E.A. Sports Today

Prep football roundup

Wellborn makes it six wins in a row, clinches first region title since 1995 and 100th win under Smith. Oxford, Piedmont suffer region setbacks. Handley, Cherokee County clinch region titles. Ohatchee, Southside get region wins. Anniston, Spring Garden roll. .

Cover photo: Wellborn coach Jeff Smith talks to the Panthers after they clinched their first region title since 1995 on Friday. He also got his 100th win at Wellborn. (Submitted photo)

This week’s scoreboard

Woodland 35, Fayetteville 27, FINAL

FRIDAY, Oct. 20
Southside 49, Alexandria 21, FINAL
Anniston 54, Talladega 0, FINAL
Central-Clay 49, Beauregard 7, FINAL
Cherokee County 49, Etowah 0, FINAL
Handley 38, Cleburne County 14, FINAL
Spring Garden 49, Donoho 7, FINAL
Ohatchee 42, Glencoe 26, FINAL
Sylvania 28, Hokes Bluff 21, FINAL
St. Clair County 18, Lincoln 11, FINAL
Munford 36, White Plains 28, FINAL
Clay-Chalkville 28, Oxford 14, FINAL
Geraldine 42, Piedmont 27, FINAL
Southeastern 27, Pleasant Valley 13, FINAL
Thorsby 22, Ranburne 12, FINAL
Randolph County 50, Beulah 29, FINAL
Wadley 42, Winterboro 8, FINAL
Wellborn 48, Weaver 27, FINAL
Open: Jacksonville, Jax Christian, Saks.

By East Alabama Sports Today

WELLBORN — Wellborn underwent what 15th-year coach Jeff Smith called a “reset” during its open date.

If only resets worked as well on TV boxes and computers.

Jabari Williams rushed for 213 of the Panthers’ 430 rushing yards with two touchdowns, and they beat Weaver 48-27 on a night of milestones on The Hill.

Wellborn’s sixth victory in a row after an 0-2 start lifted it to the Class 3A, Region 4 title, the school’s first region title since 1995. The closest the Panthers came was finishing third in a three-way tie atop Region 6 in 2019.

Wellborn looks likely to be Calhoun County’s only region champion in 2023.

“Actually, it’s our first region title, period,” Smith said. “In ‘95, it was area play. We didn’t go to region play until the year 2000.

“We’ve had some good teams, but we’ve never been a region champ. It’s our first, so we’re very proud of it.”

Wellborn also scored its 100th victory under Smith, a Wellborn graduate who played under Mike Battles.

“That;s 15 teams we’ve had that’s accomplished that,” Smith said. “I’m very proud of them. In our locker room, we have team pictures for all of the teams we’ve had. That’s 15 teams, and they’ve reached 100 wins.”

A little coaching had something to do with Wellborn’s early season turnaround. Smith used the open date after season-opening losses to Anniston and Ohatchee for a “reset.”

“We just had some good practices that week,” he said. “We just reinforced some things and had some good practices, and we basically told them the season started over that week, and that’s what they’ve done.”

Williams’ performance put him at 1,375 yards for the season.

The Panthers also got 65 and two touchdowns from quarterback Noah Screws. Kyle Bright added 65 yards and a score, and fullback Raymond Williams rushed for 67 yards.

CLAY-CHALKVILLE 28, OXFORD 14: In a key 6A, Region 6 game at Oxford, Mason Mims threw touchdown passes of 17 and 19 yards, but ninth-ranked Oxford fell to No. 2 Clay-Chalkville.

Clay-Chalkville improved to 8-0 overall, 5-0 on the season and clinched the area title.

Oxford (6-2, 4-1) plays host to Center Point (7-1, 4-1) next week in a game to determine second place and which of the two plays will play host to a first-round playoff game.

On Friday, Clay-Chalkville built a 28-6 lead with help of a fumble-return touchdown. The Yellow Jackets also suffered a blocked punt that set up a Clay-Chalkville touchdown.

GERALDINE 42, PIEDMONT 27: Hayes Gunn’s 10-yard touchdown run brought Piedmont within 28-27 with 7:25 to play, but Geraldine blocked the extra point and scored the game’s final two touchdowns.

Piedmont fell to 3-5, 3-3 in Class 3A, Region 6 and tied with Ohatchee (5-4, 3-3) for the region’s  fourth and final playoff spot with one region game to play. Ohatchee has the tiebreaker by virtue of a 38-21 win over Piedmont on Sept. 22.

