FNL, Cary Clark Heads To Hoover For FNL

HOOVER -- Depending on which poll you look at it, the 2010 Hoover High team is ranked between fourth and ninth in America. The Bucs, ranked first in 6A, dispatched No. 4 Gadsden City, 33-10 at Regions Park. Shockingly, Gadsden City led 7-6 at intermission. FNL is not so much about the game itself, but the prospects on the field.

It should be noted, however, that Hoover entered the game unscored on. The Bucs are 4-0, and the Titans are now 3-1. To the categories:

There was one Alabama commitment in the game.

TOP PROSPECT(S): We'll be diplomatic and call it a four-way tie between Gadsden City's three SEC commitments and Hoover's one: The Bucs feature wide receiver Jaylon Denso, an Auburn pledge listed at 6-2, 200. GCHS has safety Anthony Swain (Auburn, 6-2, 200), wide receiver T.J. Worthy (Ole Miss, 6-0, 170) and wide receiver/kick returner Darryl Collins (Alabama, now grown to 6-0, 192).

This being Bamamag.com, we'll focus on Collins, but Denson is a good player. He overcame a pair of early drops to finish with six catches, 106 yards, including a 32-yard score. He will remind Auburn fans of current Tiger Darvin Adams, once he develops a bit more. Swain had some nice hits. Worthy was pretty much invisible, save a nine-yard grab late. Back to Collins¦

"Darryl's done a pretty good job so far (this season)," said Titans Coach Joe Billingsley. "We use him on returns, and some on reverses. Darryl's a great young man, and he has great character."

Hoover Coach Josh Niblett noticed Collins early on both in last year's Hoover playoff win and in this year's film study. "He's just a great athlete that's got great speed. He does a great job for them," Niblett said. "He's just a playmaker, and they try to get the ball in his hands, whether it be on offense, or on special teams."

On this night, against a great Hoover team, Collins finished with six yards on two catches, one carry for a yard, and a 32-yard kick-off return. He got open several other times, but the Titans couldn’t get him the ball.

SENIORS WHO SHINED: I'm not smart enough to tell you why more colleges aren't heavily involved with Hoover quarterback Ryan Carter (6-2, 190). I suppose it's the tired old "system quarterback" excuse.. John Parker Wilson, formerly of Alabama and now an Atlanta Falcons backup, ran a "system" at Hoover, too, and he's done OK. Carter riddled the Titans passing. Several SEC teams are looking at Carter's teammate, defensive lineman Michael Nysewander, listed at 6-1, 230, but probably bigger than that. His teammate, speedy running back Justin McArthur, raced 71 yards to give the Bucs a 13-10 lead they'd not relinquish. He's 5-9, 174.

For the Titans, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee are all keeping an eye on Alonzo Harris, a running back who has grown to 6-3, 222 as of this week. Harris, probably the best senior running back in the state, came into the game with 635 yards in four contests and went for another 103 on 18 carries against the Bucs on this night. His 55-yard run to open the scoring would have had Larry Munson screaming, "Regions Park is STUNNED!"

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Caleb Sims is a weapon for Niblett and the Bucs. At 5-10, 175, Sims can beat you from running back or as a kick returner.

For the Titans, watch next year for both fullback Albert Johnson (6-0, 195) and safety Tyler Naser (6-0, 175). Naser recovered a fumble on the second half kick-off to set up a field goal and 10-6 lead. There's also still-growing offensive lineman Joseph Baker, now 6-4, 225. These may not be SEC guys, but they'll play somewhere.

We will not have a "Super Sophs" tonight. As Niblett put it: "The jury's still out."

GENE STALLINGS FAN CLUB: Count Niblett, who played for Stallings at Alabama, as one who was quite glad to hear the announcement earlier this year that his former coach had been named to the College Football Hall of Fame. "It's just a blessing. He deserves everything he gets," Niblett said. "He's just a great man. He was a great mentor for me, not only when I was playing, but now that I'm coaching . There's a lot of things that he taught me that I've carried on throughout my coaching career.

"I owe him a lot, and I love him to death. Him being able to get that accolade was huge, and it's probably a little late. It probably should have happened a little bit earlier. I'm just proud for him, and proud for his family."

FOOTBALL FREDDIE: It's always good to see good friend Fred Sington, Jr., a former Tider and son of one of the greatest players in Bama history. Fred does color on the Titans radio broadcast, and he was kind enough to have me on at half time to talk both high school and Bama football. (He's a good pal of Kirk's, too. And admits it.)

HOW 'BOUT THAT 'EYE-TALIAN' FOOD: For several years I'd heard about Stromboli's, mainly on radio commercials, but had never tried one, until today. During lunch at the Inverness location of Petrucelli's Italian Eatery, I decided to eschew my normal two choices of either spaghetti or pizza and try the Meat Lover's Stromboli. It was kind of like a large croissant, with mozzarella inside and supposedly the four meats of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage and ground beef. I'll be darned if I could find any ground beef, though. It seemed that, in my case, they just doubled up on the sausage, meaning, for me, I will have to double up on the Zantac 150 tonight if I want to get any sleep. I think that may have been the longest sentence I've ever typed. Regardless, I enjoyed the Stromboli, will try it again, but will make sure next time I get my darned ground beef.

NEXT UP: A bye week (FNL needs those, too), before resuming coverage on Friday, Oct. 8, with Oxford at Hewitt-Trussville. Oxford features a trio of top juniors in LB Kwon Alexander, OL Michael Flint, and DB Trae Elston. All sport multiple SEC offers, including UA.

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