AHSAA Week 9 Football Spotlight: North Jackson’s Will Sims Sets AHSAA State Record Recovering 4 Fumbles in Chiefs’ - Win by David Holtsford ahsaa.com
Will Sims recovers one of his state record four fumbles for North Jackson
MONTGOMERY – On a weekend where passing and rushing performances went over 300 yards with ease in high school football action across Alabama, North Jackson High School defensive end Will Sims had a record-setting effort of his own to grab this week’s AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 9. Sims recovered four fumbles during the Chiefs’ 48-7 Class 4A, Region 7 win over New Hope Friday night to set a new single-game AHSAA record. The old record, according to the AHSAA website, is three, set by Jordan Carroll of Briarwood Christian in a 32-13 win over John Carroll Catholic in 2012. Sims recovered all four of the fumbles in the first half with the last one returned 20 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the second quarter. He also caused a fumble. Sims entered the game with 54 tackles through eight games for North Jackson (5-4), coached by Joseph Hollis. The Chiefs close out the regular season Friday against Fort Payne. The defensive performance edged out three clutch offensive efforts – two that decided region titles – by senior quarterback Bennett Meredith of Class 7A Hoover, senior quarterback Brayden Kyle of Decatur Heritage, and senior receiver/defensive back Dominik Blair of Section High School. Hoover’s Meredith completed 22-of-38 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning 8-yard TD with 14 seconds left, to lead the Bucs (10-0) of Coach Josh Niblett to a 24-21 win over two-time defending Class 7A state champion Thompson (9-1). The victory clinched the Region 3 title for Hoover and also snapped the Warriors’ current winning streak at 27 games. That streak was also the longest current streak in the AHSAA after Fyffe’s 51-game nation-leading streak was snapped by Geraldine 20-19 a week earlier. Kyle led picked the perfect to register a 400-yard total offense performance as Decatur Heritage, coached by Steve Meek, beat Hackleburg 52-28 to win the Class 1A, Region 8 title. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound senior rushed for 221 yards and four touchdowns, and completed 11-of-14 passes for 171 yards two more TDs. Section’s Blair, a 5-9, 165-pound senior, scored all 24 points in Section’s 24-14 win over Hanceville. He returned a fumble 30 yards for one TD, caught touchdown passes of 33 and 29 yards and also kicked three extra points and a 21-yard field goal. He also had an interception, his seventh of the season, to go with his fumble return on defense. Other top performances reported from last week include: MILESTONES G.W. LONG SCORES THREE DEFENSIVE TDs: The Class 2A Rebels (7-1) scored three times on Abbeville fumbles in a 41-0 win, just one shy the AHSAA state record of four set by Fairfield versus Pinson Valley in 1984. Brayden Whitehead returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown, Brant Brady returned one 55 yards for a TD and Landon Joseph recovered a fumble in the end zone for another score. The Rebels defense also pitched a shutout, the first time Abbeville had been held scoreless since 2015. PISGAH WINS FIRST REGION TITLE SINCE 2003: Sophomore quarterback Mason Holcomb fired a 46-yard TD pass to senior Jake Hendricks with 4:32 remaining to take a 14-7 lead over Tanner and the Eagles defense rose up to stop a two-point conversion try following Tanner’s second TD with 51 seconds left to seal a 14-13 victory and the first region title for Pisgah in 18 years. The Eagles opened the season 0-3 but has since reeled off six straight wins to capture the Class 2A, Region 8 championship. J.W. MIKEL HELPS KINSTON EARN SECOND SEED: Was in on 23 tackles to lead Kinston (7-2) to a 21-20 overtime win over Samson and clinched the school’s first-ever home playoff game as the No. 2 seed in Class 1A, Region 2. Among his tackles was a stop on a 2-point try following Samson’s overtime TD to secure the win. CEDAR BLUFF SWIPES 5 INTERCEPTIONS: Cedar Bluff’s Aden Green, Bucky Leek, Hunter Stallings, Kade Browning and Nick Clifton each had one interception in a 35-7 win at Coosa Christian. The victory capped a 6-0 mark in Class 1A, Region 7. KEITH JAMES, FRUITDALE: Scored four different ways in a 48-0 win over Southern Choctaw in Class 1A, Region 2. He caught two TD passes, rushed for a score, returned a fumble for a TD and ran a punt back for a TD for five touchdowns. MIDFIELD’S JOHNSON ACCOUNTS FOR 8 TDs: Quarterback Anthony Johnson was 8-of-15 passing for 167 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for two more in the Patriots 52-6 win over Francis Marion. He also had five tackles, an interception and sack on defense in one of the most complete performances in of the year in the AHSAA. BUZZER BEATERS BENNETT MEREDITH, HOOVER: Fired an 8-yard TD pass with 14 seconds left to lift the Bucs past Thompson 24-21 to snap the Warriors’ current winning streak at 27 and gave Hoover the 7A, Region 3 title. He completed 23-of-40 pass attempts for 292 yards and three touchdowns. MILLER HART, T.R. MILLER: Kicked a 22-yard field goal as time expired to force Flomaton into overtime and then hit Trent Cooper with a 7-yard TD pass in the extra period and won the Class 3A, Region 1 contest 30-28 with a two-point pass to Devin Smith. He finished the night 10-for-16 for 112 yards and one touchdown.
