E.A. Sports Today

Finishing touches

McCallum’s touchdown in final minute of regular season lifts Alexandria; Randolph County blanks Wadley, but comes up short in region tiebreaker; Glencoe gets first win, Hokes Bluff bounces back, White Plains falls

Nate McCallum (2) forces his way into the end zone to score Alexandria’s winning touchdown with 59 seconds left Friday night. (Photo by Greg Warren)

By East Alabama Sports Today

Alexandria gained a big measure of momentum and confidence going into the playoffs when it scored in the final minute of the regular season Friday night to turn back playoff-bound Chilton County 42-35.

Nate McCallum scored on a 25-yard run with 59 seconds to play after the Tigers tied it with a 46-yard touchdown pass with 2:25 to play. McCallum scored the first touchdown of the game and the last.

The Valley Cubs (6-4) open the Class 5A North playoffs Friday at Madison Academy. Chilton County (4-6) opens the 5A South playoffs at Jackson.

The Valley Cubs never could shake the Tigers. Every time Alexandria would score, Chilton County would find a way to match it.

The Tigers tied it for the third time at 35-all when Shi Keem Laister hooked up with Justin Liveoak for a 46-yard touchdown with 2:25 to play. The Valley Cubs came right back and retook the lead on McCallum’s 25-yard run.

Chilton County fumbled the kickoff and the Valley Cubs closed it out.

“I thought we had the best week of practice we have had all season this week,” Alexandria coach Todd Ginn said. “Chilton County has an unreal athlete at quarterback and a bowling ball of a running back we knew we had to stop.

“In the second half they made some big throws and catches that I haven’t seem them make much in film this year. I knew to beat them we had to stop the run, which was going to make us a little thin on the pass. Our guys played tough team football though and I couldn’t be happier for us to win the way we did on Senior Night.”

McCallum finished the night with 102 yards rushing on 19 carries. Romeo Dye rushed for 189 yards on 15 carries and scored three different ways – a run, a catch and a fumble return.

Scoring summary
Chilton Co. 7 0 21 7 — 35
Alexandria 6 8 14 14 – 42

A – Nate McCallum 5 run (PAT failed)
C – Triston Schmidthorst 14 pass from Shi Keem Laister (kick good), 1:03 1Q
A – Romeo Dye 50 fumble return (Romeo Dye run), 10:50 2Q
C – Mason Dennis 75 kickoff return (PAT failed)
A – Romeo Dye 20 pass from Jacob Wells (kick good), 10:00 3Q
C – Triston Schmidthorst 25 run (Laister run), 6:25 3Q
A – Jacob Wells run (kick good), 4:04 3Q
C – Triston Schmidthorst 45 pass from Shi Keem Laister (kick good), 0:40 3Q
A – Romeo Dye 3 run (kick good), 10:17 4Q
C – Justin Liveoak 46 pass from Shi Keem Laister (kick good), 2:25 4Q
A – Nate McCallum 25 run (kick good), 0:59 4Q

Alexandria’s Romeo Dye (22) lunges into the end zone with one of the three different ways he scored for the Valley Cubs. (Photo by Greg Warren)

Randolph County 28, Wadley 0

WEDOWEE – Randolph County needed a little help to win a region title. It didn’t come, but the top-ranked Tigers still have a first-round home playoff game next week.

The Tigers, locked in a three-way tie for the Class 3A Region 6 lead, won their final regular-season game with a shutout of Wadley, extending their winning streak to seven games in the process.

They needed a win and a Piedmont loss at Geraldine to win the region. The Bulldogs, a late starter because of a power outage at the stadium, were ahead 13-6 at the time Randolph County’s game ended and went on to win 26-6 and get the nod.

“It doesn’t matter if we are No. 1 right now,” Tigers coach Pat Prestridge said. “What matters is who’s No. 1 at the end.”

The Tigers (9-1) will host Lauderdale County in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs Friday.

Both teams’ defenses held the other’s potent rushing offense to two punts and a turnover on downs in the first half.

“They did some things we didn’t expect and it caused us some havoc,” Prestridge said.

The sole score of the first half came when Bulldogs punter Justin Fulghum was nearly tackled deep in the end zone safety. Before the defense could solidify the points, Fulghum quickly tossed the ball out of the end zone with Demarcus Davis intercepting and returning it 10 yards for the score.

With halftime adjustments the Tigers were able to bounce back and score 21 unanswered points. Atario Hester got his only score of the game on the opening drive of the third quarter on a five-yard run. The Bulldogs held him to 75 yards on 14 carries.

“They were slanting everywhere, bringing eight people at a time and it caused some trouble for us,” Prestridge said. “We’ve just got to do better at what we do.”

Wadley put together its best drive of the game came with 6:50 left in the third quarter, but it ended with a missed 37-yard field goal attempt. Randolph County held the Bulldogs to minus-10 yards of rushing offense and nine yards net total.

Dante Jordan and Davis each got their second touchdowns of the game to put the finishing touch on the victory. Davis connected with Jordan on a 65-yard touchdown pass with 3:55 remaining in the third and Jordan scored from two yards out on the next possession early in the fourth giving the Tigers the 28-0 final. – Jeremy Wortham

Randolph County’s Atario Hester (8) fights for yardage against Wadley. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham)

Ranburne 35, White Plains 20

RANBURNE – The Wildcats forged a two-touchdown lead seven minutes into the game, but couldn’t hold it and ended a season that started with much promise on a six-game losing streak.

