September 29, 2013 1:09:30 AM
VERNON, Ala. -- The showdown is here.
The Lamar County High School football team tuned up for its huge Alabama High School Activities Association Class 2A, Region 4 matchup against Aliceville this week by beating Berry 42-22 Friday night at George Bell Stadium.
"The kids continue to come out and give great effort," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "We talk about having good starts and we did that again Friday night. When you are playing at home and everybody is really into the game, you want to play well, but you don't want to be over-excited. We did a great job of keeping our composure and taking what they would allow us."
Lamar County (5-0) will travel to Aliceville (3-2) on Friday night. Each team is 3-0 in region play. Since the top four teams in the eight-team region make the playoffs, both teams are in good shape. However, this game will help the winner secure home-field advantage in the opening round.
"It is a rivalry game," Adams said. "Aliceville is so strong offensively. It will be a big challenge for our defense. It will come down to limiting their opportunities and taking care of ours."
Against Berry (2-3), Lamar County ran for 308 yards and five touchdowns.
Dallas Cockerham scored on a 3-yard run. Ryan Barham scored on a 4-yard run. Alex Wheeler scored on a 14-yard run. Tim Harton scored on a 25-yard run. Joshua Smith scored on a 32-yard run. Jeremy Denton also hit Cockerham on a 28-yard scoring strike.
Terrance Hollingsworth (21 carries, 97 yards) had a 92-yard kick return for a touchdown for Berry.
n South Lamar 14, Central of Coosa County 0: At Rockford, Ala., the Stallions are on a winning streak.
After snapping a 14-game losing streak last week against Lynn, the Stallions won their second game in as many weeks with the non-region road shutout. South Lamar hadn't won back-to-back games since 2008. Prior to this season, South Lamar had five victories in the past four seasons.
"The first part of turning around a program is having the kids believe," South Lamar first-year coach Shannon McGregory said. "They put in the extra time during the offseason. They have lifted harder than ever before. They have run more than ever before. The coaching part has been easy because this group is hungry and ready to learn."
South Lamar (2-3) dominated the line of scrimmage and ran for 250 yards. Hershel Smith ran 15 times for 126 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown run. Holden Fields had 19 carries for 118 yards. Talbert Pate also scored on a 14-yard run.
"We played three tough opponents to start the season," McGregory said. "But I always thought we would some games. It was just a matter of seeing a result. You want to see the kids rewarded for the hard work. Once you win a game, you have confidence. Nothing can build that confidence like having success and seeing it translate into wins. Even though we lost the first three games, we talked to the kids about continuing to work hard. They believed we would find a way."
Fields led South Lamar with nine tackles, while Jason Lawson added eight. Dalton Pollard had a critical third-quarter interception to snuff a scoring threat by Central (1-4).
South Lamar (1-2 in region play) will return to Class 1A, Region 5 play with a road trip Friday to Hubbertville (4-1, 2-1).
n Fayette County 33, Sulligent 15: At Fayette, Ala., the Blue Devils dropped their fifth straight to start the season.
The homestanding Tigers racked up 400 yards of total offense, including 290 rushing yards.
For Sulligent (0-5), both touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils received a 3-yard touchdown run from Jordan Gardner, while Gardner passed 14 yards to Jesse Keller for another score.
Fayette County (4-1) was led by JaTevin Madison, who caught five passes for 102 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown reception from Drew Guy.
Hunter Walker hit Kordarius Wilson for a 29-yard touchdown. Rushing touchdowns for Fayette County included Mario Wilson from 6 yards, Kyle Nalls from 7 yards, and Takeo Brock from 14 yards.
Sulligent (0-3 in region play) will return to Class 2A, Region 4 play Friday when it plays host to Oakman (4-1, 2-1).
n Pickens Academy 46, Eastwood Christian 12: At Montgomery, Ala. the Pirates moved to 5-0 for a second-straight season with this Alabama Independent Schools Association Class A, Region 2 win.
Pickens Academy improved to 3-0 in region play and can set its sights on back-to-back huge region games against Jackson Academy (2-4, 2-1 region) Friday at home and Marengo Academy (5-0, 2-0) Oct. 11 on the road.
"We are entering the critical stretch of our schedule, so it is great to be doing that with some confidence," Pickens Academy coach Josh Thacker said. "A lot of teams focus on being a good finishing team. We talk about that, but we also talk about starting strong. We have been able to do that this season."
Josh Lewis ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns to pace Pickens Academy. Lewis also was 5 of 9 for 77 yards and another score. Lewis scored on runs of 2 and 42 yards, while the passing touchdown was a 9-yard completion to Grayson Noland. Joseph McGlawn had a 65-yard touchdown run, while Chance Britt added a 14-yard touchdown run. Daniel Cameron added a 25-yard interception return.
"Defensively, we are doing a great job of not only forcing turnovers but getting points off the turnovers," Thacker said. "We have speed and some experience on that side of the ball. The unit is playing well as a group."
Pickens Academy rushed 21 times for 226 yards, and finished with 307 yards of total offense. Eastwood Christian (1-4, 1-3) rushed 32 times for 166 yards and finished with 180 yards of total offense.
McGlawn had two carries for 56 yards, while Chance Britt had four carries for 20 yards. Lance Acker had two receptions for 48 yards, while Noland had two receptions for 17 yards. Daniel Powell had eight tackles, while Cameron added four stops to go with his interception return.