MONTGOMERY – For the Cherokee County Warriors, it was a long time coming.
Warrior senior quarterback Cade Hopper was 14-of-17 passing for 176 yards and threw a 50-yard strike to senior receiver Malachi Horton with 1:16 remaining to lift the Warriors (2-0) to a 21-14 win over Piedmont (0-1).
The win came just one year after Hopper threw three interceptions in a 27-point loss to the Bulldogs. The Cherokee County victory snapped Piedmont’s 10-game winning streak over the Warriors of Coach Jacob Kelley.
Horton had seven catches for 104 yards. Tristan Brown had an interception with 51 seconds left to seal the win.
The Warriors’ last victory over Piedmont came in 2009 – with both teams going on to win the Class 3A and Class 4A state titles that season. With last week’s win, the series, which was first played in 1925, is now tied at 38-38-3 and is the longest series in both schools’ history.
Bulldog linebacker Jake Austin returned a Warrior fumble 62 yards for a TD in the third quarter and finished with 12 tackles to lead Piedmont.
In other area standout performances, Spring Garden’s Connor Bates accumulated 172 rushing yards on 22 carries with a 71-yard touchdown in a 27-0 win over Coosa Christian. He also posted five tackles on defense.
Sand Rock’s Jace Turner intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown with 8:10 to go in the third quarter for the Wildcats’ first touchdown in a 29-12 win at Cedar Bluff.
Collinsville’s Keaton DeBoard ran 14 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns (52 and 4 yards) in the Panthers’ 33-7 victory over Crossville on Saturday.
In other statewide happenings, Wetumpka High School senior strong safety Kadarius Brown ignited an amazing second-half comeback with a 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown to lead the visiting Indians to a 24-21 win over Class 7A Baker at Mobile to earn the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 1.
Wetumpka trailed 21-0 at halftime and was staring at another serious Baker scoring threat late in the third period when Brown jumped into action. The Indians (2-0) had cut the lead to 21-7 but the Hornets were heading into the end zone when the ball got loose and Brown was on the spot, scooped it up and raced the length of the field for the touchdown.
Brown’s defensive TD cut the lead to 21-14, Jamarion Thrasher rank for a 37-yard TD in the fourth quarter, and place-kicker Logan Weighall tied the game with the extra point.
With four minutes left, the Indians defense got the ball back one final time and with less than two minutes to play, called on Weighall again. He calmly booted a career long 49-yard field goal to give Wetumpka a three-point lead. Following the kick, however, the defense forced another turnover to seal the win.
The comeback effort edged out the monumental 21-14 win by Cherokee County High School over its fiercest rival and two incredible rushing efforts by Tanner High School junior Elinneaus Jackson and Oneonta senior Da’Marion “Fluff” Bothwell.
Jackson rushed for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries to help the Class 2A Rattlers of Coach Oscar Bond beat Class 6A Mae Jemison 61-46. His TDs came on runs of 9, 15 and 63 yards. Teammate Malikah McKinney added 163 yards on eight carries with touchdowns covering 90, 4 and 2 yards.
Bothwell gained 336 yards on 23 rush attempts and scored three touchdowns as the Redskins (2-0) of Coach Phil Phillips downed Dora 41-17.
ROMAN GAGLIANO, OPELIKA: Passed for three touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to a 35-14 win over Jeff Davis as Opelika, coached by Erik Speakman, recorded its 600th football win in school history. The Bulldogs become the 30th school in the AHSAA to notch 600 wins. Now in their 102rd season since 1917, Opelika has played 1,022 games overall, according the www.ahsfhs.org, a website dedicated to Alabama high school football history. The Bulldogs are 600-404-18 overall, a winning percentage of 60%. The state’s winningest high school program is Oneonta (710-362-33), followed by T.R, Miller (709-220-29). Enterprise is currently the leader in Class 7A with a 665-335-34 record which ranks eighth all-time. Opelika, in Class 7A for the first time this season, is ranked second behind the Wildcats. Other current class leaders, based on current classification, include: (1A) Pickens County (637-392-15); (2A) Luverne (607-365-29); (3A) Fayette County (707-362-35); (4A) Oneonta (710-362-33); (5A) Demopolis (666-328-42); and (6A) Benjamin Russell (659-367-25).
CHRISTIAN ROSS, DALE COUNTY: Recovered four fumbles – returning one for a touchdown – and had a quarterback sack in the Warriors’ 39-9 setback to Carroll of Ozark. The four recoveries set an AHSAA single-game record. The previous record (3) was set by Briarwood Christian’s Jordan Carroll in a 32-13 win over John Carroll Catholic in 2012.
