Lions' Roar

PRATTVILLE, Ala. -- It may well have been the true 6A title game they played in Prattville's Stanley Jensen Stadium Friday night. And that's no shot at Vestavia or Spain Park. It's just Prattville and McGill-Toolen are THAT good, and it's a shame only one could advance to Legion Field. That one? The Prattville Lions. Again.

Even the five or so priests who accompanied the Catholic school from Mobile were unable to affect the result in this Lion's den, as Prattville beat an undefeated team for the sixth time this season. The final was 21-0.

Though McGill controlled the ball most of the first quarter, the Jackets did not score. The Jackets offense made Prattville use all three of its first-half time outs in the first six minutes of the game, but the adjustments made seemed to work. A bizarre, 47-minute first quarter involving some strange calls by the officials ended in a scoreless tie.

After nearly 14 minutes with no score, Prattville junior halfback Jerry Williams took an option pitch around right end for 60 yards and six points with 10:16 left in the half.

Lions senior L.C. Morris caused and recovered a Jackets fumble on a bad pitch to give Prattville the ball at the Jackets' 12. Three plays later, senior quarterback Casey Weston snuck in from the two, and with 8:53 left in the half, the Lions led 14-0.

Prattville held a slim 142-127 yard advantage in total offense at the half, the two TD's loomed large.

McGill drove to the Lions' 12, and as time expired in the half, Dolan Andrew missed a 29-yard field goal, so Prattville took its 14-0 lead to the dressing room, courtesy of 64 and 12-yard drives.

A 21-yard Brian Egan punt set McGill up at Prattivlle's 37. It appeared Prattville had stopped a fourth-down play, but pass interference on an uncatchable ball 10 seconds after the whistle was called by an official on the other side of the field, and that gave McGill a first down. That was followed by an unsportsman-like conduct call when Prattville complained.

Now, the ball was at the Lions' 14. A sack was followed on fourth down by an interception by Ty Burt, and Prattville took over at its four-yard line with 4:09 left in the game.

On third down, Weston kept on the option for a first down, then handed to speedster Quay Moncrief, who took off for 83 yards, pay dirt, and a Legion Field clincher.

To make matters worse, a pooch kick was fumbled and Prattville recovered at the Jackets' 25.

Prattville's seniors finished their careers 24-1 at home. Prattville is now 14-0 this season, and on a 29-game winning streak. The Lions face surprising Spain Park and William Green Saturday at Legion Field in search of a repeat of their 2006 state title.

McGill closed out an excellent year with a 13-1 mark. Once again, the Lions will face a city of Hoover team in the finals. And once again, a connection exists between Prattville coach Bill Clark and the opposing coach.

With Hoover, it was Rush Propst, who played for Clark's dad in high school and who coached with Clark at various stops. Now, its Spain Park's John Grass, Clark's college roomate, and one report says each man introduced the other's wife to her current husband. Small world, indeed.

TOP PROSPECT: Lots of choices here, but I'll go with Jackets' defensive end Glenn Harbin (6-5, 242).

"He can run. They put him at wide receiver, so that tells you what kind of athlete he is," said Prattville coach Bill Clark. "He's tall. He's athletic. He's got the long arms. He's just a great athlete in a big body."

Harbin had a sack for minus-12 to kill a first-half Lions drive. He is built like ex-Bama and current Tennessee Titan star Antwan Odom was at this stage of his career.

SENIORS WHO SHINED: Purdue may have gotten themselves a steal in offensive tackle Peters Drey, a kid who according to Jackets coach Keith Powell, has had a timely growth spurt.

"He's just a big young kid that has just started to grow and come into his own," Powell said. "I think that a lot of schools might have evaluated Peters a little bit early. He weighed about 245 last year as a junior. He's (now) 6-6, 275. He has committed to Purdue, but there's a lot of schools still after him. He's starting to get a lot more looks."

Drey is an athletic, competitive kid, who gets a little excited at times, as evidenced by several false starts.

Adrian Cole is a 5-11, 240-pound linebacker who plays sideline-to-sideline. Powell calls him "the best player in the state." While that may be a reach, the kid is tough as nails and will play somewhere next year.

He's having to play hurt right now, but Prattville's mighty mite halfback Justin Albert is fighting through a bad ankle to help his Lions.

"Oh, he's just so good," said Powell. "He runs with such determination. He's such a strong kid. He sees the field. His vision is second to none. He just loves playing the game of football. You can tell he has a passion for this game."

Albert is 5-8, 172. His ankle gave way early in the third quarter, and his status for the title game is up in the air.

Prattville d-lineman Greg McCall (6-0, 290) was in the Jackets' backfield all night.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: McGill quarterback Cullen Wacker (6-1, 191).

"He's a winner," Clark said. "Tough. You can tell he doesn't get intimidated. He can run the ball. He can throw the ball. I think ‘winner' is a good epitome of him."

Wacker, between running and passing , has accounted for three touchdowns this year. Though he got knocked senseless on one play in the first half, defensive back Kendrick LeSeur is a 5-10, 173-pound player in the Jackets' secondary.

SUPER SOPHS: Prattville's Cedric Smith (5-8, 156) has cracked Clark's lineup in the secondary, and he's getting help off the bench from Nick Perry, who is 5-10, 176.

If they're playing for the Lions this early in their careers, you have to keep an eye on them. Smith is the more seasoned of the two, but struggles at times against taller receivers. Both show promise when the ball is in the air or coming up against the run.

Cory Shelton is only 5-6, 130, but he's the speediest guy at P.H.S. When he goes back on kicks, all of the home fans rise to their feet. Special teams demon Cory Lee (5-10, 195) will move into a starting role at linebacker for Prattville next year.

McGill's Marquel Gardner (6-2, 180) is a dangerous possesson receiver who runs good routes and has good hands.

DOUBLE HEADER: I probably never thought I'd type this, but lunch at Jim's Pit Bar-B-Que on Highway 82 was better than dinner at Islamorada, which is the restaurant at the new Bass Pro Shop in Prattville off I-65 at exit 179.

Here's why: I did not listen to the advice of retired Prattville educator Horace Powell, who I've written about here before. Horace, who serves as a Bass greeter, told me to get the grilled Mahi-Mahi. Hard-headed, I went for the fried shrimp/scallops combo. The fresh baked bread and baked potato highlighted the meal. At lunch at Jim's, the pork, sauce, potato salad, onion rings and sweet tea were all first-rate. The service was good both places. Next time at Islamorada, I'll go grilled. Really.

NEXT WEEK: Legion Field is the place to be Thursday through Saturday for the annual Super Six championship games. will cover all games for fans to catch a glimpse of several future Saturday college stars. source for Alabama high school football.

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