November 21, 2009 11:57:00 PM
LEROY, Ala. -- The Pickens County football team did something Friday night that no other team had accomplished since 2000.
Pickens County handed Leroy its first home playoff loss in nine years by dethroning the defending three-time state champion with a 19-12 victory in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state playoffs.
Pickens County (12-1) advances to play at Reeltown in the semifinals, while Leroy (10-3) had its season end with a loss for just the second time in the past five years.
"We understand we beat a good football team with a great tradition at their home," Pickens County coach Scott Marchant said. "Having to get on a bus and ride a good long ways, that affects teams. That''s why you want to be home if you can. We''re just excited to have played the game and be successful. We''re just happy about the victory."
Pickens County fell behind 6-0 in the second quarter before rallying. The Tornadoes tied the score 6-6 with 4 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the second quarter on a 36-yard interception return by Quinton Sturdivant.
Dominique Jones scored on a 19-yard run with 3:31 remaining in the second quarter. He added the winning touchdown, a 3-yard score, with 6:11 to go in the fourth quarter.
William Gartman threw two touchdown passes to Samuel Coates for Leroy. They connected for 94 yards to open the scoring and 7 yards that tied the score 12-12 with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter.
"Our kids kept fighting and believing that they could do it," Marchant said. "Even when things didn''t seem so good, the kids just believed and they kept on fighting. They played well. Leroy played well. It was just a good football game."
Keith Hall was the leading rusher for Pickens County with 94 yards on five carries. James Adams rushed 10 times for 38 yards and Jones gained 36 yards on 14 carries.
Pickens County had 12 sacks. Sturdivant led the defense with 15 tackles, a sack, and an interception, Deion Curry had 12 tackles and a sack, Tony Easterwood had 10 tackles and two sacks, Maurice Gary had 10 tackles, a sack, and an interception, and Hall had an interception.
"We played well," Marchant said. "It was great. Their fans were great. Our stands were packed It was exciting. That''s what high school football is supposed to be about. I feel blessed to be a part of such a football game."
Pickens County had 189 yards rushing and 28 yards passing, while Leroy had 18 yards rushing and 252 yards passing.
1. Stallings plays key roles on two sides for Tigers HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. West Point will try to keep doing what it does HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Anagnost wants MSU to build on progress COLLEGE SPORTS