TUSCALOOSA, AL - Sweet Water High School senior Shamar Lewis scooped up a fumble and raced 64 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter Thursday to seal the Bulldogs' 20-6 victory over Pickens County in the AHSAA Super 7 Class 1A state football finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Lewis, had four tackles including one for a six-yard loss on defense, made an interception in the final minute and also rushed for a 95 yards on 16 carries to earn MVP honors for Coach Pat Thompson's Bulldogs.
Sweet Water (13-1) won its 10th state championship overall and its first since 2010. Thompson served as assistant coach on two state championship teams and now has his first as the head coach.
Pickens County (12-3), coached by James Thompson, took the early lead 3-0 with 5:40 left in the second quarter when Jermaine Hill booted a 26-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 66-yard march. Sweet Water drove 60 yards on 10 plays on the ensuing drive with Jacory Brown scoring on a 2-yard run at the two-minute mark of the period and Devonte Blanks kicked the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 7-3 lead at intermission.
The Bulldogs took the opening drive of the third quarter and drove 68 yards in 11 plays to extend the lead to 14-3 when Jaylon Williamson scored on a 3-yard run. The Tornadoes cut the lead to 14-6 three minutes later when Hill kicked his second field goal, a 28-yarder. His two field goals set a new Super 7 Class 1A state record. Lewis took over in the fourth quarter, however. Pickens County quarterback Aljaron Edwards was forced out of the pocket by Jacory Brown midway through the fourth quarter and lost control of the ball as he was thrown to the turf. Lewis was there to pick it up and raced to the end zone for the clinching score.
Sweet Water totaled 283 yards rushing on 56 carries and completed one pass for 50 yards – a grab by Trenton Sams from quarterback Jonah Lewis that came on a third-and-27 play from the Bulldogs 25 that kept the third-quarter scoring drive alive. Pickens County passed for 233 yards but netted only 22 rushing.
Brown had a game-high 103 yards rushing on 25 carries for the Bulldogs, and Williamson had 95 on 12 rush attempts.
Edwards was 17-of-26 passing for the Tornadoes for 174 yards and Clifford Morton was 3-of-5 for 59 yards. Elliott Petty had nine catches for 109 yards and Malik Betts had six for 70 yards.
Jah'Dairius McIntosh led the Sweet Water defense with 10 tackles and one sack. Smith had seven tackles plus and interception and Willie Lewis had six. Jah-Marien Latham and Rikishi Cohen had 10 tackles each for Pickens County.
The Super 7 State Championships continue tonight with the Class 5A championship game between St. Paul's Episcopal (13-1) and Briarwood Christian (14-0) at 7 p.m. All games are being televised live by Raycom Media over its Raycom/AHSAA Network of affiliates and D-2 stations. The games are also being live video-streamed over the NFHS Network's subscriber-based network and on You Tube. For more TV information, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on "Where to Watch."
The Super 7 closes out Friday with three games: UMS-Wright (12-2) meeting Fayette County (12-2) at 11 a.m., in the 4A championship, Lanett (14-0) versus Leroy (12-2) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Wetumpka (13-1) facing Pinson Valley (14-0) in the 6A finals at 7 p.m.