JAXON WILLIAMS, HEADLAND: Accounted for 344 yards and six touchdowns to power Headland in a 60-12 victory over Henry County rival Abbeville. The 60 points by Headland were the most by a Rams team against the Yellow Jackets in the 85-game history of the two rivals. Williams was 10-of-12 passing for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 89 yards and three scores.
GAVIN SMART, BOAZ: Snagged a single-game school record 14 receptions in the Pirates’ 41-30 loss to Albertville, finishing with 105 yards and a touchdown.
BRADYN JOINER, AUBURN: Moved from the defensive line to the offensive line for Coach Keith Etheredge and has had nine knockdown blocks in 58 plays after two games – wins over Hoover (17-14) and Enterprise (31-21).
ALVIN HENDERSON, ELBA: Had 274 rushing yards on 32 carries with four touchdowns to lead the Tigers past Kinston 33-6. He scored on runs of 19, 62, 6, and 4 yards.
BRYCE DOWDLAN, B.C. RAIN: Piled up 259 yards rushing on 25 carries, and two touchdowns, both in the fourth quarter as the Red Raiders downed Vigor 20-7. The Class 5A Wolves, who won the 2021 Class 4A state crown, saw their six-game winning streak snapped in the setback.
NOAH JOHNSON, GENEVA: Picked up 254 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns in the Panthers’ 46-21 win in Deane Bozeman High School of Panama City (FL).
NATE THOMAS, THORSBY: Rushed for 248 yards and three long-distance touchdowns to lead the Rebels past Prattville Christian 40-20. He had s 48-yard TD run on his first carry, added a 64-yard TD in the opening half and closed out the scoring with an 82-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. He also managed four receptions for 34 yards and a TD. Teammate Grayson McManus opened the scoring with a 72-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage. Prattville Christian tied the game in the fourth quarter before Thomas’ final TD sealed the win.
DRAKE FRANKLIN, ARAB: Ran for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries in a 35-0 win over Brewer.
EASTON SMITH, WEST LIMESTONE: Ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries in a 56-20 win over Clements.
COLE BLAYLOCK, UMS-WRIGHT: Blaylock carried 23 times for 202 yards and scored on runs of 4, 76, 11 and 4 yards in a win over T.R. Miller. He also caught two passes for 25 yards and returned two punts for 35 yards.
JAMARI McCLURE, GOSHEN: Gained 200 yards rushing on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns in leading the Eagles (2-0) to a 46-21 win over Zion Chapel.
JAISON TAYLOR, BIBB COUNTY: Rushed for 198 yards and scored six touchdowns on 21 carries in the Choctaws’ 56-21 win over Gordo. His scoring runs covered 24, 18, 12, 12, 4 and 2 yards.
JEREMIAH COBB, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Totaled 196 yards rushing on 12 carries with TD runs of 9, 39, 5 and 55 yards as Catholic beat Alabama Christian 61-7. He now has rushed for 335 yards and seven touchdowns in t wo games this season.
ETHAN CRAWFORD, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: The Patriots’ quarterback rushed 186 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-25 win over Armwood (FL). His TD plays were 47, 8, 2, 5 and 2 yards.
DEVIOUN “DV” WILLIAMS, AUBURN: The clutch running back converted several third and fourth-down conversions with his rugged workhorse running ability to lead the Tigers (2-0) past Class 7A, Region 2 foe Enterprise 31-21. He totaled 185 rushing yards and one TD on 21 carries.
TROY BRUCE, CENTER POINT: Ran 17 times for 185 yards and 5 touchdowns (15, 53, 7, 66 and 16 yards) against Aliceville.
JACKSON BRYSON, MARBURY: Gained 157 yards and scored two touchdowns on just six carries to pace Marbury to a 38-36 win over John Carroll Catholic. Bryson’s scoring runs covered 61 and 45 yards in the fourth period. Both teams combined for 46 points in the final quarter.
ANTNONY ROGERS, PIKE ROAD: Ran 15 times for 156 yards and scored twice on runs of 1 and 80 yards as the Patriots fell to Marist (GA) 33-22.
BRADEN GREEN, NORTHSIDE: Accounted for both TDs in a 13-7 win over Cleburne County – racing 87 yards for the first TD and tossing a 36-yard pass to Jayden William Roberts for the second score.
RASHARD CHILDERS, CHILTON COUNTY: Scored five rushing touchdowns and 149 yards on 16 carries as the Tigers (2-0) beat Jemison 50-0. His TD runs covered 34, 2, 2, 1 and 9 yards.
JALEN FLETCHER, WEST MORGAN: Ran for 108 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries and caught six passes for 65 yards in a 49-0 win over Ardmore.
