AHSAA: Prattville wins Class 6A title
MVP Justin Thomas, Alabama commitment
MVP Justin Thomas, Alabama commitment
Posted Dec 3, 2011

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Prattville held on in the closing minutes Friday night to grab the Class 6A title after Elba had won the Class 2A crown and Jackson had won in Class 4A on the final day of the 2011 AHSAA Super 6 football championships at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Prattville High School’s defense had one more stop than Hoover Friday night. And that stop, which prevented the Bucs from getting into the end zone on a gutsy two-point conversion try, gave the Lions a 35-34 win in the Class 6A finals.

"We felt like our defense was getting a little gassed," Hoover head coach Josh Niblett said of his decision to go for two after the Bucs scored and came within one in closing minutes of the game. "We felt like it was the best decision we could make at the time."

Hoover quarterback Connor Short rolled to his right, pulled out of the grasp of one tackler and passed back across the middle to Jarrett Brown inside the five. Brown whirled toward the end zone, but Lions defenders Leronji Vason and Lawon Debardelaben stopped him short of the end zone to seal the win.

The state championship was Prattville’s fifth in seven championship tries and the second for Coach Jamey DuBose. Prattville’s other state titles came in 1984, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Hoover has reached the state finals 15 times with seven wins, seven losses and one tie for a co-championship. Niblett has taken the Bucs to the state finals in all four of his years at the helm.

"It was a great game with both teams making great plays,” said Prattville's DuBose. "We got one more."

The Lions (13-2) were facing a 28-14 deficit midway through the third quarter at their own 30-yard line when a roughing-the-punter penalty gave Prattville a first down at the 45. The Lions took full advantage, scoring on three quick plays with quarterback Justin Thomas connecting with Brandon Smith for the final 47 yards to cut the Bucs' lead to 28-21 with 6:46 left to play.

Prattville scored three minutes later when Thomas ran in from the four-yard line and place-kicker Kegan Gaither booted the fourth of five key extra points to tie the game. The Lions then took the lead with 8:31 to play when Stanley Mays capped as 15-play, 80-yard drive with a six-yard run.

Hoover drove to the Prattville 24-yard line with two minutes to play, but Short’s pass on second down was intercepted by Dallas Powell at the Lions 1.

The Bucs' defense stopped the Lions on three plays to force a punt and got the ball back with 1:28 to play at the Lions 30. Short completed four passes, three to Michael Powers with the last one resting at the Lions two to set up Short’s touchdown run.

Prattville scored on its first possession of the game with Jalen Whitlow running in from the nine on the 10th play of a 92-yard drive.

Hoover responded with a 12-play, 77-yard drive to tie the game when Josh Jackson hauled in a Short pass from the nine. Short sneaked in from the one to give Hoover a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

Prattville responded with a 72-yard Justin Thomas run with 6:28 left in the second quarter to knot the game at 14 all.

Hoover reeled off two touchdowns, the first with 2:16 to go in the half when Short scored from the one for the second of three rushing touchdowns. Bucs' running back Kyler Jackson made it 28-14 with an 18-yard scoring run early in the third quarter.

Justin Thomas earned MVP honors with 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He also completed 13-of-20 passes for 153 yards and another score. Smith had five catches for 88 yards.

Dakota Daniel led Hoover with 160 yards rushing on 24 carries. Short netted only three yards but had three rushing scores. He was sacked twice for 19 yards in losses. He was 20-of-33 passing for 217 yards and one score. Powers finished with seven catches for 88 yards and Jackson had four for 53.

Defensively, Landry Tullo had a 6A Super 6 record 17 tackles for Hoover. Teammates Blake Patterson and Matt McCay had 11 each. Se’Cortney Gardner had eight tackles and Justin Oates had seven to pace the Lions.

The game capped the six-game event with a two-day attendance of 50,547

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