Seven area football players recognized for second-round playoff performances by AHSAA

Compiled by the AHSAA

MONTGOMERY – Pike County High School wide receiver Ian Foster’s ability to deliver in the clutch lifted the Bulldogs to a 41-39 victory Alabama Christian last week and earned the multi-talented athlete this week’s AHSAA State Playoff Round 2 Spotlight.

Foster snagged five pass receptions for 155 yards and three touchdowns – the final two coming in a wild fourth quarter rally as the Bulldogs downed clawed from a 25-0 first-half deficit to advance to the third round of the AHSAA Class 3A state playoffs. Pike County (8-3), the No. 4 seed from Region 2, will host Mobile Christian (5-7), the No. 4 seed from Region 1, Friday night in the quarterfinals at Brundidge.

The Bulldogs were 0-9 in 2021. Head coach Mark Hurt, a former All-State quarterback at Pike County, returned to Brundidge this season to take over the program. He guided the team through the regular season suffering three one-point losses. A big reason for the improvement, said Hurt, “Is Ian’s ability to make the big play. In my opinion there is no one else in the state right now to compare with him.”

Foster snagged 25-yard scoring pass on fourth down early in the second half from fellow junior and cousin Omari Barrow, and then followed with a 40-yard TD catch to cut ACA’s lead to 39-34 with 5:13 remaining. The junior receiver’s final touchdown, a 31-yard strike he caught in the left corner of the end zone despite smothering coverage, put the Bulldogs on top 41-39 with 1:30 remaining. He also had an interception on defense to stop one ACA drive.

The Bulldogs big-play defense, which blocked a punt in the first half and scored on a 45-yard interception return by Markelis Hobdy, came up big twice in the final seconds with Virgil Thompson dropping an ACA runner for a 13-yard loss in the red zone in the final minute, and sealing the win with 11 seconds remaining by blocking Alabama Christian’s 40-yard field goal attempt. Barrow finished 14-of-22 passing for 239 yards and three TDs.

Mobile Christian advanced to the quarterfinals with a 27-13 win over Trinity Presbyterian.

Foster’s performance edged out strong effort by Sylvania High School senior running back Braiden Thomas and clutch efforts by two place-kickers, Jadan Burns of Coosa Christian and Patton Turnipseed of Tuscaloosa Academy.

Battling back this season after an injury cut his junior season short, Thomas has been making up for lost time. He rushed for 255 yards and five touchdowns on 22 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime to lead the Rams (9-3) to a 48-45 victory over Madison Academy in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs last week. Teammate Aiden Parham added 142 yards rushing and a touchdown. In two playoff wins in 2022, Thomas has rushed for 474 yards and nine touchdowns, and Parham has totaled 280 rushing yards and two TDs for Sylvania.

The Rams are one of three DeKalb County teams advancing to the third round of the state playoffs. Fyffe (12-0) advanced in Class 2A and will host Tuscaloosa Academy (10-2) this Friday. Geraldine (8-4), which downed Mars Hill Bible 17-14, also advanced in Class 3A, and will meet Sylvania Friday.

Turnipseed kicked a game-winning 52-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to lift the Knights (10-2) to a 23-20 Class 2A playoff win over Lexington (9-3). Burns booted a game-winning 21-yard field goal with 9.5 seconds left to lift Coosa Christian (8-4) past Spring Garden 31-28. The victory marked advanced Coosa Christian (8-4) to the third round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history.

PETER WOODS, THOMPSON: Contributed seven key tackles as the defending 7A state champion Warriors (9-3) beat Vestavia Hills 21-12 to advance to the 7A semifinals for the sixth consecutive year. The opponent, however, will be Hoover – same as in each of those previous years. The Warriors won state titles in 2021, 2020, and 2019. Hoover is making its 14th straight semifinal appearance with state titles in during that stretch in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017.

