High School Football Mid-Season Report
MADISON- The 2021 high school football regular season is halfway completed and many ask ‘where did the time go’?
The four local teams have combined for a very respectable 14-5 with only Bob Jones having played just four games of its 10-game schedule and are 2-2 overall and 2-1 in Class 7A Region 4. Completing five games on the 10-outing lineup are James Clemens 5-0, 3-0, Sparkman 3-2, 3-0, both of which are in Class 7A Region 4 with Bob Jones, and Madison Academy 4-1, 3-0 as the Mustangs play in Class 4A Region 7.
Let’s take a look at the four teams.
With first-year head coach Chad McGehee, the Jets are perfect on the season outscoring their opponents 188-89. But the record is a little misleading. The Jets had to go to overtime to beat crosstown rival Bob Jones and squeaked by Huntsville by a mere three points.
On offense with over 2,000 total yards, the Jets are led by junior quarterback Gio Lopez (5-10, 180) who has passed for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns hitting 62-percent of his passes. Senior Dante Snodgrass (5-8, 165) leads a bevy of running backs with 593 yards on 86 carries while the receiving corps is being led by two outstanding pass catchers. Keymari Pittman (5-7, 155, Jr.) has 20 catches for 321 yards and five TDs and Tyrik Walker (6-0, 175, Sr.) has pulled in 23 passes for 308 yards and two scores.
The defense has really stepped up to the challenges when needed giving up just 558 yards to opponents. Defensive lineman Andrew Millar (5-10, 220, Jr.) leads the group with 30 tackles while Darren Verhage (6-1, 240, Sr.) is next with 38. Highly recruited Jamal Mayers (5-9, 160, Jr.) has three interceptions including what was the game winner against Huntsville as he had two INTs against the Panthers with one a pick-six, which was the difference in a 43-40 victory for the Jets. He has 19 tackles over all while fellow safety Kam Barnett (5-10, 165, Sr.) has 22 total tackles and one interception. Opponents are being held to a mere 18 points per game.
The Jets’ program has never been this far into the season undefeated and are ranked No. 7 in Class 7A.
The Patriots certainly have an even season with two wins and two losses, but the equalization is also in the statistics. Nearly identical numbers for the Patriots and their opponents come in the form passing yards per game, pass completions and completion percentage, rushing yards, rushing yards per game and total points scored.
Even in their victories, the Pats have given up more points than they need to.
Quarterback Ray Hardy (6-2, 205, Jr.) has completed 50 passes for 734 yards, but only two touchdowns. The signal caller also leads the team in rushing with 573 yards and 10 scores while running back Terrance Salter (5-8, 205, Sr.) has added 268 yards and two scores of his own on the ground. Two junior receivers are topping that position as Quenton Hubbard (5-11, 165, Jr.) has 12 catches and 252 yards and Kelly Fields (6-0, 185, Jr.) has pulled down 10 passes for 154 yards.
The defense is led by defensive back Cosey Scarebrook (6-2, 190, Sr.) who has posted 38 tackles, but has two interceptions including one for a score against Florence. Linebacker/defensive back Rowan Jones (5-9, 190, Jr.) is tops on the squad with 46 tackles and one interception. Jeff Rodriguez (6-1, 190, Sr.) at defensive back has 40 tackles and one interception.
Despite a season opening 41-17 loss to Briarwood Academy, the last four games for Madison Academy have been dominated by the Mustangs outscoring their opponents 180-38. Madison Academy, 4-1, 3-0, is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A and has amassed nearly 2,700 yards of offense and scored almost 40 points an outing.
The offense is being throttled by junior quarterback Carson Creehan (6-4, 195) who has passed for 924 yards, three touchdowns and 64-percent completions and senior running back Will Stokes (5-10, 164) who has posted 913 yards at a clip of 11.5 yards per carry. Stokes has also rushed for 16 touchdowns.
The defense is led by seniors Tim Spurlock (6-3, 219) and Chuck Moore (5-8, 180) who together have over 100 tackles. Overall, the Mustangs have allowed opponents just 16 points per game. The defense and special teams have accounted for four touchdowns through the first half of the season.
With four region games remaining, including three at home versus Huntsville, James Clemens and Bob Jones, the Sparkman Senators feel they have their hands on the wheel to navigating to a possible Region 4 championship or least a nice spot on the Class 7A playoffs. The Senators, 3-2, 3-0, lost its first two games of 2021 in lopsided scores totaling just 20 points while giving up 89, but have rebounded with three consecutive victories and loads of confidence while headed into the second half of the season. In the last three outings, Sparkman has outscored their opponents 131-47.
Big plays seem to be the forte of this squad. In a recent hard-fought contest versus Austin the Senators scored on a 72-yard pass play and a fourth quarter, game-winning 82 yard interception by Justin Caudle (Jr.) to post the victory. The high energy within the squad is contagious as team-wide enthusiasm abounds at each game leading to an unblemished region record.