Demopolis sacks Williamson to move to Class 5A second round

11-9-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Russ Logan wraps up Williamson’s quarterback for a sack during the Tigers’ first round win over the Lions.

In a showcase of standout defenses, Demopolis made the necessary offensive adjustments to pull out a 21-0 playoff win over Williamson Thursday. The teams battled to a 0-0 stalemate by halftime that saw 59 total yards for Demopolis against 58 for Williamson. The Tigers turned the tables during their first drive of the second half on one of the most nondescript of plays.

11-9-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Fred Haywood sacks Williamson’s quarterback near the Lions’ own end zone during the Tigers’ first round win over the Lions.

Facing a third and five in their own territory, Demopolis got a boost when senior quarterback Andrew Patterson called his own number. Patterson pulled the ball, ran away from pressure toward the Williamson sideline and dove for the stick marking the line to gain. The 5-yard sprint gave Demopolis a first down and extended a drive that resulted in the first points of the game.

“That might’ve been the biggest play of the game,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “We ran our sprint pass to the left and they did a good job in coverage. He pulled it down and did a good job with it and got us a big first down.”

A.J. Jackson culminated the effort when momentarily slipped on a rushing attempt before pivoting off his free hand to go around the right end for a 19-yard touchdown sprint.

11-9-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ A.J. Jackson heads to the end zone for the game deciding score during the Tigers’ first round win over the Williamson Lions.

“It was back and forth. The defense dominated the first half. I thought in the first half, we played not to lose instead of playing to win. I challenged them to go out there and do what we do. I thought they responded in a big way. We got the big run from A.J. and after that I felt like the momentum swung our way,” Seymore said. “Our kids take a lot of pride in doing the little things right. We stayed on blocks and our backs ran the ball physical. One thing led to another and it was a domino effect. Our guys picked up the momentum and kind of ran with it.”

Demopolis added to the lead in the fourth quarter when Jackson ran for a 7-yard touchdown. The final score came when Patterson went off play-action and hit DeDe Davis over the top for a 34-yard touchdown pass.

Demopolis finished with 269 yards of total offense while Williamson had 100 yards. Jackson paced the Tigers with 105 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Antonio Besteder ran the ball 15 times for 75 yards.

The Demopolis defense got after Williamson most of the night, tallying four sacks on the evening. Tavion Brown had a pair of sacks while Fred Haywood and Russ Logan had one apiece. Aron Collier intercepted a pass for the Tigers.

The win moves Demopolis to 9-2 and advances the squad to the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs where it will host the winner of Central Clay County and Charles Henderson. The victory also marks the first playoff win of Seymore’s career.

“To me it’s special because I’ve been so close many times. I’ve had a lot of close losses and so many overtime losses. But the credit goes back to the coaches and the players,” Seymore said. “It was special to get that Gatorade bath. I just hope we can keep the momentum going.”

11-9-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Demetrius Davis turns toward the end zone after catching a pass for the Tigers’ final touchdown of the night during the Tigers’ first round win over the Williamson Lions.

VFW flag ceremony at BWWMH Friday morning

UWA men’s soccer No. 2 seed in South Regional

INDIANAPOLIS – After winning the Gulf South Conference regular season and tournament championships, the West Alabama Tigers are not done hunting for accolades after being selected as the No. 2 seed in NCAA South Regional.

UWA (15-2-1) will travel to face the No. 3 seeded Tampa Spartans in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, Nov. 12 starting at 12 p.m. locally. The Spartans come in after defeating Rollins 2-1 in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship to earn an automatic bid.

“Delighted to be here at this stage at the season and still be playing shows that you’ve had a successful year in the toughest region in the nation,” said Head coach Matthew Thorne. “We’re confident we compete with anyone and I look forward battling Tampa. I’m proud of these guys for what they’ve done so far, but we’ve got a lot more to do this season.”

Despite being the higher seed, The Tigers will have to win in Tampa’s home stadium. However, Thorne is proud of reaching the post-season and reaching new highest for UWA Men’s Soccer.

“The No. 2 seed is great to see. It shows how far we’ve come as a program,” said Thorne. “It’s the highest seed we’ve ever had and we’re looking forward to going down to Tampa and pusing forward with the win.”

