Fort Dale Academy’s Chip Taylor was a worthy recipient of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Offensive Player of the Week, but six local players cracked the “other standout performances” section of the ASWA’s first release for the 2013 season.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Taylor dislocated his finger in the second quarter and went straight to a local hospital, missing the entirety of the following frame of his team’s game against Escambia Academy. The quarterback returned in time for the fourth quarter, however, setting the stage for a comeback tale unlike many others.
Taylor scampered 76 yards for a touchdown with 52 seconds left in the ballgame — just 38 seconds after Escambia had taken a 26-20 lead — and took advantage of an Escambia fumble on the ensuing kickoff with a 36-yard scoring pass to Ryan Burkett to seal a thrilling 32-26 victory.
Considering Good Hope’s school-record 61-point effort against Holly Pond last Thursday, it should come as no surprise the Raiders had two players recognized by the ASWA.
The first was senior running back Jared McClure, who returned a punt 77 yards for Good Hope’s first score of the season and for his first of four touchdowns on the night. McClure also reached the end zone on an 80-yard screen pass from Sebastian Fendley, as well as runs of 4 and 25 yards.
The second was senior defensive end Zac Witcher, who had a pair of sacks, the second a bone-crushing sack that forced a fumble for teammate Dakota Burney to recover.
Hanceville’s Kody Smith, Fairview’s Hayden Maples, Cold Springs’ Logan Campbell and West Point’s Bryant Farley were the other four to make the ASWA’s list.
Smith had just two receptions in the Bulldogs’ narrow 35-33 nail-biter against county-rival Fairview, but he made the most of them, reeling in one for a 73-yard touchdown and the other for a 52-yard score.
Maples, meanwhile, was a force to be reckoned with in his first start behind center for the Aggies. The junior finished 19 of 26 for 344 yards and three touchdowns, including a 74-yard bomb to Bailey Strong.
Like Smith, Logan Campbell didn’t receive too many touches in Cold Springs’ 34-0 shutout of Decatur Heritage, but it didn’t stop him from racking up the rushing yardage.
The senior signal-caller turned just seven carries into a 214-yard, three-touchdown performance. Campbell came close to adding two more rushing scores and a pick-six, but all were wiped out because of penalties.
The shutout was Cold Springs’ first since 2004.
Last but not least was West Point’s Farley, who threw touchdown passes of 19 and 48 yards to Tristan Dubberly and added a 55-yard score on the ground.
After trailing 18-12 at halftime, the Warriors responded with two goal-line stands and two touchdowns in the second half, including a 10-play, 99-yard drive to ice a 25-18 win.
Back to Taylor, he finished with 211 rushing yards and was on the throwing end of Fort Dale Academy’s game-winning score, helping him overtake finalists Lauderdale County’s Zack Simbeck and Berry’s Terrance Hollingsworth for the ASWA’s top offensive honors.
Only two days removed from the death of his mother, Simbeck compiled 177 rushing yards and scored on a 50-yard run and 16-yard pass in a 34-12 triumph over Wilson.
Hollingworth amassed five touchdowns in Berry’s 32-28 victory against Northside. The Wildcat, who’s been Addison’s Kryptonite in the last two postseasons, scored on 1-, 4- and 7-yard runs, as well as on a 97-yard kickoff return. Just for good measure, Hollingsworth also threw a 25-yard touchdown.
McGill-Toolen’s Tony Bridges was named the ASWA’s Defense/Special Teams Player of the Week. He not only touted a score on an 87-yard kickoff return but pulled down a 64-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter to ice a 49-35 win against UMS-Wright.
The runner-ups behind Bridges were Hartselle’s Jake Waterman and Priceville’s Ben Patterson.
With a 43-yard field goal already in his pocket, Waterman booted a game-winning 20-yarder in overtime to lift Hartselle past Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa by a 14-11 final.
Patterson did his best Christion Jones’ impression in Priceville’s victory against West Morgan, scoring on a 55-yard punt return and a 77-yard kickoff return.
The Alabama High School Athletics Association’s Week 1 Spotlight had not been released by deadline of this article.
% The ASWA’s Josh Bean contributed to this report.