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Vaughn Road Rivals Collide in Region Championship Showdown

Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

Photos by CAScoreboard Staff

CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – With the top two positions in Class 3A Region 4 securely in their back pockets Montgomery Catholic and Trinity Presbyterian (ranked No.2 and No. 3 respectively, according to the most recent Alabama Sports Writers Poll) will go to battle Friday night to determine who’s going to wear the Region Champion mantle into the postseason.

“I believe Catholic is one of, if not the, hottest team in the 3A South bracket,” said Trinity Coach Granger Shook Wednesday afternoon. “They have one of the best staffs to match several of the most highly profiled and ranked players in 3A.”

The Knights do bring a lot of talent to the field. TJ Dudley (Oregon), Kylon Griffin and Jourdan Thomas (both to Mississippi State) have committed to play at the next level. But that’s the just the tip of the blue-clad iceberg. Behind them there’s Patrick Ryan and Javen Augustus, Jeremiah Cobb and Caleb McCreary – who have all received offers to play at the next level.

“Our kids know what is at stake,” said Kirk Johnson, coach of the Knights. “We have a huge opportunity to win our region against a local rival school, this is why you play the game of football.”

Dudley currently has 79 tackles (17 for loss), a pair of sacks and a pair of pick sixes. He’s also got two rushing touchdowns. Cobb – who is a state champion in track – has amassed around 1,500 all purpose yards (rushing and receiving) and has scored 24 touchdowns. McCreary – the youngest of the bunch – is just shy of 1,100 yards passing (57-of-89) and carried the ball 16 times for 236 and 19 scores. Ryan has amassed 60 tackles (6 for loss and a sack) and August has brought down ball carriers 64 times (17 for loss) and has a quintet of sacks to his credit.

But the Wildcats are just as good.

Chase Letner is at almost 650 yards on 97 carries and is averaging just short of 100 yards a game; scoring nine of the team’s 18 touchdowns. But – looking at the Wildcats stats – while he is the lead ‘Cat out of the backfield 11 others have ran with the football and Trinity has amassed 1,435 yards rushing. Defenses can’t just load up to stop the run.

Meet Coleman Stanley, the quarterback. 

He’s one of the ground’n’pound 11, carrying the ball 67 times for 187 yards and two scores. But he also gives Trinity the ability to throw the ball completing 55 passes (out of 80 attempts with two interceptions) for 715 yards and nine touchdowns.

And he has targets: Norris Pemberton has reeled in 13 passes for 251 yards and three scores; Mclain Phillips has caught 14 passes for 152 yards; Mac McClinton has caught nine passes for a little more than 100 yards, and three touchdowns; Lucas Pittman and Christopher Bryan also have touchdown catches.

Shook: “We need our seniors to do what they’ve done all year; play with passion and execute at a high level.”

“Executing at a high level” seems to be the mantra for this game.

Johnson: “Honestly, it’s not the game that makes coaching fun. It’s watching your players be excited about something they’ve worked all year for.”

The two teams – in the 2021 season – have allowed a combined 33 points (19 scored against Trinity and 15 scored against Catholic) with 11 total shutouts.  Offensively Trinity and Catholic have been beasts putting up a combined 633 points (240 for the Wildcats and 393 for the Knights).

Shook: “I’m excited for our kids to have this opportunity. Anytime you play well enough to put yourself in this position, it might become human nature to focus on external factors to try to do something extraordinary that you haven’t done all year. We must remember what got us here.”

Catholic won last year’s showdown 13-10 late in the regular season and both sets of fans, the Knights faithful and the pride of Wildcats, were robbed of a Thanksgiving weekend playoff rematch by Montgomery Academy.

Montgomery Academy defeated Trinity in the third round of the playoffs and then were bounced on into basketball season one round later by Montgomery Catholic.

Catholic advanced to the state championship game and was an incomplete pass in the end zone away from upsetting top-ranked Fyffe.

Coincidentally, Fyffe currently has the nation’s longest winning streak and seems poised to old-school run-game their way through the North and be already lined up in Birmingham awaiting their next challenger.  

Kickoff for Friday’s game is at 7 p.m. and will be played at Montgomery Catholic.

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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