Handley vs. Cherokee County

The Handley Tigers and Cherokee County Warriors held their spring game this week at Jacksonville State's Paul Snow Stadium. For several players it is not the last time they will play on a college football field.

Cherokee County has the likes of quarterback Coty Blanchard, athlete Desmond Brown, wide receiver Gabriel Chambers, and linebacker Caleb Crane.

Handley has big running back Ladarius Phillips, and a few other players who are under the radar including running back Justin Brown, quarterback Darius Finley and linebacker Adrian Dillard.

Blanchard, who is considered one the top quarterbacks in the state of Alabama this year, struggled some with his passes, but showed he has the arm for the next level. Blanchard did have an outstanding performance with his legs rushing for two of the Warrior touchdowns.

Desmond Brown lined up at running back mostly and had some very good runs against a stingy Handley defense. Brown also lined up in the slot and dispalyed his versatility by catching a couple big third down passes.

Gabriel Chambers didn't catch many passes, but was proven dangerous in the running game with reverses. Chambers, who is a track star, also proved he is more than just speed. He showed some good moves and was very hard to bring down.

Caleb Crane had a busy night as a tackle machine as he displayed during his junior campaign, but he and the Cherokee County defense couldn't slow down the Handley smash mouth run game.

Running back Ladarius Phillips, who weighs in at 265 lbs, carried the Tigers to a 35-21 victory. Phillips proved unstoppable on short yardage as he plunged for two rushing touchdowns.

When Phillips needed a breather Handley didn't miss a beat with Justin Brown carrying the load. Brown displayed great bursts of speed breaking off a couple of long runs to help out the Tigers.

Darius Finley, who plays quarterback but could project elsewhere at the next level, also had a very good game. Finley tossed for two long touchdowns and was very effective in the run game. He also had several big hits playing safety on defense.

Adrian Dillard lined up at linebacker and was always around the ball carrier. Dillard definitely has the frame college coaches like, and a sleeper prospect.

Editor's Note: Cherokee County finished the 2008 season with an undefeated season, and their only loss came in the state championship game against UMS-Wright.

Handley finished the season with a 10-3 record and lost to UMS-Wright in the semi-finals.

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