The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 6, 2013

RATTLER REDUX: No. 1 Tanner outlasts No. 3 Washington Co. for 2nd state title

Stephens' 159 yards, 2 TDs earn MVP honors as Rattlers win 2A title rematch, 21-13

TUSCALOOSA — TUSCALOOSA — In a showdown of two of the perennial powerhouses in Class 2A, No. 1 Tanner battled back to defeat No. 3 Washington County, 21-13, in Friday’s Super Six football championship at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The Rattlers (13-1) completed their fifth consecutive comeback of the postseason to claim its second straight state title behind 159 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries by the game’s Most Valuable Player, senior running back Hayden Stephens, and a command performance by an offensive line with three seniors and two sophomores.

“Last year’s team was kind of stacked,” Stephens said when asked about a Tanner squad that finished 14-0 and had four players who signed college football scholarships. “This year we had to work as hard as we could for each win. It means a lot because we had to work a lot harder for this one than we did last year.”

MVP performance

Amid near-freezing rain, Stephens shot through a gaping hole up the middle on a 45-yard scamper in the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7 before Tanner trailed again at halftime, 13-7.

On the first drive of the third quarter, Stephens produced the go-ahead touchdown when he lined up in his favorite alignment, the deep I-formation. The second score by the 5-foot-8-inch, 180-pound back capped a 13-play, 67-yard drive with a 1-yard run to put Tanner on top, 14-13, and seized the momentum away from the Bulldogs.

The Rattlers’ sophomore power runner, Ty Mayberry, and quarterback JonJon Fletcher drew the Bulldogs’ defense to the middle of the line, allowing Stephens to veer left and trot untouched into the end zone.

The Washington County defensive coaches said they had game-planned extensively for Stephens, who finished the year with 2,142 yards and 30 total touchdowns, including 28 rushing.

“He is a great football player — some people look at him and say he’s not overly big or overly fast, but he’s very quick,” said Washington County coach Chris Wilson, whose team finished 13-2. “He’s really good at what he does and reads the whole field.”

Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee