E.A. Sports Today

How sweep it is

Piedmont sweeps 3A football awards — Hayes (pictured right) as top back, Langley as top lineman

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY — Ohatchee running back Austin Tucker was sitting at the table designated for the Class 3A Player of the Year finalists — alone — and was starting to get a little self-conscious about it.

A short while later he had a whole lot of company, and he knew most of it.

All at once an entourage of 17 Piedmont folks walked into the banquet hall and took their seats. Three of the six players at Tucker’s table of finalists were Bulldogs.

Calhoun County had five players at the event in total. Two of them took top classification honors at the Alabama Mr. Football luncheon Wednesday, and they were both from the same state championship-winning school.

Piedmont quarterback Taylor Hayes repeated as the Class 3A Back of the Year and his top blocker, left tackle Mason Langley, was named 3A Lineman of the Year.

“It was a good day for us, that’s for sure,” Bulldogs coach Steve Smith said.

Beauregard junior running back LaDamian Webb was named Mr. Football. Hayes was seventh in the balloting and was among three players tied with the most first-place votes (3).

The awards finalists were seated together according to their classification, turning the 3A table into a family table of sorts with three Piedmont players up for awards — Hayes, Langley and lineman Logan Beadles.

“It’s great being here with those guys,” Hayes said. “They’re my brothers; I’ve been through a lot with them. It’s an honor being here with them, just representing our county and our region and most importantly our school.”

Tucker also was up for 3A back of the year and Oxford linebacker K.J. Britt was a finalist for 6A lineman of the year. Britt came over from Auburn, where he already is enrolled in classes.

Because of the season he enjoyed – nearly 3,800 total passing and rushing yards, 60 combined touchdowns — many thought Hayes had a better than good chance to be Mr. Football. He was one of eight players to receive first place votes but not enough overall points to overcome Webb, the first junior to be named Mr. Football in the 35-year history of the award.

Webb set the AHSAA single-season touchdown record (47) and rushed for the second-highest season total in AHSAA history with 3,282 yards. He set Super 7 records for all classifications in the Class 5A championship game with 51 carries for 359 yards and five touchdowns.

Hayes wasn’t disappointed to lose out on Mr. Football to a player he called “one of the best running backs I’ve seen.” As much as it was “an honor” to be a two-time 3A award winner, he said it was “really a bigger honor to be here, to be considered as one of the top guys in the state with all the guys who are signing SEC scholarships and everything who are here.”

Beadles, meanwhile, said he wasn’t disappointed to get nosed out by teammate Langley. The two rode down together and, presumably, had a pleasant ride back home.

“As long as it stayed in Piedmont I’m happy,” he said.

Langley, a recent Jacksonville State commitment, said both linemen wanted the other to have the award.

“I’d have been very happy for Beadles if he got it,” he said.

The offensive line they were a big part of – everything with that line was big — was one of the strengths of the Bulldogs’ run to a second straight state championship. Langley called it “a brotherhood” that was “one for the books” and found it appropriate one of the linemen who blocked for the winning back should also be recognized.

“Being able to block for T-Hayes, that’s definitely an honor,” he said. “Because he’s a tank. He runs the ball hard. Knowing that he’s going to give it everything he’s got on every play and knowing I’m going to give it everything I’ve got on every play it goes along perfect.”

In related news, the Bulldogs will receive their 2016 state football championship trophy from AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese during ceremonies tomorrow morning at the school.


(first place votes in parenthesis)
LaDamian Webb, Beauregard RB 147 (3)
Malik Cunningham, Park Crossing QB 132 (1)
Thomas Johnston, Spanish Fort LB 116 (2)
Kadarius Toney, Blount ATH 113 (1)
LaBryan Ray, James Clemens DL 113 (2)
Terence Dunlap, Maplesville RB 109 (2)
Taylor Hayes, Piedmont QB 85 (3)
Henry Ruggs III, Lee-Montgomery WR 37
Baniko Harley, Ramsey ATH 68
JaTarvious Whitlow, LaFayette ATH 49 (1)
Jaylond Adams, Minor WR 44
Bubba Thompson, McGill-Toolen QB 38

Taylor Hayes, Piedmont, QB 93
Austin Tucker, Ohatchee, RB 62
Troy Young, Mobile Christian ATH 53

Mason Langley, Piedmont OL 53
Logan Beadles, Piedmont, DL 39
Tyler Olds, Montevallo LB 34

Thomas Johnston, Spanish Fort LB 69
Marcus Jenkins, Park Crossing LB 50
K.J. Britt, Oxford LB 47

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