Palm Beach Atlantic earned the top seed and will face No. 4 seed Lynn on this side of the regional bracket.

Two to six teams were selected from each of the eight regions.  Teams from the same region will be paired for first- and/or second-round competition, which will be conducted November 9-12 on campus sites.  Third-round/quarterfinals will be held on campus sites and completed by November 19. The semifinals and final will be played November 30 and December 2 at Children’s Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri, hosted by Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Rockhurst University and Kansas City Sports Commission.

UWA holds at No. 2 in Super Region Two

With one week to play in the regular season, the 2017 Gulf South Conference champion West Alabama football team remains at No. 2 in the NCAA Super Region Two rankings. The Tigers are 8-2 overall, 8-1 against Division II opponents and 8-1 against regional foes.

Wingate (N.C.) remained in the top spot at 9-0 against both regional and Division II competition. The top seed at the end of the regular season earns a first-round bye in the NCAA Playoffs that get underway Nov. 18.

West Alabama closes it season Saturday against region opponent North Greenville (4-5) at Tiger Stadium. The Crusaders defeated UWA by one point in the 2016 season opener, and one school of thought is that loss may have cost the Tigers a berth in the 2016 playoffs.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m. It will be Military Appreciation Day at Tiger Stadium with veterans and active military being honored and also admitted to the game for just $5.

Following is this week’s Super Region Two poll, which includes four reams from the Gulf South Conference.

SUPER REGION TWO Reg D2
1 Wingate 9-0 9-0
2 West Ala. 8-1 8-1
3 Virginia St. 8-0 8-0
4 West Ga. 8-2 8-2
5 Bowie St. 9-1 9-1
6 Catawba 7-2 7-2
7 Delta St. 7-3 7-3
8 Carson-Newman 6-3 6-3
9 Tuskegee 6-2 6-2
10 West Fla. 5-3 6-3

UWA’s Tutwiler Scholars Program now accepting applications for 2018

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama’s Tutwiler Scholars Program has opened its application process for the 2018 academic year.

Applications for the program will be accepted now through February 1 from incoming freshmen entering the fall class of 2018. From the field of applicants five scholars will be chosen.

Established in 2015, the Tutwiler Scholars Program seeks high-achieving, high-potential students who have demonstrated initiative, creativity, intellectual passion and curiosity, and a commitment to making positive contributions to society.

“The students who are selected for this program will reap the rewards of their demonstrated success as they enjoy opportunities that are sure to not only enhance their university experience but also prepare them in areas that they might not otherwise have the chance to explore,” explained Dr. Lesa Shaul, director of the Tutwiler Scholars Program.

The benefits of the program include supplemental scholarships, renewable each fall semester with the maintenance of a 3.5 GPA; a travel stipend for study-abroad semesters or international study tours; a technology allowance for state-of-the-art laptops, tablets, or touchscreen smart devices; participation in unique and enriching social, cultural, artistic, and scientific enterprises; and targeted mentoring by some of UWA’s most decorated and dedicated professors.

Eligible applicants should be incoming freshmen for Fall 2018. An ACT composite score of 28 or higher is preferred.

The deadline for all application materials is February 1, 2018. The application is available online at http://www.uwa.edu/ tutwilerscholars/. For more information, email Dr. Lesa Shaul at lcc@uwa.edu.

Rotarians hosting food drive, collecting at DHS playoff game

Not everyone in Demopolis is assured of a bountiful Thanksgiving. Stepping in to fill the food shortage gap for those in need is the Demopolis Rotary Club.

Again this year the club is sponsoring a food drive to benefit the Demopolis Food Bank. First begun in 2013, Rotarians and their partners have raised at least $4,500 in cash donations. The first year the club also brought in some two tons of food. Since then the club has counted another 2,500 items donated to the Food Bank.

Rotarians will be collecting non-perishable foods at the ticket gate before the Demopolis High School game on Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. They also will have a site set up at Vowell’s on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Westside Elementary School is having a competition among classes, with the class bringing in the most earning a wing party.

Buckets for donations are at all Parr’s Chevron locations as well as Langley Shell and Malone Texaco.

Several area churches are joining in the food drive. Each church is deciding its own way how to collect food.

