Commits Find Big Performances In Crunch Time

A weekly update on the Tigers' football commitments for the class of 2006 is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--The Tigers' football commitments who are still playing their senior seasons are either working their way into or through their respective state's playoffs, and at this time of the year big performances are a must from talented players.

None of Auburn's 13 commitments for the class of 2006 exemplified that more this weekend than Snow Hill High tailback Benjamin Tate. The 5-10 1/2, 210-pound back, who has been slowed with two ankle injures over the past few weeks, guaranteed that Snow Hill would beat archrival, and his former team, Stephen Decatur High for the first time in eight years, and he was true to his word.

The Eagles worked hard in the second half to break a 6-6 halftime tie and take a resounding 26-13 victory behind 165 yards rushing and two TDs from Tate on 21 carries.

Benjamin Tate made good on his guarantee of a win over his former team and current arch-rival.

Wadley High receiver Terrell Zachery also came up big for his team and himself in the second round of the Alabama playoffs. Zachery caught five passes for 182 yards and two TDs and added 97 yards rushing on two carries, which included an 80-yard scoring run, in a 54-20 win over Hackelburg. Along with helping his team move to the third round of the playoffs, Zachery also broke the Alabama record for all-time receiving yards with his current total of 4,410.

Peach County moved its winning streak to nine games and moved on to the third round of the GHSA AAA playoffs with a 40-13 win over Northside-Columbus. The Trojans were led again by talented wideout Chris Slaughter, who has been the big play man for his team.

In the game Slaughter caught six of the Trojans nine completed passes and hauled in 193 of the teams' 220 passing yards. Three of his six catches were also touchdown grabs of 42, 35 and 23 yards. If that wasn't impressive enough, Slaughter did all of his damage in the first half of the game.

When Peach County has needed a big play, Chris Slaughter has been their go-to-guy all season.

Unfortunately for First Coast High and Alex Rose things didn't go as well in the playoffs. However, Rose did have a big game and did all he could do to keep the Buccaneers hopes alive.

The 6-2, 177 receiver caught five passes for 164 yards, which included a 72-yard run a catch over the middle early in the final period to give First Coast a 24-20 lead. However, the defense could not hold Mosely High when push came to shove and the Buccaneers fell 27-20 to end their season at 7-4.

Quarterback commitment Steven Ensminger did what he had to do in limited action to help the West Monroe Rebels move on to the second round of the Louisiana playoffs with a 45-7 win over Carencro High.

Ensminger, who didn't even play an entire half of football, hit on four of his seven passes for 73 yards and two scores. The Rebels, who capitalized on five Carencro turnovers and rushed for 230 yards, didn't need much action from the passing game to take a 45-0 lead into the half.

Zach Clayton and the Opelika defense came up big in a 10-7 win over Murphy High to move on to the third round of the 6A playoffs in Alabama to face Prattville, which is ranked number on in the state in that classification.

After a scoreless first half, Opelika took a 10-0 lead in the second half and was driving deep in Murphy territory late in the game. However, a Jonathan Chandler fumble that was returned for a touchdown changed the momentum and put the Jaguars back in the game.

With Murphy driving down to the Opelika 15, with under two minutes to play the Bulldog defense stepped up with two big sacks, which moved Murphy out of field goal range and a last second pass to the end zone fell to the ground to give Opelika the win.

Clayton, who was playing in his first game back from a deep thigh bruise, was very disruptive to the Jaguar offense all night despite facing numerous double teams. Murphy tried to keep the strongside end tied up with two players at all costs, but Clayton broke through the line on a number of occasions and disrupted passes, forced runs back inside and even threw off the timing on handoffs. The big defender only had four stops on the night, but was a big factor on the defensive line against a very athletic Murphy offense.

Zach Clayton showed good speed off the edge and plenty of strength to fight off double teams agasint an athletic Murphy team.

Hendrick Leverette and his Oak Grove team are heading into the Mississippi 5A playoffs undefeated following a big 42-14 win over Jackson Jim Hill High. The Warriors moved their record to a perfect 10-0 and will head into the playoffs as the second ranked team in the state's largest classification.

With the way the Warriors have been pummeling teams, Leverette and his fellow starters have generally not seen more than a half of action in most games this season, but he was able to make an offensive impact early in the game. The 5-11 1/2, 200-pounder, who has been playing some running back throughout the season, put the first points of the game on the board with a three-yard TD run in the first quarter of action.

Two commitments' seasons came to a close over the weekend as Greg Smith's Northeast Community College team was defeated 27-20 by Pearl River Community College to end their bid for a perfect season and playoff run, and Kareem Crowell's Godby High team was upset in the first round of the Florida playoffs by Pensacola High 27-9.

With Zaccheus Etheridge, Bart Eddins, Mario Fannin, Neil Caudle, Alex Rose, Greg Smith and Kareem Crowell all finished with their seasons, the Tigers have six commitments who will be taking part in playoff action this weekend.


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