Alex McPherson Kicks Record Field Goal to Land in AHSAA Prep Football Spotlight
Thanks to David Holtsford of ahsaa.com
MONTGOMERY – Fort Payne High School place-kicker Alex McPherson was just a freshman in 2017 when he served as the holder for the Wildcats’ special team unit anchored by his older brother Evan McPherson. The highlight of that season was the brothers’ teamwork leading to a state-record 60-yard field goal kicked by Evan versus Brewer High School for the longest boot in AHSAA history from a snap, hold and kick. Sage Ledbetter of Auburn High School beat that kick by one yard with his 61-yard field goal on a free kick following a fair catch in 2015. Roll forward to 201 and Evan is still kicking – albeit with the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL after a phenomenal college career with the Florida Gators. And Alex, well, his strong leg earned him the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 10 as he kicked four field goals in a 32-7 victory over North Jackson, including a 61-yard field goal from a snap, hold and kick to break his brother’s record by one yard. The kick also tied Ledbetter for the longest field goal in school history. McPherson will be ready for action again Friday when the Wildcats head to Briarwood Christian (9-1) for a first-round Class 6A football contest as the 2021 AHSAA State Football Playoffs get underway. Two games are scheduled for Thursday night with G.W. Long (8-1) visiting B.B. Comer (8-2) at Sylacauga in Class 2A and James Clemens (10-0) hosting Oak Mountain (6-4) at Madison City Stadium. Executive producer Vince Earley announced last weekend the AHSAA TV Network/WOTM TV will be broadcasting the 2A game at Sylacauga live tonight and will also broadcast live from Legion Stadium on Friday night the Class 5A playoff contest featuring Andalusia (6-4) and Sylacauga (7-3). Both games will also be available over the NFHS Network as well as tonight’s 7A battle tonight will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network. A large number of playoff games will be live-streamed Friday night as well. Check www.nfhsnet.com for more details. Also, more than 120 games are scheduled to be broadcast live audio over radio or internet affiliates. A complete log will be posted at www.ahsaa.com by Friday morning. McPherson told reporters he contacted his older brother Evan immediately after the game. “It was a lot of fun to tell him I broke his record,” he said. Alex, who is committed to Auburn and was selected to punt and place-kick for the Alabama All-Stars the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic set for Dec. 11, also led the Wildcats of Coach Chad Elmore with four successful field goals of 39, 52, 55 and 61 yards in the win over the Chiefs. Earlier in the game, he lined up to try another 61-yard kick but an illegal shift penalty pushed it back to 66 yards. He just missed a 70-yard try earlier this season. His four field goals in a single game ties 16 others for second most in a single game. And his three field goals over 50 yards in a single game set a new AHSAA record. His older brother Logan held the mark with two with kicks of 56 and 57 yards versus Boaz in 2012. Cade Stinnett of Enterprise also had kicks of 51 and 50 yards in a 2013 41-34 loss to Smiths Station, and Kevin Gentle had kicks of 59 and 51 yards in a 1993 win over Scottsboro. Tied for most field goals in a single game (5) are Crosby Gray of Spain Park (2015); Ledbetter (2013); Josh Woodard of Decatur (2001); Tim Rogers of Mountain Brook (1990); and Ricky Beck of Geneva (1970). The last previous place-kicker to four field goals in a game was Daphne’s Diego Guajardo (2018). His in the Trojans’ 40-6 win over B.C. Rain was a 53-yarder on his first kick of the night. Evan McPherson finished his college career with 302 kicking points with 51-of-60 on field goal tries ad 149-of-150 extra point kicks. He currently is 10-of-13 on field goals for the Bengals this season with a long of 53 yards. His longest kick at Florida was 55 yards. In high school, Evan also had an 84-yard punt in the same game as his 60-yard field goal in 2017, and finished his prep career with 207 kicking points – coming on 30 field goals and 117 extra points. The AHSAA’s strong kicking legacy was first established with Philip Doyle of Huffman setting the national record with 22 in a single season in 1985. That record is still the AHSAA’s best, but was been tied by Park Crossing kicker Jake Lane in 2016. Doyle’s national record was broken and is now 25. MILESTONES SPRING GARDEN IMPROVES TO 10-0: Andrew Floyd rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns (4, 25 and 3 yards) on 16 carries and posted nine tackles and a pair of sacks on defense as the Panthers edged Wadley 21-19 to post their first 10-0 regular season in school history. Cade Williams recorded 11 tackles and Cam Welsh had six stops with two sacks in the milestone win. ALEXANDRIA NOTCHES FIRST UNBEATEN SEASON SINCE 2006: Quarterback Javais McGhee gained 221 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 22 carries. He also threw a pair of touchdown passes – a 48-yarder to Jake Upton in the first quarter and a 47-yarder to Antonio Ross just before halftime – and also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Austin West in the third quarter of the Valley Cubs’ 25-20 win over Piedmont. The Valley Cubs (10-0) of Coach Todd Ginn finished the regular season 10-0 for the first time since 2006 – when Ginn’s father Larry Ginn coached his last season at Alexandria leading the Valley Cubs to a 12-1 season. The Hall-of-Fame coach also had unbeaten regular seasons in 2003, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995 and 1991. His 1997 team finished 15-0 to win the Class 4A state title. Alexandria also had three undefeated regular seasons under it first Hall-of-Fame coach Lou Scales in 1974, 1957 and 1950. The ’57 team finished 7-0-2 with two ties. M.C. Strickland coached the school’s first undefeated team in 1933 guiding the Cubs to a 6-0-3 season. PIKE ROAD WINS 29TH STRAIGHT REGULAR SEASON GAME: Running back Quinshon Judkins was one of three Patriots’ running backs to rush for more than 100 yards in Pike Road’s 41-6 win over B.T. Washington. He had 13 carries for 160 yards and four TDS as the Pats (9-0) of Coach Patrick Browning recorded their 29th straight regular-season win since losing its final game of the 2018 regular season 39-24 to Beulah. Pike Road was 10-0 in the regular season in 2020 and 2019.
