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The James Clemens Jets were upset in the first round of the AHSAA football playoffs losing to visiting Oak Mountain. Only one local school made its way to round two as Madison Academy easily won its playoff game versus Hamilton. Photo- William Aycock

Shock And Bizarre Highlight Round One Of High School Football Playoffs

MADISON- In a shocker among high school football fanatics, only one local school made its way to round two of the AHSAA Football State Playoffs. Madison Academy was the lone wolf advancing to round two while James Clemens was upset, Sparkman was walloped and Bob Jones played late into the night before bowing to one of the top-ranked teams in Alabama.


The perfect season came to an abrupt and shocking end for James Clemens as the foot of an Oak Mountain junior kicker who nailed a 31-yard field goal at the final horn to beat the host Jets 38-35. The loss in the first round of the playoffs was the only blemish on the 2021 campaign for the fifth-ranked Jets of Class 7A.

The visiting Eagles opened a 21-nothing lead against the host Jets before the home team overcame being shell-shocked by Oak Mountain’s three early-game scores. Led by junior quarterback Gio Lopez, who three for TD strikes of 53 yards to Keymari Pittman, Kobe Johnson on a 44-yard toss and Tyrik Walker on a brilliant 83-yard score, and senior running back Dante Snodgrass who had short TD runs of three and one yards, the Jets actually cut the lead to 21-14 at halftime.

Tied at 35 with two minutes remaining, the Eagles (7-4) marched down field for the winning kick by Garrett Murphy. The ball went through the goalposts and was like a dagger to the heart for James Clemens.

The two teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of offense at Madison City Schools Stadium on the Thursday night including 335 yards in the air provided by the strong-armed Lopez.

The 10-1 season was spectacular when you consider the squad had a first-year head coach in Chad McGehee and his mostly new coaching staff.


In one of the most bizarre games in the history of high school athletics in Madison, the Bob Jones Patriots not only vacated its home field at the last minute, but moved the game to Huntsville and completed the game at 11:55 p.m some 35 minutes before AHSAA rules indicate games must stop play (12:30 a.m.). School officials scrambled to locate a location to play the game between the Patriots and visiting Hewitt-Trussville as major electrical issues at Madison City Schools Stadium caused the playoff contest to be played at Huntsville’s Milton Frank Stadium.

Once arriving at the stadium located in the area of Brahan Spring Park in west Huntsville, the enormous help of the Huntsville City Schools assisted in game and stadium setup. Supporters of the Patriots opened a concession stand for snacks and Bob Jones and the Madison Police Dept. provided necessary and required security. The work of everyone involved, especially Bob Jones Athletic Director Tom Runnion and administration of Huntsville City Schools, including Superintendent Christy Finley and Director of Athletics Scott Stapler, made for a special and memorable evening of high school football.

Once action got underway at 9:45 p.m., the visiting Huskies opened the scoring on a first quarter pick-six, but the Patriots tied the game on a junior quarterback Ray Hardy two-yard score. He added an additional scoring run and a touchdown pass play to complete the Bob Jones (5-6) scoring. Eighth ranked Hewitt-Trussville (9-2) had a stingy defense and a big-play offense to offset any progress Bob Jones made throughout the late night in the 42-20 final score.


The No. 1 ranked Hoover Buccaneers (11-0) showed little mercy on the visiting Sparkman Senators (4-7) with a 42-0 halftime lead and cruising to a 56-14 victory at the Hoover Met in Birmingham. The home team scored on an interception return on their third defensive play of the game and a long run on their first offensive play to set the tone for the evening’s first round playoff game.

Sparkman remains winless against Hoover in six tries. The Senators finished fourth in Region 4 and made the playoffs for the third year in-a-row and faced Hoover in each year of the first round.


Will Stokes, senior running back for Class 4A top-ranked Madison Academy, continued his ways of putting unbelievable numbers of offense on his resume added more than 200 yards and three touchdowns to his season and now has more than 2,000 yards of offense on the 2021 season.

The host Mustangs started early against Hamilton (4-7) with first and second quarter scores and a 35-0 lead at halftime. The Mustangs defense, which has given up only 13 points per game, scored on two interceptions by A.J. Rice (freshman) and Chuck Moore (senior).

Madison Academy (10-1) advanced to round two with a host game against Priceville (10-1), which mowed down Etowah 31-14 in its opening playoff game. Running back Mason Cartee rushed for 255 yards and two scores in the victory and will present the Mustangs with a huge challenge in the matchup of the two 10-1 programs.

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