EAN NATION, AUBURN: Caught two touchdown passes to lead the Tigers (11-1) to a 48-20 win over Dothan to advance to the semifinals of the Class 7A state playoffs. He also snagged his 56th reception of the season to set the Auburn single-season record for most matches. The Tigers advance to the 7A semifinals this week to face Region 2 rival Central-Phenix City for the fourth year in a row.

JACK HAYES, PIEDMONT: The AHSAA’s all-time touchdown passing leader relied more on his legs as the defending Class 3A state champion Bulldogs (10-2) downed Colbert County 42-20 in the Class 3A state playoffs. Hayes rushed 25 times for 193 yards and scored three touchdowns (2,1 and 13 yards). He was 7-of-14 passing for 93 yards and one score. The senior quarterback, who already owns the AHSAA career total offense (14,081 yards, career passing TDs (154), and career total TDs accounted for (208) records, needs 207 passing yards in the quarterfinals to become the all-time passing yardage leader. Former Williamson High School, LSU and Oakland Raiders quarterback Jamarcus Russell set the mark with 10,774 yards in a prep career that spanned 1999-2002. Hayes currently has 10,568 passing yards after the Colbert County win and has thrown TD passes to 20 different receivers.

The Bulldogs (10-2) advance to the state quarterfinals for an eighth straight year — and 14th time in 16 seasons, and will host Gordo (11-1) at the Field of Champions Friday in the first-ever meeting between the two football powerhouse programs.

K.J. JACKSON, SAINT JAMES: The junior was 7-of-11 passing for 212 yards and four touchdowns as the Trojans (10-2) beat W.S. Neal 42-21 in the Class 3A playoffs. That brings his career passing total to 73 touchdowns, which currently ranks him 24th all-time in the AHSAA Record Book. He has thrown 32 TD passes this season, a new Saint James record.

JACOB CORNEJO, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Had 262 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the Warriors (10-2) past West Morgan 42-28 in the Class 4A state playoffs. All four of Cornejo’s touchdowns — from 67, 12, 58 and 43 yards — came in the second half. He also posted 13 tackles on defense.

COLE GAMBLE, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Had 31 carries for 257 yards and four touchdowns, including a 79-yard scamper, to lead the Spartans (10-2) to a 37-6 Class 6A playoff win over Gadsden City.

ASHTON ASHFORD, RAMSAY: Gained 231 yards on 28 rush attempts and scored for TDs as the Class 5A Rams (10-2) posted a 45-9 playoff win over Guntersville (9-3).

JAY HAYNES, HANDLEY: Ran for 231 yards and all four Handley TDs on 25 carries to lead the Tigers (11-1) past T.R. Miller 27-14 in the Class 4A state Playoffs. His TD runs covered 48, 8, 58 and 12 yards.

A.J. EZELL, CLARKE COUNTY: Led the defending Class 2A state champion Bulldogs (7-5) to a 43-28 playoff win over Vincent (10-2) rushing 29 times for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored three 2-point conversions.

ALVIN HENDERSON, ELBA: The sophomore running back closed out the season with 19 carries and 206 yards with three TDs in a 27-20 loss to Sweet Water in the 1A playoffs. He led Elba (11-1) with 2,636 yards rushing and 47 TDs on the season and averaged 13.5 yards per carry.

JY MOSTELLA, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Ran for 197 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to help the Coosa Christian (8-4) come from behind to beat Spring Garden 31-28 in the Class 1A playoffs.

DRAKE FRANKLIN, ARAB: Ran for 190 yards and five touchdowns on 37 carries in a 42-20 Class 5A playoff win over Moody (10-2) for the Knights (11-1).

LOGAN ANDERSON, FYFFE: Led the Red Devils (12-0) to a 35-6 Class 2A playoff win over Winston County (7-5) with 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Teammate Hunter Machen added 84 yards and two TDs on just two rush attempts for Fyffe, Brody Hicks had nine carries for 49 yards and scored the final TD for the Red Devils.

