was just a common slant-and-go because they were playing us deep. We just finally beat them on a slant-and-go.”
Catholic 31, Marbury 7
MARBURY – Kamryn Jackson returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and Catholic cruised to a 31-7 win over Marbury for its first nine-win season since 1989.
The Knights (9-1) will face Sipsey Valley in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs next week at home. Marbury (4-6) will make its first trip to the playoffs since 2008 when the Bulldogs travel to Vigor next week.
Catholic’s offense sputtered and turned the ball over on downs twice before Tyler Price finally found the end zone on a 6-yard run for a 14-0 halftime lead. The Knights threatened early in the third quarter but had to settle for a field goal by Rocky Philipou.
Early in the fourth quarter Daryl Gibson struck twice, first with a 47-yard touchdown dash, then with a 16-yard run. Gibson ended the game with 88 rushing yards. Marbury scored with less than a minute remaining.
On defense C.J. Person had 8 tackles and Parker Dennis blocked a punt for Catholic.
Autauga Academy 49, Kingwood Christian 6
PRATTVILLE – Jamal Epkins had two touchdowns and 88 rushing yards on two carries and Triston Hudson had 54 yards and a touchdown on a pair of carries as Autauga Academy rolled to an easy victory in the first round of the AISA Class AA playoffs.
Autauga (11-0) will remain home next week to face Lakeside (7-3), a 35-34 winner over Jackson. Kingwood Christian ends the season at 1-10.
The Generals rested their starters for most of the contest. Tripp Carr threw just two passes, completing both for touchdowns. James Woods had one of the receptions for 35 yards and Dominique Webster had the other one on a 24-yard scoring reception.
Defensively, Bailey Taylor led the Generals with seven tackles. Jakari Howard had five tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, while Jalen Morrow had five tackles and Logan Gilmore had four.
For first-year coach Bobby Carr, the victory over Kingwood Christian is the 19th consecutive playoff victory and his 82nd straight win as a head coach, dating back to a 2010 loss to Glenwood while he was the head coach at Edgewood.
Patrician Academy 28, Lowndes Academy 20
BUTLER – Jon Johnson rushed for 111 yards and Daniel Janes added 79 but it wasn’t enough to overcome three turnovers as Lowndes Academy fell to Patrician in the first round of the AISA Class A playoffs.
Patrician (7-4) will play host to Crenshaw Christian (8-3) in the semifinals next week.
Lowndes (5-5) went into the game shorthanded after starting quarterback Mason McCurdy suffered an ankle injury in practice on Wednesday, forcing Johnson to move back to quarterback. The senior scored the Rebels’ final touchdown and completed 3 of 12 passes for 36 yards to go along with his 14 carries. He also led the defense with six tackles.
Janes had two touchdowns on his nine carries, scoring Lowndes’ first touchdown to tie the game at 7-7, then adding a second score on a 33-yard run to pull within 14-13. The two-point conversion following the second touchdown failed and the Saints scored again for a 21-13 halftime lead.
Lowndes recovered the onside kick to start the second half, but turned the ball over on downs four plays later. Patrician drove down and scored for a 28-13 lead before Johnson’s touchdown.
Buddy Johnson had five tackles for Lowndes.
Stanhope Elmore 36, Selma 22
MILLBROOK – Logan Swindle and Quantarius Daniels each accounted for a pair of touchdowns to help Stanhope Elmore rally past Selma on Friday night at Foshee-Henderson Stadium.
Stanhope Elmore (5-5), aiming for its first winning season since 2012, will travel to Tuscaloosa next week to play Hillcrest High in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Swindle threw a touchdown pass to Conner Bradford for the Mustangs’ first score after they fell behind early and added a 5-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run to close out the scoring.
After Trey Duncan scored on an 11-yard run to tie the game, Daniels added scoring runs of 3 and 4 yards to put the Mustangs in front.
Highland Home 69, Prattville Christian 41
PRATTVILLE – Donaven Roberson threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for three scores to lead Highland Home to its sixth consecutive victory, the longest winning streak for the Flying Squadron since 2002.
Highland Home (7-3) will travel to Marengo next week in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs, while Prattville Christian (3-7) will travel to Evergreen to play Hillcrest in a first-round game.
Roberson threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Brandon Strength and 24 yards to Noah Phillips and also scored on touchdown runs of 10, 44 and 53 yards. K.J. Hall, who returned a PCA fumble 40 yards for a score, added touchdown runs of 40, 42 and 91 yards in the second half.
Rod McLemore added another score on an interception return for a touchdown.
Prattville Christian’s Michael McCarthy scored twice in the first half, the first on an interception return and then on a 47-yard run. Sterling Berry scored on a 31-yard dash in the first half and Preston Cox added a 1-yard plunge for the Panthers.
Berry scored again in the second half on a 9-yard run and Brandon Briggs added a 14-yard run for a touchdown.
Sidney Lanier 34, Prattville 3
PRATTVILLE – James Foster threw for three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead Sidney Lanier to an easy victory over the Lions at Stanley-Jensen Stadium.
Lanier (9-1), posting their best record since 2000, will play Paul Bryant in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs next Thursday at Cramton Bowl. The Poets will be seeking their first playoff win since 2006 in their first-ever meeting with the Stampede.
Prattville ends the season at 3-6.
Rodriques Ellington started the scoring with a 68-yard sprint to the end zone following aa bubble screen from Foster. Jacory Merritt added a 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 halftime lead before Foster came back with touchdown passes of 19 yards to Ellington and 14 yards to Delancey Tolliver.
Foster scrambled away from pressure and scored on a 7-yard run three minutes into the fourth quarter for a 34-0 lead.
Noah Sheets kicked a 38-yard field goal for the Lions with a minute left to avoid the shutout.
ACA embraces needed win over MA
By TIM GAYLE
For first-year coach Nate Sanford, Thursday night’s 35-18 win over Montgomery Academy after two losses and an open date
couldn’t have come at a better time. ACA’s last home win came on Sept. 22 against Trinity.
“Our last win was at Ashford, which feels like last season,” Sanford said. “So it’s a big deal to sort of springboard ourselves going into this first round of the playoffs.”
The Eagles (8-2) lost starting quarterback Reece Solar with a broken jaw in the 35-10 win at Ashford, but Solar returned to his punting duties on Thursday night and should be ready to return to quarterback against Hale County.
In his place, freshman Jalen Clark struggled against St. James, played better against Catholic and looked like a starter against Montgomery Academy, completing 10 of 13 passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 56 yards and two more touchdowns.
The matchup featured two of the city’s best tailbacks with Alden Stroud and Montgomery Academy’s Keefe White didn’t disappoint. Stroud finished with 168 yards on 23 carries, while White had 127 yards on 12 carries.
Alabama Christian blew a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half with a fumble inside the MA 10 yard line. ACA then drove to the Montgomery Academy 3 yard line, but Coleman Harrison’s field goal attempt was blocked by Brian Wilson.
Montgomery Academy (8-2) then drove to the ACA 11 for a 28-yard field goal by Bradley Westhauser, trimming the deficit to 7-3 at the half.
Montgomery Academy coach Gary Nelson felt his team was lethargic in the first half. “They’re a good football team,” Nelson said of ACA. “We’re a little out of rhythm this week for a lot of reasons and I think that affected us and took us a little while to get going.” Nelson refused to elaborate and felt his team would recover in time for Friday’s first-round playoff game with Bayside Academy at McLemore Field. ACA will travel to Northside in the first round.
In the second half, the two teams traded quick touchdowns not once, but twice as Clark’s second scoring toss to Evans, this one covering 19 yards, was matched two plays later by Lindsey’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Oliver Lester with 10:22 remaining. Nelson elected to go for two – Lindsey completed a pass to William Robertson – to trim the deficit to 21-18, but the Eagles would get no closer.
ACA would score on two of its final three possessions to win with ease.
“In the first half, we whipped their butt but they beat us in the red zone,” Stroud said. “You can’t beat a team if you don’t score. In the second half, we just came out with a mindset of just executing and finishing in the red zone.”
Still trailing by three points with 6:17 remaining, Nelson elected to go for it on fourth and five at the Montgomery Academy 45. White was stopped for a one-yard loss.
“I didn’t think we’d stop them again,” Nelson reasoned. “I wanted to go for it. They had a tough time tackling Keefe on ‘jet’ all night, I’m going to get the ball to our best player and see what happens. They stepped up and played well right there. You have to give them credit.”
From there, Clark scored his second touchdown of the night on a 21-yard run to seal the victory, then shoveled a pass to Jackson Hibbard that covered the final 25 yards on the next possession.
Other Thursday night action…
Dallas County 30, Billingsley 14
MARBURY – Raymond Cutler and Malik Callens scored touchdowns but it wasn’t enough as Class 5A Dallas County beat the Bears 30-14 in their final game of the 2017 season at Marbury High on Thursday night.
The Thursday night loss concluded a bizarre season for Billingsley (3-7) in which the Bears played home games in Jemison, Montgomery and Marbury after Mims Field was condemned two weeks before the start of the season.
Dallas County improved to 2-8 with the win.
Last updated at 1:26 am October 28, 2017
Saint James 56, Trinity 14
Saint James finished the season with a big win over arch rival Trinity 56-14 at Carlisle Field. The Trojans finished the season 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the region. It was the sixth consecutive victory for the Trojans, and in all of those victories they scored more than 40 points and in three games scored more than 50 points. The win also gives the Trojans a share of the region title, their first back-to-back titles since 1998-99.
Tony Amerson scored two touchdowns in each half for Saint James on runs of 4,5,6 and 47 yards. Amerson finished the night with 183 yards. Quarterback Josh Garnett scored first for the Trojans on a beautifully executed option play. Garnett also passed for a pair of touchdowns. The first was to Steven Yergenson on a fourth down play from the Wildcats 20 yard line and the second was to T.R. Robertson from 12 yards out, which was set up by and interception of a Wildcats pass by Blake Harper.
Trinity fought back trailing 21-0 when Luke Hufham caught a Trace Bright pass from 6 yards away. The Wildcats scored with just 39 seconds in the first half when Bright found Jack Singletary in the end zone. Robertson instantly got the touchdown back for the Trojans when he returned the Wildcats kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, which Saint James coach Jimmy Perry said was the “turning point in the game.”
Jim Kim tied a Saint James record by booting 7 extra points. The Trojans offense scored on drives of 40, 44, 51, 58, 65 and 70 yards. “Our offensive line is awesome,” Amerson said. “They keep getting better and better. It makes our job easier running the ball and keeping those drives going.”
Trinity will miss the playoffs after compiling a 4-6 record overall and a 3-3 record in the region. Saint James will be at home in the first round of the playoffs November 10.
Catholic 19, Alabama Christian 8
Tyler Price waited patiently for his turn and the injured Catholic tailback’s first carry resulted in a safety and a 2-0 lead by Alabama Christian.
By the fourth quarter, the senior tailback’s hamstring wasn’t bothering him at all as he scored on a 15-yard run with 64 seconds remaining to clinch a 19-8 win over the Eagles and give the Knights their first area or region title since 1989.
“The coaches have done a very good job of preparing us for this moment,” Price said. “I wouldn’t be here without my linemen, without my defense, everybody helping us out. It’s safe to say this is a great time to be a Knight.”
The Knights (8-1) will share the region title with St. James, but will have the top seed entering the playoffs in two weeks by virtue of a 7-6 victory over the Trojans earlier this season.
It was anything but easy as Alabama Christian (7-2) put forth an outstanding effort on both sides of the ball, forcing Catholic to convert fourth-down plays four out of five times, the final one on Hunter Ferrall’s 31-yard pass to freshman DJ Carter on a fourth-and-17 play that put the Knights on top 13-8 with 10:22 remaining.
“You prepare for those scenarios,” Blackwell said. “We had to go for it a bunch on fourth down tonight. In a game like this, you can’t leave it on the sideline or in the playbook, you’ve got to let it go.”
Up until that point, the Eagles had rallied with a 35-yard burst up the middle by Alden Stroud with 3:14 remaining in the third period that put ACA on top 8-7.
Catholic, which overcame the early deficit with a 24-yard touchdown run by Kamryn Jackson, survived a little trickery as Stroud lobbed a pass down the left sideline for Grayson Evans out of punt formation. Evans was bumped several times by defender Greg Ellis as the pair raced for the ball, but the play drew no penalty flag, turning the ball over to Catholic at the ACA 39.
A little over a minute later, the Eagles would turn the ball over on downs again, this time at the ACA 32. After a run by Jackson, five straight carries by Price, who finished with 89 yards on 24 carries, found the end zone and dropped the Eagles to a third seed for the upcoming playoffs.
“Whoever gets us in the first round of the playoffs doesn’t know what they’re about to get,” Alabama Christian coach Nate Sanford said. “They’re going to see 19-8, they took a beating from St. James. That’s not the whole story. We’re about to get our quarterback (Reece Solar) back in the next 10 days or so and our guys are starting to figure it out.”
Montgomery Academy 26, PCA 3
PRATTVILLE – Keefe White rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries to help Montgomery Academy finish region play unbeaten with a 26-3 win over Prattville Christian on Friday night.
White scored on runs of 3, 15 and 43 yards to lead the Eagles (8-1), while CJ Paymon added 117 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Trey Lindsey completed 6 of 14 passes for 83 yards.
Paymon led the MA defense with nine tackles. Jack Mozingo added eight. Mason Young forced a fumble and Reggie Dixon had a fumble recovery.
Prattville Christian (3-6) remains home to play Highland Home next week.
Montgomery Academy (8-1), will travel across town to play at Alabama Christian on Thursday night before hosting a first-round playoff game the following week.
Hooper Academy 53, Evangel Christian 12
Trace Edwards rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 155 yards and two more scores as the Colts ran away from Evangel Christian to post their first winning season since 2011.
Hooper (6-5) tallied three non-offensive touchdowns to make a winner out of Duane McWhorter in his first year as the Colts’ head coach. It marked only the third time in school history and the first time since the mid-1970s a football coach at Hooper completed his first season with a winning record.
Edwards completed 8 of 13 passes for the visitors, with Wyatt Barnett recording 85 receiving yards and a touchdown and Reed Culver gaining 26 receiving yards with a touchdown.
Cody King had a 35-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown, while Jackson Fancher had a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Defensively, Culver led the Colts with 11 tackles. Grant Tyson had 10 tackles and a sack. Evangel (1-9) got both of its touchdowns on a pair of Aaron Alpert passes. Alpert threw for 179 yards and connected with Daryl Stewart on touchdown passes of 6 and 49 yards. On defense, Alpert had an interception and blocked an extra point.
Park Crossing 30, Clay-Chalkville 7
CLAY – Cam Taylor scored on the Thunderbirds’ first play from scrimmage on a 71-yard run and Park Crossing finished the regular season with a 9-1 record for the second consecutive year with a convincing 30-7 win at Cougar Stadium on Friday night.
Last year, Park Crossing thrashed the Cougars 56-17 at Cramton Bowl. This year, they picked up where they left off in a battle of two 8-1 teams, finishing with 424 total yards as they tuned up for their next game, a first-round playoff game at Cramton Bowl on Nov. 10.
Taylor scored another touchdown before leaving the game in the first half. Backup Trevor Robinson threw for a touchdown, which was more than enough for a Thunderbird defense that held the clay-Chalkville offense in check.
Sidney Lanier 49, Stanhope Elmore 27 Sidney Lanier put together a strong first half to pull away from Stanhope Elmore and grab a 49-27 win over the Mustangs at Faulkner University’s John Mark Stallings Field on Friday night.
The Poets (8-1), rebounding from last week’s loss to Park Crossing, pounded the Mustangs to finish as the No. 2 seed in region play. Lanier will travel to Prattville to close out the regular season next Thursday before hosting a first-round playoff game at Cramton Bowl in two weeks.
Stanhope Elmore (4-5) returns home to play Selma next week before playing a first-round playoff game on the road on Nov. 10.
Wetumpka 27, Benjamin Russell 17 ALEXANDER CITY – Kavosiey Smoke scored on runs of 15 and 1 yards to lead Wetumpka to its first region championship since 2010 with a 27-17 win over Benjamin Russell at the Charles Bailey Sportsplex on Friday night.
The Indians (9-1) jumped out to an early lead but Benjamin Russell (7-2) rallied to pull within three at 20-17 when Smoke capped an Indian drive with a plunge into the end zone to give Wetumpka its best regular-season finish since 1995.
The Indians will have to wait to see where they are seeded for the upcoming playoffs based on the number of wins by non-region opponents, but will finish either first, hosting a playoff game in two weeks, or third behind Benjamin Russell and Opelika, which defeated the Indians last week.
Smoke put the Indians out front early with a 15-yard touchdown run before Jadarious Martin connected with Keedrick Adams on a 52-yard touchdown pass. Martin and Adams teamed up again for a 48-yard touchdown just before intermission before Benjamin Russell rallied in the second half.
Central-Phenix City 56, Prattville 13 PHENIX CITY – Prattville battled top-ranked Central for a quarter before the Red Devils pulled away for an easy 56-20 win to finish unbeaten in region play at Garrett-Harrison Stadium.
Trailing 7-0, the Lions (3-5) scored on a spectacular one-handed grab by Trey Pettway in the corner of the end zone on a 2-yard pass from Tra Edwards. Noah Sheets kicked the extra point but the play was blown dead and Central was penalized for offsides. The second attempt was blocked, leaving the Red Devils in front 7-6.
Peter Parrish hit William Clanton with a 24-yard pass to put Central (9-0) on top by eight, but the Lions answered quickly as Malik Smith returned the ensuing kickoff to the Prattville 46 and Edwards scored on a keeper up the middle on the next play. Sheets’ extra point made it 14-13.
From there, it was all Central. The Red Devils scored on a fourth-and-goal pass from Kaden Melton to Justyn Ross that covered 5 yards and added two more second-quarter touchdowns for a 35-13 halftime lead.
The Lions scored the game’s final touchdown on a 4-yard run by Edwards with a little more than 10 minutes remaining.
Prattville is out of the playoffs regardless and Central will finish as the top seed regardless but this could certainly be Chad Anderson’s last region game. Prattville will play host to Lanier on Thursday.
Calera 62, Marbury 0 CALERA – Marbury’s first play from scrimmage ended with a fumble and it didn’t get much better after that as the Bulldogs were embarrassed in a 62-0 rout by Calera.
Calera (6-3) turned the miscue into a Decorean Mickens’ touchdown run for a quick lead. Three plays and a Marbury punt later, Cornelius Brown hit Chandler Smith with a 43-yard touchdown pass on second down for a 14-0 lead.
Another Brown touchdown pass pushed it to 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. Mickens added touchdown runs of 62, 11 and 1 yards to help Calera to a 55-0 halftime lead.
Marbury (4-5) returns home to face Catholic in the Bulldogs’ final home game of the season before traveling for the first round of the 5A playoffs on Nov. 10.
Tallassee 34, Elmore County 10 TALLASSEE – Kalvin Levett had 171 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns as Tallassee shook off a sluggish, fumble-prone start with a 34-10 win over Elmore County on Friday night at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium.
Munford’s 26-13 win over Leeds clinched the top seed in the area, leaving the Tigers as the No. 2 seed. Still, the 9-1 finish is the best in the Mike Battles’ era and the best since 2010.
Elmore County took an early 3-0 lead before Tavarious Griffin recorded a safety to make it 3-2. The Tigers took the lead on the ensuing drive, capped by a Casey Baynes’ 1-yard run and a Markevious Mathews’ two-point conversion run for a 10-3 lead.
The Panthers tied the game on a 57-yard run by D.J. Patrick before the Tigers rallied with a Quinton Jeter 25-yard field goal late in the first half and 21 more points in the third quarter.
Levett, who had 109 yards on nine carries, scored on runs of 6 and 41 yards and Mathews, who had 87 yards on 19 carries, added a 6-yard touchdown run for the final points. Levett added 62 yards on six receptions for the Tigers.
Baynes completed 11 of 20 passes for 145 yards and added 91 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Patrick had 120 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries to lead Elmore County, which finished the season at 2-8.
Lowndes Academy 42, Coosa Valley 14 HARPERSVILLE – Lowndes Academy survived two fumble returns for touchdowns with a 346-yard effort on offense, taking care of Coosa Valley 42-14 and turning its attention to the playoffs.
The Rebels (5-4) will travel to play Patrician Academy next week in the first round. The two teams played each other on Oct. 13 in Hayneville, where Lowndes won 7-0.
Jon Johnson rushed for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight carries, while Daniel Janes added 73 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Mason McCurdy completed 5 of 6 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, adding another 30 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
Zach Miller caught a 54-yard touchdown pass in the win and Brian Rayburn had 31 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. The Rebels led 14-0 before Coosa Valley cut the lead in half with a fumble return for a touchdown, then 21-6 before another fumble, this one on a bad snap, led to a touchdown.
Defensively, Cole Crook blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown and Buddy Johnson had five tackles as part of a unit that held Coosa Valley to 40 yards rushing.
Auburn 27, Jeff Davis 0 The Auburn Tigers used a stingy defense and a solid running attack to defeat Jeff Davis, 27-0, Thursday at Cramton Bowl.
The win clinched the second seed in Class 7A, Region 2 for the Tigers and dropped the Vols to a regular-season finish of 5-5 overall and 3-3 in region play. Despite the loss, JD still qualified for the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.
The Tigers defense held the Vols to just 6 yards rushing for the game and 93 yards in total offense. Jeff Davis had just two plays of 10 or more yards in the game.
Auburn (8-1, 5-1) got two touchdown runs from Jay Walker and two field goals from Avery Atkins. Garrett Morris also scored a touchdown and led the Tigers with 104 yards rushing.
JD quarterback Jaquan Williams was 15 of 26 for 87 yards passing.
With a bye next week, Jeff Davis will await its opponent in the first round of the playoffs, which begin the week of Nov. 10.
Autauga Academy 42, Morgan Academy 0
PRATTVILLE — Javon Brown rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries to help Autauga Academy set a school record with its 23rd consecutive win in a 42-0 shutout of Class AAA Morgan Academy on Thursday night.
The Generals (10-0) now turn their attention to the first round of the Class AA playoffs next week, where they’ll play host to Kingwood Christian in the first round.
Tripp Carr added 50 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries and completed 13 of 16 passes for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. Kendrick Rogers had seven receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown and James Woods added 38 yards and another touchdown on four catches.
Khalid Young and Jakari Howard led the Generals’ defense with seven tackles and six tackles and a forced fumble, respectively. Trint Camp had five tackles and Granger Armstrong had an interception.
Crenshaw Christian 55, Edgewood Academy 28
ELMORE – Freshman Alex Johnson completed 3 of 10 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown as part of a 300-yard night for the Edgewood Wildcats in their final game of the 2017 season on Thursday night.
Drez Crawford rushed for 65 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries, while Desmond Adam added a 30-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats (1-9). Mitchell Boyd had a 70-yard touchdown reception and Colby Potts added a 60-yard catch for Edgewood.
Defensively, Potts led the way with six tackles, followed by Carson Peevy with four.
Macon East Academy 38, Southern 14
GREENSBORO – Macon East closed out the regular season with its eighth consecutive victory, defeating Southern 38-14 on Thursday night.
Tucker Neven was 8 of 17 for 101 yards and also had a 72-yard touchdown run. Colin Harris had eight carries for 109 yards and scored on a 73-yard touchdown run. JC Ceaman had a 38-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Defensively for the Knights, Wes Pugh had five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown. Tyler Watson led the team with 10 tackles and Travis Moody had five tackles, along with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Kareem Benson had five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Brandon Henry rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts to lead Southern. The Cougars’ other touchdown came in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard touchdown run by Landon Rose. Blake Tucker led the defense with eight tackles.
Both teams qualified for the state playoffs. Macon (9-1) returns home to play Clarke Prep next Friday, while Southern (3-6) travels to Luverne to play Crenshaw Christian (7-3) on Friday.
Last updated at 1:35 am October 21, 2017
Catholic 31, Bullock County 6
(See full report in next week’s printed edition of The Montgomery Independent)
It was a big night for Daryl Gibson on offense and a big night for William Hooper on defense as Catholic guaranteed itself a playoff spot with a 31-6 victory over region rival Bullock County at home.
Carrying the mail on offense with the injured Tyler Price on the sidelines, Gibson scored all 3 offensive touchdowns for Catholic from 6, 9 and 10 yard runs. His first and last scores came on the only two lengthy sustained Catholic drives of the night. The first drive in the first quarter consumed almost 6 minutes on the clock after the Knights ran 13 plays covering 69 yards. The sophomore’s second touchdown came from 6 yards away in the second quarter. Gibson’s, who finished with 135 yards on the night, scored his third touchdown to conclude a 67 yard drive on 9 plays in the fourth quarter.
On the second play of the second half Greg Ellis picked off a Bullock pass and zipped 20 yards untouched for a touchdown.
On defense, Catholic linebacker William Hooper terrorized the Hornets. Hooper blocked a punt in the first quarter and then made a spectacular interception in the second quarter to put the Knights in field position for a 35 yard field goal from Rocky Philipou.
Hooper also caused havoc and made several tackles by blitzing effectively. “I know they didn’t pick me up several times when I timed it just right. That’s the whole thing about it. If your timing is good you can catch them by surprise,” Hooper explained afterwards.
Catholic head coach Aubrey Blackwell was pleased with the effort and is happy to be back in the post season. “Our defensive schemes worked well tonight. We had some difficulties on offense with Tyler out, but Gibson really came up big and did a good job running the ball. We still have some work to do on our offense. Overall I am pleased with our effort except for the excessive penalties,” Blackwell said. “We have been blessed this year and now we are in the playoffs again. We still need a win over ACA next week to make sure of home field advantage and that will be tough. ACA is a great team and Coach (Nate) Sanford has done a terrific job. It should be a great football game.”
Catholic is now 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the region. Bullock County drops to 1-7 and 0-6 in the region. This is the best start for Catholic since 1994. The Knights go to ACA next week while Bullock County plays Abbeville.
Trinity 43, Ashford 15
(See full report in next week’s printed edition of The Montgomery Independent)
Trinity used a trio of big plays in the first half to pull away from Ashford and keep its playoff hopes alive with a 43-15 rout of the Yellow Jackets on Friday night at Boykin Field.
The Wildcats (4-5) had just two first downs in the first quarter, but both resulted in touchdowns as Trace Bright threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jack Singletary and Bryce Kelly ran 46 yards for a touchdown. Four plays after Kelly’s touchdown, Tate Holley broke through the middle to block Jonathon McCray’s punt, then scooped up the ball at the 13-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown and a 22-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets (1-7) responded with a 21-play drive capped by McCray’s 1-yard run on fourth down, an 80-yard drive that took 11 minutes, 10 seconds.
Trinity scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter on touchdown receptions of 12 and 44 yards by Luke Hufham for a 36-9 lead on the way to their eighth win in as many games in the series.
“This is the time of the year when you want to be playing your best,” Trinity coach Barry Loyal said. “We made a few tweaks during the week and continue up front (on the offensive line) to keep working and keep working. It paid off a little tonight in the running game. I feel good where we are. The kids have put themselves in a position to play in the postseason. You can’t for a whole lot more than that.”
The Wildcats improved to 3-2 in region play and will earn a playoff berth by winning at St. James next week or with an Ashford victory over Dale County next week.
Montgomery Acad 41, Central-Coosa 0
(See full report in next week’s printed edition of The Montgomery Independent)
HANOVER– Montgomery Academy clinched its region championship Friday night with a 41-0 victory over Central-Coosa, scoring on its first three possessions and six of the first seven times the Eagles had the ball.
Keefe White led the Eagles (7-1) with 96 yards on five carries, including a 41-yard touchdown run. CJ Paymon added 85 yards on five carries, scoring on runs of 69, 1 and 1 yards. Kevin Doh added 41 yards on three carries, including a 22-yard touchdown run. John Clarke Woodward had 54 yards on five carries, including a 33-yard touchdown run.
Defensively, Mason Young had 14 tackles and a fumble recovery, followed by Paymon with 13 tackles, Brian Wilson with 11 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble and Mac Main with eight tackles and an interception to lead the shutout victory over Central (0-8).
The Eagles close out the regular season next week at Prattville Christian.
St. James 49, Dale County 22
(See full report in next week’s printed edition of The Montgomery Independent)
MIDLAND CITY – St. James raced out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 49-22 win over the Warriors to put themselves in position to repeat as region champions.
Tony Amerson had a school-record five touchdowns, following Colin Duncan’s 33-yard touchdown run two minutes into the game with scoring runs of 1, 23, 10, 3 and 23 yards. He finished with 189 yards
on 29 carries, scoring the second and third touchdowns of the first quarter and the first of the second half to give the Trojans a 28-0 lead.
After Dionte Henderson ran 72 yards for the Warriors’ first score and Amerson answered with another touchdown, Henderson caught a 17-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-14. The Trojans put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 23-yard run by Amerson and a 69-yard run by T.R. Robertson.
St. James had to overcome 131 penalty yards in the game as well. The Trojans (6-3) clinched a berth in the state playoffs with the victory. St. James returns home to play host to Trinity at Carlisle Field next week. A Trojan victory will give St. James a share of the region title with the winner of the Alabama Christian-Catholic game. Wins by St. James and ACA would give the Trojans the number one seed, while wins by Catholic and St. James would leave the Trojans as the second seed in the upcoming playoffs.
It was the first regular-season loss at home for Dale County (6-3) in the past two years. The Warriors must win next week’s game at Ashford and hope for a St. James victory over Trinity to earn the fourth seed in the playoffs.
Park Crossing 34, Sidney Lanier 19
In a game that had 34 penalties, one of which included an ejection of a starting quarterback, Park Crossing took care of business in the deciding game of the Class 6A, Area 2 race on Friday.
The Thunderbirds won their third consecutive region title with a 34-19 victory over Sidney Lanier in what was one of the more bizarre games of the year at Cramton Bowl.
Cam Taylor scored four touchdowns to lead the T’Birds to their eighth win of the season (8-1, 6-0) and their 12th consecutive win in region play.
The game had a few interesting twists. Lanier trailed 20-13 at halftime after driving the ball to the Park Crossing 1-yard line with eight seconds remaining. Lanier quarterback James Foster scrambled to the 1 coming up short of the end zone. The ball bounced off the ground as he stretched to the line causing a fumble that bounced deep into the end zone.
Foster was ruled down before the fumble but Lanier had used all of its time outs. Still, the clock was stopped to spot the ball when the time should have run out. After a long delay for officials to settle the clock controversy, the half ended and Lanier was denied another play.
Park Crossing added to its lead midway through the third quarter on Taylor’s fourth touchdown of the game. The score was set up on a Lanier fumble deep in its own territory.
With 33 seconds left in the third, Foster threw his second interception of the game to Tremaine Osborne who raced 47 yards for a score.
On the next possession, Foster was ejected from the game for a personal foul with 13 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Foster threw two touchdown passes including one in the second quarter to Rodriques Ellington for 47 yards to tie the score at 13-13. He also had a 19-yard scoring pass to Delancey Tolliver earlier in the period.
Dacoreyon Johnson took over at quarterback for the Poets and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jacory Merritt with 10:04 remaining in the game.
The two teams combined for almost 200 yards in penalties in the first half and finished with 34 penalties for nearly 350 yards for the game. There were nine unsportsmanlike penalties between the two teams in a game that lasted more than three hours.
Park Crossing’s Uziah McDaniels led the T’Birds with 195 yards on 31 carries with 149 coming in the first half. Taylor finished with 87 yards rushing and four scores.
Foster was 8 of 23 for 170 yards and two TDs.
Lanier (7-1, 4-1) will face Stanhope Elmore next Friday at Faulkner University. Park Crossing travels to Clay-Chalkville.
Jeff Davis 31, Prattville 14
Jeff Davis quarterback JaQuan Williams completed 16 of 24 passes for 264 yards and ran for two touchdowns to lift Jeff Davis to a 31-14 win over Prattville at Cramton Bowl on Thursday night, giving the Volunteers a berth in the upcoming state playoffs.
Williams finished 16 of 24 in pass attempts including an interception. He also rushed for 60 yards in JD’s fifth win of the season (5-4, 3-2).
Prattville (3-4) took an early lead on a 24-yard pass from Tre Edwards to Malik Smith, but Jeff Davis countered with touchdown runs of 3 and 37 yards by Morgan Dorsey and a quarterback sneak by Williams. The Lions came back with a 3-yard run by Edwards late in the first half but never mounted a serious offensive threat in the second half and were eliminated from playoff contention for the third consecutive year, which hasn’t happened since 1985-87.
The Vols (5-4) added to their lead in the second half with a 26-yard field goal by Juan Ocana and a 1-yard score by Williams. Dorsey finished with 75 yards rushing while Edwards led Prattville with 138 yards rushing.
Prattville travels to Phenix City to play Central next week, while Jeff Davis remains home against Auburn on Thursday.
Stanhope Elmore 28, Dothan 21
MILLBROOK – Logan Swindle scored on a 4-yard run in overtime to rally Stanhope Elmore past Dothan 28-21 to clinch a playoff berth for the Mustangs.
Stanhope Elmore (4-4) trailed 14-0 at the half but pulled back into the game in the third quarter with a touchdown pass from Johnny Montgomery to Kadin Anderson before pulling even on Quantarius Daniels’ 27-yard scoring run. Trailing 21-14, the Mustangs bounced back again with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Montgomery to Anderson to force overtime.
