By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
After the near-perfect Friday football teams in The Times' coverage area enjoyed last week, it should come as no surprise the latest Alabama High School Athletic Association Prep Spotlight and Alabama Sports Writers Association Player of the Week releases were littered with local athletes.
A staggering 10 players from Cullman County — Good Hope's Sebastion Fendley, Jared McClure, Chris Raper and Alex Cofer, Fairview's Austin Harris and Bailey Strong, Hanceville's Brontae Harris and Charles Tatro, Cold Springs' Logan Campbell and Cullman's Garrett Crider — made the former's list of “other highlights reported from Week 6,” with six — Austin Harris, Strong, Brontae Harris, Tatro, Campbell and Crider — double-dipping in the latter's “other stellar performances” section.
All eyes were on Fendley in his return just two weeks after suffering a broken left forearm, but he was far from the only Raider responsible for the Red and White's 49-21 romp of Danville. The senior signal-caller certainly did do his part, though, completing 9 of 13 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 118 yards on just five carries. Fendley's longest run was a 61-yard scoring scamper on his very first drive back behind center.
Good Hope wrapped up its homecoming blowout with 19 first downs and 610 total yards of offense — 313 rushing and 297 passing — two areas where McClure and Raper contributed heavily.
McClure, a junior, added another big night to an already-solid resume with 24 carries for 177 yards and five touchdowns (22, 4, 1, 19 and 25 yards), while Raper, a senior, proved to be a trusty target with five catches for 124 yards.
Cofer's inclusion showed all the Raiders' top threats aren't just on the offensive side of the ball. The senior linebacker racked up 12 tackles, including three sacks, and recovered a fumble to lead the Red and White D.
The Aggies' Austin Harris hit the ground running against St. Clair County and never let up en route to his team's thrilling 36-34 victory. The sophomore tailback scooted 56 yards for a touchdown on the game's third play and then scored from the very same distance on Fairview's next play from scrimmage. Considering he went on to rush 32 total times for 246 yards, Harris apparently had plenty left in the tank following the pair of first-quarter touchdowns.
Another busy boy for the Aggies was Strong, who caught five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns (31 and 42 yards), booted through two extra points and had 31 yards on his lone kickoff return.
A slow start by Hanceville was quickly put in the rear-view mirror by the fast feet of Brontae Harris. The junior running back, who had 17 carries for 175 yards, scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards in the second quarter and then added an exciting 87-yard touchdown up the middle in the third, as the Bulldogs went on to bulldoze Winfield 27-7.
As if those contributions in the ground game weren't enough, Harris also completed a 25-yard throw to Dant'e Reese on the Purple and Gold's final scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
Hanceville's dominant D was every bit as important to the win. Tatro, a senior defensive end, rounded up two fourth-quarter sacks for a unit that finished with 12 total tackles for loss and two forced and recovered fumbles in its second second-half shutout in as many weeks.
One week after setting a school record with an insane 527 total yards, Logan Campbell was at it again, leading Cold Springs to a 44-22 road win over Francis Marion with yet another unbelievable night. The senior signal-caller rushed 28 times for 269 yards and three touchdowns, including a 70-yard sprint to the end zone in the second half. Campbell also completed both pass attempts for 40 yards and had 33 return yards to account for 342 total yards.
The Eagle superstar has easily pulled away as the area's top runner after six games, turning 102 carries into 1,145 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Last but definitely not least on the list of local standouts is Crider, who helped Cullman accomplish a couple of feats for the first time in school history.
The bruising running back ran 22 times for 164 yards, including a 5-yarder for a touchdown early in the second half to build the Bearcats' lead on their way to a 30-7 victory over Russellville. The lopsided final score marked the Black and Gold's first-ever home win over the Golden Eagles, as well as the first time the program defeated Russellville, Hartselle and Walker in the same season.
The AHSAA's Prep Spotlight for Week 6 was awarded to Central-Hayneville, which took down Zion Chapel 38-12 to snap a 56-game winless streak that dated back to 2007.
Central-Hayneville edged out W.S. Neal's Quenton Samuel, Houston County's Cooper Sellers and Hoover's defense for the honor.
Samuel piled up 410 rushing yards on 23 carries and scored five times in a 46-8 win versus Excel. His five touchdowns accounted for 272 of the yards, covering 74, 17, 60, 52 and 69 yards.
Sellers, who missed practice earlier in the week to attend the funeral of his older brother, completed 21 of 27 passes for a career-high 401 yards and two touchdowns in the Lions' 32-8 drubbing of Ariton. He also rushed for one score.
Hoover, the defending Class 6A champions, won its 21st game in a row with three interceptions and a kickoff returned for touchdowns in a 48-7 victory over Bessemer City.
Samuel was the winner of the ASWA's Offensive Player of the Week, beating out Jacksonville's Dominique Thomas and Berry's Terrance Hollingsworth.
Thomas rushed 39 times for 247 yards and five touchdowns in a 40-39 victory over Anniston, and Hollingsworth accounted for 415 yards of total offense — 273 rushing and 142 passing — and scored three touchdowns in a 34-26 victory over Brilliant. On defense, Hollingsworth added six tackles and an interception.
The ASWA handed out its Defense/Special Team Player of the Week award to Houston County's Jarive Whyte, who returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown, recorded two interceptions and had six tackles in the Lions' win. He also excelled on offense, catching six passes for 149 yards and a score.
Joining Whyte as finalists were Center Point's Khalil Garrison and Marion County's Ready Swanigan.
Garrison finished with four sacks, a forced fumble and 6 1/2 tackles in a 40-14 victory over Pinson Valley. Swanigan returned a kickoff for a touchdown, returned a punt for a score and added three rushing touchdowns in a 78-38 victory over Lynn.
% The AHSAA's Ron Ingram and ASWA's Josh Bean contributed to this report.