BUZZER BEATER CARTER STEVENS, NORTHSIDE METHODIST: Trailing 8-6 and facing 4th-and-23 from its own 47-yard line with 24.9 seconds left, Northside Methodist Academy’s quarterback converted a 51-yard Hail Mary pass to Tyler Quintero to the Ashford 2-yard line. Stevens then scored on a quarterback sneak with five seconds left to give his team a 12-8 win. Quintero also caught a 10-yard pass on a 4th-and-9 play during the 16-play, game-winning drive from back-up quarterback Braylen Clements after Stevens had to go out a play after his helmet came off.
RUSHING AARON MASON, JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC: Had 24 carries for a career high 281 yards and four touchdowns in just three quarters as the Cavs beat St. Clair County 49-0. JAYLEN NOBLES, SLOCOMB: Teamed with Rashawn Miller to account for 529 yards total offense in the Red Tops’ 58-20 win over Geneva County. Nobles accounted for 310 total yards with a 6-of-9 passing performance accounting for 165 yards and two TDs (28 and 15 yards). He also rushed for 145 yards and scores of 1 and 9 yards. Miller rushed 19 times for 134 yards and three TDs covering 5, 6 and 2 yards. He also caught three passes for 85 yards, including a 28-yrd TD. Nobles also had six tackles and recovered a fumble on defense. EIAN BAIN, VALLEY HEAD: Ran for 256 yards and three touchdowns to help the Tigers end a seven-game skid to rival Collinsville with a 27-14 victory. Two of Bain’s touchdowns came in the second half. The teams were deadlocked at 14-14 at halftime. JOSEPH ANDERSON, MONTEVALLO: Had 254 yards on 36 carries, including two successful fake punts for first downs, and scored all three touchdowns as the Bulldogs handed Maplesville its first defeat of the season with s 20-7 win. LOGAN PATE, GUNTERSVILLE: Ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-28 win over Albertville.
ASHER KECK, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Rushed for 234 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in the Warriors’ 37-26 victory over Donoho.
WILL STOKES, MADISON ACADEMY: Piled for 222 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries in a 34-20 win over Russellville.
WARREN MINNIFIELD, PARKER: Totaled 220 yards on 17 rush attempts and scored three touchdowns as the Thundering Herd (9-1) downed Mortimer Jordan 42-14. CONNER ADERHOLT, SHELBY COUNTY: Ran 18 times for 220 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-21 win over Talladega.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS, GAYLESVILLE: Totaled 216 yards rushing on 13 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Trojans posted a 51-14 win over the Alabama School for the Deaf. TUCKER GRIFFITH, HOKES BLUFF: Rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 42-12 victory over Sardis. MASON CARTEE, PRICEVILLE: Ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries in a 55-0 win over St. John Paul II.
COSNER HARRISON, SAINT JAMES: Had 23 carries for 196 yards and touchdown runs of 56 and 44 yards as the Trojans downed Trinity Presbyterian 42-35. His 56-yard spring came on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
GABE GAMBLE, PELHAM: Ran for 193 yards and the Panthers’ only touchdown on 18 carries in a 10-7 win over Homewood. D.J. BUTLER, DAVIDSON: Led the Warriors with 192 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in a 51-35 loss to Baker.
COLE BLAYLOCK, UMS-WRIGHT: Had 180 rushing yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, returned the game’s opening kickoff 54 yards to set up a score and returned four punts for 28 yards in Bulldogs’ 31-0 win over previously unbeaten Class 6A Helena.
JARIUS HOUSTON, CHICKASAW: Gained 180 yards and scored four touchdowns on just nine carries as the Chieftains beat Francis Marion 66-0.
L.T. SANDERS, GARDENDALE: The Rockets’ workhorse running back had 32 carries for 161 yards and a touchdown in 27-14 win over Florence.