The win gave Stanhope Elmore a 3-2 record in region play heading into next week’s game at Lanier and assured the Mustangs of at least the fourth seed in the region. Dothan (1-7) returns home to play Northview.
G.W. Carver 20, Northview 7
DOTHAN – Quarterback Kole Williams scored on an 80-yard run late in the first quarter and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Taariq Williams in the second half to help Carver rally past Northview 20-7 at Rip Hewes Stadium and secure a playoff berth in the process.
The Wolverines (3-6) overcame 23 penalties and a 7-0 deficit to earn a playoff berth for the ninth time in the last 10 years. Carver became the fifth and final MPS team to secure a playoff berth, the first time that has happened in the history of the county school system and the first time since 1992 that every city public school earned a playoff berth. Carver, Lee, Jeff Davis and Lanier all earned playoff bids in 1985, 1987 and 1992 before Park Crossing was added to the system in 2014.
Grayson Davis threw a touchdown pass to T.J. Ford to give the Cougars (2-6) a 7-0 lead, but Williams’ touchdown run made it 7-6 at the half.
Justin Lewis scored on an 8-yard run and Williams’ conversion pass gave the Wolverines a 14-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
Opelika 20, Wetumpka 19
OPELIKA – Ethan Sellers booted a 30-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to give Opelika a 20-19 win over Wetumpka on Friday at Bulldog Stadium, handing the Indians a crucial region loss in the process.
Wetumpka (8-1) would have secured home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but now must win its region game next week at Benjamin Russell to throw the region into a three-way tie.
Kavoisey Smoke scored on runs of 30 yards and 2 yards and quarterback Jadarious Martin added a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the Indians.
Central-Tuscaloosa 36, Marbury 22
TUSCALOOSA – Javonta Leatherwood ran for 209 yards and four touchdowns to lead Central High to its first playoff berth since 2014 with a 36-22 win over Marbury.
Leatherwood scored on runs of 9, 6 and 16 yards before putting away the Bulldogs with a 26-yard touchdown run on fourth and one. His first two touchdowns and a Micaiah Overton field goal gave the Falcons a 15-0 lead before Jakhiel Walker hit Orlando Smith with a 73-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead in half.
Leatherwood answered with another score for Central (3-5) but Marbury (4-4) came back with an 8-yard touchdown run by Dantavius Bristow and a 14-yard run by Gary Pilgreen to tie the game at 22-22.
Jaden Thomas broke the tie with an 11-yard touchdown run and Leatherwood finished off the Bulldogs, who travel to Calera next week.
Tallassee 36, Leeds 21
TALLASSEE – Casey Baynes was 11 of 16 for 223 yards and four touchdowns as Tallassee jumped out to a 29-7 lead to defeat Leeds in a crucial region contest at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium on Friday night.
The win gave the Tigers (8-1) their best-ever start under head coach Mike Battles and the best since 2010, but more importantly it pulled the Tigers (5-1 in region play) even with Leeds, who must face the region’s only unbeaten team, Munford, next week.
Baynes threw 15 yards to Markevious Mathews and 54 yards to Kalvin Levett to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead midway through the first half before both teams traded scores. Jaylen Washington scored on a 2-yard run for Leeds (7-2), but it was countered with 50 seconds left on Baynes’ 20-yard touchdown pass to Jake Burton for a 22-7 lead.
Mathews scored on a 28-yard run late in the third period, but Leeds answered 14 seconds later as Zachary Roberts hit Braxton Ragland with a 54-yard touchdown pass.
Baynes came back with his fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 22-yard pass to Mathews, to put the game out of reach.
Mathews finished with 104 rushing yards on 19 carries, 37 yards on a pair of receptions and 58 yards on a pair of kickoff returns for 199 all-purpose yards. Levett added 97 receiving yards and Burton had 87. Levett also had eight tackles to lead the defense.
Roberts completed 14 of 31 passes for 195 yards and a pair of touchdowns but was also intercepted by Tavarious Griffin. Ragland had 112 yards on six receptions to lead the Green Wave.
Tallassee closes out the regular season at home next week against Elmore County.
Elmore County 30, Holtville 28
ECLECTIC – Elmore County rallied past Holtville 30-28, snapping a four-game losing streak with their highest scoring output of the season.
D.J. Patrick scored on a 6-yard run with just over three minutes remaining to lift Elmore County to a 30-28 victory over Holtville on Thursday for its second win of the year. The Panthers (2-7, 2-4) fought back from a 28-17 deficit scoring 13 points in the final quarter. Patrick finished with 286 yards rushing and four touchdowns to lead the Panthers. Joseph Stockman added a 32-yard field goal.
Holtville’s Kelandre Baker scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 10 yards and he passed for a touchdown to Jaderick Carter for 17 yards. The loss extended Holtville’s losing streak in region games to 27, a streak Elmore County started in 2013.
Elmore County travels to Tallassee next Friday for its final game of the season while Holtville (1-8, 0-7) plays host to Handley.
Prattville Christian 34, B.B. Comer 0
SYLACAUGA — Prattville Christian pitched a shutout in a crucial region matchup on Friday, earning a berth in the state playoffs with a 34-0 win over B.B. Comer.
Prattville Christian (3-5) returns home to play Montgomery Academy next week, while B.B. Comer (1-7) travels to Beulah.
Thorsby 47, Billingsley 12
THORSBY – Jonathan Shields had a touchdown reception from Malik Callens and Raymond Cutler had a touchdown run but it wasn’t enough to keep Thorsby from snapping the Bears’ three-game winning streak in a crucial region game on Friday night.
Billingsley (3-5) dropped to 2-3 in region play and will play Aliceville in a home game next week at Marbury High. Thorsby (6-1, 4-1) remained unbeaten at home this season and will travel to Keith next week.
Macon East 47, Kingwood Christian 6
(See full report in next week’s printed edition of The Montgomery Independent)
CECIL – Tucker Neven completed all but one of the five passes he threw, accounting for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Macon East Academy won its final regular-season home game on Friday night.
Macon East (8-1) won its seventh consecutive game, its longest winning streak since 2002, scoring 30 or more points for the seventh consecutive time. The Knights close out the regular season at Southern next Thursday, then return home to play host to Clarke Prep in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs on Nov. 3.
Mike Murry carried the ball just six times, but scored on runs of 14, 25 and 37 yards to finish with 94 yards. Brock Taunton had four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, while intercepting a pass on defense. Logan Goree made a pair of catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Colin Harris had a 10-yard touchdown run and threw a 55-yard touchdown pass. JC Ceman had a 12-yard touchdown and an interception on defense.
Defensively, Kingwood (1-8) managed just 95 total yards against the Macon East defense. Ethan Honacker had an interception for the Knights and Wes Pugh and Nick Fitzgerald led the team with four tackles each. Kingwood only had 95 yards of total defense.
Fort Dale 50, Hooper Academy 27
GREENVILLE – Trace Edwards passed for 137 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 114 and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Colts as they were eliminated from playoff competition with a 50-27 loss to Fort Dale.
Wyatt Barnett had 88 receiving yards and a touchdown for Hooper (5-5, 1-4 in region play), while Charlie Harris had 81 yards rushing to lead the Colts.
Jarrod Kelly returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, Tristan McGhee had 13 tackles for Hooper and Cody King had three tackles and an interception.
Fort Dale (7-2, 3-2) plays host to Lakeside next week to close out the regular season, while Hooper travels to Evangel Christian.
Bessemer Academy 54, Edgewood 0
BESSEMER – Ty Hatcher connected with Xaviar Coleman for a pair of touchdowns and Jalen Conwell scored twice as the Rebels cruised out to a 35-point lead at the half on the way to a region victory on Friday night.
Coleman pulled in a 9-yard scoring pass to open the scoring and scored on a 75-yard reception early in the second quarter for a 28-0 lead. Conwell scored on a 40-yard run and on a swing pass from Hatcher for 24 yards for a 35-0 halftime lead.
Bessemer (6-4, 3-2 in region play) got second-half rushing touchdowns from Jacob Diffley, Jason Rucker and Tristan King to win for the 10th time in the 11-game series. The Rebels host Escambia next week.
Edgewood (1-8, 0-5) returns home to play Crenshaw Christian on Thursday.
Autauga Acad 42, Escambia Acad 20
PRATTVILLE – The much-anticipated battle between the state’s top two Alabama Independent School Association powers turned out to be overrated as Autauga blitzed Escambia 42-20 to win the Class AA Region 2 matchup.
The Generals led 28-0 before Escambia scored on the final play of the first half to make it 28-6. Both teams added a touchdown each in the third quarter and again in the fourth.
Autauga (9-0) will be home next week against Morgan in its quest for the first back-to-back 10-0 regular seasons in school history, then will face Coosa Valley on Nov. 3 in the first round of the AA state playoffs. The Generals will remain home in the second round if they win on Nov. 3.
Escambia (8-1) travels to Bessemer next week, then returns home to play Cornerstone Christian in a first-round playoff game on Nov. 3 but may have to travel in the semifinals.
James Woods had six receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown in the win. Tripp Carr completed 15 of 25 passes for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one to Woods and the other to Kendrick Rogers. Carr also rushed for 70 yards and two more touchdowns.
Jordan Epkins led the Generals’ rushing attack with 104 yards and a touchdown. Djay Garner also scored for Autauga on a 1-yard run.
Lowndes Academy 41, Sparta Academy 8
EVERGREEN – Jon Johnson rushed for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight carries as everyone got in on the playoff parade for the Rebels in a 41-8 rout of Sparta.
Five different players scored touchdowns for Lowndes (4-4, 1-3 in region play) as the Rebels secured the fourth seed in Class A Region 1 and will travel to Patrician in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 3. Lowndes beat Patrician in Hayneville a week ago, 7-0.
John Morgan, who finished with 60 yards on four carries, scored on a 2-run run to open the scoring, followed by a 14-yard run by Johnson and a 9-yard run by Daniel Janes for a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. Mason McCurdy added a 6-yard touchdown run and Johnson followed with a 23-yard touchdown run for a 34-0 halftime lead.
Drew Till added a 4-yard run for the Rebels, who close out the regular season next week at Coosa Valley.
Lakeside School 56, Evangel Christian 6
EUFAULA – Evangel Christian fell behind Lakeside School 28-0 in the first quarter and never recovered as the Lions were eliminated from playoff consideration with a 56-6 loss on Friday night.
Quarterback Aaron Alpert had the only touchdown on a 59-yard run for Evangel (1-8), which closes out the season next week at home against Hooper.
Lakeside (5-3) travels to Fort Dale to close out the regular season next week before returning home on Nov. 3 to host a first-round playoff game.
Last updated at 9:05am October 14, 2017
St. James 49, Alabama Christian 14
Alabama Christian went into its region showdown with St. James without its starting quarterback but in the end, it was the 298 rushing yards from Trojan tailback Tony Amerson that was the difference in a 49-14 win at Carlisle Field on Friday night.
Amerson scored on runs of 15 and 23 yards in the second quarter, on a 37-yard sprint in the third quarter and on a 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter to finish with 298 yards on 23 carries as the Trojans improved to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in region play, knocking the Eagles (7-1, 4-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.
“We knew we could execute offensively because the offensive line was awesome last year,” Amerson said. “They did even better this year. The holes were sideline to sideline. It was like practice pretty much. They stayed on their blocks, they drove their feet and they never gave up on a play and I love them for that.”
The two teams went through a scoreless first quarter before ACA scored on a 4-yard run by Alden Stroud. Stroud rushed for 95 yards in the first half but managed just 21 in the second half.
Amerson, meanwhile, was just warming up. After the Trojans had the ball for just four plays in the first quarter, the junior carried for 128 yards in the second quarter and 115 in the third to turn what was expected to be a defensive battle into a rout.
“What made it work was the guys up front,” St. James coach Jimmy Perry said. “What made that work is the other 10 (players). Tony did his job and it all worked out good. I thought we played real good as a unit.”
St. James broke a 7-7 tie as Steven Sadie blocked Coleman Harrison’s punt and the Trojans recovered at the ACA 23. Amerson scored on the next play to make it 14-7 and after five plays and a Harrison punt, T.R. Robertson gathered in the punt at the 16, shook off a hit from a diving Stroud and sprinted 84 yards down the sideline for a 21-7 lead.
“ACA is a great team so we knew we had to come out and play,” Sadie said. “I think special teams is always important. Coach Perry is always stressing that to us. The big plays helped us a lot but it was just consistency throughout the whole game that helped us.”
The Eagles were playing without their leading rusher and passer, Reece Solar, who had suffered a broken jaw the previous week at Ashford. In his place was 14-year-old freshman Jalen Clark, who did an admirable job in leading the Eagles on an impressive 16-play drive to take a 7-0 lead. Still, there was no question Solar’s absence had an effect on ACA as Clark managed 17 yards on 14 carries and completed 9 of 15 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown while Harrison, punting in place of Solar, averaged 22.4 yards on five punts, had one blocked and one returned for a touchdown.
And while the breakdowns on special teams may have been a turning point, Amerson’s performance overshadowed the brief second-quarter lapse.
“I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference on a night like this,” ACA coach Nate Sanford said. “It doesn’t help the cause. We made several not-smart mistakes that gave them field position or gave them points and that’s the last thing you can do when you play a good opponent.”
Montgomery Academy 42, Southside Selma 22
Montgomery Academy locked up a playoff spot with a 42-22 win over region rival Southside Selma. Keefe White had 159 yards on 16 carries and a rushing touchdown of 31 yards. White also caught a 12 yard Trey Lindsey touchdown pass for the second touchdown of the game. Lindsey was 5 of 11 for 71 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. Oliver Lester caught the other Lindsey touchdown pass from 9 yards out.
C.J. Paymon had a big game for the Eagles on both sides of the ball. Paymon rushed for two touchdowns from 3 and 41 yards out, gained 96 yards on 11 carries, had 9 tackles and an interception. “He just gets better every game. Having C.J. in the backfield gives us so many options and helps to keep the defense from concentrating too much on Keefe,” MA coach Gary Nelson said. “On defense he really can find the ball and he has been a major contributor from his linebacker position.”
Mason Young had 10 tackles for the Eagles. Nate Meacham picked off a pass and Will Peeples intercepted a pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown midway in the second quarter. All of the Eagles interceptions came in the first half.
The Panthers made a game of it after trailing MA 28-0 at halftime. The Panthers gained 216 yards on offense with the overwhelming majority coming in the second half.
Montgomery Academy is 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the region. The Eagles will travel to Rockford next week for another region game with Central Coosa.
Trinity 21, Bullock County 14
Trying to stay alive for the playoffs, Trinity slipped by Bullock County at home 21-14 Friday night to level its region record at 2-2 and improve overall to 3-5.
The Wildcats scored all of its touchdowns via the air with Trace Bright tossing one touchdown pass and Rob Chandler throwing the other two. Bright finished the night completing 13 of 24 attempts for 114 yards. Chandler was 4 of 8 for 98 yards. On the receiving end was Luke Hufham with 8 catches for 107 yards and a pair of touchdown receptions. Edward Rutland caught a touchdown pass for a 63 yard score. Jack Singletary had 5 catches for 58 yards.
Bryce Kelly ran 15 times for 34 yards and Chandler picked up 34 yards on 6 carries.
On defense, Caleb Kreitz recorded 11 tackles while Thomas Ladner and Chapman Gregory had 8 tackles each. Tate Holley notched 6 tackles. Hufham had 2 interceptions for the Wildcats. Ladner and Jackson Davis has one interception each.
Trinity will host region foe Ashford at home next week.
Macon East Academy 47, Cornerstone Christian 7
COLUMBIANA – Tucker Neven passed for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Macon East Academy wrapped up its first region title since 2001 with a 47-7 whipping of Cornerstone Christian on Friday night.
The win makes the Knights (7-1) the top seed in Class AA Region 1, assuring Macon East of a first-round playoff game at home on Nov. 3 against the winner of next week’s game between Clarke Prep and Pickens Academy.
Neven completed 7 of 9 passes, including three to Brock Taunton for 49 yards and a 32-yard touchdown; two to Logan Goree for 24 yards and a pair of touchdowns; and two to JC Ceman for 20 yards.
Ceman also had a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and had four tackles on defense.
The Knights held Cornerstone to 92 total yards as Wes Pugh had eight tackles and forced a fumble, Coleby Jordan had four tackles, including a sack, and Ethan Honacker had four tackles and an interception.
Macon East plays host to Kingwood next week.
Evangel Christian 47, Coosa Valley Academy 40
Evangel Christian won its first game of the year by edging Coosa Valley at home on Friday night, helping the Lions keep alive their playoff hopes.
Quarterback Aaron Alpert accounted for 361 total yards and rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Dre Martin caught a pair of touchdown passes, one from Alpert and the other from Sam Allen. Jaden Gardner rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Evangel Christian (1-7, 1-3 in region play) will travel to Eufaula to play Lakeside next week in another region game.
Catholic 28, Ashford 21
ASHFORD – The Yellow Jackets threw a huge scare into Catholic before Kamryn Jackson ran 95 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes to lead the Knights to a 28-21 win on Friday night.
Jackson finished with 123 yards rushing and 68 yards receiving as the Knights had to rally to keep pace in second place in the region. Catholic (6-1, 3-1 in region play) plays host to Bullock County next week before traveling across town to region leader Alabama Christian in two weeks.
Hunter Ferrall was 11 of 22 for 150 yards and three touchdowns, throwing touchdown passes to Tyler Price (13 yards), Darrell Gipson (9 yards) and Braxton Rogers (69 yards).
Defensively, Gipson and B.J. Barker had interceptions as the Knights allowed just 45 total yards in the second half.
Wetumpka 35, Helena 14
WETUMPKA – Jadarious Martin ran for a touchdown, passed for a touchdown and caught a pass for a touchdown as Wetumpka defeated Helena 35-14 for their best start since 1995.
The Indians (8-0) clinched a playoff berth with the win and can clinch a first-round playoff game at home with a win at Opelika next week. Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell are both 4-0 in region play, while Opelika is a game back at 3-1.
The Indians scored their first touchdown on a little trickery as backup quarterback Deandre Ezell threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Martin, the starting quarterback, in the first quarter. Martin then connected with Robert Lapadre on a touchdown strike to give Wetumpka a 14-7 halftime lead.
Keedrick Adams returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards for Wetumpka and Martin added a 13-yard touchdown run to give the Indians a comfortable lead. Tailback Kavosiey Smoke added a 5-yard touchdown run.
Autauga Academy 49, Clarke Prep 13 GROVE HILL – Tripp Carr ran for two touchdowns and threw for three more as Autauga ran its winning streak to 21 games with a 49-13 rout of Clarke Prep to assure the Generals of a home playoff game on Nov. 3.
The Generals (8-0, 3-0 in region play) will play host to Escambia (8-0, 3-0) next week to determine the region championship.
Carr completed 8 of 16 passes for 162 yards while rushing for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just three carries. James Woods had 102 yards and a touchdown on four receptions; Djay Gardener had 58 yards and a touchdown on two catches; and Kendrick Rogers added a touchdown reception to lead the offense.
Jordan Epkins rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on two carries. Jamal Epkins added 39 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Defensively, Deontae Stoudemire had nine tackles to lead the Generals. Granger Armstrong had six tackles and an interception and Jacob Murphy and Khalid Young added six tackles each. Jackson Adams had an interception, Elijah Elmore recovered a fumble and Jakari Howard forced a fumble for Autauga.
Tallassee 44, Holtville 28
HOLTVILLE – Four Tallassee players ran for touchdowns as the Tigers used a 16-point third quarter to coast past Holtville 44-28 and wrap up a berth in the state playoffs.
Tallassee (7-1) improved to 4-1 in the region for their best start in region play since 2011, but are still third behind region rivals Munford (6-1, 5-0) and Leeds (7-1, 5-0). The Tigers play Leeds at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium next week.
Casey Baynes completed 8 of 10 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown and ran for 34 yards on nine carries and two more touchdowns to lead Tallassee. Kalvin Levett, Markevious Mathews and Jalen Johnson also rushed for touchdowns.
Mathews finished with 166 yards on 13 carries, Levett had 103 on four carries and Johnson had 95 yards on 11 carries. Levett also had 75 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
Tallassee jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Drake Baker threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Dajon Reeves for the Bulldogs (1-6, 0-5). Tallassee added two more touchdowns before Baker and Reeves connected again, this time for 42 yards, to make it 28-12 at the half.
Johnson’s 5-yard run and Levett’s 8-yard touchdown reception gave the Tigers a comfortable 44-12 lead and they turned it over to the reserves in the fourth quarter. Austin Tally scored on a 3-yard fumble return for Holtville and Austin Gay added a 2-yard touchdown run with three minutes left.
Baker was 16 of 24 for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Holtville. Reeves had 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns on two receptions and Jaderick Carter added 84 receiving yards on seven catches. Baker led the ground attack with 43 yards on seven carries.
Park Crossing 58, Dothan 14
DOTHAN – After punting away its first possession, Park Crossing scored on the next six to rout Dothan 58-14 on Friday night.
Uziah McDaniels scored on a 19-yard run midway through the first quarter, then scored on a 53-yard run five plays later for a 14-0 lead. Cameron Taylor added touchdown passes of 78 yards to Lamont Mitchell and 16 yards to Tremeine Osborne for a 28-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
Ta’Bryious Webb’s 12-yard run put Dothan on the scoreboard but the Thunderbirds answered quickly as Taylor threw another touchdown pass to Osborne. Taylor added a 74-yard touchdown pass to Daron Mitchell for a 41-7 halftime lead.
Benjamin Braswell and Kendrevious Collins added touchdown runs for Park Crossing (7-1), which will face Sidney Lanier next week for the region championship. Dothan will travel to Millbrook to play Stanhope Elmore.
Auburn 27, Robert E. Lee 0
AUBURN – Brooks Fuller threw a pair of touchdown passes to Garrett Jones as Auburn High turned back Robert E. Lee 27-0 in an important region game at Duck Samford Stadium.
Auburn (6-1, 3-1 in region play) failed to cash in on an early fumble by the Generals, but then found the end zone after Avery Atkins intercepted Lee quarterback Kaniaus Johnson on the first play of the second quarter. Fuller connected with Jones for a 6-yard touchdown pass and then found JaMarcus Knight for 11 yards and a 13-0 halftime lead.
Fuller ran 15 yards for another score in the third quarter, then hit Jones with a 19-yard touchdown pass to close out the scoring.
Lee, one of the top scoring teams in Class 7A, turned the ball over three times while failing to score. The Generals return home to play Central-Phenix City next Saturday, while Auburn travels to Smiths Station next Friday.
Tuscaloosa Academy 43, Edgewood Academy 0
ELMORE – Tuscaloosa Academy won for the sixth consecutive time since losing the season opener at Autauga, running past Edgewood Academy 43-0 on Friday night.
Demarcus Burris scored on a 62-yard run and an 18-yard interception return for the Knights while Alex Johnson threw a pair of touchdown passes.
It was the third shutout for the Wildcats in the past four games. Edgewood (1-7) travels to Bessemer Academy next week.
Central-Phenix City 55, Jeff Davis 18
PHENIX CITY – Jeff Davis’ special teams were anything but special in Friday’s loss at Central High as the Volunteers’ first punt was blocked and the punter was tackled before getting off a punt on two other occasions.
It was part of a nightmarish contest by the Vols (4-4, 2-2 in region play), who had three interceptions and a lost fumble on top of the special teams’ miscues.
The Red Devils (7-0, 4-0) have region contests remaining with Robert E. Lee next Saturday and Prattville a week later, but are in the driver’s seat for the region title after jumping out to a 27-0 lead in the first quarter. Even when it appeared Central’s offense was held in check by the Vols, the Red Devils responded as Amontae Spivey ran 71 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-one play in the second quarter. He finished with 176 yards on six carries, all in the first half, as Central built a 41-12 lead.
The Vols return home to play Prattville next Thursday at Cramton Bowl in a game for fourth place and the final playoff spot in the region
Lowndes Academy 7, Patrician Academy 0
HAYNEVILLE – Mason McCurdy ran 47 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Lowndes Academy defense made it stand, holding Patrician to 38 total yards in a 7-0 victory on Friday night.
McCurdy rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries and completed 5 of 13 passes for 57 yards. Jon Johnson added 45 yards on 14 carries.
Defensively, Cole Crook had seven tackles and a pair of sacks and Buddy Johnson had five tackles and a pair of sacks to lead the Rebels. Lowndes (3-4) will travel to Evergreen next week to play Sparta Academy in a game that will determine the fourth and final playoff spot in Class A Region 1.
A Lowndes victory next week would send the Rebels on the road in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 3 to face Patrician Academy again.
Pike Liberal Arts 47, Hooper Academy 21
HOPE HULL – Trace Edwards completed 27 of 48 passes for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns but Hooper (5-4) dropped a crucial region game to Pike Liberal Arts on Friday night at Davis Henry Field.
Wyatt Barnett had 82 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns and Mason Hill added 59 receiving yards for the Colts, who dropped to 1-3 in region play heading into next week’s region matchup at Fort Dale.
Charlie Harris added a rushing touchdown for Hooper, while Reed Culver led the defense with 13 tackles.
Pike Liberal Arts (7-2) returns home to face Morgan Academy in a region battle for second place next week.
Billingsley 34, R.C. Hatch 30
Malik Callens threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game with four minutes remaining to tailback Raymond Cutler as the Bears rallied to defeat R.C. Hatch at Faulkner University’s John Mark Stallings Field on Friday night.
The Bears, playing in their third different home stadium this season after Mims Field was condemned in August, may want to return to the artificial surface at Faulkner as Callens completed 9 of 12 passes for 212 yards and five touchdowns.
Billingsley (3-4, 2-2 in region play) won for the third consecutive time and kept alive their playoff hopes by grabbing an 18-12 lead at the half over the Bobcats (2-5, 1-3). Billingsley led 26-18 going into the fourth quarter, but R.C. Hatch scored twice to take the lead before Callens led his team down the field for the game-winning score.
Cutler had eight receptions for 176 yards and four touchdowns, scoring on catches of 36, 54, 4 and the game-winning score of 10 yards. He also rushed for 44 yards on 11 carries.
Callens followed up the touchdown with a two-point conversion pass to Taylor Arrington before the Bobcats turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute remaining.
Brisen Tatum had the other touchdown reception, scoring on a 36-yard pass from Callens. He also had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on defense.
Billingsley will travel to Thorsby next week for another region game.
Updated at 8:02 a.m. October 8, 2017
Catholic 27, Dale County 7 C.J. Person and the rest of his defenders were worn out at the end of the contest but it was far worse for Dale County quarterback Daniel Rodebaugh and his offensive teammates, who managed just 57 yards passing and 57 yards rushing in a game dominated by the Knights’ defense.
Dale County went more than 33 minutes without a first down, never overcoming some early mistakes as the Knights rolled to a 27-7 win on Friday night. The important region win by Catholic avenged last year’s one-point loss at Dale County as the Knights improved to 5-1 for the first time since 1994.
“It means the same as any other game,” said Person, who had eight tackles, forced a fumble, had one sack and four tackles for loss along with three quarterback pressures. “It goes down as a ‘W.’ I don’t care how much we win by or who we beat, it’s just an honor to win and an honor to play this game.”
B.J. Barker recovered the opening kickoff for Catholic and then scored the game’s first touchdown on a controversial play, hauling in an 18-yard pass from Hunter Ferrall in the end zone before defender Xavier Lynn snatched the ball away.
The Knights added to the lead on a 2-yard run out of Wildcat formation by tailback Tyler Price, who had 108 yards on 32 carries. Price added another 2-yard touchdown run late in the first half for a 20-0 lead, but Dale County responded by returning the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-7.
After a scoreless third quarter in which the two teams combined for 55 total yards, the Knights added a QB sneak for a touchdown by Ferrall to put the game out of reach.
Dale County (5-2, 2-2 in region play) travels to Rehobeth next week, while Catholic travels to Ashford for a region game.
Charles Henderson 51, Trinity 22
Class 4A Trinity struck first and held the lead twice before Class 5A Charles Henderson changed the game permanently and went on to cage the Wildcats 51-22. The Trojans offensive line was much larger than Trinity and eventually wore the Wildcats defense down at Boykin Field on Friday night.
Trace Bright was 13 of 28 in the passing department for 188 yards that included a touchdown strike to Luke Hufham. Bright also scored the first touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run. Bright was intercepted twice. Hufham caught 9 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Connor Hayes caught 4 passes for 87 yards. Nolan Sasser caught 3 passes for 79 yards including a 49-yard touchdown pass from Rob Chandler with exactly one minute remaining in the game. Chandler connected with Jackson Davis for a 2-point conversion. Hayes also recovered a fumble when the Trojans mishandled a McKay Taylor punt.
Trinity’s running game could never get in gear and the Wildcats never started a drive past their own 20-yard line whenever Charles Henderson kicked off. The Wildcats now drop to 2-5 and will travel to Bullock County for a region game next week.
Alabama Christian 35, Ashford 10 ASHFORD – Tailback Alden Stroud rushed for 226 yards on 26 attempts, including a 63-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, as Alabama Christian (7-0) improved to 4-0 in region play for the first time in school history with a road win at Ashford.
Reece Solar completed 7 of 10 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles coasted to a businesslike win to clinch a berth in the state playoffs. Jalen Clark added a 14-yard touchdown run, while Carson Hunt scored on an 18-yard reception and Cole Schlemmer added an 8-yard touchdown catch.
Schlemmer led the Eagle defense with 10 tackles, followed by Preston Perry with six and Garrett Cottingham with five.
ACA will travel across town to face St. James in a huge region matchup next week.
Cornerstone 60, Evangel Christian 20 ALABASTER – Evangel Christian’s difficult season got worse with a reduced squad after several players’ suspensions, followed by a thumping by Cornerstone Christian on Friday night.
Evangel quarterback Aaron Alpert scored a pair of touchdowns and ran for 113 yards on 11 carries. He also completed 15 of 25 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. Sam Allen added a 6-yard scoring run for the Lions.
Cornerstone racked up 349 yards rushing against a weakened Lions defense. Evangel (0-7) returns home next week still searching for its first win and will host Coosa Valley.
Park Crossing 39, G.W. Carver 14 Uziah McDaniels rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns to lead Park Crossing to a 32-14 victory over G.W. Carver in a Class 6A, Region 2 clash at Cramton Bowl on Friday.
McDaniels broke a 7-7 tie in the first quarter with a 19-yard run, giving the Thunderbirds a lead they would not relinquish. McDaniels added a 3-yard run for a score early in the second quarter, which was set up by his own 46- yard run two plays earlier.
Quarterback Cam Taylor extended the first-half lead with a 9-yard strike to Doron Mitchell and Sebastian Carpenter finished off the scoring in the first half with a 22-yard field goal.
Taylor and Benjamin Braswell added touchdown runs of 1-yard and 18-yards respectively.
Carver tied the game in the first quarter on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Kole Williams to Taariq Williams. The Wolverines other score came in the third quarter on a 2-yard run by Williams.
Terrence Webster led Carver with 67 yards rushing. He also threw for 27 yards in a part-time role at quarterback.
Carver (1-6, 0-3) travels to Stanhope Elmore next week while Park Crossing (5-1, 4-0) plays at Dothan.
Wetumpka 55, Pelham 14 PELHAM – When it comes to being tabbed as a team’s homecoming opponent, you have one thing in mind, ruining it. That’s just what fourth-ranked Wetumpka (7-0, 3-0) did against the Pelham Panthers (3-4, 2-2) on Friday at Ned Bearden Stadium on the campus of Pelham High School.
With 7:52 to play in the first quarter, the Panthers got on the board first, claiming an early 7-0 lead over the Indians. Wetumpka would follow suit and get into the end zone late in the first. At the end of the first quarter the score was all knotted up at seven.
With 10:57 left before the half, Pelham took to the air for their second score of the night completing a pass from 23 yards out and taking a seven point lead once again 14-7.
At the 8:29 mark in the second, Wetumpka senior running back, Kavosiey Smoke capped off the Indians drive with a three yard touchdown run, tying it back up at 14-14.
Tim Perry’s tribe wouldn’t look back, with 3:54 before the break, Wetumpka junior quarterback Jadarious Martin would find his way into open field and sprint 68 yards for the score which gave the Indians their first lead of the night 21-14.
With 1:51 left before heading to the locker room, Pelham’s Rye would fumble and Wetumpka would recover it for another score, stretching their lead to 28-14.
At the half the score was 28-14 Indians.
With 8:48 left in the third quarter, Martin found senior wide-receiver, Keedrick Adams and connected from 41 yards out expanding the tribe’s lead to 35-14.
With 1:11 to play in the third, Smoke would rumble 41 yards to the house for another score, making it 42-14 Wetumpka late.
The score after three quarters of play was 42-14.
With 11:39 left in the contest, the tribe would find pay dirt once again. With 10:04 left in the game, Darren Nolen would scoop up a mishandled Panther snap and return it for the game’s last score, the extra point was missed.
55-14 was the final.
Pelham (3-4, 2-2): Will remain at home as they host Chilton County (1-6, 0-4) on Friday.
Wetumpka (7-0, 3-0): Will return home to battle the Helena Huskies (1-5, 1-2) in their last regular-season home game. (Wetumpka game information contributed by Braxton Parmer)
Autauga Academy 50, Jackson Academy 8 PRATTVILLE – Tripp Carr threw for three touchdowns and Jordan Epkins ran for two more as Autauga Academy cruised to a 50-8 win over Jackson Academy on Friday night.