NIC STRONG, RANDOLPH: Picked up 189 yards rushing on 18 carries, caught six passes for 79 yards and tallied five touchdowns overall for Randolph (10-2) in a 47-37 Class 4A playoff win over Dora (8-4). He now has 851 yards rushing on 101 carries with 25 touchdowns, and 80 catches for 1,243 yards and 15 TDs – 2,112 total yards and 38 scores heading into the quarterfinals.

IAN BAIN, VALLEY HEAD: Closed out his senior season with 185 yards rushing and one TD on 33 carries as the Class 1A Tigers fell to Marion County 27-6. He finished the season with 2,865 yards rushing on 261 carries with 32 TDs. His totals for 2021 and 2022 were 4,921 yards rushing, 57 TDs and 496 rush attempts in 23 games – averaging 214 yards per game and 9.9 yards per carry.

JALEN FLETCHER, WEST MORGAN: Rushed for 184 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown in a 42-28 loss to Cherokee County in the Class 4A state playoffs. He also caught five passes for 42 yards and two more scores.

CONNOR BATES, SPRING GARDEN: Led the Panthers’ ground attack with 179 yards on 18 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, in a 31-28 Class 1A playoff loss to Coosa Christian (8-4). Spring Garden finished the season 10-2. Teammate Chapel Pope also rushed for 133 yards and two TDs on 20 carries and passed for 88 yards and a 55-yard TD strike.

LASHON YOUNG, SWEET WATER: Totaled 177 yards on 20 carries and scored on a 45-yard run in the first quarter as defending Class 1A state champion Sweet Water (9-2) knocked off previously unbeaten Elba (11-1) on the road 27-20.

DREW WILLIAMSON, ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL: Rushed for 161 yards and four TDs on 18 carries as the Saints (7-5) defeated Pelham 38-7 to advance to the third round of the Class 6A playoffs.

TYLER NELSON, GARDENDALE: Ran for 147 yards and two TDs, and completed 6-of-12 passes for 132 yards and a score as the Rockets (9-3) downed Decatur 31-7 in the 6A playoffs.

DAYLON EDMUNDS, MILLRY: Accounted for five touchdowns in a 62-12 Class 1A playoff win over Loachapoka. He ran 145 yards and three TDs on 10 carries, and he was 4-of-5 passing for 85 yards and two TDs for Millry (11-1). Edmunds’ TD runs covered 1, 44 and 62 yards, and his TD passes covered 36 and 30 yards.

CAM DEAVER, MEEK: Rushed 23 times for 140 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-36 setback to Pickens County in the Class 1A playoffs.

COSNER HARRISON, SAINT JAMES: Picked up 136 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored one TD in a 42-21 Class 3A playoff win over W.S. Neal. He upped his career rushing total to 4,908 yards. He is 176 yards shy of school record (5,084 yards) set by Tony Amerson.

KELDRIC BROWN, BRANTLEY: Rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and also had 10 tackles on defense as the Bulldogs (10-2) beat Linden 42-20 in the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs. He raced 65 yards for one of his TDs.

FLUFF BOTHWELL, ONEONTA: Gained 124 yards on 18 carries and scored one TD as the Redskins (10-1) downed previously unbeaten Priceville 34-20 in the 4A playoffs.

RI FLETCHER, HARTSELLE: Ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries and caught five passes for 48 yards in a 36-27 Class 6A playoff win over Center Point as the Tigers (12-0) remained unbeaten heading into round 3.

JAKARI BELUE, DESHLER: Rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers (12-0) nipped Etowah 36-33 in the Class 4A playoffs.

C.J. LARK, GORDO: Scored on runs of 70 and 83 yards for Gordo (11-1) and caught a 28-yard TD pass as the Green Wave’s 44-14 Class 3A playoff win over Lauderdale County.

JIM OGLE, JACKSONVILLE: Was 32-of-47 passing for a career high 426 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-27 Class 4A playoff loss to Montgomery Catholic. The Eagles finished the season 8-4.