CHARLES GRANT, FAYETTE COUNTY: Led the Tigers to a 47-37 win over Sulligent rushing 15 times for 108 yards and four touchdowns on runs covering 7, 15, 1 and 3 yards.
CAM DOOLEY, VALLEY: Rushed for two TDs and passed for a third in a 19-0 win over Lanett. He 195 total yards in the win also played safety on defense.
ALEX MASON, EAST LIMESTONE: Posted four rushing touchdowns in a 35-32 win over Central-Florence.
ANDY HOWARD, ALBERTVILLE: Completed 14-of-21 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-30 win over Boaz. The victory improved the Aggies’ lead in the series to 58-23-1. The series was first played in 1938 and has been played annual since 1952.
PEYTON FLOYD, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Accounted for five touchdowns, with a 20-of-28 passing performance which netted 289 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 57 rushing yards and two more scored as the Huskies beat Gadsden City 64-17.
CHRISTOPHER VIZZINA, BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN: Completed 22-of-31 passes for 268 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown toss on the game’s final play for a23-21 win over Spain Park. He added 15 rush attempts for 96 yards and two more scores. With 58 seconds left, Vizzina led the Lion s on a 68-yard game-winning drive.
JOSH WARD, SPARKMAN: Completed 16-of-25 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns and scored a rushing TD in the Senators’ 42-0 win over Huffman.
KADYN MITCHELL, HOUSTON ACADEMY: Was a near-perfect 7-of-8 passing for 240 yards and five touchdowns as the Raiders opened , Class 3A, Region 2 with a 42-0 win over Daleville.
AIDEN WHITE, ENTERPRISE: Passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns while completing 11-of-16 passes in the Wildcats’ 31-21 loss to Auburn.
BRYSON HUGHES, G.W. LONG: Connected on 19-of-31 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns in the Rebels’ 22-15 win over Slocomb. He had a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jakirre Redding and a 6-yard TD pass to Tanner Johnston. Hughes also scored on a 2-yard run and threw a 2-point conversion to Redding.
K.J LACEY, SARALAND: was 11-of-15 passing for 215 yards and five touchdown passes as the Spartans defeated Murphy 49-20 in their Class 6A, Region 1 opener.
ALEXANDER BRADFORD, LAMAR COUNTY: Was 14-of-22 passing for 214 yards and a TD in a 30-24 loss to Phil Campbell. His TD toss to Devonte McKinney covered 82 yards.
K.J. JACKSON, SAINT JAMES: Completed 12-of-24 passes for 212 yards and two TDs and rushed 12 times for 79 yards and scores of 58 and 2 yards in the Trojans’ 48-35 setback to Handley.
CARSON McFADDEN, JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC: Was 14-of-27 passing for 212 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 81 yards and two scores on 15 carries in the Cavs’ 38-36 loss to Marbury. He also caught a 36-yard TD pass.
JOHN PAUL HEAD, VESTAVIA HILLS: Accounted for five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) as the Rebels downed Homewood 35-0. He completed 8-of-12 passes for 201 yards and rushed 10 times for 89 yards in the win.
JAYDEN PARKS, BRANTLEY: Led the Bulldogs to a 33-7 win over Houston County with an 11-of-16 passing performance for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Robert Shine also had 105 yards rushing on 12 carries with two TDs.
CADEN BURNETT, FALKVILLE: Passed for 175 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a TD in a 41-15 win over Danville.
JARRETT DAUGHTRY, FAITH ACADEMY: Finished 6-of-7 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns – one each to Christian Burnette, Tynean Goodwill and E.J. King in Faith’s 42-6 win over Elberta.
LANDON DUCKWORTH, JACKSON: Accounted for five touchdowns in a 43-20 win over Demopolis. He completed 8-of-16 passes for 125 yards and two scores and added 10 runs for 52 yards and three more touchdowns.
CALE TITTLE, LYNN: Was 10-of-15 passing for 122 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 21 times for 89 yards to lead the Bears past Marion County 31-14. Cole Kelly also rushed for 119 yards and two TDs and caught a 26-yard pass in the win.
CHRISTIAN MOSE, ALMA BRYANT: Accounted for three touchdowns as Alma Bryant went on the road and defeated Holtville 35-29. Mose connected with Dede Lambert on TD passes of 30 and 70 yards. He also scored a rushing touchdown.
PAYTON ANDERSON, ELMORE COUNTY: Accounted for three touchdowns – one rushing, passing and pass receiving – as the Tigers (2-0) beat Autaugaville 41-0. He was 7-of-14 passing for 88 yards, rushed six times for 98 yards and caught a 15-yard TD pass. His TD run covered 65 yards.