Carr completed 7 of 8 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, spreading the scoring around among receivers Kendrick Rogers, James Woods and Quez McDonald. Rogers had three receptions for 172 yards, Woods had a pair of catches for 42 yards and McDonald had 53 receiving yards on two catches.
Epkins scored on two of his seven carries, picking up 115 yards in the process.
Trent Camp had a fumble recovery for a touchdown as well.
Autauga (7-0) won its 20th consecutive game in improving to 2-0 in Region 2 play and will travel to Grove Hill next week to play Clarke Prep in a region game before returning home on Oct. 20 for a huge showdown with Escambia Academy.
Prattville 45, Smiths Station 0 PRATTVILLE – Tray Pettway caught two touchdown passes and the defense pitched a shutout as Prattville rolled to an easy region victory over Smiths Station at Kevin Turner Field on Friday night.
Prattville (3-3) scored four touchdowns in the first quarter, with Deangelo Jones scoring on runs of 27 and 8 yards for a quick 14-0 lead. Kylan Pettway added another touchdown on a 11-yard run as he bounced off of defenders on the way to the end zone and Tray Pettway caught an 8-yard pass from Traair Edwards with 16 seconds left in the first quarter for a 28-0 lead.
After a scoreless second quarter, the Lions added seven more points on backup quarterback Kyle Kramer’s 15-yard pass in the corner of the end zone for Tray Pettway. Reserve tailback J.J. Jackson added a 14-yard touchdown run and Noah Sheets, who kicked six extra points, added a 23-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the third quarter for a 45-0 lead.
Prattville, 2-2 in region play, will have the week off before returning to region action on Oct. 19 against Jeff Davis in Cramton Bowl.
Tallassee 54, Dadeville 13 TALLASSEE – Markevious Mathews rushed for 241 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries as the Tigers exploded for 20 points in a little more than four minutes in the first half to turn a close game with their arch rival into a rout at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers (6-1) scored first on a 52-yard run by Kalvin Levett , but Donquavious Tucker tied the game at 7-7 on a 3-yard run two minutes into the second quarter.
Tallassee responded with three quick touchdowns as Casey Baynes ran 10 yards for one score, then 24 yards for another score and Levett grabbed his own deflected pass and ran 43 yards for another score a 27-7 lead at the half.
The Tigers cruised from there as Mathews ran 30 yards with a fumble return, Baynes ran 8 yards for another touchdown, Mathews ran 86 yards for a score and Jalen Johnson ran 98 yards in the final minute to put the finishing touches on the rout.
Johnson finished with 110 yards on five carries, while Levett ran for 50 yards on three carries, caught his own pass for 43 yards and a touchdown and completed 2 of 2 passes for 65 yards as the Tigers improved to 3-1 in region play heading into next week’s region matchup at Holtville.
Tucker had 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries for Dadeville (3-4, 1-3 in region play), with Kadore Glenn adding 108 yards on 19 carries. Dadeville hosts Elmore County next week.
Billingsley 47, Verbena 14 VERBENA – Billingsley ran just 14 offensive plays in the first half but accounted for every point scored in rolling up a 33-2 halftime lead on the way to an important region victory on Friday night.
It was the second consecutive win for the Bears (2-5) and the first in three tries in region play. Billingsley will travel to Montgomery next Friday to play R.C. Hatch in a region matchup at Faulkner University’s John Mark Stallings Field.
“I thought we started the game with energy,” Billingsley coach Tyson McLean said. “In our other games, we just didn’t seem to have that energy early and we had to play from behind.”
The Bears jumped on the Red Devils with three non-offensive touchdowns in the first half as Ladarius Starks returned an interception for a touchdown and Malik Callens returned a punt for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown. Billingsley also had a punt blocked for a safety, accounting for a 33-2 lead at the half.
In the second half, the Bears picked up where they left off as Raymond Cutler caught a screen pass from Callens and turned it into a touchdown early in the third quarter.
Abbeville Christian 45, Lowndes Academy 18 ABBEVILLE – Lowndes took a quick 6-0 lead but an interception return for a touchdown was part of a rough first quarter that saw the Rebels fall behind 30-6 before dropping the region matchup 45-18 on Friday night.
Christian Barkley, who rushed for 94 yards on five carries, had a 64-yard run to set up Mason McCurdy’s short quarterback keeper for a 6-0 lead, but the Generals scored on their next three possessions, then returned an interception 39 yards for another score a 30-6 lead.
McCurdy rushed for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries, while Daniel Janes added 75 yards on six carries. Landon Hooper also scored a touchdown, rushing three times for 26 yards.
Lowndes (2-4) gained 319 yards on the ground and ran 72 plays to just 25 for Abbeville (4-4), but turned the ball over three times.
The Rebels return home to play Patrician next week before traveling to Evergreen to play Sparta Academy on Oct. 20 in a game that will determine the final playoff team in Class A Region 1.
Stanhope Elmore 21, Russell County 13 MILLBROOK — The Mustangs did not disappoint their homecoming fans with a 21-13 victory over visiting Russell County.
Quintarius Daniels scored on a 6-yard run, Johnny Montgomery tossed a 13-yard pass to Logan Swindle and Tre Duncan scored on a 4-yard run to lead the Mustangs. Montgomery passed to Conner Bradford for a two-point conversion.
Stanhope Elmore (3-3 overall and 2-1 in region play) won for the third straight time and will travel to Montgomery next week to play G.W. Carver in Cramton Bowl.
Prattville Christian 20, Beulah 14 VALLEY — Even though PCA didn’t dominate Beulah as it did last year, the Panthers escaped east Alabama with a region victory of 20-14. Both teams now stand at 2-4 for the season.
PCA will have its hands full next week when it hosts Pike County in a region game. Beulah will host Highland Home.
Updated at 11:37 pm October 5, 2017
Macon 31, Lakeside 14
Macon East Academy 31, Lakeside School 14
CECIL – Tucker Neven completed 11 of 17 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns and Macon East Academy turned up the defensive pressure in the second half to win a crucial AA Region 1 matchup with Lakeside School on Thursday night.
The win put the Knights in the driver’s seat for the region title after a showdown between the only two remaining unbeaten teams in Region 1 ended with Macon East scoring the final 24 points of the contest after falling behind 14-7 late in the first quarter.
“It gives us a chance next week to win the region championship which we haven’t done since 2001,” Macon East coach Glynn Lott said, “so it was a big win for us tonight. One of the goals (the players) set for themselves was to win (all of) their home games, we’ve got one left. We’ve gotten better and better every week, offensively and defensively.”
Coleby Jordan (44) drops a Lakeside runner for a loss as teammate Kareem Benson (75) moved in to assist . Photo: Art Parker
Caleb Cook rushed for 150 yards on 19 carries, including a 63-yard run through the heart of the Macon East defense to tie the game at 7-7 and completed 7 of 20 passes for 91 yards, including a 57-yarder to Isaac Paige that put the Chiefs up 14-7 with 8:38 left in the first half.
But it was all Macon East from there as the Knights’ defense held Lakeside to a pair of first downs and 14 total yards in the second half after Neven gave his team a 21-14 halftime lead with touchdown passes of 45 and 14 yards to Brock Taunton.
The Knights put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Mike Murry and a 37-yard field goal by Jake Gracey.
Macon East is 6-1 for the first time since 2009 and is riding a five-game winning streak heading into next week’s game at Cornerstone Christian. A win would guarantee the Knights home field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Lakeside (3-3 overall, 2-1 in region play) remains in second place in the region heading into next week’s game at Kingwood Christian.
Monroe Academy 64, Hooper Academy 20
HOPE HULL – Trace Edwards completed 7 of 20 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns, but couldn’t keep pace with Monroe Academy as the Volunteers rolled to an easy win at Davis Henry Field on Thursday night.
Wyatt Barnett had 100 receiving yards and a touchdown, Jared Kelly had 75 receiving yards and a touchdown and Cole Godwin had 51 yards and a touchdown for the Colts, who fell to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in region play heading into next week’s crucial region matchup with Pike Liberal Arts.
Monroe remains atop the region standings at 3-0 after improving to 8-0 overall.
Defensively, Grant Tyson led the Colts with eight tackles.
Sidney Lanier 42, Dothan 0 The Sidney Lanier Poets continued their perfect season on Thursday with a 42-0 win over Dothan in Class 6A, Region 2 play at Cramton Bowl.
Senior quarterback James Foster had four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to lead the Poets to their seventh win of the season and keep pace atop the region standings.
Three of Foster’s touchdown passes came in the first half with two going to Rodriques Ellington for 13 and 6 yards. DaCoreyon Johnson caught the third pass for a score from 11 yards out.
Foster added rushing touchdowns of 9 and 1 yards, then threw a 38-yard strike to Johnson in the final quarter. Foster finished 19 of 23 for 157 yards in passing. He added 48 yards rushing.
The Lanier defense held Dothan (1-5, 0-3) to 81 yards rushing.
Lanier (7-0, 4-0) will take a week off before facing Park Crossing on Oct. 20 in a showdown for what could be for first place in the region. Dothan faces Park Crossing next week.
Updated at 12:54 September 30, 2017
ACA 52, PCA 14
PRATTVILLE-The Alabama Christian (4A) offense operated efficiently and the starting defense was stingy as the Eagles extended their unbeaten record to 6-0 over Prattville Christian Academy (3A) with a 52-14 victory. “We are executing the way I thought we would in the sixth week of the season. Things have worked and I’m very happy with our effort,” ACA head coach Nate Sanford said.
Receiver Grayson Evans was among a group that caught touchdown passes from quarterback Reece Solar. The ACA receivers seemed to have no trouble shaking lose from the PCA secondary. “When you got a good running attack like we do with Alden Stroud then the defense has got to bunch up. We don’t have to work that hard getting open since the defense makes it easier on us worrying about the run. And we you have a quarterback like we do you don’t have to get open that much because Reece will get the ball to you,” receiver Grayson Evans said.
Stroud, who is enjoying a great season, damaged PCA immediately with an 85 yard return of the opening kickoff. After ACA’s defense stopped the Panthers cold, Solar connected with Evans for a touchdown. ACA’s David Coulter recovered a PCA fumble on the Panthers next possession and a couple minutes later Jaeyeop Lee booted a 31 yard field goal to give ACA a 17-0 lead.
Solar ran from 31 yards out on the first play of the second quarter then followed that up with touchdown strikes to Garrett Cottingham and Cole Schlemmer that provided ACA with a 38-0 halftime lead.
Solar found Evans again to start the third quarter and with a 45-0 lead, ACA rested their starters. Alex Harmon scored from a few yards out to make the score 52-0.
PCA got on the board with runs from Preston Kosciuszko and Michael McCarty.
ACA will be back to region play next week as the undefeated Eagles travel south to face Ashford.
Montgomery Academy 45, Trinity Presbyterian 18
Keefe White had 172 yards rushing and 92 more on a pair of kickoff returns to help Montgomery Academy avenge last year’s loss at Trinity.
“Our whole philosophy coming out here was we were bringing a message,” said White, who broke off a pair of long touchdown runs to put away the Wildcats. “We had to make up for last year. We’re not the same team we were last year. We’re a brand-new team and people are not giving us respect so we’re teaching them respect.”
Montgomery Academy (5-1) broke a scoreless tie with three touchdowns in the second quarter as Trey Lindsey scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and CJ Paymon scored on a 3-yard run before White swept right end with an impressive 40-yard touchdown run in which he ran through two low hits and stepped over a third would-be tackler on the way to the end zone.
Trinity (2-4), badly outplayed in the first half, trimmed the deficit to 21-12 in the third quarter with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Trace Bright to Connor Hayes and a 1-yard run by Bryce Kelly.
White took the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to the Trinity 22 to set up his 9-yard touchdown run three plays later, then put the Wildcats away with a 48-yard run, breaking three tackles on his way to the end zone for a 45-18 lead.
White had 172 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. Bright, who threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Nolan Sasser in the fourth quarter, was 14 of 31 for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Macon East Academy 34, Marengo Acad. 8
CECIL – Tucker Nevens threw the ball just seven times, but four went for touchdowns as Macon East won its fourth consecutive game for the first time since 2010 with an easy win over the Longhorns.
The Knights improved to 5-1 for the first time since 2012, cruising into a crucial region matchup at home on Thursday with Lakeside School.
Nevens was 6 for 7 passing for 123 yards and four touchdowns, throwing two to Logan Goree, who had 54 yards and two touchdowns on his receptions. Zack Peacock also had two receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Tyler Watson had 10 tackles, Nick Fitzgerald had 10 tackles and a forced fumble and Coleby Jordan had four tackles and two sacks.
Marengo (1-5) travels to Wilcox for a region game next week.
Catholic 36, Elmore County 0
Tyler Price ran for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Catholic cruised to a 27-0 lead in defeating Elmore County 36-0 on Friday night.
The Knights are 4-1 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1988 and 1989 under Jeff Clark.
Price added 50 receiving yards to finish with 232 all-purpose yards.
Hunter Ferrell completed 10 of 15 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown and Kamryn Jackson finished with 123 total yards. Braxton Rogers and Charlie Ryan had touchdown receptions, the latter scoring on a throw from backup quarterback Cephus Cleveland.
Ryan and Parker Dennis each had 12 tackles to lead the Catholic defense, which held Elmore County to 65 total yards.
Catholic remains home next week for a crucial region matchup with Dale County.
Saint James 40, Marbury 19
MARBURY — Tony Amerson scored three touchdowns on runs of 3, 10 and 60 yards to lead St. James to a 40-19 win against the 5A Bulldogs on Friday night.
Colin Duncan dashed 30 yards for a score and Blake Harper scored on a 23-yard run to help St. James (3-3) to their second consecutive win. Quarterback Josh Garnett also found the end zone from a yard away.
Marbury scored three times after the Trojans concluded their scoring on runs from Mason Pilgreen of 2, 17 and 68 yards.
Amerson finished the night with 160 yards on 16 attempts. Garnett was 2 for 5 in the passing department for 42 yards with T.R. Robertson and Steven Yergenson being on the receiving end of the passes.
The Trojans scored on their first four possessions while intercepting the Bulldogs four times. St. James will travel to Union Springs to play Bullock County in a region matchup next week, while Marbury (2-3) returns to region play at home next Friday against Jemison.
Wetumpka 51, Greenville 14
GREENVILLE — Jadarious Martin accounted for six touchdowns to lead the Indians to a 51-14 win over Greenville and remain unbeaten in their best start since 2010.
Martin tallied touchdown runs of 9, 20 and 83 yards, and then connected on three touchdown passes.
Martin got things going for Wetumpka with a 34-yard touchdown strike to Keedrick Adams. After a couple of touchdown runs, Martin found Chase Adams in the end zone from 15 yards out. Later Martin hit Kavosiey Smoke with a 34-yard touchdown pass.
DeAndre Ezell rounded out the Indians scoring with a 1-yard dive in the final quarter.
Wetumpka rolled up 353 yards in 33 plays in the first half. The Indians (6-0) return to region action next week with a game at Pelham.
Robert E. Lee 50, G.W. Carver 20
Quarterback Kaniaus Johnson ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to lead Robert E. Lee to an impressive 50-20 victory over G.W. Carver on Thursday at Cramton Bowl.
Johnson scored on runs of 3 and 32 yards and threw a 75-yard TD pass to Kevontae Ruggs as Lee built a 29-20 lead at halftime.
The Generals (4-1) capitalized on a key Carver turnover in the second half when Chris Ware caught a fumble in the air and raced 76 yards for a score to increase the Lee lead to 36-20 with just over six minutes left to play in the third period. The fumble recovery stopped a Carver drive that started on the Wolverines’ 18-yard line and ended the last of their momentum for the game.
Lee added two more scores in the second half and held the Carver offense in-check, limiting the Wolverines to 65 rushing yards in the half.
Lee would score 46 unanswered points after Carver (1-5) took the lead on a Willie Smith touchdown pass to Terrence Webster followed by a blocked punt and return for a score by DeMarquis Russell, all in the second quarter.
Taderrian Murray scored on runs of 2 and 20 yards. Justin Lott kicked a 21-yard field goal.
Stanhope Elmore 20, Charles Henderson 14
TROY – Jeremy Thompson returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown to provide the game-winning points and Stanhope Elmore survived a late rally by the Trojans to hold on for a six-point win in Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
It was the second win in a row for the Mustangs (2-3), who reversed a recent trend against the Trojans. Stanhope Elmore had lost just five times in the 21-game series but had dropped three of the last four to Charles Henderson (2-3) before Friday night.
Willie Burkes scored on a 10-yard run late in the first half for a 7-0 halftime lead, but the Trojans tied the game in the third quarter on quarterback Noah Lowery’s 8-yard run. Stanhope Elmore answered quickly as Johnny Montgomery connected with Logan Swindall for a 58-yard touchdown pass before Thompson added another score moments later for a 20-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Charles Henderson pulled within six points on a touchdown midway through the quarter, but the Mustangs took the ensuing kickoff and marched inside the Charles Henderson 5 to run out the clock.
