Oak Mountain Grinds Prattville

BIRMINGHAM – It may well be that the defending state 6A champion Prattville Lions don't even see the playoffs this year. If they make it, they will need help and have to open at Montgomery Carver, not an enviable task. A tough 21-17 loss at Oak Mountain has put the Lions in a pit they may not be able to crawl out of, post-season wise.

The home standing Eagles, however, look to be in great shape unless you consider they may have to open the playoffs at Auburn High.

To the categories:

TOP PROSPECT: Well, in this case, the top prospect stayed just there: on the sidelines. Florida State commitment Austin Golson, a 6-6, 290-pound offensive tackle for Prattville, had to miss a second straight game with a concussion. Yet and still, when healthy (and he should play against Chelsea next week), Golson is a grown man.

"He's doing a great job," said Prattville Coach Chad Anderson. "He's been a good anchor for us, and gives us steady play each and every week. You know you've got one (opposing lineman) locked up for sure on that side."

Anderson added that it's his understanding that Golson seems firm to the Seminoles, but is still hearing a lot from Alabama and may agree to an official visit to Tuscaloosa.

SENIORS WHO SHINED: Oak Mountain is a grind-it-out team on both sides, playing old school, smash-mouth football. It all starts on defense with hard-hitting linebacker John Michael Miller, a 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker who averages nearly ten tackles per game.

"He studies the game. He's not a super-talented kid, but he makes the most out of what ability he does have," said Oak Mountain Coach Cris Bell of Miller. "He's a good tackler who plays hard. A great kid, who's a real good high school football player."

Miller is hearing mostly from Division III schools like Birmingham Southern and Milsaps. He doubles as the Eagles' kicker and nailed all three of his PAT'S Friday.

His teammate, quarterback Jake Adams, is a bullish runner at 6-3, 220, as is fullback Scott Hester (6-2, 225). Both broke Lions' tackles all night to pick up key first down yardage.

For the Lions, running back Stanley Mays (5-8, 180) was a thorn in the Eagles' side all night, once breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage after taking a snap in the wildcat to get a key first down with a 15-yard run on fourth-and-2.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Prattville running back Kamryn Pettway (6-2, 215) can be a man among boys at times. He ran for 14 times for 65 yards, sometimes running over and/or dragging would-be tacklers.

"He's got good speed, and he's hard to bring down," said Bell. "He just runs extremely well, and I think he's a good blocker. He can catch the football when they run a screen pass to him."

It will be something to see next year when Pettway is not splitting carries with Mays. To the Eagle's credit, they stopped him cold on a late fourth-and-one to ice the game, one play after Pettway drug a gang of tacklers eight yards.

Oak Mountain receiver Xavier Cochrane (5-10, 150) has speed and hands.

SUPER SOPHS: Prattville quarterback Kalen Whitlow (5-11, 170) will grow in wisdom and stature and become a good one, as his older brother, Kentucky starter Jalen Whitlow, did for the Lions.

For the Eagles, 5-10, 175-pound slot back Josh Gaines is good on the sweep and the short pass.

HOW ‘BOUT THEM BURGERS: While I don't often spend my birthday at a high school game, I did this year and decided to purchase as my dinner what the folks at Oak Mountain called a "Meal Deal." It consisted of cold fries, a burnt-to-the-crisp burger, and a cold, tasty Mountain Dew. Lesson learned.

NEXT UP: He's 6-6, 220, has great hands and leap. Yes, Derunnya Wilson of Wenonah is a good basketball player who is just now learning to play football, and he's a quick study. He and his Wenonah Dragons travel to McAdory for a region title tilt that should be quite entertaining.

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