Football Friday: Aug. 25, 2023
WVUA-23 recaps Week Two of the High School football season. Enjoy highlights from:
Pickens County defense steps up in season 0pening win over Aliceville
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sutton Smith
REFORM – Offense was the storyline last year in the Aliceville Yellow Jackets’ win over Pickens County.
This year, it was the lack thereof from both sides as the Tornadoes held on late to beat the Yellow Jackets 8-6.
In last year’s matchup, Aliceville blew out the Tornadoes 55-12 The Tornadoes came into the game with revenge in mind, after last year’s 55-12 loss in which the Yellow Jackets controlled every aspect of the game.
“It’s a big rivalry game, so we’re going to play our best each play and make sure everybody sees it,” said Pickens County wide receiver Santonio Jones.
Jones had the game-sealing interception on defense, picking off Aliceville quarterback Tyquan Simon. Jones and the Tornadoes defensive held Aliceville to 57 total yards and one touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets lone score came on their first drive of the game when Simon showed impressive athleticism scrambling the whole length of the field for a 16-yard touchdown.
Aliceville head coach Grady Griffin believes the game was lost in the trenches, especially on the offensive line.
“We’ve got to go work more with our offensive line; it was obvious from the first snap,” Griffin said. “We had their defense on its heels a few times, but the offensive line couldn’t hold their blocks causing us to not get the number of yards needed to sustain drives.”
The Tornadoes offense wasn’t much better, accounting for only 93 yards of total offense. Kemaurion Plott had the only touchdown for the Tornadoes coming in the third quarter. Pickens County’s Korbit Sommerville converted the two-point conversion to give the Tornadoes the lead. Sommerville’s score was the deciding factor in the game.
Pickens County head coach Michael Williams believes his team is different and is ready for the challenges ahead.
“There’s something special about this team; they know how to fight,” Williams said. “They’ve been through a lot. These guys have been to two state championships and a semi-final, so they know what it takes to win games.”
Williams and his Tornadoes squad have taken a step in the right direction to start off their 2023 season. With tonight’s win, they now tie Aliceville in the head-to-head series at 41-41-1 all-time.
Next Friday, the Tornadoes travel to take on Brilliant Academy and Aliceville plays its home opener against Center Point.
Thompson handles Opelika to win Kickoff Classic
Thompson scored three touchdowns in the span of five minutes on the game-clock to grab momentum and score a season-opening win over Opelika, 44-13.
The game was part of the 18th annual Kickoff Classic hosted at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.
Thompson led just 3-0 midway through the second quarter when running AJ Green busted up the middle for a five-yard touchdown run. The extra point made it 10-0.
Following an Opelika touchdown drive, the Warriors answered quickly. Senior Kaleb Harris returned the ensuing kickoff 40-yards to give Thompson excellent field position. Warriors quarterback Trent Seaborn hit Kolby Hearn on a 36-yard catch-and-run to move into scoring position. Seaborn and Hearn hooked up again on a 12-yard touchdown to make the score 16-7 with 2:42 remaining in the first half.
Thompson need just 51 seconds to find the endzone again. The Warriors Harris forced the only turnover of the night, intercepting Opelika quarterback Roman Gagliano deep in Bulldogs territory. On the first play following the turnover, Seaborn found Deuce Oliver over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown.
The Warriors three 2nd quarter touchdowns came in the span of 4:52 of game-clock.
Next week, Thompson (1-0) hosts IMG Academy on Thursday, Aug. 30. Opelika (0-1) hosts J.A.G. High School on Friday, Aug. 31.
Demopolis edges ACA in back-and-forth battle
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Alex Boothe
Demopolis came out on top in a back-and-forth battle with American Christian Academy, 29-20.
American Christian would grab the early momentum as their first offensive play from scrimmage would be a wildcat snap to Davis Dare who would take the ball up the middle and bounce it outside down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown run.
Demopolis would have an answer though as quarterback Kevin McElroy would take the Tiger’s offense down the field for a 67-yard touchdown drive capped off by a McElroy quarterback keeper down on the goal line.
In the second quarter, with Demopolis at midfield on fourth down they choose to go for it and hand the ball off to running back Kee-shawn Rowser who rips off a long 46-yard run down to the goal line. McElroy would finish off the drive once again with a quarterback keeper.
