E.A. Sports Today

Big night

Football roundup: Munford moves along in race for playoff spot, Piedmont’s Hayes sets state TD mark, Jacksonville sets record for points, and more

Saks’ Owen Petty (14) moves in to help wrap up Childerburg’s Christopher Swain during Friday night’s victory that moved Wildcats coach Jonathan Miller closer to career win No. 100. (Photo by Bo Hudgins)

Alexandria 33, Springville 15
Anniston 49, White Plains 13
Cleveland 40, Pleasant Valley 13
Dadeville 22, Wellborn 14
Donoho 21, Victory Christian 7
Jacksonville 76, Talladega 21
JCA 40, at Tuscaloosa Christian 34
Piedmont 42, Ohatchee 14
Pinson Valley 44, Oxford 20
Randolph County 20, Weaver 0
Saks 42, Childersburg 14

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

MUNFORD – Sylvester Smith is starting to settle into his role as quarterback for the Lions as he rushed for 211 yards on 20 carries, scored four touchdowns and had two interceptions to lead Munford over Cleburne County 42-28 to gain more ground in the race for the fourth playoff spot in Class 4A Region 4.

It was a stunning duel of quarterbacks as the Tigers ‘Kyler McGrinn rushed for 223 yards and scored four touchdowns. 

Munford (3-1) is now 2-1 in region play, while Cleburne County (1-4) falls to 1-1 in the region. It will take three wins to gain a playoff spot and the Lions are one win away from making the playoffs. The Lions now have the tiebreakers over Talladega and Cleburne County.

Three of the next five games find the Lions facing three ranked 4A teams in Cherokee County, Jacksonville and Handley. If Handley, Anniston and Jacksonville are the presumptive top three in the region, the White Plains game at Munford will be especially important to win.

“It was a big win for our kids,” Munford coach Michael Easley said. “They had a great week of practice and really stayed locked in all week. They played their tails off tonight. Really, both teams did.

“They knew a win puts us one win closer to a playoff spot and prepared like it all week. I’m just really happy with how hard our kids played. It was a really fun game to coach in: Two teams played their tails off and we were really happy we came out on top.”

Down 28-21 at the half Cleburne County came out in the second half and scored on the first play as McGrinn sprinted 78 yards to tie the game. The Lions roared back down the field and Smith scored on 3-yard run.  Amari Edmunson ripped off a 49 yard score on Munford’s next possession and Munford led 42-28.

“Amari ran the ball really hard and made some big plays the second half to help us move the ball,” Easley said.

It was a wild first half, as the Lions broke out of the gate on fire when Riley Brown took the opening kickoff back 75 yards for a touchdown. It was his third of the year.

Quarterback Smith ripped of two consecutive touchdown runs of 51 and 11 yards and the lead was 21-0 before a lot of people had even sat down.

Cleburne County gathered itself and scored three straight touchdowns on McGrinn runs of 36, 2 and 1 yard.

Smith got Munford on the board again right before the half with another 11-yard run and Munford took a 28-21 halftime lead.

Smith had 138 yards on 11 carries and three scores in the first half, while McGrinn had 103 yards and three scores. 

“Sylvester had a really good game and has grown a ton as a quarterback and leader this year,” Easley said. “He’s playing every snap on both sides of the ball and producing on both sides.”

CC (28)MUN (42)
121st Downs14
83Passing yds16
Cleburne County (1-4)71470 –28
Munford (3-1)217140 –42

M — Riley Brown 75 kickoff return (Dakota Frank kick), 11:45 1Q
M – Sylvester Smith 51 run (Dakota Frank kick), 6:03 1Q
M – Sylvester Smith 11 run (Dakota Frank kick), 3:45 1Q
CC – Kyler McGrinn 36 run (Noah Morgan kick), 0:45 1Q
CC – Kyler McGrinn 25 run (Noah Morgan kick), 7:32 2Q
CC – Kyler McGrinn  1 run (Noah Morgan kick), 4:22 2Q
M – Sylvester Smith 11 run (Dakota Frank kick), 1:41 2Q
CC – Kyler McGrinn 74 run (Noah Morgan kick), 11:40 3Q
M – Sylvester Smith 3 run (Dakota Frank kick), 6:53 3Q
M – Amari Edmundson 49 run (Dakota Frank kick), 2:51 3Q

