ASWA Players of the Week

By Bran Strickland

The Anniston Star

Coaches stress many things players need to do in order to win a game - finishing blocks, running hard, playing four quarters.

Ariton's defensive end Craig Sanders had his own idea on how to earn a win — block punts.

Sanders blocked three outright and partially blocked another to help the Purple Cats to a 20-0 win over Pleasant Home. One of Sanders' blocks he recovered for a touchdown, and the other two set up drives that resulted in the rest of their points.

According to the Alabama High School Athletic Association's Web site, the four blocked punts by Sanders, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound freshman, would be a state record.

For his efforts, he earns the Alabama Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Week. The offensive nod goes to Susan Moore quarterback Zach Smith, who compiled a pretty incredible night both running and throwing.

Smith, a senior signal caller, had a hand in seven of his team's eight touchdowns in a 56-29 win over Sardis that locked up the Class 3A, Region 6 title. He had 20 carries for 218 yards and six touchdowns; the scores covered 46, 1, 82, 1, 13 and 1 yards. He completed 12 of 13 passes for 260 yards and another touchdown, which went for 25 yards to Tyler Gilliland. His only incompletion was on its mark but knocked loose with a well-timed hit from a defender.

And if that wasn't enough, he also had five tackles and an interception on defense.

Other nominations included:

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK

Jim Hester, Auburn - Completed 15-of-23 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-7 win over Smiths Station.

Chris Hood, Huffman - Was 19 of 27 passing for a career-high 334 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-45 loss to No. 9 Clay Chalkville.

Jesse Carroll, Clay-Chalkville - Was 23-for-32 passing for 303 yards and four touchdowns.

Jerrel Jernigan, Eufaula - In a 56-14 win over Tallassee, he accounted for 295 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. He had seven carries for 217 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another on a 4-for-11, 78-yard night.

Ross Wilson, Hoover - Threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns on a 14-for-23 effort.

RUNNING BACK

Trent Johnson, Scottsboro - Ran for 144 yards on 11 carries and four TDs and returned a kickoff 90 yards for a TD as the Wildcats (4-4, 4-2) clinched a playoff spot with a 49-21 victory over Lee-Huntsville.

Josh Hunter, Montgomery Academy - Hunter had seven carries for 241 yards and four touchdowns to lead Montgomery Academy to a  45-13 win over Beulah.

Avery Alexander, Cornerstone - Ran for 301 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries in a 28-22 win over Meadowview Christian.

Keith Hollingsworth, Berry - Had 28 carries for 258 yards and a touchdown in a 34-22 win over Parrish.

RECEIVER

Julio Jones, Foley - Caught a dozen passes for 188 yards and two scores in Foley’s 32-18 win over Niceville, Fla.
Michael Thorp, Catholic-Montgomery - Caught seven passes for 91 yards and had two interceptions on defense as his team earned a 14-6 win over LaFayette.
Rustin Truitt, Clay-Chalkville - On the first play from scrimmage, Truitt hauled in a school-record 98-yard touchdown pass for a touchdown. He finished with five catches for 152 yards and the touchdown.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Graham Suter, St. James - Tied a school record with a 51-yard field goal in a 31-12 win over Bullock County.

Jordan Means, Hoover - Kicked two field goals, one of 50 yards, as Hoover took down Homewood 46-21.

Durrell Hill, Oxford - Blocked two kicks in a 10-7 victory over Shades Valley that kept Oxford’s playoff hopes alive. His blocked punt set up one Oxford score and his blocked field goal in the closing seconds sealed the victory.

DEFENSE

Bo Ayers, Elmore County - Scored two defensive touchdowns in a 28-7 win over Coosa-Central. Ayers returned a fumble 24 yards for a score in the second quarter, then returned an interception 49 yards for another touchdown in the second half. He finished with two interceptions.

Orrey Bolton, Section - Made two interceptions in the end zone to end Sand Rock scoring threats, including one in the second overtime as the Lions won 10-7.

Keith Copperwood, Thompson - Had five sacks for 32 yards in losses in the Warrriors' tough loss to Pelham. Copperwood finished with seven tackles.

Reggie Terrell, Midfield - Accounted for 20 tackles, including a pair of sacks, in a 28-21 upset of Oneonta.

Jaheron Spencer, Aliceville - Recorded 16 tackles in a 37-5 win over Carbon Hill.

Dee Finley, Auburn - Picked off three passes in a victory over Smiths Station.

Brian Smith, Erwin - Had three interceptions in a 32-28 overtime win over Gardendale.