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AHSAA Spotlight for Week 1

By David Holtsford,

Enterprise named their field after Hall of Fame Coach Bill Bacon this past Friday night.

Central-Phenix City High School junior quarterback Andrew Alford reached a milestone in his first start of the 2023 prep football season last when he completed 22-of-28 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns in the Red Devils’ 48-24 victory over Hewitt-Trussville. The five TD passes set a new Central record – and also earned Alford this week’s AHSAA Prep Football Spotlight. Alford’s performance edged out another 400-yard passing performance by Fort Payne quarterback Dax Varnadore, two strong rushing performances by Reeltown’s Arthur Woods and Lee-Huntsville’s Carlin Long, and a clutch effort by last year’s ASWA Mr. Football Ryan Williams of Saraland. Alford, a junior, completed 17 straight passes at one stretch and fired two fourth-quarter TDs to talented teammate Cameron Coleman, who grabbed nine receptions overall for 145 yards and the late scores. Dylan Gentry also caught six passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns for the Class 7A Red Devils, coached by Patrick Nix. Fort Payne’s Varnadore, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior, completed 27-of-42 passes for 434 yards and four scores in the Wildcats’ wild 56-51 loss to Scottsboro – which generated a combined 1,198 total yards and 107 points. Scottsboro senior fullback Kellan Alvarez finished the night with 202 yards rushing on 20 carries. He had two touchdowns including a 74-yard TD run on the game’s first offensive play of the night. Fort Payne had 617 total yards and Scottsboro, 581. Jake Jones had 233 total yards as Scottsboro’s quarterback. He was 4-of-5 passing for 76 yards and one TD while rushing for 163 yards on 14 carries with four more scores. Reeltown senior running back Arthur Woods averaged 28.9 yards per carry with 202 yards on seven attempts and scored five touchdowns to lead Class 2A Reeltown to a 41-14 win over Class 5A Tallassee. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Woods, who played just two and one-half quarters, was tackled just twice all night. He had TD runs of 71, 33, 6, 67 and 11 yards. Lee-Huntsville opened the season and the newly renovated Milton Frank Stadium with a 44-34 victory over Westminster Christian thanks in large part to the running effort of senior running back Carlin Long. The 5-11, 187-pound tailback rushed 354 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-34 win over Westminster Christian. He had TD runs covering 20, 65, 76 and 62 yards for the Generals. And in a game televised nationally over ESPN, Alabama’s 2022 Mr. Football Ryan Williams of Saraland picked up right where he left off last season in leading the Class 6A defending state champion Spartans, coached by Jeff Kelly. Williams scored the game-winning touchdown with a 10-yard run from the quarterback position in overtime and hauled in a spectacular 50-yard catch and run for a TD late in the fourth quarter as Saraland beat Tennessee powerhouse Lipscomb Academy 31-30. Williams finished with five catches for 88 yards. Quarterback K,J. Lacey was 20-of-32 passing for 179 yards and two scores. Two special ceremonies in the Wiregrass also honored a pair of high school football coaches that had a major impact in the cities where they served for most of their careers.

MILESTONES ENTERPRISE NAMES FIELD IN HONOR OF BILL BACON: Opening night was special even before kickoff of Enterprise High School’s 2023 season against the visiting Eufaula High School Tigers on Friday night. Before the opening whistle of Enterprise’s 63-14 win over the Tigers, Bacon, the school’s all-time winningest football was honored when the school officially christened Wildcat Stadium’s field the “Bill Bacon Field. The former Enterprise coach (1974-2000) led the Wildcats to state championships in 1979, 1982, and sent dozens of players, many of whom were on hand Friday, to play college football. He also had state semifinal teams in 1980 and 1993. A member of the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, he compiled a 210-85-1 record in 27 seasons at Enterprise. He was 240-98-5 in 32 years overall – including five seasons at B.C. Rain High School in Mobile. Bacon’s win total and 27 years as a head coach both rank as the most in Enterprise’s 111-year school history. His 240 total wins ranks 32nd in the history of the AHSAA. More than 100 of his former players and assistant coaches joined Bacon and his family at midfield for the dedication ceremonies. HEADLAND HONORS COACH HOWARD HOLLAND: Prior to Friday’s 45-6 season-opening win over Geneva, Headland High School honored former head coach Howard Holland, who passed away last May. The winningest head football coach in Headland history guided the Rams to a 77-61 record in 13 seasons over two coaching stints (1978-86 and 1998-2001). He was also a longtime recreation director for the city of Headland. Current Headland football coach Reginald Melton was joined by Henry County Superintendent Lori Beasley and Headland principal Brent Maloy in a pregame ceremony to present Holland’s family members an encased football with the Headland “H” logo on it. Known for his defensive expertise and ability to develop outstanding linebackers year after year, Holland, a native of Cottonwood, was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. Other highlights reported from Week Zero of the AHSAA football action:

