Marengo upends Georgiana, sets third round rendezvous with Wadley

For the second time in as many weeks, Marengo shut down a powerful Class 1A offense and advanced in the state playoffs. Eight days after shutting out Highland Home, Marengo hit the road to beat Georgiana 18-0.

Georgiana entered the game with 517 points on the season and a perfect 11-0 record.

All of that amounted to very little for Georgiana, which proved unable to satisfactorily limit the Marengo rushing attack. Quarterback Quindaris Ausbon ran the ball eight times for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Alphonzo Lewis added 73 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Roosevelt Thompson added 56 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving in the effort. Calvin Ferguson contributed 48 yards on only eight rushes.

De’Angelos Crispin recorded six tackles and a sack to lead the Marengo defense. Thompson and Curtis Autery each also had eight tackles.

Johnny Kennedy and Ronald Bouler each had three tackles for loss and two sacks.

“Our defense really stepped up again tonight. Any time you are able to limit a good offense like Georgiana, that shows signs of a disciplined team,” Marengo coach Eberne Myrthil said. “Our offense did what we have been doing all year: run the ball and pass it when we want to. I am very proud of our overall team effort. Also, I must add the Panther faithful fans showed up in full force. It was like we were at home.”

Marengo (9-3) hosts Wadley next Friday night.

Sweet Water rolls over Brantley

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Junior Jah’Darius McIntosh drags down Brantley RB Michael Booker (25) for a loss.

Sweet Water had little trouble dispatching of Brantley Friday night on the way to a 41-13 victory in the second round of the AHSAA, Class 1A playoffs.

Shamar Lewis wasted no time announcing the Bulldogs’ intentions as he returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Purple Dawg Jaylon Williamson (44) splits two defenders and picks up a first down.

Jaylon Williamson scored the game’s first offensive touchdown when he punched it in from 15 yards out for a 14-0 lead.

Jacory Brown continued to pour it on with five seconds left in the first quarter as he scored on a 5-yard run to push the lead to 20-0.

Brantley looked to get off the deck with 10:22 remaining in the second quarter when Parker Driggers connected with Adrian Person for an 11-yard touchdown strike to narrow the gap to 20-7.

Jonah Smith followed with a touchdown toss of his own, hitting Chance Broussard for a 21-yard score to move the Sweet Water lead to 27-7.

Mack Wise broke a 27-yard touchdown run with 3:26 left in the opening half to narrow Brantley’s deficit to 27-13.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
SW WR Chastian Washington (22) cradles the ball and makes the catch despite the efforts Brantley DB Jacob Odom (9)

Just before intermission fell in Nolan Atkins Stadium, Smith hit his younger brother Sasha Smith for a 12-yard touchdown pass and the 34-13 lead. The Sweet Water signal caller found the end zone one more time when he connected with Trent Sams for a 12-yard passing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Smith finished 6 of 10 throwing for 90 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis led the ground game with 102 yards on 12 carries. Brown added 67 yards on 17 carries. Kaleb Greene intercepted a pass for the Sweet Water defense.

Sweet Water (10-1) hosts reigning state champion Maplesville next Friday night in the Class 1A quarterfinals.

Demopolis drops Central-Clay to move to quarterfinals

11-17-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Malaki Simpson hits a field goal from the hold of Andrew Patterson to give the Tigers their first points in their victory over Clay Central.

11-17-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Demetrius Davis (1) celebrates with Malaki Simpson (89) after Simpson hit a field goal to give the Tigers their first points of the game in their victory over Clay Central.

Demopolis relied on its defense at virtually every turn Friday night to frustrate Central-Clay County and punch its ticket to the Class 5A quarterfinals. Demopolis downed the Volunteers 17-6 to set up a third round date with Vigor High next week.

The Tigers found themselves with their backs proverbially against the wall early as the Volunteers had the ball on the Demopolis 1. As Cameron Peoples went over the top for an attempted touchdown, the Tigers knocked the ball out and Derrick Birl pounced on it, staving the threat.

“It was huge. I think we lost our leverage a couple of times early. They got a big run early,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “Our kids got a little penetration right there. I think Fred actually got his hand on the ball and knocked it loose. We got a fumble recovery right there and that got our defense loosened up. Huge play. Probably the play of the game.”

The Volunteers scarcely threatened again. Demopolis found some offensive mojo in the second quarter when Andrew Patterson found Tyquan Alston for a 31-yard gain to help set up a 25-yard field goal by Malaki Simpson, the first of the freshman kicker’s career.

“I saw him in warmups and he was hitting the ball real well,” Seymore said. “For him to step up and knock that thing through showed a lot of character on his part. We needed some points.”

