Story by David Holtsford | AHSAA
Photos by CAScoreboard Staff Photographers
MONTGOMERY – Four players and one fabled high school football program turned in incredible efforts in the quarterfinal round of the AHSAA state playoffs to share this week’s AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 3 of the 2022 state football playoffs.
Oneonta High School’s football program, which played its first game in 1912, reached a milestone not reached by any other school in the AHSAA – ever.
Thanks in big part to the super efforts of senior running back Fluff Bothwell, who rushed for 315 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries, the Redskins (11-1) downed previously unbeaten Deshler 62-21 in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs.
The win advanced Oneonta (11-1), coached by Phil Phillips, to this week’s state semifinals at Centre against Region 6 rival Cherokee County (11-2). The victory was also victory No. 719 in Oneonta’s legendary history – making the football program the winningest program in AHSAA history.
Oneonta tied the state’s previous leader T.R. Miller High School, last week, by posting win No. 718 in the second round. The Tigers from Brewton lost their playoff game and finished the season with a 718-331-20 lifetime record.
The win over Deshler put the Redskins on top of the wins leaderboard with potentially two more games to play this season.
COSNER HARRISON, SAINT JAMES: Became the Trojans’ all-time leader for rushing touchdowns, and teammate K.J. Jackson broke the school record for passing yardage in a single season – helping Saint James (11-2) advance to the semifinals of the Class 3A state playoffs with a 40-15 win over Thomasville. Harrison rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries – increasing his career TD total to 66 to set a new school record. Jackson was 5-of-11 passing for 222 yards and four touchdowns – giving him 2,381 passing yards this season to set the school record.
LOGAN ANDERSON, FYFFE: Logan Anderson rushed for 281 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns and had one catch for 14 yards as the unbeaten Red Devils (13-0) downed Tuscaloosa Academy 35-7 to move into the Class 2A state semifinals for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. It was also Fyffe’s 40th playoff win versus just four losses during that span. The Red Devils of Coach Paul Benefield are 128-9 overall since 2010 – the best of all schools in the AHSAA. That total includes a 51-game winning streak, a 42-8 playoff record, a 17-game playoff winning streak and five state titles. The win improved Benefield’s record at Fyffe to 290-44 and his overall record to 335-55. His 45 other wins came at Sylvania.
Other spotlights included:
– Andalusia High School punt returner Tycamren Jackson returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to lift the Bulldogs (12-1) of Coach Trent Taylor to a 35-28 Class 4A playoff win over Anniston (11-1). The punt return capped a 28-point fourth-quarter rally that erased previously unbeaten Anniston’s 21-0 halftime lead. The victory also propelled Andalusia into this week’s semifinals to face another unbeaten team, Montgomery Catholic (13-0) at Cramton Bowl Friday night. Ironically, Jackson’s punt return came on a “punt block” call with most of his teammates rushing the kicker trying to block the kick.
– Homewood senior quarterback Woods Ray accounted for 470 yards total offense, eight touchdowns and 52 points but in the end, he needed one more yard as Saraland (12-1) held on to beat the Patriots of Coach Ben Berguson 57-56 in overtime in the Class 6A state playoffs. Ray, who was 32-of-48 passing for 295 yards, five TDs and two 2-point conversions, also rushed 20 times for 175 yards and three scores. Going for two points after pulling to within one in the OT period, Ray was tackled just inches shy of the goal line as the Spartans (12-1) pulled out the win.
– Charles Henderson High School linebacker Damien Hart recorded 11 tackles in the Trojans’ 19-16 win over previously undefeated UMS-Wright (12-1) in the 5A quarterfinals, His final tackle of the night came with just under two minutes to play as CHHS stopped the Bulldogs one foot shy of the Trojans ‘end zone. Facing fourth down and leading 19-14, the Trojans defensive front stopped the forward progress of a quarterback sneak while Hart dove over the middle to grab the ball carrier. His momentum swung him around to the back of the pile, and he pulled the mass of arms and legs down on top of him to prevent the touchdown and seal the win.
COLE GAMBLE, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Gained 276 rushing yards on 23 attempts with touchdowns of 53, 5, 88 and 30 yards as the Spartans (11-2) handed Hartselle (12-1) its first loss of the season in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
JACK HAYES, PIEDMONT: The senior quarterback rushed for 255 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries for the defending Class 3A state champion Bulldogs (11-2) in a 27-14 Class 3A quarterfinal playoff win over Gordo ((11-2). Needing just over 200 yards passing to become the AHSAA’s all-time passing leader, Hayes was 10-of-20 passing for 105 yards in the first half but did not attempt a single pass in the second half, said head coach Steve Smith. Instead, he rushed for 220 yards and all four scores on 30 rushing attempts after intermission.
