Local gridders make all-state football


Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy: Gadsden City’s Dre Kirkpatrick, Jr. (4) returns an interception this past season.

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Several local football players recently made the Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State high school football teams.

Selected to the first team were Gadsden City’s T.J. Worthy and Dre Kirkpatrick, Jr., in Class 6A; Southside’s Mason Teague and Sardis’ Seth Cooper in Class 5A and Coosa Christian’s Clete O’Bryant, Cade Mickler and Grayson Malone in Class 1A.

A senior running back, Worthy ran for 1,501 yards and 24 touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 430 yards and six scores. A senior defensive back, Kirkpatrick finished with 55 tackles and intercepted five passes, three of which he returned for touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 17 punts for 613 yards and three touchdowns and ran back 14 kickoffs for 493 yards and two scores. The duo helped GCHS go 9-4, win a second straight region championship and make the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.

Teague was the Panthers’ primary option on offense, rushing for 2,143 yards and 25 touchdowns while averaging 195 yards and 2.3 TDs per game. Southside won eight of its last 10 games to finish 8-3 and capture its first region championship in nine years.

Cooper punted 33 times for 1,480 yards for a 44.8 average. Eight of his punts were downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

A junior linebacker, O’Bryant had 125 tackles (including 23 for a loss), two sacks, three interceptions, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. A sophomore defensive end, Mickler had 106 tackles (including 18 for a loss), five sacks, four forced fumbles and 13 quarterback pressures. A senior cornerback, Malone had 52 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass break-ups.

Making the second team were Gadsden City’s Jerrell Brasher in 6A, Southside Jamin Brown and Tytan Rich in 5A and Hokes Bluff’s Anderson Morgan and Westbrook Christian’s Aiden Brown in 3A.

A senior defensive tackle, Brasher totaled 79 tackles, including 23 for a loss, and 11 sacks. Brown graded 94 percent for the season, during which he made 93 pancake blocks and allowed only one sack. A senior linebacker, Rich had a team-high 114 tackles, including 23 for a loss, three sacks and an interception. A junior defensive back Morgan finished with 45 tackles and five interceptions. A senior offensive lineman, Brown graded 92 percent with 35 pancake blocks and only two sacks allowed.

Earning honorable mention recognition was Coosa Christian junior tight end Eli Motes, who had 45 receptions for 528 yards and eight touchdowns.

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