FNL: The Bowl becomes the Lion's Den

Larry Smith

The No. 2 Prattville Lions are living up to expectations according to their Head Coach. "So far, so good," smiled Bill Clark as his team prepared to take on No. 16 Jeff Davis at historic Cramton Bowl. He was even happier post-game, following a 31-0 Lions win. "Our defense gave us a lot of opportunities. Good win. We got a lot of people in. Give Jeff Davis credit. They kept fighting."

The Lions jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead, and it was all downhill from there for Jeff Davis.

Prattville quarterback Larry Smith threw for 212 of his 281 yards and a touchdown before the first half was done.

"We've still got a chance to go a long way," said Jeff Davis coach Duane McWhorter. "We need to make up our mind what we want to do. We'll go as far as (the players) want to take us."

There are probably two teams in Alabama, in this writer's opinion, with even a prayer of beating Hoover for all the marbles. It says here Prattville and McGill-Toolen are those two.

To the categories:

TOP SENIOR PROSPECTS: Jonathan Beasley (6-2, 218) plays outside linebacker with a fervor for Jeff Davis. "Jonathan's been very steady, so far," said McWhorter. "He's been our leading tackler." Coach Clark agrees. "Good player. Makes a lot of plays. Very athletic." That would explain Beasley's game-high 14 tackles.

Prattville quarterback Smith rarely disappoints. After a slow start, Smith finished 21-of-31 passing.

It was somewhat of a slow night for the Lions' Nick Gentry (6-2, 265), a defensive lineman already committed to Alabama. Gentry did not start on this night, but saw time at left defensive end from the game's third snap until matters were decided. Gentry has an explosive first step, and projects as a tackle at the next level, as most know. Gentry recorded seven tackles, including two sacks and two hurries with one fumble recovery on a night where he played both end and tackle. His first sack came 11 ticks before intermission and helped halt a mini-drive by the Vols. He followed that up with a hurry that led to an interception in the end zone to end the half.

"He was a little sick earlier in the week, and that's why he didn't start tonight," said coach Clark. "He's played well."

Halfback Lewis Haley got the Lions' first points on a short run and played well all evening. He's 5-9,180.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: The Prattville coach knows he has a gem in Justin Albert. "Oh, he's explosive," Clark said. "Playmaker. Very strong. Great moves. Very intelligent, just a great player." Albert caught two passes for 21 yards, rushed seven times for 30 and a four-yard touchdown, but did not return a punt or kick-off, two areas where he excels.

Albert has plenty of company in a talented junior class that includes wide receiver DeKendrick Moncrief (6-0, 175), safety Mario Marshall (6-1, 198), and cornerback Reggie Dozier, who is 5-feet-8, 151 pounds. Dozier made at least one touchdown-saving tackle, which came one play before the Vols coughed it up 2:41 before the half. Moncrief scored on a nine-yard leaping grab from Smith 1:36 before halftime to basically ice the game, as Prattville doesn't make a habit of blowing 17-point leads. In addition to four catches for 51 yards, all in the game's first 22 minutes, Moncrief also holds for place kicks, a further sign of good hands. Defensive end Hayden Findley (6-0, 215) had a pair of sacks.

Jeff Davis features quick-as-a-cat quarterback Courtney Burkett, a 5-9, 157-pound dynamo with an arm that's stronger than one might first think. D-lineman DeMarcus DuBose (say that real quick) is a 6-foot, 230-pounder with time to grow. One guy who is already a big fellow is offensive lineman Phillip Spear, a 6-foot, 300-pounder. No Jeff Davis observer can leave out running back Ronnie Johnson, a 6-foot, 180-pounder with speed to take it to the house.

SUPER SOPHS: Playing time is no easy matter for tenth-graders at the 6A level, but keep an eye on Prattville middle linebacker D'Angelo Albright, who is already 6-0, 195. Albright likes contact, and separated a Vol from the ball early on to give his team the ball at their own 46, but the Lions fumbled it back four plays later. Kicker Brian Egan (5-9, 170) gets good height on his kick-offs, is accurate on PATs and drilled a 29-yard field goal with plenty to spare.

HOW 'BOUT THEM DOGS: No Bulldogs in this game, but there were hot dogs pre-game. Located in the shadow of the state capital on Dexter Avenue, Chris' Hot Dogs has been around Montgomery since 1917. A former haunt of late country music legend Hank Williams, Sr. Chris' has a photo on the wall showing that former basketball star and current NBA announcer Bill Walton, who has also graced its doors. Though the weiners are boiled, what sets them apart from those at Cramton Bowl a few blocks away is Chris' famous chili sauce. It's not meaty, and it's not too spicy, but it's fairly tasty. Hot fries and friendly, prompt service just add to the atmosphere of this oldie but goodie establishment.

NEXT WEEK: MTV and ESPN won't be around, but No. 1 in the nation Hoover takes it's show on the road when FNL makes its first-ever trip to Mountain Brook. The Spartans are struggling early, and this one could get ugly real quickly. Still, its a chance to check out Bama commitment William Vlachos as he tries to block stud defensive tackle Kerry Murphy. Clemson commitment Drew Traylor (Mountain Brook) and Hoover's Josh Chapman (Auburn commitment) are always fun to watch as well.

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