Stanhope Elmore returns home to play Russell County in a region game at Foshee-Henderson Stadium next week, while Charles Henderson travels to Montgomery to play Trinity at Boykin Field.
Sidney Lanier 34, Jeff Davis 20
The Sidney Lanier Poets broke open a 13-13 halftime tie scoring 21 unanswered points on the way to a 34-20 win over Jeff Davis in an intra-city battle at Cramton Bowl on Friday.
Quarterback James Foster threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to help the Poets stay perfect this season (5-0). Jacory Merritt added a 7-yard run for a score, which gave Lanier the lead for good with 9:33 to go in the third quarter.
Jeff Davis (4-2) took an early 13-0 lead on Morgan Dorsey’s 11-yard run and later on a 2-yard run with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Lanier answered with Foster’s quarterback sneak followed by his first touchdown pass to Delancey Tolliver from 6 yards out in the second quarter to tie the game with 3:05 left in the half.
Foster had two more TD passes in the second half, connecting with Merritt for 6 yards and DaCoreyon Johnson from 25 yards.
JD quarterback Jaquan Williams closed out the scoring in the final minute of the game with a 10-yard pass to Brandon Sanders.
Foster finished with 201 yards passing on 15 of 29 attempts. He added 75 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Merritt added 77 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Williams led the Vols, passing for 208 yards on 12 of 21 attempts and an interception.
Jeff Davis will play R.E. Lee next Friday at Cramton Bowl while Lanier faces Dothan at Cramton Bowl on Thursday.
Hooper Academy 27, Crenshaw Christian 20
HOPE HULL – Wyatt Barnett hauled in the game-winning bomb from Trace Edwards with 44 seconds left to break a 20-20 tie and lift the Colts to a homecoming victory over Crenshaw Christian at Davis Henry Field.
Hooper is now 5-2 for the first time since starting 6-0 in 2002.
Edwards rushed for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries and threw for 175 yards and another score. Barnett had 79 receiving yards.
Defensively, Mason Ivey had 11 tackles and a sack and Grant Tyson had 10 tackles for Hooper, which plays host to Monroe Academy in a region matchup on Thursday.
Crenshaw (5-2), which had five consecutive wins before Friday’s loss, travels to Chambers for a region game next week.
.Lowndes Academy 48, Wilcox Academy 0
HAYNEVILLE – A week off allowed the Rebels to tinker with their offense and quarterback-turned-tailback Jon Johnson made the most of the opportunity on Friday, rushing for 139 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries and completing both pass attempts for 58 yards in a 48-0 rout of Wilcox, snapping a three-game losing skid.
Johnson also had an interception on defense.
New quarterback Mason McCurdy was 8 of 13 for 95 yards and a touchdown as the Rebels rolled up 423 total yards. John Morgan caught nine passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, Christian Barkley had 63 yards and a touchdown on four receptions and Brian Rayburn had 107 yards on four catches.
Buddy Johnson had six tackles to lead the Lowndes defense, which held Wilcox to 83 total yards. Johnson also had 27 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.
Lowndes (2-3) travels to Abbeville Christian next week for a region game.
Autauga Academy 45, Port St. Joe 28
PORT ST. JOE, Fla. – It looked too easy for a few minutes as Autauga Academy jumped out to a 21-0 lead six minutes into the contest, but the Generals weathered a 21-point rally by the Tiger Sharks before pulling away for a 45-28 win at Shark Field on Friday night.
“It was an unbelievably hard-fought game by both teams,” Autauga coach Bobby Carr said. “I’m extremely proud of our kids. They made some great strides tonight.”
Tripp Carr completed 10 of 13 passes for 99 yards, hitting Djay Gardner and James Woods with touchdown passes, followed by a punt return for a touchdown by Kendrick Rogers for a 21-0 lead.
The Tiger Sharks (4-1) rallied with a long drive for a touchdown, a 4-yard run by quarterback Josh Butts and then Butts’ pass to Kendre Gant and suddenly it was 21-21 at the half.
“They just dominated us up front,” Carr said. “Hats off to them for the way they played. To come back like that just speaks volumes about their program. All we did was challenge our kids. You can’t be a great champion without overcoming some adversity. I’m proud of the kids.”
Jordan Epkins, who had 79 yards rushing on 17 carries, answered with a touchdown and Gardner added a 5-yard run to put the Generals up 35-21. Woods returned a punt for a touchdown to make it 42-21 before Gant came back with his second touchdown reception of the game.
Autauga then drove the length of the field for a 42-yard field goal by Cosmin Diaconu to put the game out of reach.
Autauga (6-0) returns home to play Jackson in a region matchup next Friday.
Billingsley 46, Autaugaville 14
AUTAUGAVILLE – Raymond Cutler ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries as Billingsley snapped out of its losing skid with a 46-14 win over the Eagles on Friday night.
Malik Callens added 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 11 carries and was 5 of 7 passing for 116 yards and another touchdown. Ladarius Starks caught three of those passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears (1-4) led just 24-8 at the half, but exploded for three quick touchdowns to put Autaugaville (0-4) away. Cutler scored on a 35-yard run on the Bears’ first possession of the second half and added a 36-yard touchdown run the next time Billingsley had the ball. Callens followed up with a 62-yard touchdown run on the next possession to cap a 22-point third quarter.
Billingsley returns to region action next week at Verbena before playing R.C. Hatch on Oct. 13 at Faulkner University’s John Mark Stallings Field.
Tallassee 33, T.R. Miller 29
BREWTON – Markevious Mathews ran six yards for a touchdown with 5:37 remaining to cap a stunning rally and give Tallassee its first-ever win over T.R. Miller with a 33-29 win at Municipal Stadium on Friday night.
The visiting Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead as Casey Baynes hit Kalvin Levett with a 23-yard touchdown pass and Quinton Jeter added the extra point, but the home Tigers rallied with 29 unanswered points and threatened to turn the game into a rout.
Demarquis McMillan scored on a 1-yard run, Josh Jolly scored on a 61-yard run and Michael Campbell added a 39-yard scoring run to cap a 22-point second quarter to give T.R. Miller the halftime lead. The Tigers then scored two minutes into the second half on McMillan’s 77-yard touchdown run and a 29-7 lead looked comfortable at that point.
Tallassee (5-1) responded with 26 unanswered points of its own, scoring on Baynes’ 26-yard pass to Trent Cochran-Gill and Baynes’ 8-yard run to make it 29-20, then drawing within two points midway through the final period with a 16-yard pass from Baynes to Levett.
Less than two minutes later, Mathews capped the comeback with a touchdown that gave Tallassee its first win over T.R. Miller in seven tries and its best start since 2013.
Baynes was 15 of 24 for 167 yards and three touchdowns and added 32 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Mathews led the rushing attack with 79 yards on 14 carries, with Cochran-Gill adding 45 yards rushing, 26 yards and a touchdown receiving and a team-high seven tackles.
Updated 11:49 pm September 22, 2017
Saint James 51, Ashford 0
Saint James picked up its first region win of 2017 with a 51-0 victory over Ashford. The Trojans led at halftime 37-0 and came out with great intensity and didn’t let up. “That’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out, get on top, stay on top and win big. That’s what we did. I saw big improvements tonight and a great desire to win,” Saint James coach Jimmy Perry said.
The Yellow Jackets have scored only one touchdown this season. For the most part, Saint James reserve players took the field in the second half and made sure Ashford didn’t threaten the Trojans goal line.
Tony Amerson was back in action after missing last week’s game with Fultondale. The swift running back scored twice and had a 2-point conversion while accumulating 97 yards. Colin Duncan scored from 11 yards away. Steven Sadie, who had several big stops for losses on defense, scored twice on runs of 4 and 9 yards.
Quarterback Josh Garnett, also absent in the Fultondale game, scored on a quarterback sneak and was 2 for 2 in the passing department. Both of his completions were to T.R. Robertson of 49 and 43 yards.
The Trojans scored on drives of 5, 11, 50, 54, 57 and 75 yards. Saint James did not turn the ball over.
An Ashford running back was caught in the end zone in the second quarter for a safety.
The second team defense got in on the scoring frenzy in the fourth quarter when sophomore Bennett Blankenship picked off a Yellow Jackets pass and rambled 46 yards for the touchdown. “I was ready for it and I was at the right place at the right time,” the elated outside linebacker said.
Saint James is 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the region. The Trojans will travel next week for a non-region game with Marbury.
Montgomery Academy 62, B.B. Comer 6
The Eagles easily protected their status atop its Class 3A region with a convincing 62 -6 win on the road over B.B. Comer of Sylacauga. “Everything clicked well for us. We made some big plays and forced turnovers and caused some havoc with their kicking game. Our coaches had the guys well prepared,” MA head coach Gary Nelson said.
Keefe White had 106 yards on 7 carries and scored pair of touchdowns both from 23 yards. Kevin Doh had 67 yards on 9 carries and also scored twice on runs of 3 and 21 yards. John Clarke Woodward had 7 carries for 22 yards and a one yard run for a score in addition to catching a touchdown pass from QB Trey Lindsey.
Lindsey only threw twice and both were for scores. In addition to the TD strike to Woodward, Lindsey also connected with his favorite target, Nate Meacham for a 37 yard touchdown. Brown Simmons also threw a TD pass.
On defense, Mason Young led the Eagles with 7 tackles. Reggie Dixon had 6 tackles and blocked a punt. C.J. Paymon added 6 tackles while Jack Mozingo added 6 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
MA now stands at 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the region. Next week the Eagles will host Trinity in what is always a great battle between rivals.
Crenshaw 64, Evangel Christian 0
Evangel Christian dropped to 0-6 for the season with a 64-0 loss to Crenshaw Academy. The Lions did not have positive offensive yardage in the game. The Lions are idle next week.
Alabama Christian 35, Trinity 21
Tailback Alden Stroud and quarterback Reece Solar each ran for two touchdowns to help Alabama Christian Academy pull away late from upset-minded Trinity and beat the Wildcats 35-21 at Wade Norton Field on Friday night.
The homecoming victory made Alabama Christian 5-0 for the first time since 1990. Friday’s win, coupled with last year’s 29-20 win over the Wildcats, marks the first back-to-back wins by ACA’s football team over Trinity in school history.
Stroud had 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 23 carries and another 51-yard touchdown run negated by a penalty. Solar had 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 23 carries and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass that Grayson Evans took away from the defender that gave the Eagles a 14-6 halftime lead.
Trinity pulled within a touchdown twice in the third quarter as Trace Bright threw touchdown passes of 29 yards to Nolan Sasser and 45 yards to Luke Hufham, but each time ACA answered with a score of its own.
ACA played error-free ball for the fourth time in five games and sealed the win with interceptions by Garrett Weedon and Preston Perry in the fourth quarter.
ACA improved to 3-0 in region play while Trinity (2-3) dropped to 1-2.
Trinity’s Jackson Davis had 10 tackles for the Wildcats, which travel to McLemore Field to play Montgomery Academy next week.
ACA travels to Prattville Christian next week.
Macon East Academy 34, Springwood School 7
CECIL — Tucker Neven completed 18 of 24 passes for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns as Macon East Academy won its third consecutive game for the first time in five years with a 34-7 win over Springwood on Friday.
Brock Taunton had five receptions for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns, JC Ceaman had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown and added 87 yards in return yards as Macon East improved to 4-1, its best start since 2012.
Springwood (3-2) managed just 123 yards of total offense. Wes Pugh led Macon’s defense with 10 tackles. Coleby Jordan had five tackles and a sack. The Knights remain home next week to play defending Class A state champion Marengo Academy.
Monroe Academy 53, Edgewood Academy 0
MONROEVILLE – Monroe Academy continued its run toward an undefeated regular season with an easy 53-0 win over Edgewood on Friday.
The Volunteers (6-0) came into the contest averaging 37 points a game and had no trouble handing the Wildcats their fourth consecutive loss. Monroe remains at home next week to play Jackson Academy, while Edgewood remains on the road at Abbeville Christian.
Autauga Academy 40, Pike Liberal Arts 26
PRATTVILLE – Turner Payton returned an onside kick 55 yards for a touchdown to help Autauga Academy put away pesky Pike Liberal 40-26 on Friday night.
The Generals (5-0) trailed 6-0 on a 4-yard run by T.K. Thomas before answering with a Jordan Epkins’ touchdown run for a 7-6 lead. Max Copeland’s interception of a Tripp Carr pass set up Thomas for a 2-yard run and a 12-7 lead but Carr ran for a touchdown and passed to Kendrick Rogers for another to put the Generals in front 19-12 at the half.
Epkins, who rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, added another touchdown run late in the third quarter for a 26-12 lead, but the Patriots answered with a 3-yard run by Thomas to make it 26-18. Epkins scored his third touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run to give Autauga a 33-18 lead, but Cody Hollis scored on a 5-yard run and Thomas added a two-point conversion run to trim the deficit to 33-26 with less than two minutes remaining.
Payton then grabbed the onside kick out of the air and ran for the end zone to secure the victory.
Deantrea Stoudemire led the Generals with nine tackles, followed by Elijah Elmore with eight. Davis Watts, Jacob Murphy and Javon Brown all had four tackles for Autauga, which travels to Port St. Joe (Fla.) High next week.
Pike Liberal Arts (4-2) travels to Glenwood.
Munford 19, Tallassee 6
MUNFORD – Carson Smith returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and the stunned Tallassee Tigers never recovered, dropping their first game of the season on the road Friday night.
Smith rushed for 130 yards on 22 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown run that gave Munford a 13-0 lead.
Markevious Mathews scored on a 22-yard run to trim the deficit to 13-6 at the half, but Tallassee would get no closer, rushing for just 96 yards in the game.
Casey Baynes completed 12 of 18 passes for 110 yards for Tallassee (4-1, 2-1 in region play), which travels to T.R. Miller next week.
Francis Marion 30, Billingsley 20
MARBURY – Raymond Cutler scored three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to get Billingsley its first win as the Bears lost a region matchup with Francis Marion on Friday night at Marbury High.
Billingsley (0-4, 0-2 in region play) travels to Autaugaville for a non-region game next week.
Robert E. Lee 51, Prattville 37
PRATTVILLE – Robert E. Lee (3-1) won its third straight game after a season-opening loss to Lanier, running past Prattville 51-37 at Stanley-Jensen Stadium on Friday night.
Friday’s win by the Generals, coupled with a win over the Lions in 2015 at Stanley-Jensen, represent the first time Lee has posted consecutive victories in Prattville since 1994. Lee defeated the Lions 49-35 last year but later had to forfeit that game because of an ineligible player. The 100 points scored by the Generals in 2016 and 2017 represent the most points by either team in consecutive games in the history of the series.
Lee improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2000. The Generals were 6-0 last year before forfeiting all six wins.
Lee returns home to play Carver next Thursday at Cramton Bowl, while Prattville (2-3, 1-2 in region play) is idle.
Hooper Academy 28, Evangel Christian 14
COLUMBIANA – Trace Edwards threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns to lead Hooper Academy to a 28-14 win over Evangel Christian of Alabaster on Friday night at the Columbiana Sports Complex.
Edwards threw touchdown passes to Jared Kelly, who had 83 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Wyatt Barnett, who had 28 yards and a touchdown. Cole Godwin also had 72 yards receiving and Reed Culver had 52 receiving yards.
Charlie Harris led the Colts’ ground game with 41 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Dakota McGhee led Hooper with 10 tackles, followed by Stuart Langley with seven.
The 4-2 start by the Colts is the best since 2011. Hooper returns home next week to play Crenshaw Christian.
Updated at 12:09 September 16, 2017
Trinity ruins Catholic’s unblemished season
By ART PARKER
Trinity’s Barry Loyal was looking for his first win at home as head coach of the Wildcats. It didn’t look like he would get a 32-22 win Friday night the way things began. Trapped on their own 2 yard line after the opening kickoff, Catholic tackled the Trinity ball carrier in the end zone for a safety and led 2
-0 after only 17 seconds ticked off the clock. Catholic marched to the end zone in 8 plays after the Trinity kick. Kamryn Jackson swept right end, and with more than 8 minutes left in the opening quarter the Knights led 9-0. “They got the safety and a few plays later we are down 9-0 and we had run only one play from scrimmage. I’m glad the kids didn’t panic. I guess I was about to,” Loyal said. “Then things turned around and here we are with a big win.”
