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Posted Oct 10, 2011
Petal came into the season as one of the Class 5A favorites but stood at 1-3 midway through the season. Anthony Alford made sure that the three-game skid came to an end, and now Petal is playing up to expectations and owns a three-game winning streak.
"It was a real gut check after we lost to Brookhaven,"
said when asked about the season. "We knew it was time to put up or shut up. There were a lot of expectations for this team going into the season and we were 1-3. We had an open date and played one of our biggest rivals (Hattiesburg) and that got us back on track."
That does not tell the whole story as Alford exploded the following game against their heated rival, Oak Grove.
"They were undefeated and had all of the rankings but we came out and had our best game of the season. We finally started clicking offensively in that second half."
Explode they did as the Panthers scored 54 points against the then No. 3 ranked team in the state. Alford had 23 rushes for 207 yards and four touchdowns and passed for another 223 yards and two more scores in the game.
"I think that game finally woke us all up. We opened up with two powerhouse teams in Wayne County and Picayune. We split those two games and then lost a tough game to Madison Central. Brookhaven just kind of whipped us and that was a wake up call for all of us."
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound multidimensional quarterback continued his hot streak against Brandon Friday.
"We won 48-27. It was a big game because it was a District game. We are now 3-0 in District. We came out with the big win and our defense played real good. We kind of changed some stuff up and started playing people both ways so it would keep our defenders with fresh legs. That was the biggest key to us turning our season around. It was a great move by our coaches."
Alford passed for close to 300 yards and rushed for another 212 yards and totaled five touchdowns against Brandon with Ole Miss assistant coach Tyrone Nix standing on the sidelines.
"I knew he was going to be there so I had a little motivation. I hope I put on a good show for him."
What is going on with the Rebels?
"I am still liking Ole Miss. They are still at the top of my list with LSU, MSU, and USM. I just like Ole Miss because they are going to put the best player on the field regardless of how old they are. I like their offense too and the way they use their quarterbacks. It really fits my style of play. I like their staff too."
Ole Miss' depth chart has opened his eyes too.
"I love it because they tell me I will have a shot at playing as soon as I get there. That is what I am looking for."
Alford attended his second college football game of the season this past Saturday as he watched LSU whip up on the Florida Gators.
"I liked the atmosphere down there and liked the coaches."
What was he keying on?
"I was looking at how they use their quarterbacks and their depth chart. Who would be in front of me if I went down there?"
What did he learn about those issues?
"They rotate them a lot and that's a negative I see with LSU. I do not know if they are still trying to find the right quarterback or if that's just the way they use their quarterbacks. To me it's hard to find a rhythm when you are in and out."
What about the depth chart?
"They have a really good juco sophomore quarterback and a freshman that is behind him. They actually have two sophomore quarterbacks and a freshman."
The MSU Bulldogs' offense is also tailor-made for Scout.com's No. 12 rated quarterback.
"I also like their offense and they way they use their quarterbacks. Their main quarterback is about to graduate and I think I can compete against their back-ups. I think I am just as good as they are. I am going to make it up to a game of theirs later on in the season. I have seen Ole Miss and LSU and I will watch MSU next."
Southern Miss could be the sleeper out of the remaining candidates to ink the two-sport star.
"I am just real comfortable around their staff. I feel like I can trust them and it's close to home. I like what all they have to offer me."
Alford is also one of the top baseball prospects in the country. Who all is he hearing from?
"The same schools that are recruiting me in football are recruiting me in baseball. Everyone is telling me that they are going to give me a chance to play both sports."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alford Setting Visits
Oct 16, 2011
In Person Eval: Anthony Alford
Oct 17, 2011
Team Mississippi Roster Released
Oct 19, 2011
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