By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Danny Miller and his coaching staff were forced to keep a closer eye on the personal possessions they left in the Hanceville locker room over the weekend.
The reason? There’s a budding thief among the Bulldogs, and his name is Brontae Harris.
But this speedy sophomore isn’t interested in pickpocketing the usual loot like wallets and watches. Nope, Harris only likes to steal footballs. And the primary target he swipes them from is opposing quarterbacks.
Harris snagged four interceptions and scored both of Hanceville’s touchdowns in last Friday’s 12-0 victory over Winfield, leading the Bulldogs to their third straight victory and first ever road win against the Pirates.
For that slick showing, Harris was selected as a finalist for the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Week 6 Spotlight. He was joined by five other players from The Times’ coverage area who garnered recognition from the state’s governing body.
Harris was a huge factor on both sides of the ball in Hanceville’s latest win versus its Class 3A, Region 7 rival.
At cornerback, he racked up 124 return yards between his four interceptions, most of which came from a 90-yard pick-six on his first takeaway.
Harris was equally effective at running back, carrying the ball 14 times for 116 yards and another touchdown. The sophomore scampered in for his second score on a 50-yard run.
Ty Jones, Tyler Boland, Luke Bailey, Jesse Seals and Garrett Crider all returned to the AHSAA’s lists of “other outstanding performances.”
Vinemont’s two Tylers were as deadly as ever in a 56-49 near-upset bid of No. 4 Hamilton.
Jones grinded out a whopping 38 carries for 230 rushing yards — his fourth game of at least 200 yards this year — and three touchdowns, the same number as his teammate.
However, Boland, who contributed 153 all-purpose yards and an interception, scored in a variety of ways. His last two touchdowns came in the final three minutes with a 58-yard punt return and 50-yard catch.
Bailey was back in the spotlight after scoring four unanswered rushing touchdowns to complete Fairview’s 30-16 comeback against St. Clair County on homecoming night. The senior’s 17 carries, 98 yards and four scores on the ground, as well as Justin Bryan’s electrifying 67-yard return to start the second half and a stifling, shutdown defensive effort, allowed the Aggies to overcome an early 16-0 deficit.
The victory was Bailey’s 22nd with the Purple and Gold, helping him pass coach George Redding’s record as the winningest quarterback in school history.
Seals has developed a nose for the end zone throughout the 2012 campaign, and he found it again last Friday, returning his third punt of the season for a touchdown in Addison’s 28-0 shutout over Winston-County rival Meek. One week after being noticed for his pair of second-half interceptions versus Appalachian, the two-way Bulldog grabbed the AHSAA’s attention again by adding to his highlight reel with an 85-yard punt return for a score.
Cullman’s Crider never backs down from contact. Not in the first half. Not in the second half. And definitely not in overtime.
The Bearcat running back had two 2-yard touchdown runs, including what turned out to be the game-winning score in a 21-20 overtime thriller against Russellville, the Black and Gold’s first victory over the Golden Tigers since 1986. The win was Mark Britton’s 100th with the Cullman football program.
G.W. Carver High quarterback Jeremy Johnson stole the AHSAA Spotlight’s top honor after leading his Wolverines to a 46-20 upset of previously unbeaten Auburn. The 6-foot-6 senior had 248 passing yards, 114 rushing yards and five total touchdowns in a Class 6A battle that was broadcast on ESPNU.
The Auburn commit managed to edge out Hanceville’s Harris and two other finalists.
One was Fort Payne kicker, Logan McPherson, who booted a 57-yard field goal in a 24-6 victory over Boaz, and the other was Oneonta’s Cody O’Toole, Drew White and Carter Sims. The Redskin’s quarterback trio combined for seven touchdown passes — four from O’Toole, two from White and one from Sims — in a 63-8 smashing of Douglas.
‰ Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.