E.A. Sports Today

Vols sharp

Clay Central erupts for six touchdowns on 18 plays to thump Handley for fourth straight win; playoff preview included
 
By Jeremy Wortham
For East Alabama Sports Today
 
LINEVILLE – When coach Danny Horn has his Clay Central Volunteers firing on all cylinders, they are a force. Friday night was another case in point as the Vols showed their dominance in a 40-21 thumping over the Handley Tigers.
 
“These kids are winners,” Horn said. “I feel like on any given night when we are playing at our best we can beat anybody.”
 
It only took the first 18 plays of the Vols’ 28 on offense to put up their six touchdowns. Those scores came at great lengths to give the Vols an unremarkable 50.4-yard scoring play average. 
 
Running back Quentin Knight was the team’s knight in shining armor, leading the charge on the ground by carrying the ball 11 times for 220 yards and five touchdowns. His touchdown runs came at 2, 44, 61, 45, and 36 yards. 
 
“Quentin is Quentin; that boy can play!” Horn said.
 
“I’m very confident in my offense,” said Knight. “I’m just staying humble and I’m going to keep working hard because I’m not satisfied.”
 
Boyd Ogles connected with Javon Wood from 64 yards for the Vols’ sixth touchdown.
 
Handley was able to keep the game close for majority of the first half. The narrowest deficit of the game came when Evan Cofield scored the Tigers’ second touchdown from five yards out to make it 19-14 with 3:05 to play.
 
The Tigers star running back Devontae Houston was held to less than 100 yards rushing for the first time as he managed only 80 on the ground. Still, it was enough for him to pass the 2,000-yard mark on the season. At 2,035 yards on the season, Houston is only 18 yards from breaking the school record and he should do that easily in the Tigers’ playoff opener against West Blocton.
 
After dropping back-to-back losses at midseason to Class 5A’s top-ranked Jasper and four-time defending region champions Mortimer Jordan, Central Clay found its footing again, winning the final four games of the regular season heading into the playoffs. The defending 5A state champs host Sardis in their first-round game Friday.
 
“We had to overcome adversity and not let it get us down,” Knight said. “We had to just do what we do best and that’s play ball.”
 
“Now the new season begins; everyone is 0-0,” Horn said. “I tell my players that you learn it in the regular season, you earn it in the playoffs.”

Hand (21)Clay (40)
181D 13
49-165Run 23-253
9-18-1CAI 4-5-0
131Pass 123
7-65Pen 6-55

Handley               7    7    0   7  –  21
Clay Central         7  19  14  0  –  40
Scoring plays
C — Quentin Knight 2 run (Clay Yates kick), 7:25 1Q
H — Devontae Houston 1 run (Jackson Hodnett kick), 0:26 1Q
C – Javon Wood 64 pass from Boyd Ogles (PAT failed), 11:50 2Q
C — Quentin Knight 44 run (PAT failed), 9:45 2Q
H – Evan Cofield 5 run (Jackson Hodnett kick), 3:05 2Q
C — Quentin Knight 61 run (Clay Yates kick), 2:16 2Q
C – Quentin Knight 45 run (Clay Yates kick), 9:32 3Q
C – Quentin Knight 36 run (Clay Yates kick), 1:34 3Q
H – Dylan Brooks 36 pass from Evan Cofield (Jackson Hodnett kick), 8:31 4Q.

Playoff preview

208 teams, 20 unbeatens, all 7 defending champions make playoff field; Alexandria’s first-round game state TV Game of the Week
 
From AHSAA

MONTGOMERY – All seven defending state champions and 21 unbeaten teams are in the 208-team field of the 2019 AHSAA state football playoffs. The governing body officially released the bracket Saturday. First-round games are scheduled for Friday.
 
The defending state champions are 7A Central-Phenix City (9-1), 6A Pinson Valley (7-2), 5A Clay Central (8-2), 4A UMS-Wright (9-0), 3A Flomaton (9-1), 2A Fyffe (10-0) and 1A Mars Hill Bible (10-0).
 