Joining with the Rotarians in their annual effort are the cadets with the JROTC at DHS. They will be helping with the donations at Vowell’s and at the DHS game as well as assisting in delivering the food for distribution.

Partnership with BWWMH first of its kind for UAB

For more than a year the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority board worked long hours to form a partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System.

The hard work became official Oct. 1 when the two entities signed a Management and Affiliation Agreement.

At the Wednesday meeting of the Demopolis Rotary Club, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital board vice chairman Alan Bishop explained the benefits of the partnership with the hospital and to the Demopolis area. He told local Rotarians that the process has been “quite a journey.”

“The time that has been spent has been unbelievable,” he said.

Cooperation started early with the formation of a transition team of representatives from the hospital, UAB, the city and the county. Former Robertson Banking Company President Al Garrett came out of retirement to chair the team.

While UAB has expanded its medical services to Montgomery and other larger communities, the partnership with BWWMH is the first venture into rural health care. The move was made possible because of legislation in 2016 opening the door for University Health Authorities to help rural systems. The collaboration brings with it the Birmingham-based hospital’s management and expertise, marketing, physician recruitment and purchasing, Bishop said.

Such affiliation also brings with it UAB’s reputation strength, he continued.

Already in place was a recently opened branch of the University Medical Center in the Outpatient Building of the hospital, joining UMC’s two other locations in Tuscaloosa and Northport.

Two UAB officials now serve on the BWWMH board. “I thought they’d send down a couple of middle managers,” said Bishop. Instead, the two are Don Lilly, senior vice president of network development and affiliate operations, and Sean Tenney, chief operations officer for the Medical West Hospital. The two sat in their first board meeting on Oct. 26.

UAB is very conscious of its brand. Within the next two to three months, an approved UAB sign will be erected on U.S. Hwy. 80 to let everyone know of the relationship between UAB and BWWMH.

While the link with the Demopolis hospital is the first venture into rural health care for UAB, Bishop said it probably won’t be the last. Lilly’s focus has been to expand UAB’s outreach.

Such a partnership is a win-win for both facilities. With BWWMH handling cases that normally would be transferred to UAB, beds will be freed in Birmingham for more acute medical needs.

“UAB is not here just to be a nice guy,” said Bishop. “UAB is here to make money.”

The new partner is studying the survey that BWWMH conducted to determine what services are needed in the area.

UWA soccer wins GSC title on penalty kicks

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – For the fourth year in a row, the West Alabama Tigers have captured the Gulf South Conference Men’s Soccer Championship crown. This time the win comes over the University of Alabama -Huntsville 1-1 (5-4) in penalty kicks on Sunday at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex.

UWA’s record moves to 15-2-1 overall after advancing on penalty kicks. UAH most likely ends the season at 9-6-3.

“No matter what happened there today, we never broke,” said UWA Head coach Matthew Thorne. “. Getting 1-0 down to a quality UAH, they caused all sorts of problems. We stepped up. Even on the penalties, we really believed no matter what situation we were going to win. Credit to all those seniors and credit to all those players not just on the field, but on the squad.”

In the penalty kick portion, the Tigers had goals from Keegan McQueen, Jamie Cox, Alvaro Macias, Jean-Baptiste Meyniel and finally Harrison Roberts. Brad Louis blocked the shot of Tucker Watts to give UWA the edge needed for victory.

UAH found the back of the net first at the 30:28 mark when Clennett Guy scored on an assist from Khalil Bell.

It would take over 30 more minutes for UWA to find the back of the net, but the freshman Cole Webster scored his third goal of the year off an assist from Gaspard Voituriez-Donnelly with 69:22 remaining in regulation.

Both teams played each other evenly in the physical matchup as UWA and UAH both finished with three shots-on-goal throughout the match.

Meyniel was named GSC Men’s Soccer Championship MVP and Louis, Cox and Roberts were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Tigers advance to the NCAA South Regional due to claiming the GSC’s automatic berth with the tournament championship victory. The NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Tournament Selection Show is Monday at 5:30 p.m. and there the Tigers will discover their next destination.

UWA football takes GSC crown outright in Valdosta

VALDOSTA, Ga. – For once in their lives West Alabama players had permission to be stingy – greedy even – and it paid off as the Tigers claimed the outright 2017 Gulf South Conference football championship with a 38-14 victory over Valdosta State at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium.

