Thomasville downed by Winston, Hueytown

Published 9:26 pm Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hueytown stormed from behind in the fourth quarter to nip defending Class 4A state champion Thomasville 36-27 in the first game of the 2011 Champions Challenge preseason football classic at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Friday night.

Action resumes Saturday in the sixth annual Champions Challenge with defending Class 1A state champion Sweet Water taking on 2010 Class 3A state runner-up Hamilton at 5 p.m., followed by defending Class 6A state champ Daphne meeting Clay-Chalkville in the nightcap at 7:30.

Fans wanting to see Hueytown’s talented senior quarterback Jameis Winston got their money’s worth. The Florida State verbal commitment, rated by some experts as the nation’s top prep quarterback prospect in the Class of 2012, rushed for 117 yards on 19 carries and four touchdowns. He also completed 10-of-21 passes for 138 yards and the Gophers’ other touchdown.

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It was the dominating play of Hueytown defensive tackle Chris Rabb, however, that may have proven to be the difference in the end. Rabb had just six tackles on the night, but all six were for losses totaling 20 yards. None was bigger than his tackle for a safety following a Winston 36-yard punt midway through the third quarter that was downed at the Thomasville 1-yard line.

On the next play, Rabb broke through the Tigers’ blockers to nail the Thomasville runner a yard deep in the end zone to give Hueytown a 22-21 lead, its first of the second half.

Coach Jack Hankins’ Tigers battled back quickly. John Knight, who rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, scored in the second quarter on runs of 72 and 46 yards. He hauled in quarterback Tevin Watters’ short pass on the right side and ran 36 yards for the go-ahead TD with 2:17 left in the third period to give Thomasville the lead again 27-22.

Winston, who had TD runs of 1 and 19 yards earlier in the game, scored twice in the fourth quarter on runs of 11 and 2 yards, the last one coming with five seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

Thomasville senior Tyler Hayes, an Alabama commitment, opened the scoring with a 36-yard run on the Tigers’ first offensive play of the game. Hueytown answered with Winston’s 56-yard TD pass to Keith Johnson, but Coach Matt Scott’s Gophers missed the extra point and trailed 7-6 heading into the second period.

Hueytown finished with 316 yards rushing and 138 passing for 454 total yards. Danarrius Miller added 104 yards rushing on eight carries and Tim Foy had 93 on 18 carries. Cameron Broadnax was the Gophers’ leading receiver with five catches for 45 yards.

Thomasville finished with 214 yards rushing and 43 yards passing for 257 total yards.

Myles Clayton and Knight had 10 tackles each for the Tigers. Hayes had nine stops with two tackles for 24 yards in losses. Demarco Bowen, Watters and Devonte White each had an interception.

Nick Triggs complemented Rabb’s six tackles with seven stops for Hueytown.