JAY HAYNES, HANDLEY: Had 18 carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers (11-2) dropped a 21-24 decision to unbeaten Montgomery Catholic (13-0) in the 4A playoffs. He had TD runs of 2 and 96 yards.
JACOB CORNEJO, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Collected 195 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns (26, 11 and 5 yards) in the Warriors’ 35-21 victory over Randolph in the Class 4A quarterfinals.
BRAYDEN HUEBNER, LEROY: Had 164 yards rushing on 19 carries with TD runs of 3, 22 and 64 yards and completed 3-of-5 passes for 97 yards with touchdowns covering 37 and 55 yards to lead the Bears (11-1) to a 42-14 win over Brantley (10-3) in the Class 1A playoffs.
DERRICK DAVIS, PLEASANT GROVE: Scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime to finish with 159 yards on 17 carries to lead the Spartans (11-1) past Arab 41-38 to advance to the Class 5A playoff semifinals for the fourth straight year. He finished with two TD runs.
ASHTON ASHFORD, RAMSAY: Led the Rams (11-2) to a 27-19 win over previously unbeaten Leeds (11-1) with 155 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in a 5A playoff game played at Legion Field. Ramsay will play Pleasant Grove this week in the Class 5A semifinals in a game also set for Legion Field.
C.J. LARK, GORDO: Led the Green Wave (11-2) with 153 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns (61 and 84 yards) in a 27-14 Class 3A playoff loss at Piedmont.
WILL JAMES, THEODORE: The Bobcats’ outstanding defensive back moved to tailback for injured starter Brayden Jenkins, responding with 151 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just five carries, to lead Theodore (13-0) to a 28-0 Class 6A playoff win over St. Paul’s Episcopal (7-6). His scoring runs covered 67, 13 and 62 yards.
JY MOSTELLA, COOSA CHRISTIAN: The senior halfback rushed 15 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns, with all but five of those yards coming in the first half, as the Conquerors (9-4) owned Lynn 46-29 in the Class 1A state playoffs to advance to the AHSAA semifinals for the first time in school history. He also caught a 41-yard touchdown pass. The victory was also the seventh in a row for Coosa Christian, tying the school’s longest win streak since 2009.
LEGION McCRARY, PISGAH: Totaled 129 yards rushing on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Eagles (11-2) to a 26-22 Class 2A playoff win over Aliceville (11-2).
CHRISTIAN BURNETTE, FAITH ACADEMY: Rushed for 115 yards on 22 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 50-yard run, to lead the Rams (11-2) to a 20-14 Class 5A quarterfinal victory over Gulf Shores (11-2). He also added 11 tackles, three assists, three tackles for losses, two sacks and a forced fumble on defense.
DEVIN TOWNSEND, MUSCLE SHOALS: Had 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries as the Trojans (11-1) beat Gardendale (9-4) in the 6A playoffs 38-7.
BRAIDEN THOMAS, SYLVANIA: Rushed for four touchdowns, including long-distance scores of 72 and 78 yards, and intercepted a pass in the end zone to help the Rams (10-3) beat Geraldine 27-7 in the Class 3A playoffs.
K.J. LACEY, SARALAND: Was 15-of-21for 251 yards and two TDs as the Spartans (12-1) edged Homewood 57-56 in overtime in the 6A quarterfinals.
AIDAN COX, ARAB: Completed 23-of-34 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights ((11-2) in a 41-38 double overtime loss to Pleasant Grove in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
JACK LATHROP, ANDALUSIA: Was 12-of-25 passing for 209 yards and one TD in the Bulldogs’ come-from-behind 35-28 win over Anniston (11-1). Andalusia (12-1) outscored Anniston 28-7 in the final quarter with Lathrop firing a 53-yard TD pass to Kaden Denson with 1:39 left to tie the game at 28-28.
BRICE McKENZIE, HIGHLAND HOME: Finished 8-of-18 passing for 193 yards and one touchdown as the Flying Squadron (12-1) beat Clarke County 19-0. He also rushed for 90 yards and one TD on 22 carries.
CALEB McCREARY, MONTGOMERY-CATHOLIC: Completed 11-of-26 passes for 143 yards and one TD and rushed for 33 yards and a 21-yard score as the Knights (13-0) beat Handley 21-14 in the Class 4A quarterfinals.
TY’JARIAN WILLIAMS, ALICEVILLE: Was 13-of-19 passing for 142 yards and rushed 11 times for 73 yards and two TDs in the Jackets’ 26-22 Class 2A playoff loss to Pisgah.
