COVID-19 continues to play havoc with the local high school football schedule.
Though one team returns to action this week after a COVID positive test, two other Wiregrass programs have to sit out this week, while a third area team had its game canceled because of an opponent opting out.
The latest news came Tuesday when Rehobeth canceled its game at Pike Road, according to head coach Pate Harrison. Since it is a Class 5A, Region 2 game, Rehobeth will have to forfeit, dropping the Rebels to 2-3 overall and 0-3 in region play.
Meanwhile, Early County in nearby Georgia announced Monday it would not play the next two weeks after playing last week against Pelham, which ended up having a player with an eventual COVID-19 positive test compete against the Bobcats.
Early County was scheduled to play Mitchell County and Enterprise the next two weeks. Head coach Joel Harvin said the GHSA doesn’t require a team to forfeit non-region games because of COVID.
“It was out of our hands,” Harvin said Monday night of the situation. “It was another player from another team that tested positive and had a fever Saturday after playing the game."
Early County was told on Sunday by local health officials that any player on the field at the same time as the Pelham player that tested positive would have to sit out. However, those health officials revised that Tuesday, saying that only players that came in close contact would have to quarantine. As a result, Early County now has only 12 players that have to quarantine compared to 31 as initially ruled.
Harvin said the Bobcats, feeling they have enough players to play, are now looking to play next week on Sept. 25.
Pike Liberal Arts, meanwhile, will not play Friday after its opponent, Edgewood Academy, had a positive test and has to quarantine. The Patriots gain a forfeit and improve to 4-0 on the season.
Northside Methodist is back: Northside Methodist Academy, according to a text from head coach Jason Hurst, is set to return to the playing field Friday after having to sit out last week’s game against Wicksburg with a positive test.
The Knights travel to Panama City to face North Bay Haven.
Enterprise picks up game: It took less than 24 hours for Enterprise to fill its sudden open date following Early County’s departure. The Wildcats, according to athletic director Trent Trawick on Tuesday, added Carroll of Ozark next Friday. The game will be at Wildcat Stadium in Enterprise and is Enterprise’s Senior Night.
Charles Henderson schedule changes: Charles Henderson’s game this week against Andalusia has been moved back to Friday night.
The game was moved to Thursday during the summer in anticipation of a Troy University home game at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Troy, which shares the venue with CHHS, wants 48 hours to clean and sanitize the stadium before its games. However, the Troy schedule was changed and it is now on the road this week, allowing Charles Henderson to move back to Friday.
In a related move, Charles Henderson’s game three weeks from now against Rehobeth has been moved to Thursday, Oct. 8, since Troy has a home game that Saturday against Texas State.
Class 2A, Region 2 showdowns: It might only be the fourth week of the season, but Class 2A, Region 2 has a pair of showdowns Friday that could have an impact on the region standings.
Abbeville and Geneva County, both 3-0 overall and 2-0 in region play, meet at Hartford’s Dixie Howell Stadium in one showdown.
The other pits Dale County rivals Ariton and G.W. Long meeting in Skipperville. Ariton is 2-2 overall and 1-1 in region play, while Long is 2-0, both overall and in region play.
All four teams received votes in the latest state rankings with G.W. Long ranked seventh.
Rushing in Spotlight: Four local rushing standouts were honored in this week’s AHSAA Prep Spotlight.
Geneva County’s Emmanuel Henderson rushed for 367 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries of the Bulldogs’ 54-41 win over Ariton. Henderson scored on runs of 21, 85, 1, 35 and 36 yards.
Abbeville’s Martavious Glanton picked up 253 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 41-0 win over Cottonwood. He also threw a TD pass for the Jackets.
Slocomb’s Jaylen Nobles gained 223 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 26 carries in the Red Tops’ 44-14 win over Providence Christian. Nobles scored on runs of 20, 5 and 39 yards. He also caught two passes for 26 yards and had five tackles on defense in the game.
Pike County’s Zakevin Pennington rushed for six touchdowns – two in a span of a few minutes before the half – to lead Bulldogs to a 60-14 win over Dadeville. Pike County was leading 18-14 with four minutes left before halftime when the Bulldogs scored three times to take a commanding lead. Pennington scored twice on 7-yard runs in that short span. He finished with 114 yards on 14 carries.
Four passing accolades: Opp’s Hal Smithart, New Brockton’s Kaden Cupp, Geneva County’s Will Birdsong and G.W. Long’s Kobe Stringer were local players honored for passing numbers in the AHSAA Spotlight.
Opp’s Smithart was 23-of-35 passing for 326 yards and three touchdowns in the Bobcats’ 35-0 victory over Houston Academy. He also rushed for an 8-yard touchdown.
New Brockton’s Cupp accounted for 349 all-purpose yards with five touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ 47-8 win over Daleville. He was 6-of-16 passing for 222 yards and three scores and rushed for 127 yards and two TDs on 13 carries.
Geneva County’s Birdsong completed 7-of-7 passes for 203 yards and touchdown passes of 60 and 31 yards as Geneva County beat Ariton 54-41. Birdsong also scored on a 2-yard run.
Long’s Stringer threw for 177 yards and three touchdowns and added 69 yards and two TDs rushing in a 42-21 win over Houston County. Stringer completed 5-of-6 passes with scoring tosses of 78, 44 and 32 yards and rushed only twice, but both went for TDs (63 and 6 yards). He also blocked a punt on defense.
Receiving stars: Three players – Opp’s Peyton Ellis, Eufaula’s Rodarius Thomas and Geneva County’s Colby Fuller – were honored in the AHSAA Spotlight for receiving.
Ellis caught 12 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns (22 and 14 yards) in the Bobcats’ 35-0 win over Houston Academy.
Thomas caught eight passes for 141 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown pass, in the Tigers’ 28-21 loss to Opelika.
Fuller hauled in five receptions for 133 yards with TDs covering 60 and 31 yards as the Bulldogs topped Ariton 54-41.
Defensive standouts: Six players, including Ariton teammates Landon Thrash and Trevor McLaughlin and Enterprise teammates L.Z. Leonard and Tanner Rogers, were among the state’s defensive standouts in the Prep Spotlight. Opp’s Cole Jennings and Kinston’s Dylan Davis joined the group.
Ariton’s Thrash registered 17 tackles and McLaughlin 15 in the Purple Cats’ 54-41 loss to Geneva County.
Enterprise’s Leonard recorded 11 tackles and two quarterback hurries and Rogers had 10 tackles as the Wildcats beat Davidson 52-13.
Opp’s Jennings had 11 tackles on defense and rushed for a TD on offense in Opp’s 35-0 win over Houston Academy.
Kinston’s Davis had two interceptions, the last coming on a fourth-and 7 at midfield with 30 seconds left to seal the Bulldogs’ 21-19 win over Red Level.
Special teams standout: Samson’s Francisco Laureano was the lone area player in the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for special teams. He hit on field goals of 32 and 36 yards as the Tigers beat Pleasant Home 12-7.
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