November 22, 2009
VERNON, Ala. -- Eric "Turbo" Hudson knew it when he saw it.
Ider High School quarterback James Blevins'' pass was off and Hudson knew he was in the right spot to get the interception and take the football 78 yards for the touchdown.
Hudson''s interception return for a score was just one of the big plays the Lamar County defense made in the fourth quarter Friday night to help it earn a 35-13 victory in the quarterfinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs at George Bell Stadium.
The victory pushes Lamar County (13-0) into the semifinals where it will face Clay County (12-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
"Defense is what turned it around for us," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "Our offense was just kinda being steady, steady, steady, but our defense turned up the intensity and made some big plays."
Hudson''s interception was the start of things for the Bulldogs. On Ider''s next possession, Cole Bradford read Blevins'' throw, deflected the pass, and made another interception.
"He came straight off, so I knew it was gonna be a line drive, and the great Lord just told me to stick my hand up," Bradford said, "Coach Adams was the baseball coach last year, and he taught us how to turn and find the ball, so he helped me."
Bradford returned the football to the Hornets'' 2-yard line. Quarterback Michael Bradford fumbled the snap into the end zone, but Marcquis Plant jumped on it for a touchdown.
On the second play of Ider''s next possession, Hudson intercepted Blevins again and returned it to the Hornets'' 22. Sophomore Kenneth Hill scored on a 4-yard run and Brandon Merchant''s extra point capped a 29-point outburst that turned a 12-7 lead into a 35-7 lead.
"(Blevins) was shaken up because we started rushing him harder," Hudson said. "The line was going down hard, making big plays at big times."
Said Adams, "They are a running football team, we felt like if we could stop that we could make some plays."
Ider coach Brent Tinker agreed with Adams and Hudson.
"They did a great job defensively," he said. "The biggest thing they did, though, was keep our offense off the field. They kept the ball all night."
In the first half, Lamar County held Ider to 37 yards. The Bulldogs'' defense came up with big tackles to stall the Hornets'' running game, while the offense ate up minutes.
"They knew watching film that Ider''s defense plays hard. They pride themselves on defense," Adams said. "They wanted to match their intensity, and I think they did."
Lamar County controlled the ball to score the game''s first touchdown in the second quarter. The 18-play drive (17 rushing plays) spanned two quarters and took more than nine minutes. Michael Bradford (6-for-7, 69 yards) found William Franks for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 4 minutes, 34 seconds left to go in the half.
"We knew coming in that they really didn''t cover the flats too well," Bradford said. "We knew that would be open, and that is where most of our routes were. It was just a fact of me getting to my receivers."
In the second half, Ider came out recharged and scored on its first possession. Blevins made his only completion to Cole Spurgeon for 35 yards. Beau Dobbins drove it in for the score from 6 yards.
"Beau is a senior that has played hard for us all year," Tinker said. "He has been our big player on offense all year, a solid running back that just grinds it out."
Dakota Ellis'' kick gave the Hornets a 7-6 lead that they held until the start of the fourth quarter.
Lance Bobbitt (11 rushes, 85 yards) started the final quarter with an 11-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 12-7 lead that they held thanks to the interceptions.
Hudson had more than 100 return yards, two interceptions, 26 receiving yards, and 23 rushing yards.
"Turbo is amazing," Bradford said.
Adams said Hudson has a knack for finding himself in the right spot.
"That''s also a credit to the rest of the defense, too," Adams said. "On the interception return for a touchdown, Jimmy Lann was up in the quarterback''s face. (Blevins) had to get rid of it, and Turbo was in the right place."