FNL: Mobile Christian at American Christian

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.-In a town crazed by a college game played 24 hours later, the first round of the Class 2A AHSAA playoffs began a few miles from the Alabama campus at American Christian Academy, where the Patriots hosted (and dusted) Mobile Christian, 55-20. The Pats are coached by former Alabama center John Causey, a volunteer assistant who was elevated to Head Coach earlier this year.

Causey's team has a legit shot to reach Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Super Six, as his Pats feature a D-1 quarterback commitment and an SEC invited walk-on.

To the categories:

Top prospect

ACA signal-caller Austin Grammer is committed to the University of Houston, home to Heisman candidate Case Keenum, owner of numerous NCAA passing records.

"Austin is a special player," Causey said. "He's one of those players it's a privilege to be around. I joke with him all the time that he's got a heart rate of about eight beats a minute, and it drives me nuts, but you want that kind of guy on the field with his leadership ability and his athletic ability."

Grammer finished with 193 total yards. The breakdown eight-of-17 passing for 106 and two touchdowns, and another 87 on seven runs with one score on the ground.

Future Tider

Parker Barrineau, a 6-2, 185-pound receiver/corner/punt returner, lost a 22-yard touchdown catch to a holding penalty, but finished with four catches for 104 yards, four punt returns for 46 more, two kick-off returns for 58, and an interception on the first play from scrimmage and a short three-yard return to set up his team's first score. That adds up to 211 yards. Barrineau plans to graduate in December from ACA and enroll at Alabama. What kind of player is the Tide getting?

"Big-time players make big-time plays in big games. Guys with that kind of ability and that kind of (senior) experience step up, and he‘s done it every time we‘ve had a big game," said Causey.

"It's what he does before we ever get out here on Friday night. He works his tail off in practice, and he runs his (pass) routes the way he‘s going to run them in a game. He looks the same to us, whether it‘s on a Tuesday, or whether it‘s out here on a Friday night."

"(Barrineau) has the ability to clear and get open, and usually he's doing that against defenses that are double-covering him."

Seniors who shined

For ACA, running back John Major Davis (6-0, 199) scored four times and continued what has been a great season.

For the Leopards, two-way lineman James Overton (6-2, 260) is getting looks from the likes of Harding.

Juniors to watch

Mobile Christian's Nicholas Hall also goes both ways on the line at 6-2, 270.

For ACA, receiver John Roberts (6-1, 180) made a nice grab on a 12-yard touchdown grab, while running back Aaron Box (5-10, 192) looks ready to step in for Davis next year. Logan Elliot (6-3, 260) is an athletic guard.

Super sophs

Mobile Christian running back Tyler Rogers is a 180-pound, 5-foot-10 scatback who has run for 1,700 yards this year and run two kick-offs back for more than 90 yards, including a 91-yarder on this night. He also looked good on a 26-yard screen pass and a 20-yard rush. He's the Leopards' best player. He can play on any level of high school ball. Rogers rushed for 193 yards and added 16 in receiving. He's fun to watch.

For the Pats, he'll need a bit more height, but 5-11, 280-pound sophomore Nelson Brown gets after folks in the trenches on offense.

Coaching with a cause

Causey was a volunteer assistant at ACA and selling magazine ads until he was hired full-time early this year. He says a major reason he's in coaching is his mentor at Alabama, a guy named Gene Stallings.

"I responded to (Stallings)," Causey said, "because he had in impact on my life in more than just football. Football seasons come and go. Players come and go, but the impact that man made on my life as far as what he cared about me as a person. Coach Stallings showed me it's about more than just X's and O's."

How 'bout that ‘Q'

The ladies who work the concession stand at ACA cooked up some mighty fine pork for their BBQ sandwiches. I'm talking steamy hot, melt-in-your-mouth good. The sauce was good, too, and having Milo's tea available to wash it down was a bonus.

Up next

Daphne at Prattville is not a matchup you normally get in round two of the AHSAA 6A playoffs, but it's happening next week at Stanley Jensen Stadium. Bama commitments Caleb Gulledge and Justin Thomas will face future teammate Ryan Anderson, and future Auburn running back T.J. Yeldon.

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