NICK DYER, CORNER: Had six catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-27 victory over St. Clair County.
JAMES BOLTON, MARY MONTGOMERY: Caught nine passes for 197 yards and two TDs in a 24-20 loss to Charles Henderson.
NIC STRONG, RANDOLPH: Ran for 47 yards and three touchdowns and caught five passes for 148 yards and two TDs in a 46-33 win over Madison Academy.
RONNIE ROYAL III, GULF SHORES: Pulled in seven pass receptions for 142 yards and 2 TDs and rushed 2 times for 37 yards and 2 TD in a win at Citronelle.
KeANTHONY WILDER, ALICEVILLE: Caught eight passes for 137 yards in a 48-18 loss to Class 6A Center Point.
LUKE HARKNESS, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Made five catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, as the Knights downed Alabama Christian,61-7. His TD receptions covered 40, 8 and 24 yards.
CONNER NELSON, LEEDS: The wide receiver came in at quarterback, netting 166 all-purpose yards with five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns, had 11 rush attempts for 54 yards and two touchdowns and was 1-of-2 passing for 7 yards in a 38-10 triumph over Pell City.
THOMAS HARMON, WHITESBURG CHRISTIAN: Caught three touchdown passes in a 27-20 win over Victory Christian.
DRE KIRKPATRICK, GADSDEN CITY: Finished with 13 tackles in the Titans’ 64-17 loss to Hewitt-Trussville.
JAMAROUN SATTERWHITE, LOACHAPOKA: Had two interceptions on defense and totaled 153 rushing yards and two touchdowns on offense in the Indians’ 20-6 win over Lee County rival Beulah.
KORIAN SALTER, DOTHAN: Accounted for 11 tackles, including three quarterback sacks, in the Wolves’ 42-14 Class 7A, Region 2 opener versus Lee-Montgomery.
COLBY BALLARD, OPP: Managed 11 tackles and an interception in the Bobcats’ 41-20 win over New Brockton.
RAY ALBRIGHT VINCENT: Had 10 tackles, including three for a loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery as the Yellow Jackets beat Winterboro 56-0.
SAMUEL CARPENTER, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Totaled eight tackles, two sacks and a caused fumble in the Admirals’ 33-15 road win at Pike Liberal Arts.
HENRY LAPEYROUSE, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: The defensive lineman totaled four solo tackles, six assists, four sacks, seven quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery in the Saints’ 16-3 win over McGill-Toolen Catholic. Three of the sacks came on McGill’s final two drives of the night.
T.K. KNIGHT, DOTHAN: Intercepted two passes, one in the end zone to prevent a score, the other he returned 60 yards to set up another TD, as Dothan (2-0) beat Lee-Montgomery 42-14. He finished with four tackles.
DAVIS DARE, AMERICAN CHRISTIAN: Had an interception on defense, scored on a 22-yard run and 52-yard pass reception as the Patriots downed Tuscaloosa Academy 35-0.
ANTHONY YOUNG, WENONAH: Returned an interception for a touchdown while on defense ad was 3-of-8 passing for 125 yards and a touchdown offense leading the Dragons to 43-0 win over Midfield. He also rushed three carries for 83 yards and two more scores.
NASH THOMAS, DECATUR HERITAGE: Recorded a touchdown catch, fumble recovery and interception in a 26-16 win over Carbon Hill.
JAXON HAMBY, WEST END: The freshmen safety intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in the Patriots’ 24-0 win over Susan Moore.
KOAL GARRETT, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Had two interceptions in the Panthers’ 42-7 victory over Hokes Bluff.
BAYLOR CANNON, MARBURY: Booted a 37-yard field goal with seven seconds left to lift the Bulldogs to a 38-36 win over John Carroll Catholic. He also booted five extra points.
MYKEL JOHNSON, ENTERPRISE: Returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown during the Wildcats’ 31-21 loss to Auburn – his second kick return for a TD in as many weeks. Johnson also caught three passes for 129 yards with two touchdowns (83 and 40 yards) and had one punt return for 13 yards.
JACK SEYMOUR, CHELSEA: Booted field goals of 40 and 43 yards in a 10-6 setback to Shelby County rival Calera.
JONATHAN FOUNTAINE, DOUGLAS: Ran for 156 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score and caught a 28-yard TD pass in a 56-7 win over DAR.
XAVIER GAINES, PRICEVILLE: Ran a kickoff back 79 yards for a touchdown, rushed for 108 yards and another score on five carries, and caught two passes for 107 yards and a TD 54-47 win over Fairview. He totaled 294 tandem yards in the win.