E.A. Sports Today

Dynamic duo

Two of the top quarterbacks in the state will go head-to-head Thursday when Piedmont, Anniston play at Field of Champions

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Three of the most dynamic high school quarterbacks in Alabama this year play in Calhoun County and for the second time this season two of them will be on the field together.

Adding to the dynamic is it literally will be the only game in town.


When Anniston plays Piedmont at the Field of Champions Thursday night, it’ll match Anniston’s athletic South Carolina commitment Kam Sandlin against Piedmont’s Jack Hayes, who is on the verge of setting another all-time state record.

The other quarterback in the terrific trio is Jacksonville junior Jim Ogle, and Anniston has already faced him. In fact, the Bulldogs are the only team in the county that will face both of the other two.

They are the kinds of matchups that get the fans excited – and the players.

“I get pretty amped to play in games like that,” Hayes said. “I mean, the first goal is to go out there and win and show them we’re the better team,  but I mean I want to show that I’m the best, the best player on the field when I go out and play with a player like that.”

“I’ll be real excited for it,” Sandlin said, “because I know they’re good competition and I know they’re trying to do the same thing, trying to lead their team to a W.”

Sandlin has the Bulldogs 5-0 for the first time since 2001 and ranked No. 5 in the latest Class 4A high school football poll. He has helped his team take down Ogle and the Golden Eagles already and they have their sights on a region championship showdown with Handley, which has its own dynamic quarterback, on Sept. 30.

“It’s outstanding to have a guy that’s been under you three years and he understands the system, knows what leaderships is and knows what discipline is,” Anniston coach Rico White said. “When you get a kid who’s young, the game moving so fast. Now that he’s older it has has slowed down and he knows the plan, he knows what we’re trying to attack and he knows how to really run an offense.

“At first he thought he could sit and be quiet and let it happen. Quarterbacks can’t do that. You’ve got to get everybody up and lead the way, and that’s what he’s doing.”


Hayes has the Bulldogs 3-1 and No. 1 in Class 3A with a list of accolades as long as his arm. Last week when he threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns against Ohatchee he became the state’s all-time leader in touchdowns accounted for. He needs only two TD passes to become No. 1 on that all-time list and about 2,000 yards to top the total offense and the career passing yardage lists.

For the season he has completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,022 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns.

“A lot of people know Jack as a runner because of the style that he runs,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “He’s not your flashy, shake-and-bake type, he’s more of a guy who’s going on for seven or eight (yards) and then try to find somebody to run over.

“What gets lost is his ability to throw the football. I’ve had some really good quarterbacks in my 29 years of coach and Jack Hayes throws the ball as well as anybody I’ve ever coached. He can make all the throws. He’s a very underrated passer in my opinion. I think a lot of people miss that part of his game.”

They will miss a lot if they don’t go Thursday night. Buckle up.

By the numbers

Kam Sandlin7812231811637276312
Jack Hayes751062121022463204

You must be logged in to post a comment Login