JAYLN DANIELS, TALLASSEE: Had 16 rushing attempts for 177 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers downed Carroll 41-35. JEROME JACKSON, LEE-HUNTSVILLE: Ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in a 43-40 win over Westminster Christian.
ANDREW PIERCE, ETOWAH: Ran 15 times for 157 yards in the Blue Devils’ 27-14 win over Southside-Gadsden.
JACOB MANUEL, EXCEL: Scored five touchdowns and picked up 128 rushing yards on just 11 carries in a 54-8 win over Monroe County. He also had an interception on defense.
JAY BALDWIN, BALDWIN COUNTY: Rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries as the Tigers finished a 7-3 regular season with a 49-8 win over LeFlore.
MASON STUART, ZION CHAPEL: Accounted for 356 total yards and all five Rebels touchdowns in a 39-24 win over Pleasant Home. He completed 16-of-19 passes for 215 yards and one TD and rushed for 131 yards off 18 carries with four scores. He also had an interception on defense for Zion Chapel.
BRANDON MUSCH, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Was 25-of-32 passing for 324 yards and three touchdowns (15, 6 and 3 yards), and ran for three TDs (20, 1 and 3 yards) to account for all six touchdowns in a 43-40 loss to Lee-Huntsville.
K.J. JACKSON, SAINT JAMES: Led the Trojans to a 42-35 victory over Trinity Presbyterian completing 10-of-18 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a fourth score. MIGUEL CAMBOIA, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Passed for 216 yards and rushed for 94 yards in a 27-16 win over B.C. Rain. He rushed for three TDs. RYNZO CRUTCHER, GRISSOM: Completed 9-of-11 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-34 win over Hazel Green.
CHRISTOPHER VIZZINA, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Averaged 34.8 yards per completion with 209 yards and two touchdowns on a 6-of-9 passing performance as the Lions (9-1) beat Corner 40-15. COELMAN STANLEY, TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN: Was 8-of-18 passing for 206 yards and three TDs in the Wildcats’ 42-35 setback versus Saint James. ED JOHNSON, ARAB: Scored on runs of 1 and 6 yards and completed 11-of-13 passes for 191 yards, including a 15-yard TD, in a 45-14 win over Boaz.
BRENDON BYRD, SPANISH FORT: Was 12-of-14 passing for 183 yards and two touchdowns and for another score as Spanish Fort broke a late-third quarter tie and beat Daphne 31-17.
REECE TYNES, FOLEY: The junior completed 14-of-18 passes for 181 yards and 2 TDs in the Lions’ 37-0 win over Alma Bryant.
ACE ASHLEY, SAND ROCK: Completed 10-of-16 passes for147 yards and two touchdowns (14 and 41 yards) and rushed for 77 yards on three carries with a 64-yard score in the wildcats’ 47-13 win over Cedar Bluff. He also had interception in the end zone on defense to kill a potential Tigers scoring drive in the second quarter. JAYDEN GILBERT, CLEMENTS: Fired four touchdown passes, rushed for a score and caught a TD pass in a 54-30 win over Hatton.
DE’ANDRE COLEMAN HUEYTOWN: Caught seven passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns and had three rush attempts for 80 yards and a third TD as the Gophers (9-1) beat Spain Park 57-21. KOBE PRENTICE, CALERA: Caught seven passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 31-21 win over Chelsea. JYWON BOYD, CHARLES HENDERSON: Caught eight passes for 130 yards with one touchdown and added 56 yards rushing on five carries and another TD in the Trojans’ 29-15 loss to Class 1A top-ranked Brantley.
COLIN PRUITT, SAND ROCK: Caught five passes for 110 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown with 13 seconds remaining in the first half, and had a pair of interceptions on defense in the Wildcats’ 47-13 win at Cedar Bluff.
JAYVEN WILLIAMS, BAKER: Caught four passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns returned a punt 36 yards and returned an interception 98 yards for touchdowns to lead the Hornets past Davidson 51-35.
DEVIN FINLEY, CLAY-CHALKVILLE: Had two sacks at defensive end, forced a fumble and returned an interception 26 yards for his first touchdown as the Cougars (10-0) closed out a perfect regular season with s 48-0 win over Class 7A Oak Mountain.
ALEX PARTIN, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Recorded 16 tackles and a sack as the Admirals downed Elberta 32-27.
ZAY HENRY, DOTHAN: Returned a fumble caused by fellow senior Hosea Hills 85 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to help spark a 17-13 Dothan upset win over McGill-Toolen.
CHRIS PEARSON, ORANGE BEACH: Returned an interception for a touchdown and also rushed for 136 yards and three scores on 13 carries as the Makos beat McIntosh 35-14.
JACKSON BEATTY, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and caught four passes for 77 yards and another TD as the Spartans (9-1) beat Austin 34-0. TRENT YOUNG, PIEDMONT: Recovered a blocked punt in the end zone with 2:55 remaining in the game of the Bulldogs’ 25-20 loss to Alexandria.