CARTER SHELTON, ROGERS: Kicked a field goal with 20 seconds left gave the Pirates a 23-20 win over West Morgan that put the Pirates in the playoffs. JOHNNY MORRIS, SPANISH FORT: Scored two touchdowns in the span of 52 seconds early in the second quarter on runs of 19 and 38 yards in a 35-14 Class 6A, Region 1 win over McGill-Toolen. He finished with 132 yards rushing and 3 TDs on just nine carries.
RUSHING MASON CARTEE, PRICEVILLE: Ran for 352 yards and six touchdowns in Priceville’s 56-50 overtime win over West Limestone in 4A, Region 8. RI FLETCHER, HARTSELLE: Picked up 308 yards rushing and scored six touchdowns in Hartselle’s 65-20 win over Buckhorn in Class 6A, Region 9. JADEN DIXON, WATERLOO: Rushed for 283 yards and three touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass in a 56-0 win over Cherokee in 1A, Region 8. BRANDON AUSTIN, REHOBETH: Ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries in the Rebels’ 32-8 win over Northside Methodist Academy. His TD runs were from 11, 8, 4 and 8 yards. ISAIAH PERDUE, MADISON COUNTY: Ran for 247 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries in a 61-28 Class 4A, Region 7 win over Westminster Christian. JARIUS HOUSTON, CHICKASAW: Houston ran for 243 yards and 3 TDs on 26 carries for the Chieftains in a 30-28 win over Excel in 3A, Region 1. JACOB BURLESON, CEDAR BLUFF: Picked up 235 rushing yards on 21 carries and scored four touchdowns and also connected on 6-of-13 pass attempts for 58 yards in the Tigers’ 35-7 victory at Coosa Christian. L.T. SANDERS, GARDENDALE: Totaled 233 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the Rockets past Mortimer Jordan 40-13 in Class 6A, Region 6.
EMMANEL HENDERSON, GENEVA COUNTY: The senior rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns (95 and 29 yards) on just 12 carries and added a 97-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 55-28 win over Zion Chapel. TYLER COOPER, AUSTIN: Had 15 rush attempts for 225 yards and touchdown runs of 78, 26, 31 and 3 yards in a 42-28 win over Bob Jones in Class 7A, Region 4. JOSEPH ANDERSON, MONTEVALLO: Had 21 carries for 222 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 49-14 victory over Class 4A, Region 3 foe Dallas County.
JUSTIN POWE, DAVIDSON: Accumulated 219 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 15 carries in a 31-20 Class 7A, Region 1 win over Mary G. Montgomery. DEMARCUS LACEY, PLEASANT GROVE: Ran 26 times for 206 yards and two scores with four catches for 45 yards in the Spartans’ 46-28 win over Ramsay to clinch the 5A, Region 5 title.
FLUFF BOTHWELL, ONEONTA: Totaled 205 rushing yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns as the Redskins beat Good Hope 37-19 in Class 4A, Region 6. DANTE SNODGRASS, JAMES CLEMENS: Rushed for first-half touchdowns of 64, 43, 4 and 4 yards in a 62-20 win over Albertville as the Jets finished undefeated in Class 7A, Region 4 to claim the region crown.
PASSING WALTER TAYLOR III, JACKSON: Had 18-of-26 passes completed for 371 yards and five touchdowns in a 57-0 win over Escambia County in Class 4A, Region 1. He also rushed five times for 38 yards and a TD. KADYN MITCHELL, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Completed 10-of-13 passes for 233 yards and four touchdown as the Raiders beat New Brockton 49-8. His TD tosses covered 22, 52, 9 and 26 yards) in the Raiders’ 49-8 win over New Brockton. JACK HAYES, PIEDMONT: Ran for two touchdowns (3 and 16 yards) and completed 11-of-18 passes for 221 yards and two more scores in the Bulldogs’ 47-16 win over Walter Wellborn in Class 3A, Region 5 win. He now has 103 career TD passes. CHAPEL POPE, SPRING GARDEN: Connected on his first nine pass attempts and finished 10-of-12 for 163 yards and two touchdowns – 19 and 59 yards to Cooper Austin – in the Panthers’ 49-12 win over Southeastern. Austin had seven catches for 140 yards and two scores. CORNELIUS SPIDA JONES, CARVER-BIRMINGHAM: Had 300 total yards with 180 yards passing with a touchdown and 120 yards rushing with two touchdowns in a 28-21 loss to Parker in 5A, Region 5.