The Patriots would come out of halftime down 14-7 and go on a 75-yard touchdown drive with Ty Young touchdown pass to Bubba Lester. However, American Christian would fail on the two point conversion and still trail 14-13.
American Christian would benefit from great field position due to a Demopolis fumble and Young would toss a 4-yard touchdown pass to Dare to regain the lead. Patriots would lead 20-14.
Demopolis would go three and out next drive but would pin American Christian on their own 1-yard line with the punt, leading to a safety for the Demopolis defense making the score 20-16 American Christian.
Demopolis would get the ball back from the safety and Rowser would break off a 24-yard rushing touchdown to give Demopolis the lead back, 23-20.
The Tigers would hold on to win over the Patriots. Next up for Demopolis (1-0) is a home gain against the Jackson Aggies (0-0). For American Christian Academy (0-1), it will look to get back on track on the road against Tuscaloosa Academy (1-0). Both games are set for Friday, Aug. 31.
Moody edges Pell City in Propst’s Panthers debut
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Alex Chasen
It wasn’t just the temperature that was stifling hot on Friday night. The Moody-Pell City rivalry displayed its own heat. Both sides had to be separated multiple times in the game.
The tense energy has been building for a calendar year, since Moody dominated Pell City, 56-21 last season.
The Blue Devils beat the Panthers for the second straight year, 28-24, but this game was a stark contrast to 2022.
Pell City’s performance was a huge improvement under new head coach Rush Probst. Friday was Probst’s first game as an Alabama high school head coach since 2007, when he was at Hoover High School.
The Panthers did their best to keep the Moody faithful in their seats early, taking a 10-0 lead into the second quarter. Pell City led 10-7 at halftime.
Ultimately, Pell City couldn’t completely silence Moody’s offense. The Blue Devils scored 21 points in the second half, and the defense sealed the win with a sack of Pell City quarterback Nikita Getmanshchuk.
This rivalry didn’t come without its fair share of scuffles. The teams needed to be separated twice in the first half, once before kickoff and again late in the second quarter.
In another incident, Propst, who isn’t new to getting controversial got fired up, tossed his headset at his son, who is a sophomore receiver on the team. Propst was trying to keep his son from leaving the sideline during one of the in-game skirmishes.
Next week, Moody (1-0) goes on the road to play Sylacauga (0-1). Pell City (0-1) will host Leeds (0-1) in its home opener.
Last second score lifts Northside past Hale County
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Molly Harrold
Northside quarterback Evan Taylor scored the go-ahead touchdown with 10 seconds to go, giving the Rams a 28-21 win over Hale County.
Taylor’s one-yard touchdown plunge came with 10.3 seconds remaining in the game. The late score is the story, but it was a defensive battle early. Northside’s Devin Guin and Brendan Parsons put constant pressure on Hale County quarterback Antwain Zinnerman.
The Wildcats battled, overcoming the slow start. Hale County trailed Northside 7-0 after the first quarter, but the game was 21-21 going into the 4th quarter.
Next week, Northside (1-0) will host Cleburne County. Hale County (0-1) will host Greensboro (0-1) in its home-opener. Both games are Friday, Sept. 1.
Brookwood shuts out Holt in season opener
By WVUA Sports Reporter Juliet Brown
Brookwood spoiled Holt’s home opener, dominating the Ironmen 40-0.
New Holt football head coach Brian Newton could not get his team off to the start he had hoped. His offense sputtered on the first drive, paving way for the Brookwood offense to score first.
The Panthers marched down the field without much trouble. Kawann Johnson ran into the endzone with 9:05 left in the first quarter to put Brookwood up 7-0.
In the Ironmen’s next possession, the offense seemed to have a drive, aided by a couple Brookwood penalties. The Panther’s Maddox Carroll picked off Holt’s quarterback at the Panther’s 7-yard line which ended any Ironmen momentum.
Brookwood quarterback, Jacob Rowell led a 92-yard drive which ended in a Carroll rushing touchdown. The Panthers led 14-0 with 1:29 left in the first quarter.
Brookwood (1-0) takes on West Blocton (1-0) at home Friday night. Holt (0-1) has a bye week before traveling up the road to American Christian Academy (0-1) the following week.
