By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Brontae Harris seems to save his best for region rivals.
It was practically impossible for the Hanceville junior to top 2012’s four-interception performance against Winfield, but he sure gave it his best shot this past Friday for homecoming versus Winston County, going bonkers for 238 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ thrilling 41-36 triumph.
With an injury on the first play from scrimmage keeping fellow running back Torrey Green on the sideline for the duration of the region contest, Harris had no problem taking over as the team’s No. 1 tailback in a tandem that gouged the Yellow Jackets for a gargantuan 396 yards on the ground. The two-way threat’s gutsy effort included scoring scampers of 2, 8, 31, 34 and 43 yards — the last sealed the deal for the Purple and Gold — making it difficult for the Alabama Sports Writers and Alabama High School Athletic associations to ignore when the respective groups sent out its latest Player of the Week and Prep Spotlight releases.
Harris was one of six local athletes to make the “other stellar performances” section of the ASWA’s Week 7 list and one of four to also grace the “other outstanding performances” portion of the AHSAA’s.
Good Hope’s Justin Turner, Vinemont’s Tyler Boland, Addison’s Franky Melson, Cold Springs’ Logan Campbell and Holly Pond’s Michael Lambert joined Harris on the former, while Turner, Campbell and Lambert did so on the latter.
Turner definitely deserved to be referred to as “the man” by Raider coach Chris Moss at the end of Friday night’s crucial county clash against Vinemont. The senior defensive back and wide receiver did a little bit of everything, pulling down a pair of second-half interceptions on defense and two passes for 65 yards on offense to help Good Hope grind out a 21-13 road win.
Turner’s most important catch came at the 1 on a 46-yard heave from Sebastion Fendley late in the first half, setting up Jared McClure’s second 1-yard touchdown of the night.
It was easy to see Boland was still bothered by an ankle injury that had kept him out of the Eagles’ previous three ballgames, but he still nearly willed his team to a comeback. The senior sensation made his biggest impact in the second half, picking off a pass and later snatching the ball straight from McClure’s hands at Vinemont’s own 5. One of the coolest moments of the contest — at least from a certain set of parents’ perspective — came when Boland wound up on the receiving end of a 15-yard toss from his younger brother, Garrett.
Class 1A, No. 4 Addison gave up its most points in the last five weeks — a mere 12 — but that didn’t appear to be the fault of senior linebacker Franky Melson, who piled on 12 tackles, including four for loss, against Sumiton Christian. Melson and Co. crushed the Eagles 56-12, improving to 7-0 heading into this Friday’s marquee matchup at No. 6 Falkville (6-0).
Campbell, who’s been on the ASWA’s and AHSAA’s radars all season, had yet another solid outing in Cold Springs’ 28-6 home loss to region-rival Lamar County, rushing 30 times for 174 yards. With seven games in the books, the senior signal-caller now has an impressive 1,319 rushing yards.
Lambert and his Holly Pond squad never stopped fighting in a 47-20 loss to Geraldine on homecoming night. With 1:54 left on the clock, the freshman quarterback went 7 of 10 and marched 85 yards through the air. Lambert added his third and final touchdown as time expired, ending the evening with 246 passing yards.
Shades Valley quarterback Rashad Louie was named the ASWA’s Offensive Player of the Week after accounting for seven touchdowns and 406 yards of total offense in a 61-28 win over Gardendale. Louie completed 22 of 28 passes for 390 yards with six scores (11, 13, 36, 37, 50 and 51 yards) and ran for 106 yards with a 5-yard touchdown.
Louie edged Sweet Water’s Jokoby Aldridge and Haleyville’s Brady Sherrill for the top offensive honor.
Aldridge, a Jacksonville State commit, ran for 289 yards and five touchdowns (4, 39, 82, 16 and 25 yards) on 30 carries as Sweet Water upset 2A, No. 1 Washinton County 35-32.
Sherrill rushed 14 times for 199 yards and three scores, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for another socre in a 56-45 victory over Priceville. He also had an interception on defense.
The ASWA’s Defense/Special Teams Player of the Week went to Sardis’ Keenan Lewis, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and finished with 266 all-purpose yards in a 61-28 loss to St. Clair County. He finished with 16 carries for 102 yards and a score, 152 yards in kickoff returns and the two TDs, and one reception for 12 yards and another score.
The finalists Lewis bypassed for the award were Fairhope’s John Baxter and Saks’ Devin Harris.
Baxter made a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give the Pirates a 24-23 road win over rival Foley, while Harris returned two interceptions for touchdowns, recovered a blocked punt and caught a pass for a score in a 43-7 victory over Weaver.
Locust Fork’s Micah Stephens grabbed the AHSAA’s Prep Spotlight for Week 7 by scoring four times on successive offensive plays in a 42-22 win against Douglas.
The sophomore running back finished with 203 rushing yards on just nine carries. He reached the end zone on runs of 12, 30, 49 and 78 yards, quickly turning an early 7-0 deficit into a 29-7 lead midway through the second period.
Marion County’s Ready Swanigan and Smiths Station duo Harrison Jones and Devante Marshall were the AHSAA’s other finalists.
Swanigan took over as the school’s all-time touchdown leader by adding five scores and 356 all-purpose yards in a 54-24 victory over South Lamar. The senior, who had three TDs as a freshman, now has 81 total after scoring on runs of 62 and 25 yards, a 37-yard pass reception, an interception covering 57 yards and a 95-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
Perry Reed had held the mark at Marion County for 39 years.
Smiths Station’s Jones kicked a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter for the game’s only points as the Panthers (7-0) knocked off Opelika (6-1) 3-0 in a key 6A, Region 3 contest. It was Smiths Station’s first victory over the Bulldogs since 1994 and only the second in 22 tries in the series. At running back, Marshall, who had 166 rushing yards on 24 carries, sped 53 yards on a run to set up Jones’ field goal.
% The ASWA’s Josh Bean and AHSAA’s Ron Ingram contributed to this report.