AHSAA Football Spotlight



One Streak Ends and One Streak Continues as Geraldine’s Lusher & Thompson’s Harrell Shine

Thanks to David Holtsford fof ahsaa.com MONTGOMERY – Geraldine High School senior Colton Lusher caught two touchdown passes and intercepted a Fyffe pass with 1:17 remaining as the Bulldogs beat Fyffe 20-19 to end the nation’s longest current high school football winning streak at 51 in a row. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Conner Harrell teamed with receiver Ryan Peppins for five first-half touchdowns as Thompson extended its streak to 27 with a 48-0 victory over Oak Mountain. Both efforts captured this week’s AHSAA Football Spotlight. Lusher was one of many heroes for the Bulldogs of Coach Michael Davis. He caught a 35-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Jaxon Colvin late in the first half to tie the game with Fyffe at 7-7. He also hauled in another 35-yard connection from Colvin to give Geraldine a 20-19 lead. He then sealed that lead with his final catch of the night – the interception and the Geraldine offense ran out the clock to snap the Fyffe streak which started in 2018 and produced three straight 15-0 seasons and six straight victories this year for Red Devils of Coach Paul Benefield. The upset win left Geraldine, Sylvania and Fyffe tied with one loss each heading into this week’s final week of region play in Class 3A, Region 7. Lusher finished with five catches for 105 yards. “This is amazing,” he told www.al.com after the game. “Fyffe played how we thought they would, but we just wanted it more tonight.” Davis praised his team’s tenacity in the win. “I feel like every team has a defining moment, and I feel like this defines this team,” he said. Meanwhile, in Class 7A, the Thompson Warriors of Coach Mark Freeman continued to dominate with its 48-0 victory over Oak Mountain to improve to 9-0. The Warriors finished 14-0 last season and won their last four games in 2019 en route to 7A state titles. Harrell was 9-of-15 passing for 324 yards and five touchdowns as the Warriors beat Oak Mountain 48-0 to clinch their 27th win in a row. Senior receiver Ryan Peppins caught five passes from Harrell for 227 yards – all for touchdowns. He TD receptions covered 29, 16, 40, 80 and 26 yards for a new school record. His five TDs was also one shy of the AHSAA state record held by three players. Ja’Michael Willis of Gardendale had six TD catches in a 51-26 win over Bessemer City in 2010. David Morrison of Berry had six TD catches in a 54-6 victory over Akron in 2009, and Brandon Greer of Westbrook Christian hauled in six touchdown passes in 1998 in a win over Donoho. Peppins’ effort ties seven others who have had five TD catches. The most recent were J.J. Evans of Montevallo and Samario Rudolph of Cottage Hill Christian in 2018. The shutout was the fifth for the Warriors this season. Thompson has outscored opponents 449-26 this season heading into Friday night’s Region 3 championship battle at Hoover (9-0). Lusher and Harrell edged out an amazing performance by Geneva High School running back Timothy McReynolds. The 5-foot-7, 158-pound senior accounted for five touchdowns, three on offense and two on defense, all in the first half, in the Panthers’ 41-14 win over Bullock County in Class 4A, Region 2. On offense, he rushed for 138 yards with touchdowns of 7 and 72 yards. He also caught a 27-yard TD pass, but his most spectacular score came when he stripped a Hornets’ runner of the ball at Geneva’s own 10-yard line and then streaked 90 yards for the touchdown. He added a 40-yard interception return. Other top performances reported: MILESTONES CHEROKEE COUNTY PLAYER HONORS TEAMMATE: Warriors Damien Ramsey honored his friend and fallen teammate Nathan Pittman on the Warriors’ senior night on Friday by wearing his jersey number 88. Ramsey ran for 78 yards on 13 carries and scored on a 1-yard touchdown. He also had an interception on defense in the Warriors’ 31-17 Class 4A, Region 4 victory. Pittman died in an automobile accident in 2019 during his sophomore year. PIEDMONT’S HAYES ECLIPSES 100 TD PASSES: The Piedmont senior directed a 38-14 win over Hokes Bluff with a 17-of-25 passing performance that netted 284 yards and three touchdowns (64, 3 and 11 yards) in Class 3A, Region 5. He now has 101 career touchdown passes thrown – becoming the sixth quarterback recognized for achieving the milestone in the AHSAA. Jeremy Yates of Colbert Heights is currently fifth on the AHSAA’s all-time list for career touchdown passes (103). The all-time leader is Chris Smelley of American Christian, who totaled 134 touchdown passes from 2002 through 2005. Hayes has now thrown for 1,451 yards, 18 touchdowns and only one interception