With First Coast looking for its first ever playoff berth and tied at 2-0 in the district 4-4A standings with Lee High, Alex Rose put on a show late in a tight, and very important game for the Buccaneers.
With Lee up 14-7 in the fourth quarter, Rose caught a 31-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14 with 2:35 remaining and push the game into overtime. Then, after Lee scored a touchdown, but was unable to convert on the PAT, Rose came up big again for his team.
After netting only one yard in the first three plays from the 10 yard line, it came down to a fourth and nine situation for the Bucs. On the pass Rose leapt into the air and pulled down the 9-yard strike along the sidelines to tie the game at 20. First Coast converted the Pat and took a huge step to their first ever playoff appearance with the 21-20 victory.
Alex Rose came up with a clutch performance when it counted.
Another team that was able to pick up a huge win was Mario Fannin's Lovejoy High squad. The Wildcats kept themselves alive in the playoff hunt by picking up a huge 45-20 win over region foe Newnan.
Fannin, who says his ankle is healing well and is at about 80 percent right now, was still focusing more on the passing game throwing for 211 yards and a score. However, he was able to add more on the ground this week. The athletic QB rushed for 45 yards and two TDs.
If the Wildcats can stay on the winning path for the next two weeks they should be able to slip into the playoffs despite a slow start in 2005.
Another team that got off to a very slow start has turned things around, and actually clinched their third straight region title with a huge win over their biggest rival on homecoming.
Chris Slaughter's Peach County squad got off to their worst start in over 20 years at 0-3, but since then the Trojans have gotten hot and been unstoppable winning five in a row. On Friday the Trojan's jumped out to a 21-0 lead on Perry and held on to win 42-14 to clinch the Region 4-AAA crown.
Perry came into the game with the gameplan to stop Slaughter by any means necessary, and it was working through the first half. The big receiver was dealing with constant double teams, but he got his first shot without one in the third and made Perry pay with a 30-yard TD strike. For the game, Slaughter pulled in three catches for 53 yards and the score.
Opelika High and Zach Clayton also clinched their region title over the weekend with a 24-14 win over Enterprise to keep their record perfect at 8-0.
Clayton led the Bulldog defense that held Enterprise to only seven yards of total offense and one first down in the opening half. For the game he finished with five tackles and two sacks on defense. The 6-3, 257-pounder also got to play a little offense as well. Stepping in at fullback, Clayton had his only carry of the year, a 2-yard TD to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.
On the season, the big defensive end is leading Opelika in tackles with 32. He also has six sacks, three pass deflections, one forced fumble and one quarterback hurry.
West Monroe High also kept their winning streak alive behind another strong performance from Steven Ensminger. The Rebels picked up another district win, this time a 47-6 victory over Southwood to move their record to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in district play.
Ensminger hit on some big pass plays on Friday as he completed 7-15 throws for 251 yards and a TD. The 251 yards moved the QB commitment over 1,000 yards passing on the season. He also added two more scores on the ground.
Terrell Zachery helped the Wadley Bulldogs move to 8-0 and hang on to their number one ranking in Alabama's 1-A classification. The talented WR prospect caught four passes for 81 yards including a 53-yard TD strike. He also caught a 2-point conversion, returned a punt 75 yards for a TD and had a 38-yard kickoff return in a 61-14 win over Fayetteville.
Godby High also kept up their winning ways with a 56-21 win over district foe Wakulla to move their record to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in District 2-3A play. Kareem Crowell played a big role for the Cougars on both offense and defense in the contest. On defense he recorded eight tackles and on offense the 6-3, 295-pounder graded out at 86 percent on his assignments for the game and had a pancake block.
Zaccheus Etheridge and his Charles Henderson team were able to get back on the winning track with a huge triple overtime win over Stanhope-Elmore. The Trojans hadn't beaten the Mustangs in 25 years, but were able to break the curse with a dramatic 34-28 victory.
Etheridge, who says he has enjoyed making the move to running back from wide receiver on offense, and likes getting a larger number of touches, made the most of his opportunities in the win.
Zaccheus Etheridge is making plays on both offense and defense for the Trojans.
The talented DB prospect caught three passes out of the backfield for 78 yards, which included a shifty 67-yard screen pass for a score in the fourth quarter. He also carried the ball five times for 22 yards and added six tackles on defense. On the defensive side of the ball, Etheridge says he knows he has one interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this season, and also notes that he has had at least nine tackles in a few games this year.
Hendrick Leverette's Oak Grove team continues to pile up the wins in Mississippi's 5-A classification. The 6-0 Warriors knocked off powerhouse Meridian 41-30 over the weekend and look to be a huge threat in the race for the 5-A state title. Leverette, who has mixed in at running back from time to time during the season, got to punch in a 2-yard score on Oak Grove's opening drive to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
Unfortunately for Bart Eddins and Trinity High, it was not a winning weekend for all of the Tigers' commits that were in action. The Wildcats were upended 14-9 by regional opponent Rehobeth. However, Eddins was solid in the loss recording six tackles and recovering a fumble.
With Benjamin Tate out for a couple of weeks with a high ankle sprain and Neil Caudle out for the season and recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL, the only other Tigers' commitment in action over the weekend was Greg Smith. The big DT prospect helped lead his NE Mississippi Community College team to a 23-7 win over Jones County Community College to keep their record unblemished.