Jaden Harris scored the first two touchdowns of the game, then Ranburne woke up and scored 35 points in a row before the Wildcats (2-8) rediscovered the end zone with less than 30 seconds to go in their season.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs (8-2) got touchdowns from five different players during their comeback. Josh Ralston threw for one of them and ran for another.

The Wildcats were plagued with four turnovers and Ranburne’s defense held them to just 56 yards rushing. Two of their touchdowns came on big plays of 70 yards or more; eliminate those and White Plains had 61 yards of net offense.

Ranburne had three backs rush for more than 50 yards – Christian Smith (16-85), Jake Burson (7-58) and Ralston (11-55).

Team stats WP Ran
First downs 7 18
Rushes-yds 31-56 50-260
Passes 3-8-2 4-10-0
Passing yds 161 40
Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-1
Punts-avg 4-17.0 5-17.4
Penalties-yds 2-10 11-95

Scoring summary
White Plains 12 2 0 6 — 20
Ranburne 0 14 14 7 — 35

WP – Jaden Harris 2 run (run failed), 8:21 1Q
WP – Jaden Harris 72 pass from Jaden Chatman (pass failed), 5:09 1Q
R – Jake Burson 9 pass from Josh Ralston (Brock Young kick), 11:10 2Q
R – Josh Ralston 7 run (Brock Young kick), 4:25 2Q
R – Damon Calhoun 11 run (Brock Young kick), 10:15 3Q
R – Christian Smith 7 run (Brock Young kick), 8:55 3Q
R – Blocked punt recovered in end zone (Brock Young kick), 11:05 4Q
WP – Garrison Abbott 84 pass from Jaden Harris (run failed), 0:23 4Q

Hokes Bluff 55, Sardis 28

BOAZ – Darrian Meads rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries as Hokes Bluff rebounded from a tough loss to Jacksonville to win its regular-season game.

Meads scored on runs of 3, 4, 2, 23 and 4 yards, giving him 27 touchdowns this season. He went over 2,000 rushing yards for the year in the game.

He single-handedly broke open a close game with three touchdowns in the second quarter to give the Eagles a 28-14 halftime lead.

Quarterback Ashton Gulledge rushed for 90 yards and passed for 141 more and two touchdowns. The Eagles ran up 522 yards of offense. The teams combined for 858 yards between them.

Sardis quarterback Van Owens completed 13 of 17 passes for 150 yards and four touchdowns, three to Jacob Hopper. Drew Vaughn rushed for 130 yards on 24 carries.

Team stats HB Sar
First downs 28 18
Rushes-yds 46-381 39-172
Passes 4-7-0 14-19-1
Passing yds 141 164
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-avg 1-36.0 4-26.3
Penalties-yds 2-20 1-5

Scoring summary
Hokes Bluff 7 21 21 6 – 55
Sardis 6 8 7 7 – 28

HB – Darrian Meads 3 run (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 7:55 1Q
S – Jacob Hopper 18 pass from Van Owens (kick failed), 0:23
HB – Darrian Meads 4 run (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 11:35 2Q
HB – Darrian Meads 2 run (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 9:50 2Q
HB – Darrian Meads 23 run (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 5:32 2Q
S – Jacob Hopper 1 pass from Van Owens (Jacob Hopper pass from Evan Presley), 0:14 2Q
HB – Braydon Hill 50 pass from Ashton Gulledge (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 10:35 3Q
S – Evan Presley 52 pass from Van Owens (Ean Salers kick), 7:55 3Q
HB – Carson Eubanks 23 pass from Ashton Gulledge (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 5:46 3Q
HB – Darrian Meads 4 run (Ethan Whitcomb kick), 3:05 3Q
S – Jacob Hopper 10 pass from Van Owens (Ean Salers kick), 10:31 4Q
HB –Will Clemons 2 run (kick failed), 6:52 4Q

Glencoe 40, West End 6

WALNUT GROVE – Colton Stone rushed for 177 yards and three long touchdowns on eight carries and Glencoe won its first game of the year to end a 17-game losing streak.

The Yellow Jackets (1-9) scored more points on one night than it had all season. The 40 they scored were the most in a game since they put 40 on the Patriots in last year’s season opener.

Stone scored on runs of 54, 36 and 77 yards. The Glencoe defense held West End (1-9) to minus-9 yards net rushing and 1-for-11 efficiency on third down.

West End quarterback Jacob Jones threw for 259 yards on 20-of-38 passing. Jeremiah Roberson caught 14 passes for 145 yards. Kaleb Arledge caught four balls for 101 yards.

Team stats Glen WE
First downs 15 19
Rushing yds 353 (-9)
Passes 1-2-0 21-39-1
Passing yds 24 294
Fumbles lost 0 0
Penalty yds 87 132

Scoring summary
Glencoe 7 12 21 0 — 40
West End 0 6 0 0 — 6

G – 1 run (kick good)
G – Colton Stone 54 run (PAT failed)
WE – Jacob Jones 22 pass (kick failed)
G – Andrew Massaro 86 kickoff return (kick failed)
G – Colton Stone 36 run (conversion good)
G – Colton Stone 77 run (kick good)
G – Hunter Gray 2 run (kick failed)

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