TOP PROSPECT: Consider this unofficial stat line for Alabama commitment Anfernee Jennings, a 6-3, 270-pound man mountain: Seven tackles (two solos, five assists), two sacks, four quarterback hurries, one caused fumble (which he recovered on one of the sacks), two catches at tight end for 18 yards, and two rushes from the Wildcat for 39 yards, the second a 25-yard touchdown. Not a bad night’s work.
“He’s doing a great job for us. He’s plugging holes,” said Dadeville Coach Richard White. “He’s getting a lot of double teams, which frees up our linebackers. He plays some three-technique (defensive tackle) for us, but he also plays more five, which is defensive end, than he does anything else for us. We’ve even spot-played him some at inside linebacker, just to get him a little look there. He holds his own down there (at end). He does a good job. (Offensively) we probably haven’t gotten him the ball as much as we should have, throwing it to him in some situations, but that’s just the way it goes. Sometimes, the opportunity doesn’t present itself.”
Said Handley Coach Mike Battles of Jennings: “He deserves to be talked about. He’s a real good football player, and they’ll be lucky when he gets down there (to Tuscaloosa). He’s one that can go in there and play. He’s just a good-looking kid that’s got a lot of ability. Coach (Nick) Saban and them at The University of Alabama, they recognize talent early, and they stay on them, and if they picked (Jennings) and they’re committed to him, there’s something special there. You can bank on that.”
Jennings seemed to play better coming out of a three or four-point stance than when he stood up pre-snap. He seemed not too interested in blocking smaller defensive backs, but defensively, he played very hard when the play was to his side, and not as hard when the visitors ran away from him. That’s natural for a player this young, and something that is easily fixed at the SEC level.
SENIORS WHO SHINED: There are a few guys on each team with the chance to play college ball, even if not at the D-1 level. For Handley, fullback Zatorrius Watts (5-10, 180) bulled up the middle for an 18-yard TD to open the scoring. Dadeville kicker Zach Sims started slowly with a missed field goal, but made all his PAT’s and kicked off consistently inside the 10.
JUNIORS TO WATCH: Anfernee is not the only contributing Jennings for White’s Tigers. Younger brother Shawntee (6-2, 215) is also quite the athlete. “He’s a pretty good player, too,” White said. “He’s going to be not quite as big, but he’s almost as tall (as Anfernee). He’s about 6-2. He plays some quarterback, and he plays some strong safety for us. He’s probably going to end up being a linebacker when it’s all said and done.”
Shawntee Jennings threw two touchdown passes, one of 40 yards and another from 4 yards out. He also caught a 37-yarder to set up another score, and picked off a pass in the end zone to snuff a Handley drive. He was in on a handful of stops. Again, not a bad night’s work.
For Handley, the top junior is probably Mikeia Trammell, a 6-1, 200-pound running back.
SUPER SOPHS: For Handley, quarterback Darius Joiner (6-1, 175) had his moments. Dadeville features linebacker Tre Johnson, a 6-1, 215-pound heat-seeking missile who gets the ball and arrives angry. He’ll hit you. Remember his name. Wide receiver Devin Johnson (6-0, 185) was wide open on the aforementioned Shawntee Jennings 40-yard touchdown pass.
BRAGGIN’ ON Bradley: Handley alum and Alabama redshirt freshman center Bradley Bozeman is one of the unique stories of the current Tide football season after stepping in for two and a half games for injured starter Ryan Kelly. Battles smiled when asked about his former player. “I’m not surprised,” he said. “I knew he would play, and if he stayed healthy, that he was going to be a starter soon enough. For the (Handley) program, it’s good anytime one of the kids does good. I’m just proud for Brad. He worked hard as he could. You couldn’t believe how hard he worked in high school, and I know he does the same thing at Alabama. We’re proud of him. I think all these kids (on this year’s team), and all this town (of Roanoke), everybody, they want to see Brad do well. That’s all it is.”
HOW’ BOUT THEM BURGERS: When one makes a burger purchase at 6:40, one does so with the knowledge that it was probably grilled at 5:40. That said, the first ever FNL Dadeville trip produced a decent burger, just not a warm one. The texture was fine, and it was cooked through. Kudos to the concession stand folks for two pickle ideas: one, as an available burger condiment, and the other in the form of a new (to me) flavor of chips: Flavor Mill’s Creamy Dill. Not bad! And the hot chocolate hit the spot when temps dipped into the 50’s in the second half. It was impressively served from a Cappuccino machine. Dadeville goes first class!
NEXT UP: Auburn commitment/running back Kerryon Johnson and his teammate, coveted junior linebacker/fullback Malik Miller, lead the Madison Academy Mustangs to North Shelby County to face the Briarwood Christian Lions, led by junior quarterback Walker Lott.