Hayes No. 1 for TDs

OHATCHEE – Piedmont senior quarterback Jack Hayes’ assault on the AHSAA record book continued Friday night as he surpassed former Lanett quarterback Kristian Story to become the state’s all-time career leader in touchdowns accounted for after completing 29-of-38 pass 
attempts for 401 yards and five touchdowns in the top-ranked Bulldogs’ 42-14 Class 3A Region 6 
victory over Ohatchee.

Story previously held the AHSAA record with 175 career touchdowns accounted for. Hayes, who made his 49th start at quarterback for the Bulldogs Friday night, tied Story’s mark on a 32-yard touchdown pass to Max Hanson at the 5:52 mark of the first quarter. He broke it with 11:54 in the second quarter on a 59-yard connection with Thomas Propst to increase the Bulldog lead to 14-0.

“I thought he played really well tonight,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “I think he’d be the first to tell you it’s a tribute to having a lot of great players around him. He’s obviously very talented himself, but he’s got a lot of great players around him.

“To have as many touchdowns as he’s been responsible for, there have been people on the 
receiving end of those passes, and he’s had some really good offensive lines that have protected him. That really is a team award, but it sure is nice to have him on our side.”

Hayes now has 133 career passing touchdowns and 46 rushing.

Propst led the Bulldog receivers with 11 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. Hanson had seven receptions for 68 yards and a score. Ishmael Bethel finished with five catches for 170 yards and two scores.

“Our game plan was a little more pass heavy tonight, kind of by design and out of necessity,” Smith said. “I thought he did a good job of getting the ball out quickly and finding the open receivers against some heavy pressure.

“They all did a good job. Max does a lot of the shorter and intermediate stuff, the dirty work. Thomas does a lot of the crossing stuff across the middle, making some tough catches. Ishmael is the guy we’ve been able to go over the top with. He had a couple of big plays tonight where he caught the long ball.”

Ohatchee (0-5, 0-3) cut Piedmont’s lead in half with 6:13 remaining in the first half on Bryce Noah’s 8-yard touchdown toss to Chris Ferguson, but two Hayes connections with Bethel from 65 and 80 yards provided Piedmont (3-1, 3-0) with a 28-7 advantage at halftime.

Hayes opened the third-quarter scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Rollie Pinto to push Piedmont’s lead to 35-7 at the 3:58 mark of the quarter. Brody Epps scored the Bulldogs’ final touchdown on a 2-yard run with 6:54 to go in the fourth.

Noah added a 9-yard run with 3:54 remaining for the Indians’ final score.

Jacksonville 71, Talladega 26

JACKSONVILLE – G Turner scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams, Jim Ogle threw for three touchdowns and Jacksonville broke a 92-year-old school record for points in a game with its rout of Talladega.

The Golden Eagles’ old record for points was 71 in a 71-0 rout of Cedar Bluff on Nov. 15, 1930. The 97 combined points were four shy of another Jacksonville record in a 55-45 loss to Piedmont last year. It also was the most points Talladega had ever allowed in a game.

Turner scored on a 35-yard run (his only carry of the game), a 46-yard fumble return and a 75-yard kickoff return.

Ogle completed eight of nine passes for 153 yards and TD passes to Damonte Sinclair, Kydric Fisher and Drew Pridgen. He also rushed for 84 yards and two scores. Freshman Trent Jackson rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and Zay English had 84 yards and a score.