PASSING GUNNER RIVERS, ST. MICHAEL CATHOLIC: The freshman quarterback and son of NFL great Philip Rivers completed 28-of-56 passes for 356 yards and three TDs in a 41-20 loss to Gulf Shores. He was 16-of-30 for 292 yards and all three scores in the second half. His dad is also his team’s head coach. ERI HANDLEY, PLEASANT GROVE: Was 18-of-21 passing for 339 yards and 5 TDs AS THE Spartans downed Smiths Station 54-24.

JARED HOLLINS, MARY MONTGOMERY: The Vikings quarterback passed for two TDs and ran for two more as the Vikings beat Williamson 41-2. He was 9-of-11 for 318 yards and also rushed twice for 73 yards.

SAMMY DUNN, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Completed 16-of-20 passes for 266 yards and three TDs as the Admirals opened the Barrett Trotter era with a 33-7 win over Elberta.

JOSH FLOWERS, BAKER: Ran for two scores and passed for three more to finish with 320 total yards as the Hornets downed Theodore 36-20. He had 254 yards passing and 66 yards rushing.

TRENT SEABOARN, THOMPSON: The Warriors’ freshman quarterback was 20-of-26 passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns as Class 7A defending state champion Thompson beat Opelika 44-13 in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl. JIM OGLE, JACKSONVILLE: Was 19-of-29 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-21 win over Boaz. Ky‘Dric Fisher had five of the receptions for 97 yards and three TDs. GARRETT AMES, MORTIMER JORDAN: Led the Blue Devils to a 31-28 win over Leeds completing 12-of-24 passes for 230 yards and two scores. He added 30 yards rushing. TYLER PIERCE, BOAZ: Completed 14-of-30 passes for 219 yards and two TDs in a 43-21 loss to Jacksonville. BRAXTON PETERS, WEST MORGAN: Was 16-of 20 passing for 204 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-20 win over Randolph.

JARRETT DAUGHTRY, FAITH ACADEMY: The senior was 15-of-20 for 199 yards and five TDs as the Rams opened the season with a win over JAG High School.

ANTHONY YOUNG, WENONAH: Was 9-of-15 passing for 183 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 119 yards and another score as the Dragons beat Sylacauga 38-7. WARREN AXTON, ENTERPRISE: The Wildcats’ quarterback accounted for five touchdowns in Enterprise’s 63-14 win over Eufaula. Axton completed 11-of-12 passes for 179 yards and three TDs and also rushed for 47 yards and two scores on just three carries.

GRIFFIN HANSON, MARS HILL BIBLE: Passed for a near-perfect 9-of-11 completions, 168 yards and five touchdowns as the Class 3A Panthers downed Class 6A Cullman 55-21 on the road in the season opener. He also rushed eight times for 74 yards. His longest completed pass covered 47 yards and his longest run was also 47 yards in the big win. ROMAN GAGLIANO, OPELIKA: Turned in an 18-of-30 passing performance for 162 yards in the Bulldogs’ 44-13 loss to Thompson in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic. BRIAN CHAPMAN, SARDIS: Was a near perfect 7-of-9 passing for 154 yards and five touchdowns in a season-opening 60-6 win over DAR. Connor Lowery and Eli Morton caught two TD receptions each. KAIDE GARRETT, RANBURNE: Led the Bulldogs to a 31-28 win over White Plains completing 10-of-15 passes for 138 yards and rushing 18 times for 107 yards and all four of his team’s touchdowns. JOHN PAUL HEAD, VESTAVIA HILLS: The Rebels’ quarterback was 13-of-18 passing for 125 yards and one TD, and he rushed 23 times for 118 yards and three scores in a 35-10 win over Mountain Brook. His 243 total yards and four TDs accounted for helped Coach Robert Evans’ squad snap a six-game losing streak to their rival Spartans. BRADIN DUPPER, DECATUR: Accounted for six touchdowns - four passing and two rushing - in a 54-23 win over Mae Jemison.

