Stars of Alabama

The sixth week of the season is in the books and several players made impressions against region opponents. Foley and Daphne highlighted the week with an ESPN2 televised fracas between the neighboring teams. The Lions prevailed 16-14 and while there were some zealous hits, the overall view of Alabama high school football was of sportsmanship and competitiveness. Player of the Week: Foley's Robert Lester

Robert Lester, Safety (6-2, 205)

Robert Lester's coaches have been raving over him for some time. His talent was on display for all to see last Thursday against one of the best teams in the state with the division one prospect, quarterback Coley White and Auburn commitment running back Reggie Hunt on the other side of the ball.

The safety's performance shined with relentless pressure and hard hits. The senior recorded seven tackles, one for a loss, two interceptions including one that sealed the win. Lester also stepped in to field a punt and returned for 20 yards.

Lester had scholarship offers pre-game from South Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Marshall and Kentucky. Many more are expected to follow after the performance.

LaVance Williams, Running Back (5-8, 195)
Julio Jones, Wide Receiver (6-4, 210)
Foley (6-0; 4-0)

LaVance Williams was expected to benefit from the attention Jones attracted, but his head-down strong running style was a treat to watch. The senior rushed for 118 yards on 17 carries.

Julio Jones,'s No.1 wide receiver prospect in the country, managed to catch six passes for 98 yards with an ankle injury that required taping on two different occasions during the game. Jones scored two touchdowns on 30 and 28 yard receptions with 126 all-purpose yards. Jones has dozens of scholarship offers.

Tavares (T-Ray) Mitchell, Running Back
Selma (3-3; 1-3)

T-Ray Mitchell was almost unstoppable last week. The senior running back accounted for 272 yards rushing including five touchdown runs of 67, 55, 48 and 38 yards. Mitchell also returned a kickoff 67 yards for a score. Selma was facing the undefeated Stanhope Elmore Mustangs, but could not pull off the upset after a fourth down stop with first and goal. The Mustangs took over and promptly marched 98 yards for the last score 42-34.

Brad Smelley, Quarterback and Defensive Back, (6-3, 215)
American Christian Academy

Brad Smelley and company were facing a tough Pickens County squad that had just knocked off 3A undefeated Aliceville the previous week 14-13. The Patriots came away with the 29-19 victory, and Smelley played a big part in the win.

The senior Alabama verbal commitment is an athlete in every sense of the word. He completed 17-of-25 passing attempts for 316 yards. Two touchdowns passes to junior Steadman Shealy, Jr. (5-11, 150) and senior Johnny Shuttlesworth (6-1, 195). Smelley scored two rushing touchdowns from one and six yards out. He added 10 tackles on defense with one assist and one interception for 45 yards.

Smelley sealed the deal late in the fourth quarter when he intercepted a fourth down pass from Tornado quarterback Michael Oden.

Katral James, Running Back (6-0, 175)
Escambia County (5-1; 4-0)

Senior running back Katral James helped his Escambia team stay perfect in their Region 1 4A district. This sets up the Blue Devils for a meeting with likewise 4-0 Thomasville this week. James recorded 21 carries for 212 yards and four touchdowns, three receptions for 43 yards, two kick returns for 40 yards, and completed a pass for 16 yards.

James scored the final touchdown in the 25-7 victory with 3:06 left on the clock when he took the ball for a 45-yard jaunt.

D. J. Jones, Running Back (6-0, 180)
Hazlewood (6-0; 4-0)

Senior running back D.J. Jones is making a habit of showing up on this prestigious list after putting up incredible numbers. The undefeated Golden Bears faced Phillips, Bear Creek in what looked as the most competitive game the Golden Bears had seen since they faced Speake in the second week (19-0).

Phillips came into the contest 4-1 with some fine defensive performances, which makes Jones' performance all the more impressive. The final tally was 309 yards on 20 carries for three touchdowns in a 48-6 victory.

Anthony Gulley, Running Back (5-11, 180)
Brantley (5-1; 4-0)

Brantley suffered their first regular season loss in two years last week, but they did bounce back Friday night. They faced the undefeated McKenzie Tigers, and the Bulldogs came away with a 55-34 win.

Junior running back Anthony Gulley recorded 246 rushing yards on 16 carries for five touchdowns. For good measure Gulley added a punt return of 77 yards bringing the total touchdowns to six.

Josh Rowe, Linebacker
Justin Johnson, Linebacker
Kevin Koelhepp, Defensive Tackle
Opelika (5-1; 4-0)

Juniors Rowe, Johnson and Koelhepp sounds like partners in an accounting firm, but they accounted for a big defensive night against Smiths Station. The defensive objective for the Bulldogs was to stop quarterback Kyle Barr. They achieved their mission by shutting out the Panthers 35-0. Rowe racked up nine tackles and one sack, Johnson recorded six tackles and Koelhepp recorded five tackles and two quarterback pressures. Rowe leads the team with 44 tackles.

