PREP PLAYOFF RECAP: Tallassee wins in OT; ACA, Carver advance with road wins
Tallassee 35, Thomasville 32 (OT)
The Tigers (10-1) will travel to Bibb County (10-1), a 41-12 winner over Dale County, for a second-round game next Friday. Thomasville (7-4) lost for the fourth time in its last six games.
Tallassee, winning its fourth consecutive first-round game at home, gave up a big play early on Corrigan Thibodeaux’s 68-yard touchdown pass to Bralen Washington, but rallied with three touchdowns over the next 15 minutes for an 18-7 lead.
Casey Baynes connected on short scoring tosses to Kalvin Levett and Jake Burton and Levett added a 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown to put Tallassee in front before Thomasville came back with a pair of quick touchdowns late in the first half for a 22-18 lead.
Washington scored on a 13-yard run and Quez Ausbon added a 1-yard run for the halftime lead and the visitors added a field goal midway through the third quarter for a 25-18 lead.
Baynes, who completed 10 of 13 passes for 123 yards, hit Burton with a 42-yard touchdown pass to tie the game and Markevious Mathews added an 84-yard touchdown run 37 seconds into the fourth quarter for a 32-25 lead.
Thibodeaux, who completed 6 of 8 passes for 146 yards, answered with a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jacory Lee with 6:55 left to tie the game and force overtime.
Montgomery Catholic 17, Sipsey Valley 0
Catholic (10-1) will host UMS-Wright in a second-round game next week after winning their first playoff game since 1989.
Sipsey Valley (4-7), which made the playoffs after Hale County was forced to forfeit all of its games last week, has never won a playoff game in three attempts.
The Knights scored on their second play from scrimmage on a lateral from Hunter Ferrall to Kamryn Jackson as the senior receiver weaved his way through the Bears’ defense for 83 yards, but for the remainder of the game, the yards were hard to get and the points even harder as the high-powered Catholic offense was held in check.
“They didn’t lose a game in their region by less than a touchdown,” Catholic coach Aubrey Blackwell said. “That’s a really good football team. They’re young. I expect good things out of Sipsey Valley in the future.”
Sipsey Valley picked up three first downs on the game’s first possession, driving to a first and 10 at the Catholic 20 before Jordan Moore’s fourth-down pass to Jax Morris came up two yards short. The Bears would pick up just one first down the remainder of the half and neither team moved the ball in the third quarter before the Knights finally put the game out of reach on a 27-yard pass from Ferrall to DJ Carter with 8:33 left.
Ty Washington led the Bears with 54 yards on 18 carries.
Alabama Christian 33, Northside 28
Northside could not overcome a dominating performance by Alabama Christian running back Alden Stroud. Stroud had 320 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries.
“Alden means to the most to our team,” Alabama Christian coach Nate Sanford said. “He means as much as one player can mean.”
After the two teams traded scores twice, Stroud ran 85 yards after a big stop by the Eagles’ defense on fourth down. Alabama Christian took a 19-14 lead going into the half.
Northside suffered a big loss early in the game when running back John Robertson left the game with an injury.
“He’s been the bell cow for us all year,” Northside coach Chris Hilliker said. “Him getting knocked out, that hurt our mentality a little bit.”
After a scoreless third quarter, the Rams took a 22-19 lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Corken to Darvis Smith. The Eagles then scored 14 unanswered points to take a commanding 11-point lead with five minutes left.
Northside kept at it, driving 80 yards in less than three minutes to cut the lead to five, but failed to recover an onside kick.
Reese Solar ran for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first game at quarterback in a month to help Alabama Christian win its first playoff game since 1992.
ACA (9-2) will play host to W.S. Neal, which pulled off a stunning 21-12 upset of Munford, in a second-round game at Wade Norton Field next Friday.
Solar, who suffered a broken jaw at Ashford four weeks ago, returned in a limited role as punter last week but returned to quarterback with 125 rushing yards and 60 passing yards after completing 5 of 10 passes.