Piedmont closes out region play against Hokes Bluff (5-3, 4-2) at home next week. Ohatchee plays its region finale at Plainview.

Piedmont quarterback Cole Wilson completed 13 of 24 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns, both to Ish Bethel, who had a team-high 85 yards on five catches. Wilson also rushed for a team-high 42 yards.

Kale Austin returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown.

OHATCHEE 42, GLENCOE 26: Nate Jones rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns and led the defense with 11 tackles, and Ohatchee came back from a 26-6 deficit against its former head coach.

Scott Martin is in his second season as Glencoe’s head coach.

Ohatchee improved to 5-4 overall, 3-3 in Class 3A, Region 6. The Indians are tied with Piedmont for fourth place and have the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of a 38-21 victory at Piedmont on Sept. 22.

Both teams have one region game left … Ohatchee at Plainview next week and Piedmont against Hokes Bluff. 

Jones also returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown and forced a fumble.

Colby Hester added 166 yards rushing and two touchdowns

HANDLEY 38, CLEBURNE COUNTY 14: Cannon Kyles threw two touchdown passes as part of Handley’s 21-point first quarter, and the Tigers rolled to clinch the Class 4A, Region 4 title.

Handley upped to 8-1 overall, 5-0 region and will close out region play at Munford next week. The Tigers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on second-place Jacksonville (7-1, 4-1).

Kyles’ first-quarter touchdown passes went for 48 yards to Daquavian Slaughter and 33 yards to Montrevious Black. Kyles added a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

E.J. Goss added a 4-yard touchdown run in the first.

ANNISTON 54, TALLADEGA 0: Fresh off of decommitting from Auburn, Jayden Lewis accounted for three touchdowns as Anniston rolled to victory over winless Talladega in Class 4A, Region 4 play.

Anniston improved to 5-3 overall, 3-2 in region play and can clinch the region’s third playoff spot with a victory over Cleburne County (3-5, 2-3) next week.

Lewis’ touchdowns included a 73-yard punt return, 68-yard speed sweep pass and a 42-yard direct-snap run.

Quarterback Damon Pope was 5-for-5 for 178 yards and three touchdowns, including a 43-yard pass to T.K. Downie and a 25-yard strike to Jaden Dobbins.

Khamar Holder led Anniston’s defense with 15 tackles, including four for loss. 

SPRING GARDEN 49, DONOHO 7: John Welsh accounted for three total touchdowns in leading Spring Garden past winless Donoho in Class 1A, Area 6 play.

Welsh ran for 148 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. He also caught a pair of passes for 84 yards and two scores from quarterback Noah Barber, who was 3-for-5 for 102 yards and three touchdowns.

Barber’s other touchdown toss was to Eli Ledbetter. Barber also picked off a pair of passes, and Colton Driskell recovered a pair of fumbles.

Clayton Sadler ran for 79 yards on seven carries for the Panthers (7-2, 4-1). Chapel Pope added 52 yards on seven totes with a touchdown.

Connor Bates collected 37 yards on seven carries with a score. 

Spring Garden jumped out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead behind Bates and Welsh. The Panthers increased their lead to 34-0 at halftime and led 49-0 in the third quarter.

CHEROKEE COUNTY 49, ETOWAH 0: Behind Jacob Cornejo’s 274 yards and four touchdowns, Cherokee County clinched its second straight Class 4A, Region 6 football title and posted its second straight shutout.

Cornejo also had an interception on defense for the Warriors (8-0, 5-0).

Quarterback Carson Tittle ran for two scores, and the Warriors built a 21-0 first-half lead to cruise to the win.

It was also the fourth shutout their defense has registered this season. They defeated Fultondale 35-0 last week, Hanceville 55-0, and Good Hope 35-0 in region games earlier this season.

Cherokee County travels to Ashville on Friday. Etowah (3-5, 3-3) is at Cullman.

SOUTHSIDE 49, ALEXANDRIA 21: Mason Teague rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns, and Southside improved to 7-1, 5-0 headed into next week’s key Class 5A, Region 6 showdown at Moody (7-2, 4-1).

Teague’s touchdown runs covered 77 and 49 yards. Southside also got touchdown runs of 17 and 39 yards from Jordan Bryan and a touchdown run apiece from Koal Garrett and McCade Wright, and Kolby Dodd returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown.

Elijah Hunter led Alexandria (0-9, 0-6) with 88 yards rushing, and M.J. Morris rushed for two scores. Jeremiah Heathcock threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Morris.

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