It was a tale of two different philosophies on Thursday at Auburn University, where the AHSAA Class 3A crown was won by Madison Academy, 31-7. Fayette County put up a solid fight for three quarters, but the Mustangs pounding style was too much for the Tigers in the end. Defensively, the Mustangs created turnovers against the spread-look of the Tigers en route to holding them to 140 total yards all afternoon.
Here’s a look at the four players that impressed the most on each team.
2015 RB/DB Kerryon Johnson (6-foot, 185 lbs) - This list cannot begin with anyone else but the game’s MVP. The super sophomore is an impressive runner with combo of good speed and cut-back ability. He has a spin move, jump-cut and finishes each run with power. On the other side of the ball, he’s a rangy defender with good ball skills that can sky to knock a ball down if needed as he showed multiple times Thursday including on a 68-yard pick-six and another interception he snagged one-haned. Johnson also lines up as wide receiver as well and may project best there or as a defensive back. He finished the game with 135 yards rushing and two scores on offense.
2016 RB/LB Malik Miller(6-foot, 210 lbs) - Just a frosh, Miller runs steady in between the tackles as a power runner and proves to be a great complement to Johnson. He makes plays on defense as a solid tackler as well. He is a physical player on either side of the ball, seemingly playing a bit angry at times. Miller finished the afternoon with 14 carries for 121yards and a touchdown on the ground while leading the defense with eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He had something to do with all the big plays down the stretch.
2014 RB/DB La-Markus Martin (5-foot-7, 160 lbs) – Don’t let his size fool you. He’s small, but plays about as active as any defender on the field. He came up big as a blitzer, and actually came up with a pair of sacks in the big win. He has a knack for the ball and tackles better than most.
2012 DB/K Chandler Trach – In addition to his starting duties on defense and occasionally at wide receiver, Trach is a solid field goal kicker. He booted a 43-yard field goal to get Madison Academy on the board early, with room to spare, and made several tackles en route to the state title. He also punts.
2014 WR/DB JeTevin Madison (5-foot-10, 148 lbs) – The speedy and shifty athlete made plays on both sides of the ball, helping to try and corral the two-headed Madison Academy rushing monster with nine tackles. Madison chipped in with four catches for 45 yards on offense.
2013WR/DB JaTrae Madison (5-foot-10, 160 lbs) – The elder Madison brother was nearly as good as his teammate, coming up with a couple of grabs as well as one potentially big first-down catch that was ruled incomplete (replay showed a catch, but it’s not reviewable). Defensively, Madison led the team with 10 tackles and a pass break-up.
2015 RB/DB Kyle Nalls (5-foot-9, 170 lbs) – Nalls has a knack for making plays on both ends, especially with the ball in his hands. He was bottled up for the most part on Thursday, but still managed 44 yards of total offense by utilizing a solid blend of moves in the open field and explosion. He’s one to watch going forward.
2013 OLB Darnell Williams (6-foot-1, 175 lbs) – A bit undersized near the line, you wouldn’t know it watching Williams play. He squeezes through blocks and finishes upon contact. The versatile defender helped to slow Madison Academy at times with three big tackles for loss among his six stops.