ANDREW HUNTER, RANDOLPH: Led the Raiders (10-2) to a 47-37 Class 4A playoff win over Dora with a stellar 19-of-25 passing performance for 325 yards and four touchdowns. He upped his season totals to 226 completions in 313 attempts, for 3,764 yards and 45 touchdowns. His passing yardage and 72.2% completion rate currently lead the AHSAA this season. He completed 444-of-679 passes for 7,606 yards and 90 TDs in his outstanding career.

COLE McCARTY, MOODY: Completed 23-of-39 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns as the Blue Devils (10-2) dropped a 42-20 decision to Arab (11-1) in the Class 5A state playoffs. He closed his senior year with 3,006 yards passing and 37 TDs with just six picks in 241 pass attempts. His 169 completions gave him a 70.1% accuracy rate. He compiled 5,719 passing yards and 77 touchdowns over 27 games in the last three seasons completing 350-of-487 passes for a 72.9% completion rate. He only played in two games his junior year.

ERIC HANDLEY, PLEASANT GROVE: Was 19-of-23 passing for 252 yards and two touchdowns as the Spartans (10-1) beat Russellville 37-14 in the 5A state playoffs.

TY’JARIAN WILLIAMS, ALICEVILLE: Completed 13-of-23 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 12 times for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Yellow Jackets (11-1) in a 38-21 Class 2A win over Falkville. He upped his season passing totals to 149-of-235 for 2,385 yards and 35 TDs with just four interceptions. He also has 664 yards rushing and 15 TDs on 60 carries and has 3,049 yards and 50 touchdowns accounted for.

CALE TITTLE, LYNN: Passed for 181 yards and rushed for 137 for 318 total yards as the Bears (11-1) downed Addison 41-14 in the Class 1A playoffs.

WOODS RAY, HOMEWOOD: Completed 12-of-23 passes for 169 yards and one TD, ran for another score and pinned Pike Road on its 1-yard line with a punt in the final 1:09 of seal a 24-21 in the Class 6A state playoffs. Pike Road (7-5), which moved up to Class 6A this season, won the 2021 Class 5A state crown.

CALEB McCREARY, MONTGOMERY-CATHOLIC: Was 8-of-13 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns as the unbeaten Knights (12-0) downed Colbert County 44-27 in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
JAYDEN PARKS, BRANTLEY: Passed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in Brantley’s 42-20 Class 1A playoff win over Linden.

MASON HOLCOMB, PISGAH: Passed for three touchdowns, rushed for another score and completed a pair of 2-point conversion passes in a 48-28 Class 2A playoff win over Southeastern (9-2) for the Eagles (10-2).

KYDRIC FISHER, JACKSONVILLE: Caught 12 passes for career best 262 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles (8-4) lost to Montgomery Catholic (12-0) in the Class 4A state playoffs.

RYAN WILLIAMS, SARALAND: The sophomore caught eight passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns for the Spartans (11-1), ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another in a 56-31 Class 6A playoff victory over previously unbeaten Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (11-1). He has 68 catches for 1,332 yards and 22 TDs for the season with 1,725 total yards and 31 TDs overall.

DAVION DOZIER, MOODY: Hauled in 10 catches for 230 yards and two TDs (14 and 60 yards) as the Blue Devils (10-2) fell to Arab 42-20 in the 5A state playoffs. He finished the season with 58 receptions for 1,301 yards and 19 touchdowns. He finished his last two seasons with 109 catches for 2,134 yards and 31 touchdowns.

JYWON BOYD, CHARLES HENDERSON: Led the Trojans (11-1) to a 34-7 win over Tallassee in the Class 5A playoffs with eight catches for 189 yards and two TDs – upping his season totals to 51 receptions for 947 yards and 13 scores.

AARON ROGERS, MOBILE CHRISTIAN: Caught six passes for 168 yards and a touchdown as the Leopards (5-7) defeated Trinity Presbyterian 27-13 in the 3A playoffs. His TD reception from Landon Snow covered 83 yards.