The win improved the Tigers to 8-2 overall and 7-1 in league play. Over the last two seasons West Alabama is 13-3 in Gulf South Conference games, winning the outright league crown this year for the first time since 2012 and winning seven GSC games for the first time in school history.

Valdosta State is 4-4 overall and 3-3 in GSC play. A Blazer win along with other GSC team wins paired with a UWA loss could have left the Tigers in a multi-team tie for the conference crown.

West Alabama made sure there was never a doubt. Valdosta State never got closer than 10 points as the Tigers ran up 511 yards of total offense, 277 of those on the ground. The Tiger defense limited VSU to just 4-of-14 on third down conversions and 1-of-3 on fourth down tries.

“We said we were going to be greedy all week,” defensive end Terrence Jones said. “Sharing was never an option.”

The Tigers jumped to a 14-0 lead on a 2-yard first quarter score and 3-yard touchdown run in the second period by Lakenderic Thomas, who finished the game with 129 yards on 18 carries. Tyler Rogers was a more than adequate compliment to Thomas, piling up 114 yards on 14 carries. Neither had a negative-yards rushing play.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this football team and this staff,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “We came out with a mindset to start fast and we made the necessary plays to do that. We set the tone early and made it stand up.”

A 25-yard field goal by Colin Douglas and a 29-yard touchdown pass from Valdosta State quarterback Rogan Wells to Brian Saunds with just over a minute left in the second quarter made it 17-7 West Alabama at the half.

“We didn’t want to share a title, so this was a statement game for us,” Thomas said. “Our offensive line may have had their best game all year. They knew what we had to do and did it.”

Rogers dampened the Valdosta State halftime enthusiasm by sprinting 59 yards to score on the fifth play of the second half, increasing the UWA lead to 24-7.

“Our scout team did a great job all week giving us a great look,” Rogers said. “Our offensive line got a great push and it’s just our job to hit the hole.”

Wells hooked up with Tshumbi Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown pass to cut the West Alabama lead to 24-14 with 9:03 left in the third period. The Blazers would not score again.

Donta Armstrong made a SportsCenter Top 10 touchdown play, leaping over double coverage in the endzone to snatch a 31-yard touchdown pass from Harry Satterwhite to make it 31-14 with 10:22 left.

“We came out of the timeout and Coach Gilliland and Coach (offensive coordinator Don) Bailey said ‘let’s end this thing’,” Armstrong said. “Once the ball is in the air it’s either ours or nobody’s. I knew I would come down with it.”

Tevin Moore finished the scoring with 28 seconds left, capping a 10-play, 40-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Satterwhite was 18-for-30 for 234 yards and was sacked just one time. Wells completed 17-of-34 for 199 yards and was sacked three times. Wells was also VSU’s leading rusher with 91 yards on 16 carries.

Armstrong finished with seven catches for 118 yards and Barnard McGhee caught four for 31. Armstrong finished with 197 all-purpose yards after getting 79 punt return yards.

Saunds was VSU’s leading receiver with five grabs for 76 yards.

Terry Samuels was West Alabama’s leading tackler with 6.5 stops, including a sack. Jones and Devante Davis also sacked Wells. Malik Slater had 7.5 tackles to lead Valdosta State.

West Alabama finishes the regular season by hosting North Greenville in a non-conference game Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Valdosta State closes its season at Shorter.

Sweet Water strokes Class 2A New Brockton in regular season finale

Sweet Water largely controlled things throughout in its final regular season tune-up Friday, working its way to a 35-7 victory over Class 2A New Brockton.

Jacory Brown opened the scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:40 left in the first quarter. Brown scored on a 9-yard run less than three minutes later for the 14-0 lead.

The Bulldogs opened it up more on a 1-yard Jonah Smith touchdown run with 11:44 remaining in the second quarter.

Shamar Lewis broke a 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Brown added a 3-yard scoring plunge in the fourth.

Sweet Water amassed 440 yards of total offense highlighted by a trio of 100-yard rushers. Brown ran for 112 yards and three scores. Jaylon Williamson had 103 yards while Lewis ran for 100 yards and a TD.

Sweet Water (8-1, 7-0) hosts Notasluga in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs next week.