this season. FAIRHOPE’S LUKE FREER BOOTS 59-YARD FG: The 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior kicked a pair of field goals, including a 59-yarder to end the half, as the Pirates defeated Baker 27-17 in Class 7A, Region 1. He also averaged 52.5 yards on two punts, kicked three extra points and booted all six kickoffs into the end zone. The 59-yard field goal tied Guntersville’s Kevin Gentle for the third longest field goal in AHSAA history. Sage Ledbetter of Auburn kicked the longest field goal on record (61yards) in a 31-7 win over Smiths Station in 2015 on a free kick. Fort Payne’s Evan McPherson booted a 60-yard field goal from a snap and hold in 2017. Pelham’s Michael Proctor had a 60-yard field goal against Mountain Brook in 1991 on a free kick and Gentle nailed his 59-yard kick in a win over Scottsboro in 1993. CALEB NIX, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Was 14-of-19 for 306 yards and 5 touchdowns in Central’s 48-12 victory over Dothan as Red Devils (9-0) clinched the Class 7A, Region 2 championship. The younger of Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix became the first Central quarterback to throw for 300 yards and five touchdowns in consecutive games. He threw for 348 yards with 5 touchdowns last week against Prattville. The senior now owns the school career record for passing yardage (3,043), career touchdown passes (39), single-season passing yardage (1,993), single-season touchdown passes (28) and needs 760 more yards to establish a new record for total yards. He currently has 3,596 total yards (3,046 passing yards and 553 rushing yards). GAYLESVILLE TRIO CLIPS 100 YARDS: Gaylesville running back Jacob Gordon rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries and also caught a 30-yard TD pass in the Trojans’ 52-28 Class 1A, Region 7 win over Woodville. He led a trio of Gaylesville runners to gain 100 yards. Michael Reynolds picked up 104 yards on nine carries and scored on a 28-yard run and teammate Keylon Higgins gained 103 yards on just five first-half carries, including an 81-yard touchdown, in the win. BUZZER BEATERS MAC TURNER, HELENA: The quarterback scored on an 11-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds remaining to lift the Huskies to a 22-15 win over Stanhope Elmore to seal Helena (9-0) as the Class 6A, Region 3 champion. It marked the second time in last three years that Coach Richie Busby’s team has finished region play 6-0. COOPER AUSTIN, SPRING GARDEN: Caught eight passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns covering 13 and 3 yards and ran in the go-ahead 2-point conversion on a reverse late in the third quarter to give Spring Garden the lead versus Sand Rock. It was his leaping interception on defense with 53.7 seconds remaining, however, that sealed the Panthers’ 29-28 victory to secure the Class 2A, Region 6 championship. GIO LOPEZ, JAMES CLEMENS: Threw the winning 70-yard touchdown, rushed for a 45-yard TD and converted a 2-point play in a 21-15 win over Sparkman in Class 7A, Region 4. RUSHING KEL WOODS, MAE JEMISON: Ran for 339 yards and four touchdowns (56, 80, 3 and 73 yards) on 22 carries and passed for an 11-yard TD pass in a 54-21 win over Lawrence County in Class 5A, Region 8. KEATON DEBOARD, COLLINSVILLE: Totaled 280 rushing yards on 11 carries and scored three touchdowns (40, 53 and 2 yards) in a 31-6 Class 3A, Region 7 victory over Asbury. He also threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Colton Wills. BRAXTON BROOKS, SAMSON: Accounted for 293 yards and four touchdowns, helping the Tigers beat Georgiana 34-6. He rushed for 210 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns (46, 43 and 32 yards) and passed for 93 yards with a 6-yard touchdown. CHRISTIAN BURNETTE, FAITH ACADEMY: Rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries in a 55-7 win over Satsuma in Class 5A, Region 1. JAKHAEL ROWSER, HUEYTOWN: Totaled 15 carries for 207 yards and two touchdowns and had three receptions for 77 yards in the Gophers’ 62-25 Class 6A, Region 4 win over McAdory. EMMANUEL HENDERSON, GENEVA COUNTY: Rushed for 207 yards on 18 carries and scored on TD runs of 79, 2 and 48 yards in a 49-20 loss to G.W. Long in Class 2A, Region 2. LAKEITH PERSON, CARROLL: Had 202 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Eagles beat Charles Henderson 52-22 in Class 5A, Region 2. RAMETRIUS YELVERTON, LEEDS: Picked up 192 yards and five touchdowns on 15 rush attempts as the Green Wave downed Corner 42-13 in Class 5A, Region 6. EDWARD OSLEY, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: Ran 31 times for 185 yards and five touchdowns, including 10 carries for 64 yards in the first quarter, in the 42-23 win