The Carver-Montgomery Wolverines will travel to Pike Road to face the Patriots in a key Class 6A, Region 2 matchup. The winner gets the region title, and both teams enter the game at 5-0 in region play.
Carver (7-2, 5-0) is averaging 24.1 points per game and is on a three-game winning streak where they have scored 30 points per game in that streak and look to keep up their good play on offense. Quarterback TJ Russell leads the Wolverines. "He has come in and learned our system and control the game," said Wolverines head coach Marcus Gardner. "He has made great decisions on keeping the drive going and keeping the chains moving. He has stepped up and had some great games in the last three or four games. He is right where he is supposed to be."
The senior QB has completed 129-of-241 passing for 2,231 yards with 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Russell wants to use the speedy receivers to hit the big play for the Wolverines offense. Russell holds an offer from Central Michigan.
The Carver receiving core has a lot of speed, and they will try to use it against the Pike Road secondary. Laquenton Underwood has 4.3 speed and will try to get the ball in space and use it for a big play. "Laquentron has tremendous speed and has electric talent," added Gardner. "He understands the system of what we are trying to do on offense. He waited his turn and is stepping up and being a leader." The senior WR has 44 receptions for 868 yards and 12 touchdowns for the season. Underwood holds an offer from Florida Atlantic.
Tristan Norman is another big-play receiver for the Wolverines. Norman has 38 receptions for 659 yards and five touchdowns. Norman received an offer from the University of Cincinnati this month. Remember Nick Patterson. The junior WR has 21 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Channing Cargill has 20 receptions for 294 yards and a touchdown. These receivers will be a massive test to the Pike Road secondary.
The Wolverines running game has the three-headed monster Coach Gardner refers to in Jacquavius Simmons, Kenyon Phelps, and Cardarius Hopkins. Simmons is a track guy who can run and make the big play anytime he touches the ball. Phelps can pound you with his power and break off the arm tackle, and he is a very patient runner. Hopkins does a great job of finding the blocker's crease and getting some big chunks of yardage. He is a very smooth runner with his footwork.
The offensive line is extensive and has played well for the Wolverines offense. Left tackle Kalari Gordon, left guard Tyler Johnson, center Deontae Griffin, right guard Tremayne Chapman, and right tackle Jamal Harvey can dominate. "Deontae has done a great job at center making our calls for the other lineman," added Gardner. "He is one of the unsung heroes for our team. It is a big difference when he is not out there. He is not the biggest player but will give you everything you ask for." Gordon holds an offer from Texas A&M.
The Carver defense only gives up 13.2 points per game on defense. The linebackers are the core of the group. As they go, the Wolverines defense goes, and they will have their hands full against the Pike Road offense.
Stephon Andrews, Conor McPherson, Donjamian Brown, and Noah Maye have been the rock of the defense. On the season, Maye has 110 tackles and 22 tackles for loss. Maye is committed to Morehouse College. Also, he holds an offer from West Virginia. "Juvi" Brown has 110 tackles for 25 tackles for loss on the season. Earlier this season against Daphne, Brown recorded 15 tackles and two sacks in that game. Brown holds offers from UAB and Liberty University. "Cee McPherson has committed to the University of Louisiana. Andrews holds an offer from Alabama State.
The defensive line play of Jamarion McKinnon, Daylen Fort, and Rashad Walker will play a role in this game. "PacMan" McKinnon has an offer from Alcorn State and Lane College. The secondary of Jamyran Bell, Shelton Mills, and Jacoby Adrams will need a big game to limit the Pike Road passing game. Bell holds offers from Marshall and Lane College.
Pike Road (6-2, 5-0) holds a six-game winning streak with losses to Marist, Georgia, and #3 ranked Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa to start the season. The Patriots have averaged just over 45 points in those wins.
Freshman quarterback Cason Myers leads the Pike Road offense. "Cason is a special young man with a great support system at the house," said Patriots head coach Granger Shook. "He is very humble young man. He does everything we ask him to do. He has a dynamic arm, and he is not done growing. He is a good athlete. He picked up on our schemes very quickly this summer. He has commanded the offense, and the players follow him." With a new staff and playing 7-on-7 over the summer, Myers played well, worked hard to learn the scheme, and was ready for fall camp. For the season, Myers has completed 122-of-182 passing for 1,492 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. The two interceptions came in the first two weeks of the season, and he hasn't thrown one since.
Mike Jones, Adrian Thornton, and Patrick Carter will get carries, but Jones is the team's workhorse. "Mike is a very physical runner with a burst about him," added Shook. "Very explosive runner and is strong as an ox. Comes from a great support system. He is getting better running zones, jap schemes, and better in his blitz pickup." The sophomore running back for the season has 850 yards on 121 carries and 15 touchdowns. Also, Jones has 120 yards on 12 receptions and a touchdown. Thornton has 332 yards on 47 carries and four touchdowns, and Carter has 245 yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns.
The receiving core has played well with Myers. Jordan King, Kaleb Foster, Drew Britton, and Elias Holtzclaw will play an important role in the passing game. "Jordan is very dynamic and an explosive player," said Shook. "He is such a smart football player. We can line him up in different positions. He and Cason have a good thing going. He brings a big element of speed to the table that can stretch a defense." For the season, King has 30 receptions for 629 yards and four touchdowns. He holds a whopping 21.0-yard average per catch. Foster has 28 receptions for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Britton is coming off three receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown last week.
The Patriots offensive line has been solid for the Pike Road offense. Zion Stevens, Terrione Bell, Trey Hicks, Desmond Harbour, and Slayton Wortham are improving weekly. Right tackle Zion Stevens leads the way for the Patriots. "Zion is a very vocal leader and is having an outstanding season," added Shook.
The Pike Road defense will have its hands full against Carver, as the Patriots defense has given up 24.3 points per game. The front line of Malik Blocton, Roderick Favor, and Gavin Rogers is solid. "Malik has great drive and has a huge commitment level to this team," said Shook. "He is doing everything we ask him to do. One of the great leaders on the team. He requires a lot of attention from the opposing offenses. He has great hands and is a smart football player." For the season, Blocton has 69 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and seven sacks.
The linebackers of Braylon Outlaw, Jefferson Ceman, and Terrence Harvest will be tested with the Carver power and speed running game. Sophomore LB Outlaw will be a special player when his career ends in three years. Outlaw has 51 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, and a pick-6 this season.
The secondary of Jordan Holmes, Trey Caver, Houston Markham, and Julius Lane for the Patriots. Holmes and Caver had four interceptions each. Holmes just received an offer from UAB.
Hunter Ikerman handles the kicking duties for the Patriots.
The big question in this game is, can the youth of Pike Road handle the more experienced players of Carver? What a great matchup between these two teams playing for the Region title.