E.A. Sports Today

Prep roundup

Cleburne County downs Wellborn, earns Region 4’s final playoff spot. Saks gets first victory under Freeney. Westbrook Christian ends first season under Smith victorious, and Piedmont falls to Sylacauga in overtime.


Munford 35, Ashville 21
Weaver 47, Pleasant Valley 0

FRIDAY, Nov. 3
Central-Clay 28, Wetumpka 7, FINAL
Fort Payne 21, Cherokee County 14, FINAL
Cleburne County 28, Wellborn 22, FINAL
Cedar Bluff 45, Donoho 6, FINAL
Glencoe 48, West End-Walnut Grove 28, FINAL
Sardis 42, Hokes Bluff 20, FINAL
Oxford 36, Jacksonville 7, FINAL
Beauregard 37, Lincoln 7, FINAL
Sylacauga 32, Piedmont 31, FINAL
Randolph County 49, Ranburne 21, FINAL
Saks 29, Talladega 27, FINAL
Southside 45, Etowah 27, FINAL
Wadley 56, Woodland 21, FINAL
Westbrook Christian 45, White Plains 16, FINAL
Open: Alexandria, Anniston, Handley, Ohatchee, Spring Garden.

By East Alabama Sports Today

WELLBORN — Cleburne County’s road to the playoffs included a weeks-long wrong turn, but to the playoffs the Tigers return.

Carter Hughes rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tigers beat Class 3A, Region 4 champion Wellborn 28-22 Friday to clinch Class 4A, Region 4’s fourth and final playoff spot.

Cleburne County (4-6, 2-4 region) won a three-way tiebreaker with Munford and White Plains, which lost to Westbrook Christian in non-region action Friday. The Tigers will open the playoffs at Jackson on Nov. 10.

“Very excited for this group,” Cleburne County coach Joby Burns said. “They have been through a lot and overcome adversity.”

Dandre O’Neal added 92 yards rushing with a touchdown as Cleburne County built a 28-8 lead.

“We played very well the first half,” Burns said. “Thought our backs ran very hard and line blocked well. Coaches did a great job calling plays. Defense played really good with the exception of one big run and one drive in second half were they pretty much ran it down our throats. Very pleased with overall effort and play.”

Wellborn (7-3) rallied to within 28-20 on two Jabari Williams touchdowns, a 4-yard run and a fumble return. The Panthers will open the playoffs at home, against Flomaton.

SAKS 29, TALLADEGA 27: Saks got its first victory under first-year coach Alphonso Freeney, but he sees the Wildcats unofficially 1-0 in 2024.

Dorrien Walker rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns, and the Wildcats came from behind to beat winless Talladega in the season finale for both teams.

Freeney, the former Jacksonville State player who came to Saks in June after guiding Tampa’s Pasco from winless to 9-2 in one season, took over for Jonathan Miller after Miller won 100 games at Saks.

Freeney said the first win at Saks “feels great, not really so much for me but for those seniors.”

“I told them after the game, I’m blessed to have them because, with the season we’ve had, it’s very easy for seniors to check out on you,” Freeney said. “I’ve still got all my kids. All my seniors stayed with me, and we had each others’ backs”

Freeney’s first season saw him work with freshman quarterback Jamorris Young after Gavin Doss transferred to Anniston, and the young Wildcats struggled but improved on the way to a 1-9 finish.

On Friday, Saks “did what we haven’t done all year.”

“We came out in the second half and just decided to run the football,” he said. “We were able to run the ball and close out a game.”

WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN 46, WHITE PLAINS 16: Hunter Arnold rushed for 148 yards and Bo Kilgo completed seven of 13 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns for Westbrook Christian.

Lamycal Mitchell caught three passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, and the Warriors gained 453 total yards while finishing 5-5 in its first season under Steve Smith at 5-5

“I’m very encouraged and excited about the future at Westbook,” said Smith, who took the Westbrook job after 17 years with five state titles at Piedmont. “I’ve been so pleased with the buy-in from our players, the coaches, the administration and really everybody in the community.”

White Plains finished 2-8 in its first season under Blake Jennings but went into the final week of the season in the playoff picture. The Wildcats finished in a three-way tie for Class 4A, Region 4’s fourth playoff spots, and a win Friday coupled with a Cleburne County loss at Wellborn would’ve put them in the playoffs for the first time since 1994.

Cleburne County beat Wellborn.

SYLACAUGA 32, PIEDMONT 31 (OT): A week after beating Hokes Bluff on a two-point conversion in overtime to earn a playoff spot, Piedmont lost its non-region, regular-season finale when Sylacauga’s J.T Sumner caught a conversion pass in overtime.

Piedmont’s Hayes Gunn carried 32 times for 166 yard and a touchdown, and Cole Wilson completed seven of 11 passes for 170 yards and two scores.

Ishmael Bethel caught three passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

Sylacauga, which won its last two games to finish 2-8 under first-year coach Chris Smelley after going winless in 2022, rallied from a 24-10 deficit to tie the game on C.J. Franklin’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Oden Bryce with 5:37 to play.

Piedmont’s Chase Cardelli, who hit a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter, missed the would-be go-ahead field goal from 37 yards in the fourth.

Gunn’s 2-yard run put Piedmont back up 31-24 in overtime, but Aston Machen’s 2-yard touchdown run set up the two-point conversion.

Piedmont (4-6) finished third in Class 3A, Region 6 under its new head coach, Jonathan Miller, and will open the playoffs next week at J.B. Pennington.

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