Trinity’s Jackson Davis intercepted a pass and the Wildcats stopped Catholic when the Knights were threatening for the second time. After that it was all downhill for the Wildcats. Trinity would take a 29-9 lead into halftime with touchdowns coming from Bryce Kelly on a short run, a pair of touchdown passes from Trace Bright to Luke Hufham and a recovered block punt in the end zone by Nexton Marshall. Davis blocked the punt. Max Williams found the end one on a two point conversion. Trinity’s McKay Taylor kicked a 22 yard field goal late in the third quarter. For the Wildcats on defense Will Eagerton had 15 tackles with a pair of sacks. Caleb Kreitz had 13 tackles, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery. Bracken Osmer notched 8 tackles and Hampton Bopp recovered a fumble. On two occasions Catholic’s punter was in jeopardy after poor snaps and both times he was forced to punt left footed.
In addition to his pair of TD receptions, Hufham also intercepted a pass midway in the third quarter that stopped Catholic after they had gained momentum. “I think Luke’s interception was the big turning point. They were making a comeback and that interrupted their effort,” Loyal said.
The Knights scored on the first play from scrimmage in the second half just like they did in the first half. The difference was that Catholic actually had possession when Tyler Price broke free on a 45 yard run to the end zone. Catholic scored late in the game on a Hunter Ferrall touchdown pass.
“We didn’t play good enough to beat anybody,” Catholic coach Aubrey Blackwell said. “We had too mistakes and too many turnovers.”
Trinity will travel a few miles next week to take on a vastly improved Alabama Christian team in what will now be the biggest area game to date in the local 4A region. Trinity is now 2-2 and 1-1 in the area. Catholic is 3-1 and 1-1 in the area. The Knights are off next week.
See full report in the September 21st printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Alabama Christian dumps Dale County
Alabama Christian jumped out to a surprising 28-0 lead, then held off a furious rally by Dale County to win 34-27 and take over first place in the region standings.
Alabama Christian improved to 4-0 for only the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2000. The region victory also marked the second time (2000) the Eagles started 2-0 in region play.
To get there, ACA had to hold off a furious rally after leading Dale County (3-1, 1-1 in region play) 34-7 in the second half. Facing third and 27, Reece Solar connected with Grayson Evans on a 33-yard pass with just over a minute remaining to allow the Eagles to run out the clock.
Alden Stroud led ACA with 178 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, adding 118 yards on three kickoff returns and 9 yards on a pair of punt returns.
Solar rushed for 104 yards on 11 carries and completed 10 of 19 passes for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Evans, who had four receptions for 88 yards, had one of the touchdown catches. Cole Schlemmer had the other.
Defensively, John Wilson Jarrett had nine tackles, David Coulter had eight and Garrett Cottingham and Dawson Locklier each had seven. Alex Harmon led the secondary with three passes defensed.
ACA plays host to Trinity next week.
See more on this game in the September 21st printed edition of The Montgomery Independent
MA scores big upset of Pike County
BRUNDIDGE — Keefe White rushed for 123 yards on 10 carries, including a 13-yard touchdown run, and CJ Paymon had 16 tackles to lead Montgomery Academy to a stunning 31-7 romp over Pike County in a huge region matchup on the road.
Paymon also scored a touchdown on offense, rushing for 35 yards on five carries. Trey Lindsey completed 5 of 9 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. William Robertson had a pair of receptions for 69 yards, including the 28-yard touchdown reception from Lindsey.
Defensively, Mason Young had 11 tackles, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown for the Eagles (3-1, 2-0 in region play). Jack Mozingo had seven tackles and an interception, Brian Wilson had seven tackles and Reggie Dixon had six tackles, including three for loss.
Montgomery Academy remains on the road next week with a region game at B.B. Comer, while Pike County (2-1, 1-1) remains home to play Southside-Selma in a region game.
See more on this game in the September 21st printed edition of The Montgomery Independent
Macon East Academy 49, Evangel Christian Academy 20
Logan Goree pulled in the first two touchdown receptions of his career to help Macon East improve to 2-0 in region play with a 49-20 victory at Evangel Christian on Friday night.
The basketball star-turned-receiver pulled in a fourth-down pass for 6 yards and a touchdown, then added a 25-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the second quarter as the Knights (3-1) rolled out to a quick 21-0 lead and a 42-6 halftime advantage over Evangel (0-5, 0-2).
Macon East is off to its best start since winning five of its first six games in 2012.
Brock Taunton added an 11-yard touchdown run and Mike Murry had touchdown runs of 43 and 57 yards in the first half as the two teams played their reserves for much of the second half.
Evangel, playing its first game without leading rusher Xavier Williams, got a 2-yard touchdown run by Jaden Gardener in the first half. Gardener added a 7-yard touchdown run against the reserves late in the third quarter and Sam Allen had a 30-yard touchdown run for the Lions in the fourth quarter.
Macon East returns home to play Springwood for homecoming next week, while Evangel travels to Luverne to play Crenshaw Christian.
See full report in the September 21st printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Lee-Scott Academy 34, Edgewood Academy 21
AUBURN – Christian Ivey completed 8 of 19 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown and had 57 yards on 11 carries, including a 54-yard touchdown run, but it wasn’t enough for Edgewood in a 34-21 region loss at Lee-Scott on Friday night.
Tyler Abernathy had 31 yards on 10 carries, including a 4-yard touchdown run, for the Wildcats, while Kam Burleson had 60 yards on a pair of receptions, including a 48-yard touchdown catch.
Defensively, Matt Williams led Edgewood with nine tackles, followed by Cade Bazzell with six and Clay Williams with five.
Edgewood (1-3, 0-2 in region play) travels to Monroe Academy next week, while Lee-Scott (3-1, 2-0) travels to Northside.
Morgan Academy 46, Hooper Academy 13
SELMA – Trace Edwards led the rushing attack with 73 yards and Jared Kelly (46 yards) and Wyatt Barnett (33 yards) each had touchdown receptions in Hooper Academy’s region loss on the road Friday night.
Defensively, Dakota McGhee and Grant Tyson each had 12 tackles to lead the Colts, followed by Stuart Langley with nine tackles and a sack.
Hooper (3-2, 1-1 in region play) travels to Evangel Christian of Alabaster next week, while Morgan (2-2, 1-1) remains home to face Glenwood.
Tallassee 28, Childersburg 19
TALLASSEE – Casey Baynes threw one touchdown pass and ran for another as Tallassee broke a 7-7 halftime tie with a 28-19 region victory at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers (4-0, 2-0 in region play) got on the board first with a 15-yard run from Trent Cochran-Gill and an extra point from Quinton Jeter, but Childersburg answered with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Justin Taylor to Takairee Kinebrew to make it 7-7 at the half.
Baynes connected with Kalvin Levett on a 65-yard touchdown pass and added a 1-yard touchdown run to push the lead out to 21-7. Markevious Mathews added a 25-yard scoring run for the final margin after Jeland Kidd threw a pair of touchdown passes for Childresburg.
Cochran-Gill had 85 yards on eight carries and led the Tallassee defense with eight tackles. Mathews led the rushing attack with 99 yards on eight carries. Baynes completed 8 of 12 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
Park Crossing 47, Northview 9
Uziah McDaniels ran for two scores and Cam Taylor ran for one and passed for a touchdown in Park Crossing’s 47-9 victory over Northview in a Class 6A, Area 2 battle at Cramton Bowl on Friday.
McDaniels scored on runs of 4 and 29 yards in the first quarter as the Thunderbirds built a 29-9 lead in the first half.
Taylor scored on a 59-yard run late in the first half and added a 41-yard touchdown pass to Dashaun Graham early in the third quarter which gave Park Crossing a 36-9 lead.
The Park Crossing defense also scored twice in the game with Antonio Simmons returning a fumble recovery for 35 yards in the first period. In the third quarter, Lamont Mitchell added an interception and 29-yard return for a score.
Sebastian Carpenter kicked four extra points and added a 24-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Northview (1-3, 0-2) got a 6-yard run from Jabre Barber for the Cougars’ lone touchdown. Jack Martin also had a 37-yard field goal, all coming in the first half. Taylor finished with 85 yards passing and 85 yards rushing. The Thunderbirds (3-1, 2-0) will play at Russell County next Friday.
Autauga Academy 41, Pickens Academy 8
CARROLLTON – Tripp Carr rushed seven times for 102 yards and a touchdown and completed 16 of 25 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns as Autauga rolled to an easy 41-8 win in the Generals’ region opener on Friday night.
Jordan Epkins led the rushing attack with 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 11 carries. Kendrick Rogers had eight receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown and James Woods and Turner Payton also had touchdown catches for Autauga (4-0, 1-0 in region play).
Elijah Elmore led the defense with six tackles, followed by Bailey Taylor with five tackles and Trint Camp with four. Granger Armstrong had three tackles and a pair of interceptions.
Autauga returns home to play Pike Liberal Arts next week, while Pickens (2-2, 0-2) plays host to Coosa Valley.
-Summary reports by Tim Gayle
Updated September 8, 2017 11:59 pm
MA takes first region contest
By ART PARKER
Montgomery Academy won its first region outing of the year with a 34-22 victory over Beulah at McLemore Field. The Eagles led 14-0 at intermission. It was the Keefe White show offensively for the Eagles with the running back picking up a whopping 328 yards on 23 carries. White scored twice on runs of 10 yards and 82 yards. “The offensive line did a great job as usual but our receivers kept their secondary occupied and out of the way. If I could get to the outside there was little waiting on me,” White said afterwards.
CJ Paymon added 49 yards and 1 TD (13) on 7 carries. Quarterback Trey Lindsey was 8 for 16 passing for 124 yards and a pair of touchdown passes for 12 yards and 24 yards. Paymon caught 4 passes. Nate Meacham caught 2 passes including one for a 24 yard touchdown.
Paymon had a big night on defense
with 21 tackles and an interception in the second quarter that set up the second MA touchdown. Cam Holmes added 8 tackles and 2 sacks. Brian Wilson had 10 tackles and Reggie Dixon 8 tackles.
Beulah made a game of it in the second half and matched MA step for step with a trio of touchdowns. “They are a much improved team compared to what they were the last few years. They ran the ball very well and kept coming at us. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them in the playoffs. They are a tough team,” MA coach Gary Nelson said. “I feel pretty good about our prospects in the region even though we will face some very good teams. We will continue to work hard. Tonight’s effort was good but I think we can still improve.”
Montgomery Academy is now 2-1 for the season and 1-0 in the region. The Eagles will have a very tough test next week when they travel to Brundidge to play Pike County.
Catholic 7, St. James 6
In a battle of two championship-caliber defenses, one big play was all it took.
Hunter Ferrall connected with B.J. Barker on a fourth-and-17 pass for 43 yards to the St. James 2 and Tyler Price scored on the next play to erase the Trojans’ 6-0 lead. John Register added the extra point with 36.8 seconds remaining to help the Knights snap a nine-game losing streak to their crosstown rivals in the region opener for both teams Friday night.
Catholic, which had managed just 95 total yards over the final three quarters until that play, dodged certain defeat when two St. James players collided on the third play of the drive, preventing a Ferrall interception. Ferrall threw a screen pass to Price on the following play and he converted a fourth-and-nine play into a 16-yard gain.
The two teams battled through three quarters of scoreless play before the Trojans mounted an 11-play drive to the Catholic 22. Jim Kim’s 40-yard field goal with 7:33 remaining broke the scoreless tie.
Four plays later, following a fake punt by the Knights, St. James took over on the Catholic 20 but failed to gain any yardage in three plays. Kim booted a 37-yard field goal with 3:43 left for a 6-0 lead.
Catholic, 3-0 and 1-0 in region play, travels across town to play Trinity in another region matchup next week. St. James, 1-2 and 0-1, returns home to play Fultondale.
Alabama Christian 38, Bullock County 12
UNION SPRINGS – Reece Solar threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for three more as Alabama Christian built a comfortable 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to victory in their region opener on Friday night.
Solar completed 11 of 19 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Grayson Evans on a 34-yard touchdown pass and Carson Hunt for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Solar also ran for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries.
Alden Stroud rushed for 117 yards on 22 carries for the Eagles. Evans caught three passes for 57 yards while Hunt added two receptions for 57 yards. Dawson Locklier and John Wilson Jarrett each had eight tackles to lead the defense. Jarrett and Ty Taveras also had fumble recoveries.
Jaeyeop Lee had five extra points and rounded out the scoring with a 33-yard field goal for the Eagles, 3-0 and 1-0 in region play. Alabama Christian returns home to play Dale County in a crucial region matchup next week.
Hooper Academy 46, Northside Methodist 13
HOPE HULL — Charlie Harris rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns to help Hooper Academy to a 46-13 win over Northside Methodist in the region opener at Davis Henry Field on Friday night.
Trace Edwards completed 13 of 20 passes for 132 yards and four touchdowns, with Wyatt Burnett, Mason Hill, Jared Kelly and Cole Godwin all catching touchdown passes. Grant Tyson added 73 yards rushing and 29 yards on receptions for the Colts.
Jackson Fancher had nine tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery, while Reed Culver had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Hooper, 3-1 and 1-0 in region play, travels to Selma next week for a region game with Morgan. Northside, 0-4 and 0-1, returns home for a region game with Fort Dale.
Springwood School 23, Edgewood Academy 14
ELMORE – Edgewood rolled up 420 total yards and trailed by just a field goal entering the final period, but lost the region opener to Springwood 23-14 on Friday night.
Christian Ivey completed 12 of 24 passes for 174 yards and rushed 31 times for 152 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Tyler Abernathy added 94 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries as the Wildcats trailed just 10-7 at the half and 17-14 after three quarters.
Cam Burleson had 109 yards on four receptions, while Matt Williams added 43 yards on three catches.
Hunter Bowdoin finished with eight tackles to lead Edgewood, followed by Desmond Adams with six and Ivey with five.
Edgewood, 1-2 and 0-1 in region play, travels to Lee-Scott, a dramatic 36-35 winner over Glenwood, for a region game next week. Springwood, 3-0 and 1-0, returns home to face region rival Bessemer next week.
Tallassee 21, Handley 13
HANDLEY – Casey Baynes threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Tallassee defeated Handley 21-13 in the region opener on Friday night.
Baynes threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jake Burton for the early lead but Handley tied the game two minutes into the second quarter. Trent Cochran-Gill ran 35 yards for another Tiger touchdown to put Tallassee up 14-7 at the half, but Handley tailback Devontae Houston scored his second touchdown of the night on a 6-yard run to pull within 14-13.
Baynes hit Kalvin Levett with a 43-yard touchdown pass with 3:27 remaining to give the visiting Tigers the win.
Baynes completed 7 of 12 passes for 116 yards while rushing for 10 yards on 13 carries. Cochran-Gill led Tallassee with 60 yards rushing on five carries.
Tallassee, 3-0 and 1-0 in region play, returns home to play Childersburg in a region game next week, while Handley, 0-3 and 0-1, travels to Eclectic next week to play region rival Elmore County, which lost to Leeds 41-14.
Wetumpka 44, Chelsea 22
WETUMPKA – Wetumpka blew open a close game with three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 44-22 win over Chelsea at Hohenberg Field on Friday night.
The Indians led just 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, but scored three consecutive times to take a commanding 35-7 lead before going into the locker room up 35-15. The Indians added a touchdown and a field goal in the third quarter to make it 44-15.
Wetumpka (3-0) opened the season with three consecutive wins for only the third time since 2010 and avenged last year’s 35-28 loss to Chelsea in the region opener. The Indians play host to Stanhope Elmore next week.
Prattville 45, Enterprise 21
ENTERPRISE – Prattville pulled away from a close game with a strong third-quarter performance to down Enterprise 45-21 in the Lions’ region opener on Friday night.
Prattville (2-1) led 16-14 at the half but got a touchdown early in the third quarter, then a safety on Enterprise’s next possession. Prattville then scored on the ensuing possession to make it 31-14. The Lions added two more touchdowns before Enterprise scored in the final minute.
Prattville returns home to face Auburn High in another region matchup next week at Stanley-Jensen Stadium.
Macon East Academy 47, Coosa Valley 7
CECIL – Tucker Neven passed for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns and ran 7 yards for another score as Macon East won its region opener with a 47-7 win over Coosa Valley on Friday.
Mike Murry led the Knights with 94 yards rushing and a touchdown. Jackson Ceman and Dustin Jones added touchdown runs for Macon East.
Colby Jordan led the defense with four tackles as Ethan Honaker, Tyler Watson and KC House all recorded interceptions. The Knights held Coosa Valley to 65 total yards.
Macon East, 2-1 and 1-0 in region play, travels to Montgomery next week to play Evangel in a crucial region contest. Coosa Valley, 1-3 and 0-1, travels to region rival Lakeside next week.
Kingwood 43, Evangel Christian 36
ALABASTER – Evangel Christian was well on its way to its first win of the year at halftime with a 30-16 lead over Kingwood. But the Lions could not hold off their opponent in the second half as Kingwood roared back with 21 unanswered points to take the lead.
For Evangel, quarterback Aaron Alpert tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Jalen Smith of 64 yards and 19 yards. Alpert also ran for a 45 yard TD. Xavier Williams returned a kickoff 66 yards for a touchdown and also scored a 55 yard TD on an option play.
