Friday Night Lights Shines On Sophs

ALABASTER – It's probably a good thing we at FNL don't pick our games based on how competitive they are, but we thought Prattville at Thompson would be much closer than the final 42-7 margin. The visiting Lions pounded the previously unbeaten Warriors to even Prattville's season mark at 2-2.

Though the score was not close, a pair of sophomores emerged while a senior star left early with an injury and did not return.

To the categories:

TOP PROSPECT: At 6-1, 236 with a 4.4 forty, Auburn commitment Kamryn Pettway is off to a quick start for Prattville. He had four touchdowns in last week's win over Wetumpka, and came out firing at Thompson. Before leaving the game mid second quarter with an ankle injury, Pettway had unofficially racked up 70 yards on eight carries, and had another 40 yards called back on holding penalties. His trip to Shelby Medical Center down the street proved fruitful, as ankle x-rays turned out negative.

(Ironically, Calera star Ronnie  Clark spent time at the same hospital Friday night, but was found to just have cramps. It's not known if the two saw each other while there.)

Thompson coach Mike Montgomery played his college ball at Mississippi State and knows a good back when he sees one like Pettway. "He's got great vision, size and speed," Montgomery said, "and he's a complete, versatile offensive back. He can run between the tackles, or break one outside. That's a rarity to see these days."

Lions' coach Chad Anderson said Pettway's worked hard since the end of the 2012 season to become a better back. "He's learning all the different aspects of the running back position. The blocking, the route running. He's adapting to his role in our offense."

SENIORS WHO SHINED: Thompson running back Dee Tolbert is quick as a cat, especially out of the (pun intended) Wildcat formation. He scored the Warriors' lone TD out of that formation, after finding the end zoned three times in last week's win over rival Pelham.

For the Lions, a pair of tall, rangy defensive ends played well. They would be Troy Quinn and Ronny Slayton.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Thompson linebacker Marcus Lewis hits like a truck, while receiver Matt Tolbert is quick, runs good routes, and can catch the ball.

For Prattville, quarterback Kalen Whitlow is 6-1, 187 and found three different receivers for first half scores. Two of them went to fellow juniors Seth Knotts and Tyree Moore. Whitlow's older brother Jalen is a quarterback for the Kentucky Wildcats.

SUPER SOPHS: When Pettway went down with the ankle, the Lions seemed to not miss him much because of the fine job done by 6-foot, 210-pound Kingston Davis. Davis scored twice, and showed vision, quickness, a burst and the ability to break tackles.

Thompson's best sophomore is an Alabama legacy. He's T.J. Rayam, who plays nose guard like his dad, Thomas, did for Bama. Thomas is best-remembered for blocking a field goal to clinch a Tide win at Penn State in 1989, and currently serves as Thompson's defensive line coach.

HOW ‘BOUT THAT SOUL FOOD: If you're ever in the Alabaster area between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on a weekday, do yourself a favor and check out Bevelle's Family Café. Located just off U.S. 31 in a BP station, the former Bessemer establishment serves up meats, veggies and desserts that make the mouth water. My favorite is the baked chicken, but the turkey and dressing is a close second. Both the peach cobbler and banana pudding are top-notch, and the sweet tea to wash it down is just right.

NEXT UP: Calera at Shelby County: By this date, we may know the eventual destination of above-mentioned star Calera athlete Clark (no relation to the author). He seems very close to making a commitment to either Alabama or Auburn, with the Tide considered a slight favorite. The contest marks FNL's first visit to Columbiana.

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