Here are the unbeaten teams by class:
 
1A – Decatur Heritage (10-0); Isabella (10-0); Lanett (9-0); Mars Hill Bible (10-0); South Lamar (10-0).
2A – Fyffe (10-0); Luverne (10-0); Ohatchee (9-0); Red Bay (10-0).
3A – Pike County (10-0); Pike Road (10-0); Susan Moore (10-0).
4A – Montgomery Catholic (10-0); UMS-Wright (9-0).
5A – Bibb County (10-0); Faith Academy (10-0); Jasper (10-0).
6A – Muscle Shoals (10-0); Saraland (10-0).
7A – McGill-Toolen Catholic (10-0).
 
For Fyffe, it’s the Red Devils’ 14 unbeaten regular season finish overall and fourth in a row. Coach Paul Benefield has a 292-53 overall coaching record, has guided Fyffe to seven perfect regular seasons in the last nine years and the Red Devils take a 25-game winning streak into their first-round battle with Sheffield (6-4) next Friday. Fyffe will begin next season with a 48-game regular-season winning streak and 32-game winning streak in region play.
 
Also in 2A, Ohatchee completed its second straight undefeated regular season, the first time since 1975-76 the Indians have been perfect in back-to-back regular seasons. Montgomery Catholic’s unbeaten regular season is the first for the 4A school since 1979.
 
UMS-Wright, coached by Terry Curtis (312-85), has a 28-game overall winning streak overall, the AHSAA’s longest current streak. Mars Hill Bible is currently riding a 20-game winning streak.
 
The AHSAA’s all-time wins leader, Buddy Anderson of Vestavia Hills, and his Class 7A Rebels (7-3) are making their 32nd playoff appearance in 42 years and back for the first time since 2015. He owns a 342-153 overall record.
 
Alexandria’s first-round 5A matchup with Sylacauga is the AHSAA/NFHS TV Network’s Game of the Week. Approximately 50 playoff games are expected to be live-streamed in the first round over the NFHS Network. 
 
You can’t talk about the undefeated teams without mentioning the other side. There are 22 teams with .500 records and 18 teams with losing records in the field and six teams with only three wins.

Here are the first-round pairings:
 
CLASS 1A
Georgiana (5-5) at Sweet Water (8-1)
Billingsley (5-5) at Maplesville (7-2)
Fruitdale (5-5) at Brantley (9-1)
Linden (5-4) at Notasulga (5-4)
Keith (6-4) at Lanett  (9-0)
Marengo (6-4) at Elba (7-3)
Wadley (5-4) at Isabella  (10-0)
Florala (7-3) at Millry (9-1)

Hubbertville (6-4) at Spring Garden (9-1)
Hackleburg (4-6) at Valley Head (6-4)
Victory Christian (6-4) at Pickens County (8-2)
Falkville (6-4) at Waterloo (8-2)
Woodville (4-6) at Mars Hill Bible (10-0)
Appalachian (6-4) at South Lamar (9-1)
Vina (3-7) at Decatur Heritage (10-0)
Berry (6-4) at Donoho (8-1) 

CLASS 2A
Daleville (7-3) at Leroy (8-2)
Thorsby (6-4) at Goshen (7-3)
Chickasaw (6-3) at Ariton (8-2)
New Brockton (5-5) at LaFayette (5-4)
Zion Chapel (6-4) at Reeltown (9-1) 
J.U. Blacksher (8-2) at Abbeville (8-2)
Fayetteville (6-4) at Luverne (10-0)
G.W. Long (8-2) at Cottage Hill Christian (8-2)

Westbrook Christian (7-3) at Aliceville (8-2)
North Sand Mountain (7-3) at Addison (8-2)
Southeastern (5-5) at Ohatchee (9-0)
Colbert County (6-4) at Collinsville (9-1)
Sheffield (6-4) at Fyffe (10-0)
Cold Springs (5-5) at Ranburne (9-1)
Cedar Bluff (7-3) at Red Bay (10-0)
Cleveland (5-5) at Sulligent (8-2)