Defensively, Cole Schlemmer led the Eagles with 10 tackles, followed by Dawson Lockier with seven, Grayson Evans with six, Garrett Cottingham with six, Ty Tavares with six and Blake Bryant with six and a fumble recovery.
Next week’s game will mark just the sixth second-round appearance by Alabama Christian in the school’s history.
–Matthew Speakman, Tuscaloosa News
St. James 62, West Blocton 13
St. James (8-3) will travel to face Andalusia (10-1), a 42-14 winner over Childersburg, in the second round of the state playoffs next Friday. West Blocton ends the season at 6-5 after dropping to 1-10 in first-round playoff games since 1992.
The Trojans scored first on Woodson’s 42-yard interception return, but West Blocton took a 7-6 lead on Christian Wright’s 18-yard touchdown dash. After Sadie returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, Tony Amerson took over with touchdown runs of 6, 48 and 4 yards in the second quarter to turn the game into a rout. Sadie added a 35-yard scoring run to help the Trojans to a 43-7 lead at the half.
Josh Garnett added to the lead with a quarterback sneak from a yard out before West Blocton’s Keontae Taylor ran 10 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Chandler Armagost and Will Wales added fourth-quarter touchdown runs for the Trojans.
Park Crossing 35, Bessemer City 6
The Thunderbirds (10-1) will travel to Opelika next week for a second-round game. The Bulldogs ended Park Crossing’s season last year in Bulldog Stadium with a semifinal rout.
The Purple Tigers (4-7), dating back to their days as Jess Lanier, have only won one first-round playoff game on the road since reaching the 6A finals in 1986 and that was their shocking 28-24 win over Park Crossing in 2015. In the last two meetings, the game has never been in doubt.
G.W. Carver 13, McAdory 7
That didn’t seem to faze G.W. Carver, which got a 70-yard touchdown run from Justin Lewis and a 25-yard touchdown run by Terrance Webster to pull off a stunning 13-7 win at McAdory on Friday night.
McAdory (6-5), which was making its 20th consecutive playoff appearance and were 10-3 at home in first-round games, could never get untracked on offense.
Despite just 231 yards of total offense, the Wolverines got 131 yards rushing from Lewis. Kole Williams was limited to just 20 yards passing.
Carver’s Willie Spears is only the third Wolverine coach to make the playoffs in his first season and had to win three straight region games to close out the season to earn a berth.
The Wolverines (5-6) return home to play Wetumpka, a 41-7 winner over Blount, in a second-round playoff game next Friday at Cramton Bowl.
Wetumpka 41, Blount 7
Wetumpka (10-1) will face G.W. Carver, which stunned McAdory 13-7, in a second-round playoff game next Friday at Cramton Bowl. Blount ends the season at 6-5.
Martin threw a 22-yard pass to Robert Lapadre to open the scoring before the Leopards rallied to take a brief lead. Martin countered with touchdown runs of 25 and 73 yards and threw another touchdown pass, this one to Keedrick Adams, to put the Indians comfortably in front.
Tailback Kavosiey Smoke threw his second touchdown pass of the season when he connected with Adams in the fourth quarter. Terrance Thomas added a 50-yard touchdown run for Wetumpka, which snapped both a three-game losing skid to Blount and a three-game skid in playoff games.
McGill-Toolen 35, Jeff Davis 14
Jeff Davis actually outgained the Yellowjackets, 384 yards to 245 yards but had three drives of 13, 15 and 17 plays that ended without points.
Quarterback Jaquan Williams finished with 271 yards passing on 20 of 38 passing. Brandon Sanders led the JD receivers with six catches for 99 yards including a 71-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
McGill-Toolen (11-0) will travel to Auburn for a second-round game next Friday. Jeff Davis (5-6) finished the season with five losses in its last six games and hasn’t won a playoff game since beating McGill-Toolen in 2003.
Robert E. Lee 28, Fairhope 7
Johnson’s touchdown pass helped the Generals (7-3) to a 7-7 tie at the half before Lee’s defense took control in the second half.