The Tigers found the end zone for the first time on a remarkable catch and run from A.J. Jackson with 2:10 remaining in the first half. The senior tailback hauled in a screen pass and reversed field multiple times to complete the 59-yard touchdown play and put the Tigers up 10-0.

11-17-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ A.J. Jackson breaks free on a touchdown run in the first half of the Tigers’ victory over Clay Central.

“(Offensive coordinator Matt) Mellown and the offensive staff made a good call right there,” Seymore said. “When you get a good athlete like A.J. in the open field, he has the ability to make a lot of people miss and also has the ability to outrun people.”

Demopolis broke it open early in the fourth quarter when Patterson threw over the top down the left side and dropped it right into the arms of Alston, who sprinted the rest of the way to complete a 90-yard touchdown strike.

“I caught it. I almost went out of bounds. When I caught it, all I could remember was ‘Don’t get caught. Don’t get caught.’ It has happened every time,” Alston, who got his first career touchdown on the play, said in allusion to the multiple plays this season where he has been drug down just feet from the goal line. “I was looking back trying to make sure I didn’t get caught.”

“We give him a lot of crap about getting caught. We call him slow and everything,” Patterson joked. “But he was not getting caught tonight. He turned on those jets and he was gone.”

The play effectively put the game out of reach for Central-Clay.

“It started with the protection. Patty threw a strike. He hit him right in the numbers right there,” Seyomre said. “Tyquan looked it in. He just turned on the jets and tight-roped the sideline right there. That was probably the nail in the coffin right there.”

Alston finished with three receptions for 132 yards. Patterson finished 10 of 19 for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Tigers (10-2) travel to Prichard next week to face Vigor in the third round.

11-17-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Keionte Whitfield (88) and Alexander Besteder (3) wrap up a Volunteer runner as Derrick Birl (24) closes in during the Tigers’ victory over Clay Central.

11-17-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Tyquan Alston secures a pass that he would turn into a touchdown during the Tigers’ victory over Clay Central.

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.

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.

Marengo mauls Southern Choctaw

Marengo High finished its regular season with user dominating 42-12 win over Class 2A Southern Choctaw Friday night.

The Panthers got 85 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Calvin Ferguson to anchor the effort. Roosevelt Thompson added 115 yards and two touchdowns on eight rushes. Alphonzo Lewis ran for 78 yards and a touchdown. Curtis Autery caught three passes for 62 yards. Quandaris Ausbon completed 5 of 6 passes for 87 yards.

Ronald Bouler had 10 tackles and a sack for the Panther defense. Johnny Kennedy finished with eight tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a sack. Devin Harris had five tackles while Autery finished with eight.

Marengo (7-3, 5-2) finishes as the No. 2 seed in Class 1A, Region 1 and will host the Highland Home Flying Squadron in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs Thursday night in Dixon’s Mills.

Demopolis first round playoff game set for Thursday, Nov. 9

9-22-2017 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis RB A.J. Jackson (4) runs between the blocks of Matt Dollar (62) and Chris Williams (right) during the Tigers’ Homecoming win over the Calera Eagles.

Demopolis High School will play its first round playoff game on Thursday, Nov. 9 rather than the Friday night time slot that traditionally houses such tilts.

“I just think it’s an opportunity to get out there a little quicker and go out there and play,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said of the move. “Once you get through 10 weeks of football, I think our kids are eager to get out there again.”

The Thursday date will allow Demopolis to maintain more of a normal routine and avoid any of the complications that might accompany a Friday game given that Nov. 10 is a holiday for Demopolis High School.

“Both administrations talked and I thought it was a good fit with Friday being Veteran’s Day for us,” Seymore said. “I like to keep our kids in a routine. That was the main thing. The option they gave us to move to Thursday and we took advantage of it.”

Demopolis, the Class 5A, Region 3 champion, is set to play host to Class 5A, Region 1 No. 4 seed Williamson in the first round.

“They’re very athletic on both sides of the ball. They’ve got two Division I players that are both committed to South Alabama. They’ve got a lot of speed. They don’t have the depth I think. We’ll try to take advantage of the depth. They only have like 30 players with various kids playing both ways. They’re a very well coached team,” Seymore said of the Lions. “They’re very, very good defensively. We’ve given up 59 points, they’ve given up 58 points this year. They’ve got a quality defense.”

Sweet Water plunders Pirates for perfect Region 1 record

Sweet Water put it away early Friday, scoring four first-quarter touchdowns on the way to a 63-0 win over Fruitdale. Jacory Brown scored on a pair of 7-yard touchdown runs before Shamar Lewis got in on the fun with a 30-yard scoring run. Jaylon Williamson added a 38-yard touchdown sprint to put the Bulldogs up 26-0 after one quarter of play.