Evangel now drops to 0-4 and will host Macon East in a region contest next week.
Updated September 1, 2017 11:59pm
Catholic 54, Prattville Christian 25
Catholic improved its record to 2-0 with a convincing over PCA. The Knights held the PCA to minus yards until midway in the third quarter and PCA did not score on the Catholic starters. The first team Knights defense stopped PCA in every way. “Our defense did what they are taught to do and that is to go after the ball,” Catholic coach Aubrey
Blackwell said. “They are improving quite a bit and they did a good job tonight and forced some turnovers.” PCA lost a pair of fumbles to Catholic, one of which was returned for 35 yards by Aaron Hall to set up a score.
The Knights racked up 471 yards in total offense. Tyler Price had 163 total yards with 3 touchdowns. Reserve
quarterback Cephus Cleveland had 4 carries for 164 yards and 3 touchdowns, all in the second half on runs of 24,75 and 72 yards. Starting quarterback Hunter Ferrall had 235 yards passing including 2 touchdown passes to Charlie Ryan.
Catholic led 28-0 at the half and 42-6 at the end of the third quarter.
See complete report in the September 7 printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Andalusia 31, Trinity 14
Andalusia turned the game in their favor with a touchdown on the final play of the first half, then added two more scores in the fourth quarter to spoil Trinity coach Barry Loyal’s home debut at Boykin Field.
Andalusia scored midway through the first quarter, but the Wildcats answered with a Trace Bright touchdown pass to Bryce Kelly that tied the score. The Bulldogs responded with a touchdown drive to regain the lead, then scored on the final play of the first half for a 21-7 halftime lead.
After an Andalusia field goal, Trinity responded with a touchdown bomb from Bright to Luke Hufham, but the Bulldogs (1-1) answered with another score to put the game out of reach.
Bright was 14 of 26 for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns but was intercepted twice. Hufham had 92 yards and a touchdown on two receptions and Sage Klingen added 63 yards on four catches.
Defensively, Jackson Davis had 13 tackles, Max Williams had 11 tackles and three pass breakups and Tyler Britton had nine tackles.
Trinity (1-1), travels to Dale County for a region matchup next week.
See complete report in the September 7 printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
St. James 30, Montgomery Academy 6
Tony Amerson rushed for 258 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries to give his head coach his 100th career coaching victory in a 30-6 win at McLemore Field on Friday night.
Jimmy Perry picked up his 100th coaching win but was more interested in the way his players bounced back after a season opening loss to Bayside Academy last week.
The Trojans (1-1) answered the challenge in impressive fashion, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as Amerson scored on runs of 9, 3 and 52 yards while the St. James defense held Montgomery Academy runners Keefe White and Kevin Doh to 33 and 25 yards, respectively.
The Trojans carried a 7-0 lead into the second half when Stephen Sadie broke through and blocked Nate Meacham’s punt for a safety. The Trojans scored on the ensuing possession on a quarterback sneak by Josh Garnett for a 16-0 lead and were never threatened by the Eagles the remainder of the game.
Trey Lindsey hit John Adams with a 41-yard touchdown pass to avoid the shutout.
St. James travels to Catholic next week for a crucial region game, while Montgomery Academy (1-1) opens region play at home against Beulah.
See complete report in the September 7 printed edition of the Montgomery Independent
Springwood 34, Evangel 6
Evangel Christian couldn’t stop a sold passing game by Springwood and lost its third straight game. Lions quarterback Aaron Alpert completed 5 of 12 passes for 110 yards. Alpert connected with DeSean Powell on a 60 yard pass play for Evangel’s only score. Carlos Hinson led the Lions with 9 tackles. Evangel will travel to Kingwood next week for the first region game of the season.
Alabama Christian 49, Elmore County 21
ECLECTIC – Reece Solar threw for a touchdown and ran for three more in one half of action as Alabama Christian improved to 2-0 with an easy win over Elmore County.
Solar was 6 of 10 for 85 yards and a touchdown, throwing to Cole Schlemmer, and ran for 59 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries as the Eagles played four quarterbacks in building up a 49-7 lead.
Collin Panehal also had a touchdown reception in the win.
Alden Stroud rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and finished with 257 all-purpose yards. Jackson Hibbard rushed for 48 yards on six carries and Grayson Evans had 58 yards on a pair of receptions.
Defensively, Ty Taveras recovered a fumble in the end zone for another ACA score. Dawson Locklier led the Eagle defense with nine tackles, followed by Garrett Cottingham with eight and Blake Bryant with seven.
ACA opens region play next week at Bullock County, while Elmore County (0-2) hosts Leeds in its region opener next Friday.
Autauga Academy 23, Bessemer Academy 7
BESSEMER – Autauga Academy won its battle of defending state champions by building a 17-0 halftime lead and holding off Bessemer 23-7 on Friday night.
Autauga, the defending AISA Class AA state champion, ran its winning streak to 16 games by winning its third game of 2017 with a strong defensive effort. Bessemer, the defending AAA state champion, fell to 2-2 as the Rebels struggled to find any offensive rhythm.
Jordan Epkins led the Autauga ground game with 94 yards on 18 carries, while quarterback Tripp Carr had 39 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight carries and Kendrick Rogers had 9 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
Carr completed 12 of 16 passes for 102 yards. Rogers had four receptions for 30 yards, while James Woods had four receptions for 33 yards.
Defensively, Javon Brown led the Generals with eight tackles, including one for loss. Granger Armstrong had seven tackles, D’Jay Gardner had six tackles and Jacob Murphy had five tackles and a fumble recovery.
Autauga (3-0) remains on the road next week, traveling to Graceville (Fla.) High.
Hooper Academy 44, Sparta Academy 8
EVERGREEN – Trace Edwards completed 7 of 13 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 67 more as Hooper coasted past Sparta 44-8 on Friday.
Charlie Harris rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and added 53 yards and a touchdown on receptions out of the backfield. Grant Tyson added 76 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while receiver Mason Hill had 59 yards and a touchdown and Jared Kelly added 55 yards with a pair of touchdown receptions.
Tyson led the defensive effort with 18 tackles. Mason Ivey added 13 for the Colts (2-1), who play host to Northside in a region contest next week.
Tallassee 28, W.S. Neal 13
EAST BREWTON – Casey Baynes rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 71 more as Tallassee rallied from an early deficit with 21 consecutive points for a 28-13 victory on the road.
Baynes carried the ball 16 times, scoring on a 24-yard run a minute into the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7 and adding touchdown runs of 10 and 22 yards later in the game. He also completed all three passing attempts for 71 yards in the win.
Trent Cochran-Gill added 61 yards on nine carries, including a 37-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter that put the Tigers in front for good, and had a team-high eight tackles on defense.
Quinton Jeter kicked all four extra points in the win.
Tallassee (2-0) travels to Roanoke to face Handley in the region opener next week.
Southwest Georgia 48, Edgewood Academy 14
ELMORE – Christian Ivey threw a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t enough as Southwest Georgia added three second-half touchdowns for an easy victory on Friday night.
Trailing 30-0, Ivey hit Kam Burleson with a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, then a minute later found Desmond Adam on a 17-yard touchdown play and for the two-point conversion to trim the deficit to 30-14 at the half but that was as close as the Wildcats could get.
Southwest Georgia put together a punishing rushing attack that churned out 440 rushing yards and 500 total yards.
Ivey completed 11 of 16 passes for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added 73 rushing yards on 17 carries, while Adam had 119 all-purpose yards.
Tyler Abernathy led the Edgewood defense with nine tackles.
The Wildcats (1-1) play host to Springwood in a region opener next week.
Freeport 34, Lowndes Academy 0
FREEPORT, Fla. – Lowndes Academy watched two promising drives turn into quick points for their opponent and never recovered, committing five turnovers in a 34-0 loss to Freeport on Friday.
After both teams had opening possessions stall, the Rebels marched to the Freeport 8-yard line before turning the ball over on downs, only to see the Bulldogs go 92 yards on the next play. The Rebels then drove to the Freeport 11 before throwing an interception, only to surrender another touchdown on the next play. Two plays and an interception later, the Bulldogs reached the end zone in three plays for a comfortable lead.
Lowndes finished with 24 first downs but threw four interceptions and lost a fumble to fall into a 31-0 deficit at the half.
Mason McCurdy led the Rebels with 10 tackles.
Lowndes (1-1) plays host to Crenshaw Christian in a crucial region contest next week.
Flomaton 53, Billingsley 7
JEMISON – The Class 3A Hurricanes blew into Jemison with a vengeance and wrecked Billingsley’s season opener with a 53-7 win over the Class 2A Bears.
The season opener was moved from Billingsley’s Mims Field after it was deemed unsafe and was played at Jemison High.
Quarterback Malik Callens scored the Bears’ touchdown.
Billingsley (0-1) will play Jemison next Friday at Marbury High.
Updated August 26, 2017 8:48 am
Bayside 15, Saint James 12
Saint James scored two first half touchdowns on a 36 yard run by Colin Duncan and a 48 yard TD reception by T.R. Robertson. The Trojans defense thwarted a pair of Bayside drives with defensive turnovers at the Trojan two yard line, but several untimely penalties and some tough play in the second half by the Admirals allowed them to overcome the 12 point lead. Bayside scored both touchdowns in the air in the second half and stopped the Trojans twice late in the fourth quarter to avenge their 2016 home opening season loss with a 15 – 12 victory.
Updated August 26, 2017 8:20 am
Fort Dale 48, Evangel Christian 30
Fort Dale ran the opening kickoff back to take a lead it never relinquished. For Evangel, Aaron Alpert threw for 136 yards and rushed for 80 yards. Alpert scored on runs of 25 and 26 yards. Xavier Williams scored on runs of 55 and 56 yards and finished with 129 yards on the night. Jalen Gardner also scored from 38 yards out. The Lions are now 0-2 on the season and will host Springwood Academy next week.
Updated August 26, 2017 12:54 am
Trinity 34, Jacksonville 27
JACKSONVILLE -Wildcats new head coach Barry Loyal picked up his first win as Trinity’s varsity coach with a 34-27 victory over Jacksonville on the road. Loyal said it was a “great team win and that all phases of the game came together to get the job done.”
Quarterback Trace Bright was 17-33 with 234 yards passing and one TD pass. He also rushed for 22 yards and scored twice. Brice Kelley rushed for 29 yards.
In the receiving department Luke Hufham made a half dozen catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Connor Hayes had 3 catches for 45 yards. Cam Loverich caught 5 passes and picked up 98 yards.
Defensively Kaleb Krietz had 11 tackles a sack. Jackson Davis also had 11 tackles. David blocked a punt and scored a touchdown. Will Eagerton recorded 10 tackles.
Chapman Gregory and Hufham picked off Jacksonville passes.
Next week Trinity will host Andalusia.
Updated October 25, 11:26 pm
Montgomery Academy 42, Elmore County 14
Montgomery Academy defeated Elmore County High at McLemore Field 42-14 in what was an impressive offensive show by the Eagles. Trey Lindsey was 5 for 6 passing and connected with Nate Meacham twice for scores with passes of 75 and 80 yards. Lindsey scored on a quarterback sneak. C.J. Paymon scored from 30 yards out and Keefe White scored the first MA touchdown of the season from 5 yards away. Kevin Doh also scored and carried for 57 yards. The Eagles racked up 465 yards in total offense.
On the defensive side of the ball Jack Mozingo, Mason Young and Paymon all had 7 tackles. C.J. Paymon intercepted a Panthers pass and William Davis recovered a fumble.
MA coach Gary Nelson attributed an improved Eagles team to more experience on both sides of the ball. “They had some difficulty running on us tonight and last year they ran over us. But we got more experience on the defensive side of the ball and it showed tonight,” Nelson said. “Offensively you can’t say enough about Trey Lindsey. He has come a long way after last year and recovering from an injury. He is a great leader and showed tonight he can run the offense.” MA will host Saint James next week.
See complete report in next week’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent.
Updated August 25, 2017 11:10 pm
Edgewood Academy 47, Hope Christian 14
COLUMBIANA – Christian Ivey and Colby Potts rushed for two touchdowns each as Edgewood Academy opened 2017 with a convincing 47-14 win over Hope Christian.
The game was played at Cornerstone Christian Academy’s field.
The Wildcats, 0-10 last season, piled up 298 rushing yards and 496 total yards in the win. Ivey completed 11 of 16 passes for 171 yards and rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Potts rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
Drez Crawford had 101 yards on six receptions and added a touchdown on a 60-yard punt return.
Tyler Abernathy led the Edgewood defense with 10 tackles. Hunter Bowdoin added six.
The Wildcats return home to play Southwest Georgia next Friday.
Macon East Academy 6, Hooper Academy 0
HOPE HULL – Mike Murry broke a scoreless tie with a touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to give Macon East a 6-0 win over Hooper at Davis Henry Field.
Trace Edwards threw for 109 yards for the Colts, 1-1, while Charlie Harris added 20 yards to lead the team in rushing. Jackson Fancher had a team-high 11 tackles, including five sacks, with Grant Tyson adding nine tackles and three sacks.
Hooper travels to Evergreen to play Sparta Academy next Friday, while Macon East, 1-0, travels to Luverne to play Crenshaw Christian Academy.
Tallassee 21, Russell County 14
TALLASSEE – Casey Baynes was 12 of 17 for 164 yards and a touchdown to lead Tallassee to a season-opening victory over Class 6A Russell County at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium.
Baynes’ touchdown pass covered 51 yards to Kalvin Levett, one of two first-quarter touchdowns by the Tigers that helped them to a 15-0 lead. But Russell County scored on the final play of the first quarter and the final play of the first half, a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by Michael Kuresa, to close within 15-14 at halftime.
Jalen Johnson, who had 74 yards rushing on 11 carries, scored on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Tallassee (1-0) travels to W.S. Neal next week, while Russell County (0-1) returns home to play Valley.
Catholic 51, Central-Coosa 6
HANOVER – Tyler Price had 169 total yards to help Catholic cruise to a 51-6 win in the season opener at Central High.
Price had 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight carries and added another touchdown on a 46-yard reception. Kamryn Jackson added a pair of touchdowns, one on a 15-yard carry, the other on a 23-yard reception.
The big-play Knights (1-0) also got a 78-yard scoring run from Raz Chandler and a 38-yard touchdown run from backup quarterback Cephus Cleveland.
Trey Wilkinson had an interception to lead a Catholic defense that held Central to just 79 yards.
The Knights return home to play Prattville Christian Academy next Friday.
See complete report in next week’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent.
Alabama Christian Academy 42, Providence Christian 12
Alabama Christian rolled to their biggest season opening win at home since 1990, crushing Providence Christian 42-12 at Wade Norton Black Stadium on Friday night.
Reece Solar was 13 of 18 for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added 156 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as the Eagles posted their largest margin of victory since beating B.T. Washington 40-8 in 2014.
Alden Stroud accounted for 160 all-purpose yards, rushing for 41 yards and a touchdown, catching six passes for 81 yards and returning a punt 38 yards.
ACA receiver Grayson Evans, playing football for the first time, had 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five receptions. Linebacker Dawson Locklier led the ACA defense with 13 tackles. Defensive back Blake Bryant had 11 tackles.
The win was the biggest season opening win for the Eagles since winning at Ariton 52-6 in 2001 and the biggest season opener at home since beating Highland Home 35-0 in 1990.
Providence Christian scored on a 5-yard run by Collin Dean to take a 6-0 lead on its opening possession, but only managed 39 total yards in the second and third quarters before scoring on the game’s final play on a George McClintock 3-yard pass to William Solomon.
See complete report in next week’s printed edition of the Montgomery Independent.
Lowndes Academy 19, Southern Academy 12
HAYNEVILLE – Jon Johnson rushed for a pair of touchdowns, passed for another and added the extra point to give the Rebels the lead for good as Lowndes won its season opener 19-12 at Mac Champion Field.
Johnson rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries, scoring a late touchdown on a 35-yard run to seal the victory. He was 8 of 17 passing for 160 yards with an interception and a 15-yard touchdown pass to Zack Miller. He also punted four times for a 38-yard average and booted the extra point after Lowndes rallied to tie the score in the second half.
Defensively, Ben Crook led the Rebels with seven tackles. His brother Cole had six.
Lowndes (1-0) travels to Freeport, Fla., next Friday, while Southern (0-1) remains on the road at Jackson Academy.
Wetumpka 47, Prattville 29
WETUMPKA – The Wetumpka Indians overcame a 17-13 halftime deficit to defeat Prattville at home in the season opener with a final score of 47-29. The Indians took the lead early in the third quarter and poured it on. Kavoisey Smoke scored 4 touchdowns for Wetumpka. The Indians will travel to face Eufaula next week while Prattville will host Stanhope Elmore.