BROGAN GROSS, ATHENS: Threw four touchdown passes in a 63-14 win over East Limestone.

RUSHING JAX FILMORE, FLOMATON: Rushed for 344 yards and five TDs on 32 carries as the Hurricanes defeated Northview (FL) 35-14.

SAVARIUD EVANS, DECATUR HERITAGE: Ran for 277 yards and six touchdowns on 15 Carries in a 63-15 win over Section.

CAM PHINIZEE, RUSSELLVILLE: The hard-running sophomore opened the season with a strong effort with 270 yards rushing on 31 carries in the Golden Tigers’ 63-14 win over East Limestone. He had four touchdowns on runs of 10, 1, 9 and 2 yards. JAMAURI McCLURE, GOSHEN: The University of South Alabama commitment rushed for 258 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries to pace Goshen’s 49-22 win over Daleville. McClure scored on runs of 2, 74, 30 and 93 yards. KOLIN WILSON, GULF SHORES: Ran for 244 yards and three touchdowns – including scoring runs of 99 and 79 yards and the Dolphins rolled past St. Michael Catholic 41-20. His 99-yard scamper tied the AHSAA record for the longest rushing touchdown in state history. P.J. BROWN, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Brown rushed for 226 yards on 19 carries as Mobile Christian avenged last year’s loss to Athens (Ga.) Academy. He had a 66-yard TD run to close the scoring.

KEN CHERRY, MADISON ACADEMY: Ran for 221 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-6 win over Deshler.

JAY HARRIS, BIBB COUNTY: Gained 214 yards on 24 rush attempts and scored twice as the Choctaws downed Chilton County 33-21. He also had an interception on defense. OMARION PINCKEY, DALEVILLE: The Warhawk quarterback accounted for 289 yards and all three scores (22, 6 and 18 yards) during a 49-22 loss to Goshen. He rushed for 211 yards on 20 carries and three scores and threw for 78 yards with a 12-of-22 passing performance. JONATHAN BEASON, ASHVILLE: Ran 19 times for 211 yards in a 41-24 loss to St. Clair County. COLE ANDERSON, SAINT JAMES: Ran for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries in a 49-13 win for the Class 3A defending state champion Trojans over Montgomery Academy. His scoring runs covered 46, 80 and 70 yards.

ZAC ENGLISH, JACKSONVILLE: Piled up 197 yards rushing on 14 carries in a 43-21 season-opening win over Boaz. ALVIN HENDERSON, ELBA: The junior opened the 2023 season in style rushing for 194 yards on 18 carries with four touchdowns as the Tigers downed New Brockton 35-8. Henderson scored on runs of 1, 1, 9 and 2 yards TAKYI ASKEW, T.R. MILLER: Gained 191 yards rushing on 18 carries as T.R. Miller beat Hillcrest-Evergreen in overtime. His yardage included a 68-yard TD run.

WILL O’DELL, OAK MOUNTAIN: Ran 10 times for 190 yards and two TDs and was 6-of-9 passing with another score in a 38-30 win over Northridge.

GREYSON CARROLL, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and completed 5-of-10 passes for 140 yards and three scores in a 42-27 win over St. John Paul II Catholic. He totaled 311 yards for the night. JORDAN GODSEY, LAMAR COUNTY: Led the Bulldogs to a 27-12 victory over South Lamar with 176 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 18 carries. BYRON LANE, LEXINGTON: Totaled 165 rushing yards on 15 carries touchdown runs covering 2, 14 and 24 yards in a 42-25 season-opening win over Colbert Heights. JAKE JONES, SCOTTSBORO: Ran for 163 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries and completed 4 of 5 passes for 76 yards and a TD in a 56-51 win over Fort Payne.

