By Barry Allen
Special to the Dispatch
ALICEVILLE, Ala. — The only two undefeated teams in Alabama High School Activities Association Class 2A, Region 4 will collide this Friday night when the fourth-ranked Lamar County Bulldogs travel to Memorial Stadium to take on the Aliceville Yellow Jackets. The winner of this game clinches a spot in the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs.
Aliceville (3-2, 3-0 Class 2A, Region 4) had its three-game winning streak snapped in last week’s 53-18 loss to county rival Pickens County in a non-region game.
“This is a very important game in determining the number one seed in the region,” Aliceville coach Charles Moody said. “One of our goals was to win the region championship and this game will go a long way in reaching that goal.”
Lamar County (5-0, 3-0 Class 2A Region 4) remained undefeated with a non-region win at rival Berry. The Bulldogs high-powered offense is averaging 40 points per game this season. Lamar County has scored 40 or more points four times, including the last three weeks against R.C. Hatch, Sulligent and Berry.
“The winner can clinch a playoff spot,” Adams said. “We both have three wins now and usually four wins is the magic number for post season.”
Lamar County hopes to establish the running game with its talented group of backs on Friday.
“We have to run the ball,” Adams said. “We can’t matchup with all 11 players in what they do. We have to do what we do and stay ahead of the chains. What we do on offense is the only way to counter what they do.”
Moody said the key for his Yellow Jackets would be to stop the run.
“We have to be disciplined on defense,” Moody said. “Lamar County gives you a lot to think about on offense. A lot of different people can touch the ball on any given play. If we are going to win, we have to stop their rushing attack.”
Lamar County sophomore Tim Harton understands the importance of Friday’s rivalry game.
“As far as winning the district this is the biggest game of the season,” Harton said. “There are awlays things to get better at, but right now we are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Lamar County piled up 308 rushing yards in its win over Berry. The Bulldogs got rushing touchdowns from five different players in the win, including Ryan Barham (4-yard run), Dallas Cockerham (5-yard run), Alex Wheeler (14-yard run), Harton (25-yard run) and Joshua Smith (32-yard run). Terrance “Tank” Hollingsworth added 97 rushing yards and returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
“The kickoff return was a big play in the game,” Adams said. “We have been very solid on specials teams this year.”
Cockerham leads Lamar County with 433 rushing yards through five games. Senior Joshua Smith is the team’s top tackler with 28 stops, followed by junior Ty Herron with 27.
In its defeat to Pickens County, Aliceville quarterback Santiago Taylor scored on an 11-yard run, while Chris Crowell added a 4-yard touchdown run.
The Yellow Jackets were also done in by six turnovers, including five interceptions by Taylor.
Lamar County won last season’s meeting, 44-14 in Vernon.
Week Five Highlights: Jermarcus Brown was a one-man show in Pickens County’s win over Aliceville last Friday night. Brown accounted for 397 yards and six touchdowns as the Tornadoes remained undefeated. Brown had 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns and added 99 receiving yards and two more scores. He scored on touchdown runs of 25 and 6 yards, while hauling in touchdown passes of 24 and 75 yards. Brown also scored on an 85-yard kickoff return and added a 55-yard interception return. Devonte Simon threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the win for the Tornadoes.
South Lamar had a pair of 100-yard rushers in its 14-0 road win at Central Coosa. It was the Stallions second straight win after a 15-game losing streak. Hershel Smith (15-126-1) and Holden Fields (19-118) combined for 234 rushing in the win. Smith scored on an 8-yard run in the second quarter and Talbert Pate added a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Fields was also the team’s leading tackler with nine total stops. Jason Lawson had eight tackles and Dalton Pollard added a third quarter interception.
Pickens Academy won its fifth game of the season behind the running and passing a do-it-all quarterback Josh Lewis. The senior had 118 rushing yards and scored on runs of 2 and 42 yards in the 46-12 win over Eastwood Christian. He also completed 5-of-9 passes for 77 yards and one touchdown. Grayson Noland (9-yard reception), Joseph McGlawn (65-yard run) and Chance Britt (14-yard run) also scored for the Pirates. Daniel Cameron had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown to lead the defense.
Jordan Gardner accounted for two fourth quarter touchdowns in Sulligent’s 33-15 loss to Fayette County High School. The Blue Devils trailed 33-0 after three quarters but scored twice in the final 12 minutes of the game. Gardner scored on a 3-yard run and threw a 14-yard pass to Jesse Keller to account for the scoring.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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