Sasha Smith returned an interception for a touchdown early in the second quarter. The onslaught continued with a 46-yard Lewis touchdown run before Jaland Lewis-Horton ran it in from 35 yards out for a 47-0 halftime lead.

Walker Thompson added a 2-yard touchdown run and Devonte Blanks a 4-yard scoring plunge in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs outgained the Pirated 412-43. Smith and JahDarius McIntosh each picked off a pass for the Sweet Water defense.

Sweet Water (7-1, 7-0) wraps up a perfect run through Class 1A, Region 1. The Bulldogs travel to New Brockton next week to cap the regular season.

West Alabama second in first NCAA Region Two poll

The initial NCAA Division II Super Region Two Poll has been released and West Alabama holds the No. 2 spot. The Tigers are 6-1 in Division II play.

Wingate holds the top spot with a 7-0 record against Division II opponents. The top seven region finishers after the regular season earn a berth in the 2017 NCAA Football Playoffs. The top seed will earn a first-round bye.

Virginia State (6-0) is third in the region, followed by Bowie State (7-1), Delta State (6-2), West Georgia (6-2) and Catawba (5-2) in the top seven. Eight through 10 is Albany State (5-3), Miles (5-2) and Virginia Union (5-2).

The NCAA Division II Playoffs begin Nov. 18.

Longhorns fall to Rebels in final regular season game

10-20-17 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s William Drake (6) cuts up field against South Choctaw Academy.

Linden – Marengo Academy hosted the South Choctaw Rebels in the Longhorns’ final regular season game of the 2017 season. After an early turnover and multiple fourth down conversions led to a Longhorn lead in the first quarter, the Rebels took the lead in the second quarter and held off the Longhorns for a 28-6 win.

The Rebels received the opening kickoff and attempted to strike quickly with a pass play on the first play of the game. The ball was overthrown and Longhorn Casey Cramer cut behind the Rebel receiver and picked off the pass with 11:40 to go in the first quarter. A methodical running attack that resulted in a couple fourth down conversions was capped when Hunter Parker dove into the end zone at the end of a 10-yard run. The PAT failed and the Longhorns took a 6-0 lead over the Rebels with 4:27 to go in the first quarter. The Rebels and Longhorns would trade fumbles in the remaining time of the quarter which would end with the Longhorns clinging to the 6-0 lead.

10-20-17 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s turns the corner against South Choctaw Academy.

The Rebels would get on the board on a 4-yard run with 9:46 to go in the second quarter. The PAT was successful and the Longhorns relinquished their lead as the Rebels went up 7-6.

The Longhorns would take their next possession as far as the Rebels’ nine-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. On the ensuing drive, the Rebels would attempt a deep pass that was defended well and tipped by Taylor Woodall. Cramer would haul in the tipped ball for his second interception of the night. The Rebels would end the Longhorns possession with an interception of their own with :36 to go in the second quarter. The Longhorns were able to force and recover a fumble with :13 to go in the second quarter. The first half would end with the Rebels on top 7-6.

10-20-17 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Casey Cramer (22) returns his second interception against South Choctaw Academy as Taylor Woodall (5) watches and Dalton Daniels (44) turns to block. Woodall tipped the pass that Cramer intercepted.

The Longhorns would receive the second half kickoff and the Rebels held an forced a punt. Former Longhorn Jacob Beck took the 72 yards to the end zone and, with a successful PAT, the Rebels stretched their lead to 14-6 with 8:33 to go in the third quarter. The Rebels would pick off another pass on the Longhorns’ ensuing possession. Beck would find the end zone again on a 4-yard run with 5:03 to go in the third quarter and the PAT would put the Rebels up 21-6.

The final scores of the night would come on an 8-yard Rebel touchdown run and PAT with 1:24 to go in the the third quarter. The Longhorns and Rebels would trade possessions in the fourth quarter until the clock ran out, giving the South Choctaw Academy Rebels a 28-6 win over the Marengo Academy Longhorns.

Offensively, the Longhorns were led by William Drake’s 64 yards on 19 carries. Parker added 58 yards on 17 carries, with one touchdown. Alex Owens added two carries for five yards. Gavin Thompson was 4-for-10 passing for 20 yards.

Cramer led the defensive effort with six tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Hunter Skibo and Owens added five tackles each. Owens also had a fumble recovery. Thompson and Parker added four tackles each and Woodall and Drake added three tackles apiece.

10-20-17 — Linden, Ala. — Marengo Academy’s Gavin Thompson throws a pass over a South Choctaw Academy defender.