KEISHAWN ROWSER, DEMOPOLIS: Managed 162 yards rushing on 33 carries and score a touchdown as the Aggies beat American Christian 29-20 to kick off the Lance Tucker coaching era with a win. Tucker became head coach this school year. DOMINIC BRUCE, WENONAH: Had 159 yards rushing on eight carries and scored one TD in a 38-7 win over Sylacauga. TRISTAN SMITH, DALE COUNTY: Rushed for 158 yards and a TD, and teammate Junior Smith added 101 yards and two scores on 14 carries as the Warriors downed Ariton 33-20. Junior Smith also caught three passes for 106 yards and one TD – giving him 207 total yards and three scores overall. He also had eight tackles, a sack and fumble recovery on defense. C.J. LARK, GORDO: Rushed 22 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns in Gordo’s 45-15 victory over Sipsey Valley. JORDAN WASHINGTON, HELENA: Carried 16 times 153 rushing yards and two TDs and also had a 28-yard reception as the Huskies downed Chelsea 50-14.

JAQUESS GREENE, MUSCLE SHOALS: Also turned in a long-distance touchdown run with a 98-yard scamper to lead the Trojans to a 48-14 win over Bob Jones. He finished with eight carries for 150 yards and the school-record TD run. JACOB CORNEJO, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Ran for 150 yards on 14 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns (2 and 1 yards) in the Warriors’ 48-14 win over Alexandria. He also recovered a fumble on defense that led to another Cherokee County touchdown. JUSTIN ADAMS, CITRONELLE: Rushed for 146 yards and three TDs on 11 carries as the Wildcats edged rival Millry 27-26.

FLUFF BOTHWELL, ONEONTA: Ran 11 times for 133 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Redskins past Cleveland 55-24

JAYSHON RIDGLE, ATHENS: Opened the 2023 football season with a 73-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage as the Golden Eagles downed East Limestone 63-14. He finished with three TDs. Ridgle also caught two TD passes from quarterback Brogan Gross, who finished the night with four passes for scores. T.J. WORTHY, GADSDEN CITY: Scored four touchdowns, including a 93-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to seal the Titans’ 37-20 victory over visiting Carver-Montgomery. He also caught a 50-yard TD pass among his three scores in the first half and accounted for 183 total yards in the win. JAYDEN GILBERT, CLEMENTS: Scored six touchdowns - four rushing and two passing - in a 45-12 win over Holly Pond.

CALEB McCREARY, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: The senior QB rushed for all three touchdowns and was 8-of-18 passing for 128 yards as the Knights beat Class 6A McGill-Toolen Catholic 21-0 for their 25th straight regular-season win.

PASS RECEIVING BRANDON JOHNSON, LEE-HUNTSVILLE: Caught seven passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the Generals’ 44-34 win over Westminster Christian in the first game played at newly renovated Milton Frank Stadium. BLAKE GRIGGS, FORT PAYNE: Caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown and passe for another in the Saints’ 56-51 loss to Scottsboro. Teammate Brannon Oliver also snagged eight receptions for 106 yards and two scores. DALYN JACKSON, DEMOPOLIS: Pulled in four catches for 120 yards and one TD as Demopolis beat American Christian 29-20. DEUCE OLIVER, THOMPSON: Hauled in nine pass receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown in the Warriors’ 44-13 victory over Opelika in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic. NICK RICHARDSON, OXFORD: Caught three TD passes from quarterback Mason Mims covering 74, 5 and 35 yards to finish with 114 total yards as the Jackets downed McAdory 33-23. COOPER GREER, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Had three receptions for 104 yards and three touchdowns as the Warrior beat St. John Paul II Catholic 42-27. DEMARCUS JOHNSON, WENONAH: Hauled in five receptions for 103 yards and two scores in the Dragons’ season-opening 38-7 win over Sylacauga. DEFENSE ROD JOHNSON, FULTONDALE: Sparked a defense that blocked two punts by scooting 93 yards for a touchdown on an interception as the Wildcats opened their new stadium with a 28-24 setback to Holtville. The Wildcats led 24-0 at the half before the visiting Bulldogs stormed from behind to win. PRESTON STEVENS, DALE COUNTY: The Warriors’ defensive standout had 19 tackles, including four resulting in lost yardage, and recorded one quarterback sack in Dale County’s 33-30 win over Ariton. He also added 82 yards rushing on 14 carries on offense. J.B. POTTER, ASHVILLE, ASHVILLE: Recorded 14 tackles in a 41-24 loss to St. Clair County. MYLES KHATRI, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Had 11 tackles, include three for losses and a pair of sacks, in a 21-0 shutout win over McGill-Toolen Catholic. TREVOR JOHNSON, ARITON: The linebacker was in on 11 tackles, including three for losses, and caused a fumble in the Purple Cats’ 33-20 loss to Dale County.