JACOBY TUCKER, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Hauled in five passes for 139 yards and one TD in a 31-28 Class 1A win over Spring Garden (10-2). He had a 72-yard touchdown reception and also snagged a 37-yard catch that set up teammate Jadan Burns’ game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the game.

JORDAN WOOLEN, HOOVER: Caught four passes for 111 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown, as the Bucs (11-1) beat Hewitt-Trussville 27-11 to move into the Class 7A state semifinals.

ZIGGY HOLLOWAY, SAINT JAMES: Had three catches for 108 yards, including s 76-yard TD, as the Trojans (10-2) beat W.S. Neal 42-21 in the Class 3A state playoffs.

CODY SATTERFIELD, GERALDINE: The Bulldogs’ receiver had six pass receptions for 105 yards as Geraldine beat Mars Hill Bible 17-14 in the 3A state playoffs.

BOBBY PRUITT, THEODORE: Recorded 14 tackles, including 3.5 for losses, and forced a fumble as the unbeaten Bobcats (12-0) advanced in the Class 6A state playoffs with a 29-18 win over Hueytown (8-4).

KALEB WEED, BRANTLEY: Managed 12 tackles and teammate Cooper Layton had 11 as the Bulldogs moved into quarterfinals of the 1A playoffs with a 42-20 win at Linden (9-2).

JASON COLVIN, GERALDINE: Had 10 tackles to lead Geraldine (8-4) past Mars Hill Bible 17-14 in the 3A state playoffs. Teammates Caleb Hall and Joseph Garcia also added 10 stops each in the win.

KHALIL FOSTER, PIKE COUNTY: Had 10 tackles, and teammate Que Carter had eight tackles and blocked a kick in Pike County’s 41-39 win over Alabama Christian.

DRAKE BORDEN, HARTSELLE: Picked off two passes as Hartselle (12-0) defeated Center Point (9-2) in the Class 6A playoffs 36-27.

REECE WINSTEAD, SPRING GARDEN: Had two interceptions in the Panthers’ 31-28 Class 1A playoff loss to Coosa Christian.

KEMUAURON PLOTT, PICKENS COUNTY: Returned an interception for a touchdown to lead the Tornadoes (9-3) to a 44-36 Class 1A playoff win over previously unbeaten Meek (11-1).

TAE DIAMOND, CHEROKEE COUNTY: Totaled 11 tackles with three quarterback sacks in a 42-28 Class 4A state playoff win by the Warriors (10-2) over West Morgan (10-2). Teammate Tristan Brown led the defense with 14 tackles.

KAVIONK HENDERSON, LEEDS: Contributed seven tackles on a defense that held Scottsboro to 181 total yards, including minus-4 passing, as the Green Wave (10-1) advanced in the 5A playoffs with s 34-10 win over the Wildcats.

ED KING, FAITH ACADEMY: Had a forced fumble and a pair of quarterback sacks on defense and scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to finish with 150 all-purpose yards as the Rams (10-2) defeated Demopolis 36-15 in the Class 5A state playoffs.

GABE RUSSO, MONTGOMERY CATHOLIC: Sailed all nine kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, punted twice for a 52-yard average and booted a 42—yard field goal to help the Knights (12-0) advance to the state quarterfinals with a 44-27 Class 4A playoff win over Jacksonville. In two playoff wins this season he has kicked 18 straight kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

JOE LOTT, UMS-WRIGHT: The junior ran the game’s opening kickoff back 65 yards for a touchdown and also scored on a 74-yard fumble recovery as unbeaten UMS-Wright (12-0) pulled away from Beauregard 48-30 in the 5A playoffs.

ETHAN BEARD, SAINT JAMES: Returned a punt 76 yards for a TD and also caught A 29-yard TD pass as Saint James (10-2) downed W.S. Neal 42-21 in the 3A playoffs.

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