CLYDE PITTMAN, AUBURN: Led the Tigers on a 12-play, 79-yard drive culminating by his 9-yard TD run with 1:49 remaining as Auburn (12-1) came from behind to beat Central-Phenix City 14-13 in the Class 7A semifinals. The defense, which sacked the Red Devils QB five times, protected the lead to seal the win. Pittman finished 14-of-25 passing for 136 yards and most importantly, moved the Tigers into the Class 7A state championship game. It will be Auburn’s first trip back since losing to Thompson 29-28 in the 2020 finals.
RYAN WILLIAMS, SARALAND: Sophomore Ryan Williams had 159 yards rushing on 10 carries with touchdown runs covering 83 and 33 yards. He also caught 10 passes for 160 yards and another TD as Coach Jeff Kelly’s Spartans (12-1) nipped Homewood 57-56 in overtime to advance to the 6A semifinals to face unbeaten Theodore this week.
JARVIS PARRIS, HOMEWOOD: Caught 12 passes for 141 yards and three TDs, and teammate Charlie Reeves grabbed 14 receptions for 118 yards and two scores in the Patriots’ 57-56 overtime loss to Saraland.
JAKALEB FAULK, HIGHLAND HOME: Grabbed four catches for 132 yards in the Flying Squadron’s 19-0 Class 2A playoff win over defending state champion Clarke County.
ETHAN BEARD, SAINT JAMES: Had three receptions for 120 yards with TD catches covering 60 and 41 yards as the Trojans (11-2) downed Thomasville 40-15 in the Class 3A state playoffs.
JYWON BOYD, CHARLES HENDERSON: Caught TD passes of 8, 36 and 5 yards as the Trojans (12-1) beat previously unbeaten UMS-Wright )12-1) at Troy University’s Veterans Memorial Stadium 19-16 in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
ELI TIDWELL, HARTSELLE: Had more than 100 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns (8, 6 yards) in a 49-30 setback to Mountain Brook in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
DREW PUCCIO, ARAB: Had 10 receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown in the Knights’ 41-38 double-overtime Class 5A playoff loss to Pleasant Grove.
JAYLON CUNNINGHAM, ANNISTON: Caught two TD passes covering 27 and 39 yards and added a 14-yard TD run in the Bulldogs’ 35-28 loss to Andalusia in the 4A state playoffs.
JADEN JONES, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Totaled 13 tackles, including three for losses, as the Knights (13-0) advanced to the Class 4A semifinals with a 21-14 win over Handley. Teammate Zach Underwood added nine tackles, four for losses and three sacks.
KELDRIC FAULK, HIGHLAND HOME: Sparked the Flying Squadron (12-1) to a 19-0 shutout win over defending Class 2A state champion Clarke County with nine total tackles, including three for losses.
PETER WOODS, THOMPSON: Led the three-time defending state champion Warriors (10-3) to a 40-10 over Region 3 champion Hoover (11-2) with seven tackles, including two sacks and two tackles do losses. Thompson’s defense limited the Bucs to minus-3 yards rushing and 173 yards total offense to advance to Class 7A finals for the fifth year in a row. Coach Mark Freeman’s Warriors will face Auburn in the finals at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 30 in the Class 7A finals.
WILL ARNOLD, FYFFE: Had eight tackles and two sacks, and teammate Tucker Wilks added seven tackles and four sacks as the Red Devils (13-0) blanked Tuscaloosa Academy 35-7 in the Class 2A playoff quarterfinals.
CLETE O’BRYANT, COOSA CHRISTIAN: The sophomore linebacker/fullback intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, with both of those turnovers resulting in touchdowns, in the Conquerors’ 46-29 Class 1A quarterfinal playoff victory over Lynn (11-2). He had 15 tackles on defense, rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown.
BEN BREWER, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Led a strong defensive effort by the Leopards (6-7) with a 70-yard interception return for the clinching touchdowns as Mobile Christian advanced to the 3A semifinals with a 27-7 win over Pike County.
GABE RUSSO, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Kicked a 41-yard field goal and punted eight times for a 39.8-yard average to help the Knights move past Handley 21-14 in the Class 4A state playoffs. His final punt of the night sailed 42 yards and pinned the Tigers inside their own 1-yard line in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
JADAN BURNS, COOSA CHRISTIAN: The senior kicker was 5-for-5 on extra points and kicked a 30-yard field goal in the Conquerors’ 46-29 Class 1A playoff victory over Lynn.
QUE CARTER, PIKE COUNTY: Recovered two fumbles, including one on a Mobile Christian punt snap miscue in the end zone for a TD, in the Bulldogs’ 27-7 loss to Mobile Christian in the Class 3A playoffs.
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