KENDARIIUS WHITE, SELMA: Recorded 11 tackles, including one sack, as the Saints fell to Beauregard 29-6 in the AHSAA’s season-opening Kickoff Classic battle at Cramton Bowl. J.C. HEIKKINEN, SCOTTSBORO: The junior linebacker had 11 tackles and two sacks in the Wildcats’ wild 56-51 win over Fort Payne. CALEB TURNER, BEAUREGARD: Notched 10 tackles with a sack and 3.5 yards in losses as the Hornets beat Selma 29-6 in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic on Thursday. MALIK BLOCTON, PIKE ROAD: Totaled 10 tackles and a sack in the Patriots’ 42-14 loss at Marist in Atlanta. WEBBER McCLINTON, TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN: Had eight tackles and an interception on defense and snagged a 50-yard TD pass on offense in a 33-22 victory over B.T. Washington. KE’AVIYON DURRY, DOTHAN: Had two interceptions, returning one 81 yards for a touchdown and the other 68 yards to set a Dothan touchdown in the Wolves’ 59-14 win over Carroll. Gabe Smith also added a 31-yard interception return for touchdown. JEREMIAH BEAMAN, PARKER: Contributed four sacks as the defense as the Thundering Herd blanked Fairfield 55-0. JORDAN ROSS, VESTAVIA HILLS: Contributed eight tackles and four quarterback pressures, a sack and tackle-for-loss, and also scored on a TD pass reception as the Rebels beat Mountain Brook 35-10. JAMARI PAYNE, LOACHAPOKA: Returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown to seal the Indians’ 32-12 season-opening win over LaFayette. JACE TURNER, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 48-14 victory over Alexandria. The game was the first meeting between the two schools since 2015 and the Warriors’ first win over the Valley Cubs since a 29-23 decision back in 2013. The Valley Cubs still hold a 28-14 overall led in the series that dates back to 1925. JACOB WELSH, SPRING GARDEN: Returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Panthers’ 48-22 win at Sand Rock on Friday. The win was the first for new head coach Barrett Ragsdale. The former defensive coordinator took over for 20-year coaching veteran Jason Howard back in mid-July. Howard left the Panthers for a new position at Coosa High School in Georgia on June 30. TRE WILSON, UNIVERSITY CHARTER SCHOOL: Had two interceptions to help UCS nip Hubbertville 22-20.


KAMARI BELL, MINOR: Had 224 all-purpose yards, returning five punts for 197 yards to pace the Tigers to a 54-0 win over Huffman.

Z.J. GRADY, BEAUREGUARD: Scored a couple of 2-point conversions as the up back on a direct snap as the Hornets executed to perfection a fake kick – direct snap to Grady, the up-back – who sped into the end zone from the 3-yard line each time in a 29-6 win over Selma in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic season opener at Cramton Bowl. He finished with 16 of his team’s 29 points. HAYDEN WINGO, PHIL CAMPBELL: Returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and raced 27 yards with a fumble for another score in a 22-20 season-opening win over Hackleburg. CHASE WEBB, VESTAVIA HILLS: Returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown just seconds after Mountain Brook scored a TD in the fourth quarter to cut the Rebels’ lead. Vestavia went on to win 35-10. JUNIOR SOLIS, TUSCALOOSA COUNTY: Booted a 31-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Wildcats past Tuscaloosa Central 24-21. He also kicked three extra points.

COLE RAEUCHLE, SCOTTSBORO: The sophomore place-kicker was 8-for-8 on extra-point kicks in the Wildcats’ 56-51 win over Fort Payne. ALEX DAVIS, SARDIS: Blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in a 60-6 win over DAR. DAVIS DARE, DEMOPOLIS: Returned a kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown as the Aggies downed American Christian 29-20.


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