CLASS 3A
Opp (4-6) at Flomaton (9-1)
Oakman  (6-4) at Saint James (9-1)
T.R. Miller (6-4) at Pike County (10-0)
Montgomery Academy (6-4) at Winfield (7-3)
Bullock County (6-4) at Gordo (10-0)
Bayside Academy (5-5) at Providence Christian (9-1)
Carbon Hill (4-6) at Pike Road (10-0)
Geneva (8-2) at Mobile Christian (5-4)

B.B. Comer (5-5) at Fultondale (8-2)
Clements (6-4) at Geraldine (6-4)
J.B. Pennington (3-7) at Piedmont (9-1)
Sylvania (7-3) at Lauderdale County (8-2) 
Pisgah (4-6) at Westminster Christian (7-2)
Midfield (6-3) at Randolph County (9-1)
Colbert Heights (6-4) at Susan Moore (10-0)
Walter Wellborn (9-1) at Locust Fork (6-4)

CLASS 4A
Dale County (4-6) at UMS-Wright (9-0)
Talladega (6-5) at Montevallo (6-4)
Williamson (7-3) at Montgomery Catholic (10-0)
West Blocton (5-5) at Handley (6-4)
Dallas County (4-6) at Lincoln (8-2)
Andalusia (7-3) at Trinity Presbyterian (6-4)
Holtville (6-4) at American Christian (9-1)
Alabama Christian (6-4) at Hillcrest-Evergreen (6-4)

Hokes Bluff (7-3) at Northside (9-1)
Rogers (3-6) at Priceville (7-3)
Cordova (5-5) at Jacksonville (8-2)
St. John Paul II Catholic (8-2) at Brooks (6-4)
Danville (5-5) at Deshler (7-3)
Good Hope (8-2) at Oneonta (7-3)
Central-Florence (3-7) at Fairview (8-2)
Anniston (6-4) at Fayette County (8-2)

CLASS 5A
Charles Henderson (4-5) at Faith Academy (10-0)
Pleasant Grove (9-1) at Chilton County (6-4)
Vigor (4-6) at Valley (6-4)
Demopolis (7-3) at Ramsay (8-2)
Marbury (6-4) at Briarwood Christian (9-1)
Jackson (5-5) at Rehobeth (7-2)
Parker (5-5) at Bibb County (10-0)
Greenville (6-4) at Citronelle (7-3)

Boaz (4-6) at Mortimer Jordan (8-2)
Guntersville (7-2) at Hamilton (8-2)
Center Point (7-3) at Etowah (9-1)
Russellville (8-2) at Scottsboro (8-2)
Corner (7-3) at Madison County (8-2)
Sylacauga (8-2) at Alexandria (7-2)
Madison Academy (5-5) at Jasper (10-0)
Sardis (5-5) at Central-Clay County (8-2)

CLASS 6A
Park Crossing (3-7) at Saraland (10-0)
Paul Bryant (7-3) at Stanhope Elmore (8-2)
Spanish Fort (5-4) at Dothan (8-2)
Wetumpka (5-5) at Bessemer City (8-2)
Selma (6-3) at Hueytown (9-1)
Blount (8-2) at Eufaula (8-2)
McAdory (6-4) at Opelika (8-1)
Sidney Lanier (3-5) at St. Paul’s Episcopal (7-3)

Clay-Chalkville (8-2) at Helena (9-1)
Buckhorn (4-6) at Athens (7-3)
Chelsea (5-5) at Oxford (9-1)
Cullman (5-5) at Mae Jemison (5-5)
Hartselle (4-6) at Fort Payne (8-2)
Homewood (4-6) at Pinson Valley (7-2)
Albertville (5-5) at Muscle Shoals (10-0)
Gardendale (7-3) at Minor (6-4)

CLASS 7A
Fairhope (6-4) at Central-Phenix City (9-1)
Prattville (8-2) at Theodore (8-2)
Enterprise (5-5) at McGill-Toolen Catholic (10-0)
Murphy (6-4) at Auburn (7-3)

Vestavia Hills (7-3) at James Clemens (8-2)
Sparkman (8-2) at Hoover (8-2)
Austin (7-3) at Thompson (8-1)
Mountain Brook (8-2) at Florence (6-4)



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