It Was Senior Night, But Juniors Are Stars

LEEDS – It was Senior Night at Leeds as the Green Wave saluted outgoing football players, cheerleaders and band members before a dominating 42-7 win over Childersburg at Homer Smiles Stadium. That said, the top two prospects on the field were both juniors, and both are headed to Tuscaloosa Saturday to take in Alabama’s home game against Texas A&M. To the categories:

TOP PROSPECTS: It’s 1A and 1B in this category. 1A is running back Tre Nation, a junior listed at 6-0, 215. He ran for - get this - 290 yards on 29 carries, with two touchdowns on runs of 26 and 9 yards. That’s not a typo. 290.

“Trey’s had over 100 yards in every single game,” said Leeds Coach Keith Etheridge. “He went over 1,000 last week. He’s just very consistent, and you know what you’re getting with him. He’s one of those guys that can grind it, or he can get out on the perimeter and run.”

Said Childersburg Coach Adam Fossett of Nation: “He’s good on his feet. He’s very athletic, and he’s got good cuts. He’s got a good head for the game. He’s going to get the yards he can get, and he doesn’t turn the ball over, so you have to wrap him up and make sure you get hats to the ball when you do get him wrapped up.”

(Ironically, Nation did have a rare fumble after a 7-yard run early.)

Then there’s another junior, who we’ll call 1B. That’s TaDarryl “TD” Marshall. He’s the quarterback for Leeds, and he went for 115 yards rushing on 9 totes to go with another 60 through the air on 6-of-9 passing. He’s the Blake Sims of Leeds, quite the elusive fellow. He scored on a 37-yard scamper.

“He’s come a long way. He’s over 1,000 yards rushing now,” said Etheridge. “He’s thrown for over 900 (yards), so he’s done a great job for us, not only making plays, but being a leader.

“To have two juniors making that big of an impact is huge for us.”

Both will be watching Alabama Saturday.

Fossett is also impressed with Marshall, and said, “He’s a run threat, and he’s a throw threat, who’s extremely athletic. He knows their offense, and he runs it well.”

SENIORS WHO SHINED: He made All State last season as a linebacker, and still plays there, but Tyler “Tank” Wright stood out at running back too. He scored three times and went for 121 yards on but five carries. Etheridge says tailback is Wright’s likely destination at the next level. He’s 5-8, 215. He was injured late but it’s not known how seriously.

Leeds has a number of solid seniors. One is Jacoby Lockhart, a safety and wide receiver who is listed at 5-7, 160. Leeds kicker Morgan Costan rarely misses, though he did hit the upright on a 43-yard effort. He hit all six PAT’s he tried.

Childersburg’s Tim Tilley is a bruising runner himself at 6-1, 205. He has a few small school offers.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: Receiver/Defensive Back Tylan Coleman (5-10, 170) is quite quick and had a good pass break-up. He’s caught a handful of touchdown passes this year, though Leeds held him in check. Last week against Munford he had three interceptions. “He’s a very athletic kid, a good leader for us, and a ‘Yes Sir,’ ‘No Sir’ kid. He’s upped (his performance every week, and I expect him to continue to do that,” said Fossett.

For the Green Wave, wide receiver Koi Freeman (6-0, 160) is one to watch.

SUPER SOPHS: Leeds has both corner Tyler Rose (5-9, 160) and defensive lineman Isaiah Sharp-Perry (6-1, 230) starting Pollard has a brother, Stanley, who signed with Auburn. Sharp-Perry had several pressures and stops.

FRESHMAN PHENOM: Wright’s younger brother, corner Torrance Pollard (5-9, 160) had a nice interception. He will only get better.

CRIMSON CONNECTION: It was nice to run into South Alabama assistant coach Tim Bowens, a former Alabama wide receiver, at the game scouting. On a related note, it was learned later via TV highlights that the current Head Coach at Donoho in Anniston is former Tide defensive back Shannon Felder.

HOW ‘BOUT THEM RIBS: I had never heard of Little Bit Of R&R BBQ until it was nominated recently for honors in a Best Ribs Contest by the Alabama Media Group. This caught my attention, especially after learning it operated out of a trailer in the parking lot of a gas station in front of the Leeds Wal-Mart. Fortunately there were nearby picnic tables I could dine at. The ribs were fall off the bone tender, and the homemade sauce was way more sweet than spicy. The potato salad used freshly cut potatoes with the peel still on the bits. Then there were the baked beans, sweet the way I like them, the molasses apparent, and a secret ingredient I learned from the chef/owner: apple pie filing. Washed down by Milo’s Tea purchased inside the convenience store, this was one great pre-game meal. Did I mention the home-made brownie with peanut butter frosting? Good times.

NEXT UP: Alabama commitment Anfernee Jennings and Dadeville play host to Handley of Roanoke, alma mater of Bama backup center Bradley Bozeman. FNL has never covered a game at Dadeville. That means it’s back to burgers for supper.

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