over Pinson Valley sealed the Class 6A, Region 6 title for the Cougars (8-0). JOSH GANDY, EXCEL: Ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in Excel’s win over Cottage Hill. He also added 46 yards and a passing TD. CHRISTIAN DURDEN, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN: Had 177 yards rushing with three touchdowns (19, 15 and 47 yards) and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the Eagles’ 34-20 win over New Brockton. JACKSON CHANCEY, G.W. LONG: Rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns (33 and 2 yards) and also had a team-high 12 tackles in the Rebels’ 49-20 win over Geneva County in Class 2A, Region 2. JOSEPH ANDERSON, MONTEVALLO: Totaled 168 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 11 carries to lead Montevallo past Holt 54-7 in Class 4A, Region 3. TACARIS BOZEMAN, SIDNEY LANIER: Helped the Poets clinch a playoff berth in Class 6A, Region 2 with 35 carries, 152 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 12-6 win over Carver-Montgomery. JORWAYNE ROBINSON, CLARKE COUNTY: Rushed 127 yards on 16 carries and had eight tackles on defense to help Clarke County clinch the Class 2A, Region 1 title with a hard-fought 20-14 win over Leroy. CASH TURNER, ORANGE BEACH: Completed 5-of-8 passes for 87 yards and a TD and rushed for 93 yards on 13 carries with four touchdowns as the Makos defeated J.U. Blacksher 49-22 to clinch a playoff berth in Class 2A, Region 1. PASSING ANDREW HUNTER, RANDOLPH: Completed 18-of-29 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two TDs in a 44-20 Class 4A, Region 7 win over Westminster Christian. BENNETT MEREDITH, HOOVER: Sealed the Bucs’ 49-7 win over Tuscaloosa County with a 16-of-19 passing effort for 277 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for fifth score – Completed 16-of-19 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score, all coming in the first half – as Hoover (9-0) clinched a home berth in the playoffs in 7A, Region 3. KADEN CUPP, NEW BROCKTON: Passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns on a 14-of-23 passing effort in a 34-20 loss to Providence Christian in Class 3A, Region 2. COPELAND COTTON, EUFAULA: Was 12-of-17 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns and added a 3-yard touchdown run as the Tigers downed Russell County 41-7 in Class 6A, Region 2. CALEB McCREARY, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Was 12-of-17 passing for 244 yards and three touchdowns as the Knights beat Trinity Presbyterian 52-7 to clinch the 3A, Region 4 title. PEYTON FLOYD, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Completed 15-of-19 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown and added 22 rushes for 134 yards and a score in the 35-28 Class 7A, Region 3 win over Gadsden City to clinch a playoff berth. He finished with 306 total yards. TT MIMS, BALDWIN COUNTY: Passed for 214 yards and two touchdowns on a 7-of-8 passing effort and also rushed for 117 yards and two TDs on six carries in a 46-7 win over Gulf Shores in Class 6A, Region 1. CORNELIUS SPIDA-JONES, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Completed 11-of-16 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns and added 105 yards rushing in the Rams’ 28-7 win over Wenonah in 5A, Region 5. BRAYDEN KYLE, DECATUR HERITAGE: Was a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 196 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a TD in a 48-0 win over Cherokee in Class 1A, Region 8. WALTER TAYLOR III, JACKSON: Totaled 193 passing yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 81 yards and two scores as the Aggies beat Mobile Christian 54-26. JAYLEN NOBLES, SLOCOMB: Accounted for 272 yards and four touchdowns to pace the Red Tops to a 40-7 win over Opp in Class 3A, Region 2. He rushed for 127 yards on 28 carries with a pair of 2-yard TD runs and a 24 yarder. He also passed for 145 yards on 6-of-13 with a 63-yard score. JACOB BURLESON, CEDAR BLUFF: Completed 15-of-23 pass attempts for 192 yards and two touchdowns (17 and 27 yards), ran for 57 yards on 11 carries and had two interceptions on defense in the Tigers’ 30-7 win over Appalachian to clinch the Class 1A, Region 7 title – the school’s first since 2017. J.T. BLACKWOOD, HARTSELLE: Completed 6-of-7 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-7 win over Hazel Green in 6A, Region 8. COLE McCARTY, GUNTERSVILLE: Passed for 156 yards and two touchdowns (69 and 11 yards), and scored on a 74-yard run in a 45-17 win over Boaz to clinch the Class 5A, Region 7 crown. CHAPEL POPE, SPRING GARDEN: After misfiring on his first five pass attempts, Pope finished the game connecting on 9-of-16 passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns (13, 3 and 23 yards). He also ran for 103 yards on 23 carries and a 5-yard score, and had a pair of sacks on defense in the Panthers’ 29-28 victory at Sand Rock that clinched the 2A, Region 6 crown. PASS RECEIVING KARMELLO ENGLISH, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: The junior receiver had seven catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-12 win over Dothan to tie the school single-season record for receiving yards this season. He has 47 catches for 739 yards and 15 touchdowns in nine games this season. He shares the receiving yardage record with E.J. Williams. Both totals eclipsed the previous school record set by Justyn Ross (37 catches, 730 yards, 13 TDs). Ross and Williams are both at Clemson. In two seasons with the Red Devils, English has 1,318 yards with 19 touchdowns. Ross had 75 catches for 1,393 yards with 21 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Williams had 1,407 yards with 19 TDs on 84 catches in two season for the Red Devils. MAURICE JONES, AUSTIN: Reeled in three receptions for 131 yards, including one resulting in a 98-yard touchdown as the Black Bears downed Albertville 42-0 in Class 7A, Region 4. TOMMY GRIFFIN, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Caught three passes for 121 yards with a 55- yard touchdown on Central’s first offensive play in the Red Devils’ 48-12 win over Dothan. AUSTIN ESTES, PIEDMONT: Caught four passes for 125 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown, in the Bulldogs’ 38-14 win at Hokes Bluff in Class 3A, Region 5. JAXON WHITWORTH, NEW BROCKTON: Caught three passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ 34-20 loss to Providence Christian in 3A, Region 2. DEFENSE NAEEM OFFORD, HUFFMAN: The freshman quarterback/defensive back, making just his second start, had three interceptions on defense, rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and passed for 81 yards and three more scores as the Vikings topped Woodlawn 56-26 in Class 6A, Region 5. He returned one of his picks for a touchdown and accounted for six scores on the night. COLE JENNINGS, OPP: Recorded a career-high 17 tackles during the Bobcats’ 40-7 loss to Slocomb in Class 3A, Region 2. JAKE LANGLOIS, PRICEVILLE: Picked off two passes, returning one 50 yards for a touchdown, and made 16 tackles in a 28-16 win over Deshler in Class 4A, Region 4. ZAK LANGHAM, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Led a Bayside defense that forced four turnovers by totaling 13 tackles as the Admirals downed Chickasaw 42-6 in Class 3A, Region 1. KERBY COLLINS, GARDENDALE: Managed 12 tackles with three sacks and a tackle for loss in the 28-20 win over Jackson-Olin in Class 6A, Region 6. MICHAEL BANKS-MASON, CALERA: Had nine tackles, including three for losses and a sack, as the Eagles nipped Wetumpka 34-29 in Class 6A, Region 3. He also had a fumble recovery and interception in the win. ANTHONY JOHNSON, MIDFIELD: Intercepted a pass and raced 35 yards for a touchdown to help the Patriots beat Aliceville 24-14 to clinch the Class 2A, Region 5 title. He also passed for 103 yards and had two rushing touchdowns in the win. LANDON SMART, PIEDMONT: Led the Bulldog’ defense with 14 tackles in a 38-14 win at Hokes Bluff in 3A, Region 5. JACOB CORNEJO, SAND ROCK: Led the Wildcats defense with 13 ½ tackles and returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Wildcats’ 29-28 loss to Spring Garden. He also rushed for 74 yards on 13 carries. BUCKY LEEK, CEDAR BLUFF: Returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown on the game’s final play and also caught five passes on offense for 76 yards and a 27-yard touchdown in a 30-7 Class 1A, Region 7 win over Appalachian. HUNTER ALLMOND, GAYLESVILLE: Picked off a pair of passes to go along with three tackles and an assist in the Trojans’ 52-28 win at Woodville in 1A, Region 7. PEYTON McCART, ELBA: Had two interceptions and eight tackles in a 41-25 triumph over Ariton in 2A, Region 2. He also scored on a TD pass. MATTHEW HARRELL, ARITON: Totaled 11 tackles in Ariton’s 41-35 loss to Elba in 2A, Region 2. He also caught three passes for 94 yards, including a 26-yard catch for a touchdown. SPECIAL TEAMS LANDON GOWENS, SPRING GARDEN: Led the Panthers’ defense with eight tackles, but it was his punt for a touchback that pinned Sand Rock deep with 2:22 remaining that aided in Spring Garden’s 29-28 win at Sand Rock. JYRON McDANIEL, DECATUR: Scored two touchdowns on a punt return and interception return in the Red Raiders’ 69-6 Class 6A, Region 8 win. DANIEL COOPER, HACKLEBURG: Returned a kickoff for one score, caught a TD pass and rushed for a third touchdown in the Panthers’ 44-20 win over Vina in Class 1A, Region 8.