Talladega (0-4)7707 —21
Jacksonville (3-2)2127217 —76

J – Zay English 4 run (Mason Terrell kick), 7:18 1Q
T – Christopher Isbell 12 pass from Kenny Jackson (Jackson Burel kick), 2:15 1Q
J – G Turner 75 kickoff return (Mason Terrell kick), 2:01 1Q
J – Kydric Fisher 15 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 0:39 1Q
T – Kenny Jackson 16 run (Jackson Burel kick), 8:46 2Q
J – Damonte Sinclair 22 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 7:15 2Q
J – Drew Pridgen 2 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 5:17 2Q
J – G Turner 46 fumble return (kick failed), 4:00 2Q
J – Jim Ogle 31 run (Mason Terrell kick), 1:26 2Q
J – G Turner 35 run (Mason Terrell kick), 10:50 3Q
J – Jim Ogle 50 run (John Ducar kick), 6:00 3Q
J – Tylen Ellis 1 run (John Ducar kick), 0:43 3Q
J – Trent Jackson 8 run (John Ducar kick), 2:22 4Q
T – Christopher Isbell 2 pass from Kenny Jackson (Jackson Burel kick), 0:00 4Q

Pinson Valley 44, Oxford 20

OXFORD – Pinson Valley’s massive offensive line, combined with playmakers on offense and defense, helped the Indians score 20 unanswered points in the second half to secure its third straight win over the Yellow Jackets.

The Indians offense finished the game with 419 total yards while their defense set the tone in the second half, limiting Oxford to only 70 yards after the break.

The saying goes, “The Lord giveth and he taketh away.” Well, for Pinson Valley quarterback Keywone Posey, the amount he gave away to Oxford almost overshadowed the incredible amount he gave to his team.

The Sophomore looked like a cross between Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson when he took off with the football; he didn’t do it enough. His strong arm and athleticism make the coaching staff curious about how well he can make consistent throws.

Despite completing only 5 of 18 attempts in the first half, two went for touchdowns. The first went for 55 yards to T.J. Metcalf and the other, for 40 yards to Rod Ivey. Despite Metcalf (50 YAC) and Ivey (30 YAC) earning the majority of yards after the catch, Posey’s throws were crisp and on target.

Trailing 17-13 at the half, Oxford quarterback Mason Mims tried to rally the Yellow Jackets. Receiving the ball first in the second half, Mims completed his first two passes to move the ball to the 30. However, Cam Benefield broke free on first down, sacking the Oxford quarterback for a 14-yard loss. 

Already announcing his presence at wide receiver, Rod Ivey introduced himself to the Yellow Jackets offense, stepping in front of his man for what looked to be an easy pick-six. However, after the Oxford receiver made a great play of his own, saving the touchdown for the moment by stripping the ball loose at the 5. Unfortunately for Oxford, the ball rolled into the end zone, where Ivey regained his composure and recovered it, giving the Indians a 24-13 lead.

After their defense forced a three-and-out on the home team’s next possession, Posey’s 12-yard run and two completions to receiver Tony Gonzalez made his first of two potential game-turning mistakes. On first-and-10 at the 35, Cedric Twyman made a brilliant interception at the 10, thwarting the Indians’ chance to put the game away.

Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, their offense went three-and-out for the second straight time. Determined to make the best of another chance to give the visitors a commanding 18-point lead late in the third quarter, Posey connected with Gonzalez again for 15-yards, setting up a first-and-10 at the Oxford 21. This time Posey helped the defense by throwing the ball right to E’Mari Carroll, who raced 90 yards for a touchdown, cutting the home team’s deficit to 24-20. – Mark Everett Kelly

Alexandria 33, Springville 15

Antonio Ross rushed for 233 yards and scored the Valley Cubs’ first three touchdowns. Ross had 30 carries as the Valley Cubs ran it 53 times for 309 yards. He scored on runs of 8, 17 and 2 yards. Cleat Forrest drilled a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Cubs a 17-0 halftime lead.

Ty Brown scored a safety in the fourth quarter when he tackled Springville’s Bradey Caldwell in the end zone. It was one of two tackles for loss Brown had the in the game.

The Valley Cubs had 355 yards of offense in the game and controlled the clock for more than 31 minutes.

SPRING (15)ALEX (33)
121st Downs22
90Passing yds46
Springville (0-5)0087 –15
Alexandria (2-2)143142 –33

A — Antonio Ross 9 run (Cleat Forrest kick), 10:31 1Q
A – Antonio Ross 17 run (Cleat Forrest kick), 0:00 1Q
A – Cleat Forrest 48 FG, 0:00 2Q
A – Antonio Ross 2 run (Cleat Forrest kick), 9:02 3Q
S – Stephen Morrison 10 run (Parker McAdams run), 2:09 3Q
A – TK Downey 22 pass from Ty Barker (Cleat Forrest kick), 0:21 3Q
S – Brady Caldwell 52 run (Peyton Griffin kick), 11:08 4Q
A – Safety, Ty Brown tackles Brady Caldwell in end zone, 8:13 4Q

JCA 40, Tuscaloosa Christian 34

TUSCALOOSA – Freshman quarterback Noah Lee threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Travis Barnhill with less than two minutes to snap a 34-34 tie and Ethan Fair had an interception with 17 seconds left to seal the Thunder’s third straight come-from-behind conference victory.

Lee completed 22 of 32 for 328 yards and five touchdowns and extended his streak of passes without an interception this season to 135. He has 24 touchdown passes. 

Barnhill caught 15 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Fair had five catches for 54 yards and one TD. Barnhill’s game-winning touchdown on a busted screen was made possible by a big block from Hunter Brown.

Hokes Bluff 24, Westbrook Christian 21

RAINBOW CITY – Conner Masters’ 8-yard touchdown run with 7:16 left in the third quarter broke a 14-14 tie and Leon Chen kicked a 23-yard field goal with 2:07 to play to give the Eagles enough of a cushion they weren’t hurt by Westbrook’s touchdown in the closing seconds.

Noah Sprayberry led the Eagles’ offense with 186 yards rushing on 22 carries. He scored the game-tying touchdown with 1:25 left in the first half.

Westbrook quarterback Mason Coley threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-32 passing. Karmichael Cattling was the Warriors’ leading rusher with 82 yards on 15 carries. He also caught five passes for 65 yards and a score.

The win handed Westbrook its first loss of the season and threw both teams into a four-way tie for second place in Class 3A Region 6 behind top-ranked Piedmont.

HB (24)WC (21)
131st Downs16
37Passing yds242
Hokes Bluff (2-2)01473 —24
Westbrook Christian (3-1)7707 —21

WC – Karmichael Cattling 8 pass from Mason Coley (Layton Crawford kick), 4:14 1Q
HB – Jaylen Simmons 12 pass from Conner Masters (Leon Chen kick), 8:39 2Q
WC – Caleb McCarty 9 pass from Mason Coley (Layton Crawford kick), 5:20 2Q
HB – Noah Sprayberry 12 run (Leon Chen kick), 1:25 2Q
HB – Conner Masters 8 run (Leon Chen kick), 7:16 3Q
HB – Leon Chen 23 FG, 2:07 4Q
WC – Karmichael Cattling 48 pass from Mason Coley (Layton Crawford kick), 0:13 4Q

Handley 26, Clay Central 15

ROANOKE — Jay Haynes accounted for 175 yards of offense and the last three Handley touchdowns as the Tigers rallied to beat the Vols for the first time since 20-16.

Haynes rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns and caught a pair of passes for 29 more yards. His 8-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter gave the Tigers (5-0) a 12-7 lead and his 20-yard catch in the final minute of the first half put them up for good 19-15.

CLAY (15)HAND (26)
141st Downs13
115Passing yds72
Clay Central (2-2)7800 –15
Handley (5-0)61370 –26

H — Kenyan Holloway punt block recovery (kick failed), 10:24 1Q
CC – Terry Heflin 6 run (Bryant Hamlet kick), 6:12 1Q
H – Jay Haynes 8 run (run failed), 11:10 2Q
CC – Demari Whetstone 4 pass from Darren Harris (run good), 3:24 2Q
H – Jay Haynes 20 pass from Cannon Kyles (Landon Bozeman kick), 0:45 2Q
H – Jay Haynes 17 run (Landon Bozeman kick), 7:25 3Q

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