Sunday, October 28, 2007

Albertville Runs Past Lee

Albertville runs past Lee

By Lionel Green
The Reporter

Published October 27, 2007

Cody Haycraft took Senior Night seriously.

The Albertville running back battered the Lee Generals with 193 yards and three touchdowns Friday to lift the Aggies to a 37-23 win — and a home game in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

The Aggies improved to 6-3 with their fourth straight victory and clinched the No. 2 slot in Region 7 when Scottsboro lost to Fort Payne 49-7. Albertville will play host to Region 5 three seed, the Chelsea Hornets, Nov. 9.

“We’re excited about having the chance to host at home,” said head coach Tommy Tharp, 11-18 in his third season helming Albertville. “We felt like this was the season we could get in. Of course when you beat Butler and upset Scottsboro, it puts you in a position where you really can get a little deeper than maybe you thought you could. Playing at home’s a big deal. This is the first time in the three years we’ve been here that we’ve gotten in the playoffs. I’m kind of used to getting in, and I’m ready to get back.”

The win was vintage Aggies — pound the ball up the gut on offense and bend but don’t break on defense.

“There were some things we did good, some things we didn’t,” Tharp said. “The best thing we did was we made drives when we had to offensively. Defensively we played good enough to win. That’s kind of what we do. We don’t play flashy. We’re not a Steel Curtain, but we tend to get turnovers and make folks run a lot of plays. If you do that, sometimes they make mistakes.”

Haycraft had 172 yards and two touchdowns by halftime as the Aggies built a 21-7 lead. Haycraft score on a 4-yard run in the first quarter and 2-yard run in the second. He finished with 34 carries.

“I didn’t know he had that many yards,” Tharp said. “I know he had a lot of tough runs inside. He had a couple of 15- and 20-yarders. Cody’s just a workhorse. He just beats you down. That’s what he’s good at.”

Haycraft gave his offensive guys up front the credit and enjoyed playing with so much on the line.

“We didn’t really look at it as pressure, but excitement,” he said. “Like a possibility to do something that’s never been done at this school before. We believe. Anything can happen when you believe.”

Junior Jared Fontaine added the other first-half touchdown with a 12-yard rush. Fontaine ended up with 55 yards on 11 carries and was 1-of-4 passing for 6 yards.

Leading 21-0, Albertville allowed Lee to score on an 11-yard pass from sophomore Raymond Russell Jr. to senior Jarrett Burns with 27 seconds left in the half.

But the Aggies defense scored a safety about a minute into the third quarter to give Albertville a 23-7 lead and kill any momentum for the Generals. Haycraft tacked on a 1-yard touchdown plunge early in the fourth. Less than a minute later, junior Kyle Rigsby pounced on a Lee fumble in the end zone to score the first touchdown of his career.

Rigsby said he let out a “Holy cow” when he scored.

“That was awesome,” said Rigsby. “That was quite amazing. I saw it hit the ground and I grabbed for it and a couple of my teammates said I yanked it out of their hands. I was just trying to make sure no one got the ball other than us.”

Russell connected on touchdown passes to juniors Shedrick Askew and Delawrence Daniels late in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.

Haycraft wasn’t the only senior to perform for the Aggies — Beau Dahlke and Dustin Duckett had interceptions.

But the sophomores and even a freshman sparkled as well.

Sophomore Trent Kuehnert recovered a fumble, and sophomore T.J. Pams had nice 17-yard tackle for a loss.

Freshman Tyree Roberts contributed the longest run of the night for Albertville, a 42-yard scamper to start the fourth quarter and set up a score. Roberts finished with six carries for 49 yards.

The freshman admitted to being a little shocked when he broke free on the 42-yarder. He was tackled at the 3-yard line.

“I was real excited,” said Roberts. “I was just happy I got 42 yards. I thought I scored, but it ended up I got knocked out of bounds. It was real exciting.”

Tharp is not looking ahead to the playoffs yet. The Aggies still have a county battle with Guntersville (6-3) next week.

“We’ve got one to play before the playoffs,” he said. “It’ll be a lot of fun playing those guys next week.”

Haycraft doesn’t intend to overlook the Wildcats either.

“I don’t think our class has ever beat them before,” said Haycraft. “We’ll start thinking about Guntersville Monday.”

Sand Mountain Reporter
1603 Progress Drive
P.O. Box 1729
Albertville, Alabama 35950

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