November 27, 2009 8:47:00 AM
VERNON, Ala. -- Lance Bobbitt has heard all about how the Lamar County High School football team won a state championship in 1984.
Bobbitt has been made well aware of it by his uncle Vance Herron, who was the quarterback on the 1984 state championship team.
"I''ve heard it since I was knee high," said Bobbitt, a senior fullback and linebacker on this year''s Lamar County football team.
Bobbitt is the leading tackler and second leading rusher on a team that is trying to win its third state championship, and first since Herron was the quarterback in 1984.
Lamar County (13-0) plays another school rich in tradition at 7 tonight when it travels to Ashland, Ala., to play Clay County in the semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A state playoffs.
Clay County (12-1) won state championships in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, and 2005.
"It''s going to be a challenge," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "Clay County is the kind of team you want to play. If you can beat them you''ve earned it."
Clay County was undefeated this season until suffering a 28-18 loss to Lincoln the final game of the regular season.
The Panthers have outscored their opponents 363-122, averaging 27.9 points and allowing 9.4 points per game.
"They''re a very physical football team," Adams said. "They''ve got speed in No. 14 (Jerdarius Williams), No. 3 (Breeman Ackles) and No. 7 (Shawncey Simmons). No. 4 (Jamari Staples) their quarterback is very good. Up front they are bigger than we are. It''s going to be a test."
Clay County has shut out five Lineville 14-0, Saks 12-0, Horseshoe Bend 28-0, Ohatchee 40-0, and Winston County 20-0. The latest shutout came Friday in the playoffs.
Lamar County quarterback Michael Bradford said the Bulldogs will take the same offensive approach against Clay County that they have all season.
The Bulldogs have scored 522 points for an average of 40.2 points per game.
"We''re probably going to try to run it right at them," Bradford said. "That''s what we''ve done all year long and it''s worked for us. We''re not going to get away from anything that''s been working for us."
Bradford leads the team in rushing with 983 yards on 171 attempts for an average of 75.6 yards per game, and he''s completed 39 of 74 passes for 596 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Bradford is followed in rushing by Bobbitt with 631 yards on 90 carries for a 48.5 average, sophomore Eric "Turbo" Hudson with 624 yards on 98 attempts for a 48.0 average, and sophomore Ken Hill with 462 yards on 43 tries for a 38.5 average.
Bradford has rushed for 19 touchdowns, while Hudson has scored eight, Bobbitt has scored seven and Hill has scored six.
The leading receivers are senior Marcquis Plant with 11 catches for 247 yards and four touchdowns, senior Will Franks with 11 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns, Hudson with seven catches for 103 yards and one touchdown, and senior Jimmy Lann with six catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have allowed 161 points for an average of 12.4 points per game. They have shut out Falkville 43-0, Winston County 21-0, Isabella 48-0, and Red Bay 42-0.
Lamar County is led defensively by Bobbitt with 85 tackles, Lann with 77 tackles, Hudson with eight interceptions and Franks with five interceptions.
3. Mixed reaction to decision to move MHSAA football title games HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Heritage Academy softball will try to take next step HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS