MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AHSAA) - Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa High School's veteran offense posted 42 points in the first half en route to a 42-7 win over Demopolis as the two teams opened the 2016 prep football season at Cramton Bowl in the first of three games in the 11th annual Champions Challenge high school football classic.
The AHSAA Champions Challenge has been hosted each year since 2006 by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association (AHSADCA). Hoover and Central-Tuscaloosa play Friday night at 7 p.m. in game 2 of the Classic, and Andalusia meets Brooks Saturday night at 7 in the final game which opens the season for each school.
Coach Sam Adams' Patriots (1-0) combined a strong running game anchored by senior tailback Brian Robinson and the solid passing of senior quarterback Cole Frederick. Frederick earned MVP honors last May as Hillcrest won the Class 6A state baseball championship just blocks from Cramton Bowl at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.
Frederick's 41-yard touchdown pass to Torin Mayhew just two minutes into the game put the Patriots ahead 6-0. By the time the half was done, Frederick had completed 12-of-16 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. He attempted only one pass in the second half. Mayhew had three first-half catches for 58 yards and Jahi Brown caught four for 41 yards with touchdowns covering 17 and 10 yards in the second period.
Robinson gained 55 yards on 10 carries, all in the first half, and scored twice with runs of 6 and 9 yards. Demopolis' special teams play had two miscues on kickoffs, one leading to a safety and the other to the Patriots' fifth score of the half.
Demopolis quarterback Logan McVay streaked 42 yards down inside the 15 with 10 seconds left in second quarter for the Tigers' biggest play of the night. The spark carried over to the second half as Coach Stacy Luker's team kept the ball for more than six minutes to start the second half. His defense also played much better, keeping the Patriots to zero yards – albeit Adams' reserves as head coach cleared his bench in the season-opening win.
A.J. Jackson capped an 11-play, 72-yard drive in the fourth quarter to score Demopolis' only TD of the night with a 7-yard run with 5:01 remaining. The Tigers (0-1), with just 69 yards total offense in the first two quarters, finished with 151 yards rushing and 52 passing for 203 total yards. McVay was 3-of-6 passing for 27 yards and had 48 yards rushing on 11 carries. Jackson finished with 74 yards on 22 carries.
Adams' defense was led by Kenyaques Marshall's eight tackles. Carson Williams added seven, Jaquez Jones and Cole Kizziah, six each. Kionte Taggart also had an interception in the end zone right before the first half ended.
Russ Logan's nine stops led Demopolis. Tavian Brown added seven tackles with three resulting in 10 yards lost.