LOGAN WASHBURN, CLEVELAND: Connected on 7-of-12 pass attempts for 165 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 120 yards on 13 carries with two scores in the Panthers’ 40-7 Class 2A, Region 6 victory at Sand Rock. ANDREW HUNTER, RANDOLPH: Passed for five touchdown passes and ran for another TD in a 55-7 Class 4A, Region 7 win over DAR.
PASS RECEIVING RYHEEM QUINNEY, THEODORE: Caught five passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns and also threw a TD pass in The Bobcats’ 51-14 Class 7A, Region 1 victory over Foley. JYWON BOYD, CHARLES HENDERSON: Managed four pass receptions for 164 yards and two TDs (71 and 34 yards) on offense, posted 11 tackles, three pass break-ups and a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown on defense, and also had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Trojans’ 42-21 win over Headland in Class 5A, Region 2. OMARI KELLY, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLW: Caught five passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns as the Huskies beat Oak Mountain 28-7 in Class 7A, Region 3. WILL WELLS, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Caught five passes for 153 yards with two touchdowns (22 and 52 yards) in the Raiders’ 49-8 win over New Brockton. R.J. HAMILTON, HOOVER: Hauled in 10 receptions for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Bucs’ 24-21 win over Thompson in 7A, Region 3. THAD PEARCE, WEST END: Had eight receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 35-20 loss to Locust Fork. WES JOHNSON, ARAB: Grabbed six receptions for 132 yards and a 43-yard touchdown in the Knights’ win over Springville. CHRISTIAN ROSS, DALE COUNTY: Caught six passes for 105 yards with a 34-yard TD reception and also made 10 tackles on defense in the Warriors’ 21-18 loss to Straughn.
AUSTIN ESTES, PIEDMONT: Caught four passes for 105 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown, in the Bulldogs’ 47-16 win over Walter Wellborn. He also had a 43-yard punt return to set the Bulldogs up for another touchdown.
KARMICHAEL CATTLING, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Caught two passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for 168 yards and another TD in the Warriors’ 54-12 victory over Gaston.
DEFENSE JEREMAINE HOLCOMBE, JR., VIGOR: Holcombe intercepted three St. Michael Catholic passes to help preserve a 40-21 victory for the unbeaten Wolves (9-0) in Class 4A, Region 1.
GARRETT McKinney, OAK GROVE: Contributed 13 tackles, including two for-loss, and forcing a fumble, adding two kick returns for 68 total yards against Haleyville.
COLE WEED, DALE COUNTY: Had 13 tackles in the Warriors’ 21-18 Class 4A, Region 2 loss to Straughn.
BRODY EPPS, PIEDMONT: Had 12 tackles and teammate Landon Smart had 11 in the Bulldogs’ 47-16 Class 3A, Region 5 win over Walter Wellborn. EVAN BROWN, HUEYTOWN: Had 11 tackles with three sacks, six tackles-for-loss, and interception, six tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery against Paul Bryant to give the Gophers the Class 6A, Region 4 title.
KAMARIOUN STARKS, SPARKMAN: Picked off two passes in a 28-27 win over Huntsville in Class 7A, Region 4.
JACKSON THATCH, DECATUR: Picked off two passes in a 56-34 win over Athens as the Red Raiders clinched the fourth seed in 6A, Region 8.
SPECIAL TEAMS JAYLEN NOBLES, SLOCOMB: Punted four times for a 46-yard average with a long of 71 yards to lead the Red Tops to a 14-7 win over Wicksburg to clinch the Class 3A, Region 2 crown. He also rushed for 161 yards on 16 carries and scored both Slocomb touchdowns. He also had six touchdowns on defense. JOHN WELSH, SPRING GARDEN: With the Panthers clinging to a one-point lead early in the second quarter, Welsh blocked a Southeastern punt and returned it for a touchdown. The play seemingly opened the flood gates as Spring Garden rallied to win 49-12 and claim the school’s fourth straight undefeated season in region play. The freshman also scored the Panthers’ final touchdown on a 59-yard run in the fourth quarter. HEATH DRIVER, SAND ROCK: Dashed 76 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return in the third quarter of the Wildcats’ 40-7 loss to Cleveland. Driver finished with five kickoff returns for 162 total yards and a touchdown. CHRIS PEARSON, ORANGE BEACH: Returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown and scored two rushing touchdowns to lead the Makos past St. Luke’s Episcopal in Class 2A, Region 1. He finished with 115 yards on 14 carries.