Lee, which had beaten Murphy in 2015 for its only first-round playoff win since 2001 before Friday night, was forced to forfeit all of its wins last year for the use of an ineligible player and missed the playoffs.
Lee will get a rematch with Central-Phenix City next Friday in the 7A quarterfinals.
Montgomery Academy 26, Bayside Academy 13
Montgomery Academy (9-2) will play host to American Christian Academy, a 38-6 winner over Slocomb, next Friday at McLemore Field in a second-round game. Bayside Academy ends the season at 5-6.
“A special victory for us and the guys deserve to win,” Nelson said. “They made the big plays and were well prepared. I was really proud of our defense making adjustments and keeping up with Bayside’s offense since they can run a very confusing mix of plays.”
It was the first time the Eagles have defeated the Admirals in three tries and the first time Bayside has ever lost a first-round playoff game.
Trailing 7-0, Keefe White returned the Admirals’ kickoff 49 yards to put MA in business at the Bayside 46-yard line. On the next play Eagles’ quarterback Trey Lindsey connected with sophomore receiver William Robertson for a touchdown. The point after touchdown was missed and the Eagles trailed at intermission 7-6.
The second half belonged to MA. Lindsey threw to C. J. Paymon for a short touchdown and Paymon came back in the fourth quarter to score on a 2-yard run. Keefe White scored the final MA touchdown with a 38-yard run. Paymon ended the night with 98 yards and White gained 89 yards.
Lindsey was effective leading the Eagles offense. The junior signal caller was 9 of 18 for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lindsey’s favorite target, Nate Meacham, made a couple of spectacular catches and also picked off an Admirals’ pass.
Paymon led the Eagles defense with 14 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Mason Young added 12 tackles and Brown Simmons had 10 tackles.
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 34, Stanhope Elmore 0
The Patriots’ special teams became the difference-maker after a scoreless first quarter.
Joseph Gannon made two field goals, 38 and 35 yards, to put Hillcrest up 6-0. Cagan Campbell scored on a 44-yard punt return, and by halftime Hillcrest had a 20-0 advantage. Gannon also went 4 of 4 on extra point attempts.
“In the first half of this game that was a big difference,” Hillcrest coach Sam Adams said. “We feel like we have a lot of confidence in our kickers and our punters and we did a good job on coverage, and that is how you win games in the playoffs is the kicking game, so I was proud of that.”
Hillcrest held Stanhope Elmore to 115 yards of total offense.
“We played a very sloppy game and had a lot of penalties that are just inexcusable,” Adams said. “Field conditions weren’t great, but it was like that for them too, so we are just excited to get another win and play one more next week.”
Stanhope Elmore wrapped up the season with an overall record of 5-6.
“We just didn’t play well. They’ve got a great football team, and that is why they are where they are at,” Mustangs coach Brian Bradford said. “They played a great game and we didn’t.”
Hillcrest (8-3) travels to Saraland (8-3) next week.
–Joey Chandler, Tuscaloosa News
Autauga Academy 63, Lakeside School 28
The Generals (12-0) will face Escambia (11-1) at Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday at 3:30 p.m., in a rematch of last year’s AA championship game. Autauga defeated the Cougars 42-20 at home on Oct. 20.
Tripp Carr completed 12 of 15 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, completing five of those passes to Kendrick Rogers for 100 yards and three others to James Woods for 53 yards. Woods also had a punt return for a touchdown.
Jamal Epkins scored another touchdown, rushing for 61 yards on nine carries, and Djay Gardner added another touchdown.
Escambia Academy 50, Macon East Academy 13
Trey Turner and Patrick McGhee each scored a pair of touchdowns and Jabe Dawe threw for one and ran for another to help Escambia reach the AA finals for the second consecutive season.
Escambia (11-1) earned a rematch with Autauga (12-0) for the Class AA title at Troy University on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Autauga defeated the Cougars last year in the championship game and 42-20 earlier this season.