The stingy Dawgs yielded only 42 total yards total offense (18 rushing and 24 passing). The entire squad accounted for three sacks, four pressures, two broken-up pass plays and two interceptions from K.R. Snipes and Zach Blatt.

Zach Blatt, Defensive Back, Kicker
Opelika (5-1; 4-0)

Zach Blatt is going to attend Auburn University on a baseball scholarship, and although Coach Tuberville's Tigers are well equipped with freshman kicker Wes Byrum, they may want to pilfer the dugout for Blatt.

The senior recorded an interception on defense, but the thing that left the crowd in awe was his 50-yard field goal. Blatt also connected on a 32-yard kick.

DeMario Pippen, Running Back (5-9, 185)
Derrick Cade, Running Back (5-9, 195)
Jeremy Williams, Quarterback (6-0, 200)
Central Tuscaloosa (6-0; 4-0)

This is the most feared trio in 4A football, maybe any classification. Cade returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but it was called back. Not to fear, Pippen then ran the ball once for 48 yards, and two plays later scored on a 28-yard run.

Cade recorded a 63-yard touchdown run and next up was a 77-yard scoring run. Pippen tallied 148 yards rushing, and Williams went two-for-three passing for 80 yards. The Falcons were up 40-0 by halftime, and all three starters were pulled before the band made the field. The Falcons won 55-0 over Northside.

Jerome Brown, Running Back (5-10, 190)
Tuscaloosa County (6-0; 4-0)

Junior running back Jerome Brown had what Coach Robert Higginbotham called a breakout game against Thompson High School. He rushed for 177 yards and four touchdowns in the 34-0 victory to keep the Wildcats perfect on the season.

Brandon Smith, Running Back
Jeff Jackson, Running Back (5-9, 170)
Williamson (4-2; 4-0)

Williamson defeated UMS-Wright (1-5; 1-4) 60-41 in what was not termed a defensive struggle. Both teams combining for over 1,000 yards of offense, but Smith and Jackson accounted for half that total. Smith rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns while Jackson added on another 232 yards and three touchdowns.

Ja'Michael Swain, Running Back, Defensive Back
Dora (1-5; 1-3)

This sophomore star-in-the-making must have tired of not getting in the win column. He put his team on his back and carried them. Swain recorded 203 yards rushing with a touchdown as running back, and then in the second half proceeded to pick off four of Corner's passes, returning one for a touchdown. Dora won the game 41-21.

Justin Rogers, Running Back (5-11, 185)
Vestavia (5-1; 4-0)

The speedy Rogers has been steadily gaining yardage for the Vestavia Rebels as they try to march their way to Legion Field in December. The senior's game against region rival Mountain Brook was a testament to his ability. Rogers rushed for 285 yards on 33 carries with four touchdowns. The Rebels defeated Mountain Brook 28-21. Rogers has scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, LSU and UCLA.

Parker Stinnett, Kicker and Receiver (5-10, 170)
Enterprise (5-1; 4-0)

Enterprise dedicated their game Friday night to the memory of their eight fellow students lost in the tornado that tore through the school earlier this year. Stinnett had a stellar game in their honor having a hand in every point. The senior kicked three field goals including a 48-yard score and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass adding the extra point. Enterprise defeated region rival Auburn 16-7 (4-2; 3-1).

Honorable Mention:

Barrett Trotter, quarterback, Briarwood Christian, 14/19, 253 yards, four touchdowns, 17 yards rushing, one touchdown.

Pierce Cobb, running back, Montgomery Academy, 33 carries for 194 yards, three touchdowns.

Dez Polk, running back, Speake, 13 carries 151 yards, two touchdowns, 70 yard punt return touchdown; 267 all-pupose yards.

Jermaine Williams, running back, Slocomb, 15 carries for 250 yards, four touchdowns.

Cameron Cross, running back, Madison County, 13 carries 220 yards, three touchdowns.

Brad Easley, quarterback, Cleburne County 15/16, 214 yards, and two touchdowns.

Shawn Southward, athlete, Florence, three receptions 90 yards, 11 rushes for 162 yards and two kick returns for 125 yards, five touchdowns.

Whit Mitchell, quarterback, Trinity Presbyterian 25/36, 228 yards, and two touchdowns.

Logan Rogers, quarterback, Spanish Fort 6/6, 162 yards, one touchdown, rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns.


Oxford's defense limited Hewitt-Trussville to three first downs, 23 yards rushing and 59 yards passing. Kyle O'Dell picked off two passes in a 38-0 shutout.

Talladega County Central's defense recorded six sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Malcolm Holtzclaw returned one interception for a touchdown in a 27-0 defeat of Appalachian.

Shelby County played Dallas County to a 33-0 defeat with theWildcats' defense allowing just 22 yards rushing and 77 yards passing. source for Alabama high school football.

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