September 29, 2013 1:19:05 AM
REFORM, Ala. -- On a night aerial attacks were on full display, the Pickens County High School football team's defensive backs had their own agenda Friday night.
It took a few minutes to get adjusted to the tall and speed Aliceville High receiving corps. But once they did, the Tornadoes were on a mission.
Pickens County intercepted five passes, returning two for touchdowns, in a 53-18 victory.
"Our mind-set was to come in and win. We weren't thinking they were any better than us," Pickens County junior Jermarcus Brown said. "We knew we had to come out here and play like we're the best."
Pickens County (5-0) looked like it was going to be in a fight until the last whistle with its cross-county rival for the first quarter and a half. The teams traded touchdowns twice early, but the Tornadoes finally took over late in the second quarter leading 14-12. Brown scored on a 24-yard reception from senior quarterback Devonte' Simon to make it 21-12.
That's when the defense took over.
On the next Aliceville possession, Pickens County defensive back Steffon McCoy stepped in front of a pass and streaked down the middle of the field for a 55-yard touchdown to give his team a 27-12 lead.
"At first, they had my number, but we used what we knew to adjust," McCoy said of his interception. "Running down the field for that touchdown, that's special."
The Tornadoes weren't done. With a few seconds left before halftime, Aliceville went back to its passing game, but an errant pass led to another interception. Brown danced and weaved through defenders for a 60-yard touchdown to give his team a 34-12 halftime lead.
Despite scoring three touchdowns in the first half, the second half was where Brown really picked up his game.
In the fourth quarter, with the Yellow Jackets threatening to make it a one-score game, Brown did it again. On third-and-17 from the Tornadoes 26-yard line, Simon hit his running back with a perfectly placed pass. Brown left everyone behind him on his way to a 74-yard score.
"I thought they were going to intercept it at first," Brown said. "When it dropped in and I took off I noticed it was in my hands. I didn't realize I had it,but when I did I knew I had to make a big play."
It didn't take long for Brown to strike again. Two plays after his electrifying touchdown catch, Brown was in the secondary for his third interception. As a reward for his efforts, the offense went back to him and he scampered through the defense for a 25-yard touchdown run.
With five touchdowns and three interceptions, the junior was having too good of a time to end it there. A few plays later, McCoy came up with his second interception and returned it deep into Aliceville territory to set up Brown's nightcap.
The final score came with seconds left on the clock. Brown fought his way through a tired defense for a 6-yard score to account for the final margin.
To celebrate coach Patrick Plott's birthday, the Tornadoes surprised their coach with a bucket full of Gatorade as the crowd sang the team's praises.
"I didn't mention it, but I think they did," Plott said with a laugh when asked if the special day was used as motivation for the team. "We don't have to do much talking to get our guys ready for this game. We had a great week of practice and just came out and performed. That's what we do."