Shinn And Vigor Lose Heart-Breaker

McCALLA -- Until 93 seconds remained in Friday's Class 5A quarterfinal AHSAA playoff game, it appeared the Vigor Wolves would head back to Prichard with a good road win.

     Didn't happen.

       An ill-advised fake punt gave McAdory a short, 33-yard field, and with 1:33 left in the game, the Yellow Jackets' Emmett Terry scored from the 14. Edison Lopez's PAT gave the home team the 7-6 advantage it needed to end the Wolves' season at 8-5. To the categories:

       TOP PROSPECT: It was FNL that told you first two years ago about Vigor wide receiver Marvin Shinn. On this night, the 6-4, 195-pounder was quiet, due in large part to two things: lack of a passing quarterback, and the defense of one Marcus Turner. More on him later.     

     Shinn's first touch was a reverse pass that he completed for 28 yards. He later caught a 12-yarder, returned a kick-off 16 yards and a punt for four. Total all-purpose yards: 60.

           McAdory knows it' a good thing Vigor couldn't get the ball in the Tide commitment's hands more often.

         "He's just now getting healthy. He's been banged up all year, but he's recovered. We've been going to him, and he's responded," said Vigor coach Kerry Stephenson.

          Interesting tidbit: A very good Vigor source says Valley safety Erique Florence, who is uncommitted, has been trying to sell Shinn and fellow ‘Bama pledge Brent Calloway of Russellville on the three playing together. Bama and Auburn are both battling for Florence.

          The source did add that"Bama is the only one (Shinn) is talking to, though."

          SENIORS WHO SHINED: Vigor defensive back Eric Dixon is 5-11, 170, and per Andrew Bone committed Friday to Kentucky. One reason for his success: teammate Patrick Howell, a disrupting defensive end who plays much bigger than 5-10, 200.

           Though he didn't dazzle as much as usual, one of the most fun player to watch around Birmingham is McAdory quarterback Brandon Bender. This 5-10, 170-pounder can cut on a dime, but is currently battling a sprained ankle. He got a late interception from his part-time safety spot to ice the win before icing the ankle.

          JUNIORS TO WATCH: McAdory cornerback Turner, listed at 5-10, 160, is probably bigger. He did a nice job all night on Shinn.

          "He's a great looking kid, and a lot thicker than I thought he was," said Stephenson.

          Twice Turner broke up balls intended for his possible future teammate, Shinn. Turner is a Tide target.

          For Vigor, there are lots of juniors to talk about, too many to name them all. One who stands out is defensive end Darius Philon. He's 6-2, 250 and not done growing. Said Stephenson:"He's had a great year. Over 80 tackles, and 13 sacks."

          Philon spent a good deal of the evening in the McAdory backfield.

          Another Wolf to watch is offensive tackle/tight end Paul Kyles (6-4, 235). He's a natural tight end who had to shift inside to help the team.

          Just a few other names from Vigor's eleventh grade group: defensive back Chris Taylor (6-0, 170), running back Deangelo Miller (5-9, 160) and injured defensive end Jamichael Winston (6-4, 210).

          LARRY MUNSON "MY GOD, A FRESHMAN" AWARD: Tonight we had co-winners. McAdory running back Thaddaus Houser (5-8, 160) is a fine receiver out of the backfield. Meanwhile, Vigor tight end Keontae McCants, a 6-3, 185-pounder who blocks well and will be a good receiver down the road.

          HOW 'BOUT THAT GROUND ROUND: The Railroad Cafe, located off the Morgan Road exit from I-459, has lots of good items on its menu. On this night, the featured item was hamburger steak, complete with onions, gravy, a piping hot baked potato and a crisp garden salad. The meat was ordered and delivered medium, and the gravy made the tender cut even tastier. Good sweat tea and service that got us out of there in time for kick-off just added to the experience.

          HOT TO TROT: After the disappointment of"No hot chocolate for you!" I had to deal with two weeks ago at Hueytown, I was really counting on the folks at McAdory to come through on a cool Alabama night under the Friday lights. And come through they did. I was served a piping hot and tasty Styrofoam cup of tasty and warming hot chocolate that truly hit the spot.

          FiNaLe: This concludes another fun season of covering high school football, due to the Iron Bowl being on a Friday.

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