#8 James Clemens will travel to #6 Sparkman in a big Class 7A, Region 4 contest Friday night at Sparkman High School. If Sparkman wins the game, they will be region champions and will face the #4 seed in Class 7A, Region 3 when the playoffs start.
James Clemens (5-2, 5-0) has a say in this game as they are undefeated in region play and look to have a say who wins the region. They have games with Sparkman and Austin left on their schedule in region play and if they win out they will be region champions.
The James Clemens Jets bring a five-game winning streak and bring a lot of experienced players into this game. "We played two teams early in the year that were pretty good teams," said Jets head coach Wade Waldrop. "We played hard and battle hard in those first two games but it definitely prepared us for region play."
The Jets are averaging 44.3 points per game and have a lot of offense and it starts with experience QB Connor Cantrell. The senior QB started as a freshman due to injury of another player and has used that experience this season to continue his good play. "Conner has been in our offense since 7th grade and is a program kid," added Waldrop. "Good player and he understands what we are trying to do. He has done a great job of doing what we ask." Against Huntsville this season, completed 10-of-12 passing for 247 yards and three touchdowns in one half of a game.
We have some great running backs in Class 7A and you can put Dylan Blackburn in that group. "Dylan is the best back we ever had here," said Waldrop. "We have three all-state running back since I've been here and he is certainly the best one. Catches the ball, runs the ball, pass blocks very well. He is a physical runner and cares about his teammates. Does things with great effort with great toughness." For the season, Blackburn has around 760 rushing yards on the season and has played only two games in the fourth quarter. Against Bob Jones earlier in the season, Blackburn rushed for 184 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. At fullback, Chris Baker is a good blocker and can catch the ball out of the backfield.
At receiver, Chris Hope, Gary Landrum and Tyrone Wilson gets most of the snaps for the Jets. All three have great speed. Hope is having a great season. The senior WR had five receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns against Huntsville earlier in the season. Hope is also a big weapon on returning punts for the Jets.
The offensive line of Ryan Keepers, Jordan Johnson, Zach Taylor, Christian Brown and Dakota Bell are having a great season as you can tell by the success Blackburn and Cantrell are having for the Jets this season.
The defense gives up 15.0 points per game. The front three is Courtney Coleman, Tyler Jagielski, and Kimardre' Edwards are big up front and will need to get a push on the Sparkman offensive line but keep their lanes so the Senators QB can't run wild like he has so far this season. Linebackers Chance Starling, Keotae Strother and Chris Cooke lead this group that will need to be very sure on tackles. Defensive backs Tyrone Wilson, Hope, Collin Malone, Jaylin Grigsby and Jon Granger will need to keep in check the Senators receivers.
For Sparkman (7-0, 5-0) they are averaging 38.7 points per game on offense. The junior QB Nick Sawyer is getting better each week and had a great game versus Austin this season. Sawyer completed 14-of-24 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown with 84 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns against Austin. Sophomore QB Luke Schomburg could get some snaps at quarterback.
The Senators have a big offensive line to protect their QB's in Micah Pettus, Shawn Sellers, Genesis Reedus, Tate Campbell. Pettus has offers from Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Charlotte, Howard, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, Middle Tennessee, Troy and Southern Miss. "Micah is a great player, a massive young man," said Sparkman head coach Laron White. "He was injured a few weeks ago, but he is full speed now. He can take over a game and be dominate on the offensive line."
At running back, Tavion Rupert and Jaylon Atkinson get the bulk of the carries. Rupert had rushed for 109 yards on 9 carries & 3 TD's with a 95-yard kickoff return for a TD versus Huntsville earlier in the season. Sawyer has weapons on the outside in Cam Foley, Jakevion Dobbs and Xavier White. "Cam can stretch the field for us and that is important," said White. "Sometimes you forget about him out there, he can run a speed sweep and catch the football. He is dangorous, he can make a big play for us at anytime." Dobbs is that unsung hero each team has according to coach White. He has good good hands and catches the ball very well.
The Sparkman defense is giving up 14.7 points per game and is having a good season. Safety Khalil Griffin is the quarterback on defense. "Khalil is very smart and instinctive," added White. "He has played a lot of defense over his time. He gets everyone in their right places. If it is not right, he will come to the sidelines to get with a coach and talk about it instead of just letting it go and moving on. He wants it right and that is important to our defense." Against Huntsville, the senior DB had 20 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery. The defense consists of Griffin, Joseph Fortson, Caleb Ransaw, Adrian Readus, Angel Montoya, Reese Stogner.
Mackenzie Howard at linebacker is having a solid season for the Senators. Tyshun Gaiter at that linebacker position the Senators have are solid at linebacker. Gavin Ransaw at noseguard has been an unsung here according to Coach White for the Senators. Also on the defensive front is KaRon White, Darius Love-Roston and Tyeus Clemons.
Both teams have great kickers. James Clemens has Jesse Rowe and Sparkman has Miles Tillman who kicked two field goals of 43 and 52 yards with 3 extra points versus Bob Jones.