One of the Tigers' biggest commitments was among that group this week, and he is player that is certainly not accustomed to finishing his seasons early.
Bart Eddins' Trinity Presbyterian team, which had complied a 62-6 record since joining the state's 4A classification in 2000 and had advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the state playoffs each of those years, dropped their first round playoff game at Thomasville 21-7.
The loss closed out an amazing career for the durable defensive tackle, who was so big that he was playing some games on the varsity team at the end of his eighth grade season. In his senior campaign, Eddins racked up 69 tackles, 11 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and blocked a kick. In his four years, which included 54 consecutive starts, he tallied 423 stops, 77 tackles for a loss, 23.5 sacks and blocked five kicks.
Snow Hill High's star tailback, Benjamin Tate, has not finished up his high school career yet, but he is having a bit of tough injury luck during his senior season. Tate, who says he was playing at about 90 percent, following a high ankle sprain that kept him out of action for two weeks, for most of this week's 19-13 win at Parkside High, notes that he inured the same ankle, but in a different place late in the game.
"I was feeling good all night," he says. "I had only been playing on offense to try and take it easy on my ankle, but then we needed a couple of stops and I went to play a little safety on D. I got through that and was still feeling good and there were about two minutes left and we were trying to run out the clock. I broke down the sideline and a guy lunged out at me and I just went down awkward on it."
"It is nowhere near as bad as the other one," he adds. "I had to be on crutches for a couple of days with the other one. With this one I was walking around fine after the game. I practiced some on Tuesday and I had an MRI and they told me that everything was fine, it was just a normal sprain. They also said that the ligaments were stretched out so far from it being sprained so many times before and that was a good thing because it would have been a pretty bad sprain for anyone else. The pain in this one is just from the swelling, not from the injury and how well I feel this week will depend on how much the swelling goes down."
The talented tailback, who gained 180 yards and scored a touchdown on 14 carries in the game and has 1,172 yards on 66 carries so far this season, says it has been frustrating only being healthy for four games this year. He adds that he will be on the field for the huge rivalry game with his former team, Stephen Decatur High, this week, and notes that he has already guaranteed that Snow Hill will break their eight game losing streak to Decatur and it is time for him to, "put up."
Benjamin Tate is ready to take on his former high school this week.
Tigers' wide receiver commitment Terrell Zachery had another solid performance for the Wadley Bulldogs in the first round of the Alabama state playoffs. The speedy receiver caught five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown in a 51-16 win over Section. Zachery also added a 71-yard touchdown run. The 88 receiving yards moves the senior within 44 of Josh Moten's all-time receiving record of 4,272 yards.
Another Tiger receiver commitment continued to play well for his team in the playoffs this week. Peach County shutout Cross Creek 43-0 in the first round of the Georgia state playoffs, and Chris Slaughter caught two of the Trojan's four completed passes for 54 yards and a score. He also setup his only touchdown, which was a six-yard reception, with a 56-yard reverse on a punt return.
Quarterback commitment Steven Ensminger and the West Monroe Rebels locked up the District 1-5A championship in Louisiana with a 21-3 win over a scrappy Rushton team. The win sets up a first-round playoff rematch with Carencro High, who the Rebels defeated 28-14 earlier in the season. Ensminger hit on 8-18 passes for 71 yards in a defensive and run oriented game. The quarterback also got another chance to punt for the Rebels and boomed a 50-yard effort.
Steven Ensminger has been passing the ball very well for the Rebels the past few weeks.
Hendrick Leverette's Oak Grove team also clinched their region championship, and they did it in much the same fashion they have been doing all season. The starters didn't get the play a lot as usual in the 44-12 beating of region foe Brandon High. With the win the Warriors kept their record perfect at 9-0 and 6-0 in region play.
First Coast High closed out their regular season with a disappointing 19-14 loss to Sandalwood. The Saints' defense held the Buccaneers to only 81 yards passing and 145 yards of total offense on the night to take only their fifth win of the season. Alex Rose was not a real factor in the contest, but the wide receiver will be looking to see more action in the Buccaneers first ever playoff run, which starts on Friday with a home game against Mosely.
The rest of the Tigers' 13 commitments were not in action over the weekend. Zach Clayton was held out of action in Opelika's first round win over Selma due to a deep thigh bruise he suffered against Auburn. He was feeling okay following the team's warm-up session, but was not needed in the 51-6 victory. However, the big tackle has been practicing at almost full speed this week and will be back in the lineup against Murphy.
Godby High's Kareem Crowell was also held out of action this week. The big lineman will be needed for the playoffs, which start on Friday, and he was held out to give his injury some extra time to heal. Greg Smith started the game for Northeast Mississippi Community College on Thursday night, but was injured in the first quarter and did not return. Mario Fannin and Zaccheus Etheridge finished up their senior seasons two weeks ago, and Neil Caudle was knocked out of action early in the year with a torn ACL.