Northridge falls to Oak Mountain in nail-biting fashion
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Juliet Brown
From the very first score of the game, it was sure to be a great season opener. Oak Mountain upset the home-standing Northridge Jaguars, 38-30.
The Eagles scored first on a crazy possession at the end of the first quarter. Oak Mountain’s defense sacked Northridge quarterback Rowdy Christensen, causing a fumble. Oak Mountain’s Colton Moore recovered the loose ball and took it in for the first touchdown of the game.
Christensen shook off the fumble and led his team on a nine-play, 80-yard drive. Christensen connected with Tyleik Lee on a 17-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7 with 10:26 left in the second quarter.
Oak Mountain took the momentum right back by scoring 17 unanswered points. Quarterback William O’Dell began the Eagles run with a 32-yard quarterback keeper to give Oak Mountain a 14-7 lead.
On Northridge’s next possession, the Eagles Cole Kelly intercepted Christensen at the Jaguars own 28 yard line. O’Dell led his team down the field to set up a 31-yard field goal to make the score 17-7.
On Oak Mountain’s next possession, O’Dell threw a 21-yard touchdown to Sean Ray to put the Eagles up three scores, 24-7.
Northridge’s Tucker Cornelis booted a 57-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to cut the lead to 24-10.
The Eagles offense came out of half time on fire. Marty Myricks scored the first points of the second half on a 46-yard touchdown run, before O’Dell scored his second rushing touchdown of the game to make it 38-10 Eagles with 10:30 remaining in the game.
Northridge wasn’t going down without a fight. Nick Sherman ignited the Jaguar offense, scoring two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of the game. Sherman had touchdown grabs of 18-yards and 51-yards. When Northridge’s Tyson Whiteside scored on a two-yard run with 1:33 left, the Jaguars were within one score of Oak Mountain, 38-30.
Northridge attempted an on-side kick, but Oak Mountain recovered and the Eagles offense ran out the clock for its first win of the season.
Northridge (0-1) has a bye week before traveling across town to face Hillcrest (1-0) on Sept. 8. Oak Mountain (1-0) tackles Pelham (1-0) on the road next Friday, Sept. 1.
Late field goal lifts Tuscaloosa County past Central
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Sam Holley
Tuscaloosa County’s Junior Solis kicked a 31-yard field goal on the final play of the game for a 24-21 road win over rival Central-Tuscaloosa.
It was a fitting ending to a game that saw a lead-change or a tie on four different occasions over the final six minutes of the game.
Tuscaloosa County an early lead. After forcing a three-and-out in the 1st quarter, the Wildcats Jay Eatmon blocked a punt to set TCHS up with a short field.
Central stopped Miami commit Kevin Riley at the goal line three times before Wildcats quarterback Braeden Smith kept it himself to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
After the Falcons missed a field goal on the next drive, the Wildcats fumbled in its own territory to give the Falcons a short field.
Few plays later, David McNeil would keep it himself to even the score at 7 with 11:54 remaining in the second.
After a series of punts, Central would drive down the field at the end of the half and finish the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mcneil to Ian Maddox.
Central led this game 14-7 at halftime.
The score would remain the same until midway through the 4th quarter when Riley evened the game on a 7-yard touchdown.
After a Falcon punt, the Wildcats capitalized on another Riley touchdown with three minutes remaining.
However, the Falcons weren’t finished. David McNeil would find Jalen Powell from 34-yards to even the game back at 21 with 1:04 remaining.
On the final Wildcats drive, Braeden Smith led the team down the field and set up Solis for the game winner from 31 yards out.
Tuscaloosa County (1-0) will look to carry this momentum into next week as they host Bessemer City (1-0). Kickoff for that game is scheduled for Sep. 1st, at 7 p.m.
Central (0-1) will look to respond as they travel to Woodlawn (0-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
-Tuscaloosa Academy vs Holy Spirit
-Gordo vs Sipsey Valley
-Park Crossing vs Paul Bryant
-Auburn vs Hoover
-South Lamar vs Lamar County
-Mortimer Jordan vs Leeds
-Spain Park vs Calera
-Cordova vs Fayette County
-Vestavia Hills vs Mountain Brook
-Chelsea vs Helena
All the highlights – plus scores, cheerleaders, and ‘Band of the Week’.