The bad was 1-8 Brookwood, though the Tigers fought gamely. The ugly was the result, which included numerous fumbles and penalties en route to a 28-6 win by Demopolis.
To the categories:
TOP PROSPECT: Got to give the nod to junior running back Shantrell Braxton of 'De-Mop.' Braxton who is 5-11, 190 plowed through the Panthers' defense for 17 carries and 127 yards, and could have had more had he not split time in the spread option offense of first-year coach Tom Causey.
"He's matured beyond my wildest dreams in the short time I've been here," Causey said of his rising star. "He gets better every day. He's a good kid, and one heck of a football player. He had a big night."
Braxton displayed good footwork, balance, speed, power and ball-security despite playing just over half the game. Braxton scored from the both the 12 and the 5-yard lines, and added a 2-point conversion run on a sweep to the left.
SENIORS WHO SHINED: For the Tigers, give the nod to inside linebacker Anthony Wilson, who is listed 5-10, 205 but plays much bigger. He's also a good lead blocker when the offense needs a yard or two.
Without the services of injured quarterback Andy Green, the Panthers' offense never got untracked. Truth be told, had Demopolis not muffed a punt that caromed into the end zone where a Brookwood special teamer fell on it, the home team would not likely have dented the score board.
JUNIORS TO WATCH: "Heads up!" warned Causey, as a pre-game punt descended upon us and into the sure hands of receiver Brian Taylor, who plays wide and tight at 6-2, 205.
"He's got a lot of college potential," Causey noted, and he should know. Causey left Andalusia and junior star linebacker Nico Johnson to take the Demopolis job.
Taylor snagged a 13-yard TD pass from fellow junior Rick Miller, a good option quarterback in his own right. Like Braxton, Taylor shined at Nick Saban's camp this past summer.
"(Taylor) has great hands, understands the game and runs good routes," Causey added. "He'll break a route off, even when you haven't coached him to do it. He'll see the hole (in the zone defense), and he'll sit down in it. He's a really good student, too."
Brookwood coach Ricky Bush noted another facet to Taylor's game that will serve him well now and at the next level.
"(Taylor) blocks, so fundamentally well, downfield," said Bush. "If we could get our kids to block, and match the intensity (the Tigers) have, it would be a wonderful thing."
Bush added that his top junior is offensive lineman Brandon Fowler.
SUPER SOPHS: Tigers' defensive end Montez Jackson is already 6-3.5, 220. Circle his name for future reference. "He can run, man," smiled Causey.
FRESHMAN PHENOMS: Demarcus James splits time at halfback with Braxton. James is 5-9, 185 and cat-quick.
Brookwood has an inside linebacker who already runs a 4.8 forty at 5-11, 208. Watch for the name Tevin Davis over the next three years. Much the same applies to running back Damian Higgins.
HOW BOUT THAT STEAK: If you're good with a set of directions that reads, "Go to the middle of nowhere and take a left," you may be up for a trip to Buck's Steakhouse, located at Lock 5 on the Black Warrior River. It claims a Greensboro address, but is really closer to Demopolis. Regardless, the steaks are so good and marinated so well that they melt in your mouth. A recent New York Strip the menu called "petite" came out at around 15 ounces, but every bite was one to be savored. Toss in fresh salads, piping hot baked potatoes, and good old sweet tea, and you've got a winner.
NEXT UP: Sweet Water and star back Anthony Landrum visit coach Stephen Hooks and his ACA Patriots in T-town. Stacey Luker runs the Sweet Water program with his son, Drew, behind center. The battle Drew has that night against Brad Smelley and the Pats' offense should be something to see, as Sweet Water likes to run it, and ACA prefers to air it out. It could literally be a battle between two eventual state champs, Sweet Water in 1A and ACA in 2A.
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