High School Football Playoffs- Round One Features Both Bob Jones And Madison Academy
MADISON- The high school football playoffs are underway after the completion of the 2022 regular season schedule and two of the four local teams in the Madison area have made their way to post-season action.
In Class 7A, the Bob Jones Patriots of Region 4 will face the Hoover Buccaneers of Region 3 in Hoover while in Class 3A, the Madison Academy Mustangs of Region 7 will host the Region 8 Phil Campbell Bobcats. Both games set for Friday with kickoffs at 7:00 p.m.
A carbon copy of the 2021 season, the Patriots completed their regular season with a 5-5 record and head into a first-round playoff game against one of the top programs in the state facing Region 3 champions Hoover (9-1). The Buccaneers are riding a nine-game winning streak after dropping their season opener by outscoring their opponents 275-82.
“They’re Hoover, especially defensively,” said Bob Jones third year head coach Kelvis White. “Their defensive line is big and good with their hands and their linebackers are very solid.”
Hoover, which is 7-0 all-time versus Bob Jones, are led by head coach Wade Waldrop who was in a similar position at Madison’s James Clemens until two years ago.
For Bob Jones, the Pats lost their season-ending contest to Hartselle 38-31. For the season, they outscored their opposition 316-257 and could be a strong factor in the playoffs as White explained, “We’re inches from being 9-1 losing a few close games. This team is resilient as each player is a fighter and fought hard to make it to the playoffs with a 4-3 Region 4 record.”
The Bob Jones offense is healthy as the core of the offensive line remains with the leadership of both Maddox Sunderman (6-3, 290, Sr.) and Tafari Alcime (6-0, 280, Jr.). The squad is made up of mostly players who began the season as starters.
Senior quarterback Rayshawn Hardy (6-2, 200, Sr.) has been the main offensive weapon for the Patriots throwing for 1,637 yards and 10 touchdowns on 125 completions. The dual talent also has 16 touchdowns and 1,378 yards on 181 rushing attempts. The First-Team All-State selection a year ago has amassed over 3,000 yards total and accounted for 26 TDs for the Patriots.
Running back Tyren Washington (5-10, 230, Jr.) has 853 yards and 10 scores. The multi-talented receiving corps are led by K.J. Fields (6-0, 185, Sr.) who has 51 receptions for 683 yards and four touchdowns, Quenton Hubbard (5-11, 155, Sr.) with 42 catches for 634 yards and three scores, Malachi Foster (5-7, 160, So.) who has 25 receptions for 442 yards and six touchdowns and Brody Cooper (6-4, 200, Sr.) at tight end who has 17 catches for 168 yards and one score. Overall, the offense has scampered to 4,235 yards on the season.
On defense, the squad lost two of its main starters due to season-ending injuries. Rowan Jones (5-10, 195, Sr.) fell victim to a knee injury and Ronin Amsler (6-3, 195, Sr.) also had an injury that put him on the sidelines. Backups have stood tall in their season work and White is confident they can make the necessary plays against Hoover.
“We have to execute and minimize mistakes to face the challenge ahead of us,” said White. “It’s a big challenge, but with this team and its great character, the challenge is doable.”
Falling in last year’s Class 4A semi-finals, the Mustangs lost 17 seniors off that squad and returned just three starters on offense and two on defense as they moved to Class 3A in 2022.
“We’re young, especially on defense as we start four sophomores and have nine first-year starters,” said Bob Godsey head coach of Madison Academy. “Our kicking game is completely new as it’s been a rebuilding process throughout our program.”
Madison Academy lost its two season opening games and have run off eight straight victories posting three shutouts giving up just 55 points over the last eight games. A perfect 6-0 record in Region 7, the Mustangs have been led offensively by senior quarterback Carson Creehan who has passed for 2,221 yards on 119 completions from 184 attempts. He has 21 touchdown strikes and three interceptions. He’s carried the ball 55 times for 526 yards and seven TDs.
Running backs Ken Cherry (Sr.), 116/1,289 yards/24 TDs, and John Williams (So.), 77/582/10, have the bulk of the action on the ground. At receiver, Mario Brewer (Sr.) has 37 receptions for 670 yards and eight TDs while Jackson Reece (Jr.) has 30 catches for 541 yards and three scores. Brewer also has 30 kick returns for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
“Our team has matured as the season went on as each player has been able to work and stay focused,” said Godsey, in his fourth season at Madison Academy. “They never doubted. They never blinked. They found the confidence through their hard work.”
Meanwhile, the defense has been stout. Linebacker A.J. Rice (So.) has been a workhorse with 99 tackles and five sacks to lead the team. Jack Doyle (LB, So.) has posted 55 tackles while Josh Williams (LB, So.) and Brandon Tanner have 50 tackles each. Ken Cherry (LB, Jr.) has posted four interceptions, two of which for a pick-six, and Williams has added three swipes of his own.
Madison Academy will host the Region 8 representative Bobcats (7-3, 3-3) who have scored 30 points and allowed 22 points per outing. This will be the first ever meeting of the two schools. Madison Academy is putting up 47 points per game while allowing 14 to each opponent.
“Phil Campbell appears to be bigger and more physical as they set up a lot of looks on offense with lots of sets and schemes,” said Godsey of his opponent. “They are very sound and physical on the defensive side of the ball.”
Over the past three seasons, the Mustangs are 35-11 under Godsey’s leadership and have made the playoffs each year winning two Region championships.
“It’s been a blast with this team and to watch this 10-member senior class to become leaders,” said Godsey. “All the different parts of this team have come together. It’s been fun.”