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SUNDAY PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: 'The shoe' adds dimension to AHS attack

ALBANY -- The shoe.

That's really all that needs to be said.

Just the mention of the shoe around Albany High can fill up a room with opinions and laughter.

"It's got a name,'' said Calvin Jackson, who wore the shoe on Thursday when Albany High beat Randolph-Clay, 41-0. "I call it Old Faithful.''

It's older than that.

"This shoe is 20 years old,'' Jackson said.

No one is sure just how old it is.

"Well, it's at least 15 years old,'' Albany head coach Felton Williams said.

It looks like something from the Jurassic era, or at least from the days of black and white television. The shoe is old as dirt, beat up and a dull gray color. It's got the old-fashioned square toe and it's even got a steel-toe front.

This was the kind of shoe kickers used long before ESPN or the Internet were born.

"That shoe was here in 1886,'' said Albany High track & field coach Jessica Thomas, who barely smiled when she said it. "That's the year the school opened. It's that old.''

But there it was Thursday, sitting right there on Jackson's right foot. And it was golden for the first-time kicker.

Jackson made five of six extra points (his other PAT was blocked) and by the time the night had ended, he pretty much loved the old beat-up shoe.

"Just look at this shoe,'' he said as he smiled down on his good fortune.

Actually, Albany High was fortunate to have Jackson.

The Indians have not one, but two kickers who specialize in field goals and extra points: two freshmen soccer players who joined the team this season for that specific purpose. But neither was there Thursday.

"I was looking for them, and one of the kids told me they weren't here,'' Williams said. "They missed the game because it was Thursday and they had to go to Bible study.''

Enter Jackson, and the shoe for the ages -- or the ageless shoe.


SPANN TURNS HEADS: The other twist in the Albany High-Randolph Clay game came in the second quarter when Albany's center Jeffrey Wallace had to leave with an injury.

Andrew Spann, who just enrolled at Albany High from Westover, stepped in and played the rest of the game as Albany High rolled up big yards on the ground all night, including a 123-yard three TD night from freshmen Quentin Sapp, who scored all three TDs after Spann entered the game.

"The GHSA just cleared him to play on Thursday morning,'' Williams said. "We needed to use him, and he did a good job.''


PINK IS IN: Did you notice the pink whistles this past Friday night?

Officials throughout Georgia used pink whistles this week during high school football games (yes, some of those whistles did leave some coaches seeing red), and there was a good reason.

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Georgia and the GHSA had all its high school officials wear pink whistles.


SEMINOLE'S MARTIN MAKES UP FOR MISTAKES: Seminole County junior Jakhari Martin's first snap as a starter Friday ended up in the dirt for a fumble. Things didn't get much better after that for Seminole against Calhoun County. The Indians were intercepted in the end zone, failed on a fake field goal attempt and had one of Martin's touchdown runs called back for a holding penalty.

"It wasn't a pretty thing at all," said Seminole coach Alan Ingram, whose team was penalized nine times for 80 yards.

Martin, though, settled down after filling in for starter Antwan Buggs, who was benched for the first three quarters for an incident at school but entered the game in the fourth quarter and threw a touchdown.

"He's going to be a good one down the line," Ingram said of Martin, who perfectly read a cut back run for a 33-yard score in the fourth quarter.

The Indians were held to just 88 rushing yards at the half by a stingy Calhoun County defense but finished with more than 200 on the night in a 33-0 win, despite leading just 6-0 at the break. Seminole's defense held the Cougars to under 100 total yards and scored a defensive touchdown.


SEMINOLE VS. DALEVILLE (ALA.) -- THE REMATCH ONE YEAR AFTER THE INCIDENT: The Indians go to Daleville (Ala.) this week, one year after an ugly incident that turned into a brawl on the field forced Seminole County to forfeit its next game and ultimately cost the Indians a shot at the Region 1-A title. Ingram doesn't expect the same this year.

"They've got a class program," he said. "I'd like to think we do, too. It will be a good, competitive ballgame."

Ingram was headed to Columbia, S.C. after Friday's win to see his son, Ashley Ingram, who is an offensive line coach for the Naval Academy. The elder Ingram called for the upset of Navy beating the Gamecocks.

South Carolina trailed late, 21-17, but ended up pulling out the win, 24-21.


SECOND-HALF MISCUES FOR CALHOUN: With five freshman starters and a group of players who have never been on a team with a winning record, Calhoun County found itself going toe-to-toe with one of Class A's heavy hitters Friday.

The Cougars got to midfield or inside Seminole County territory with five of their first seven possessions in three quarters of play but never could find the redzone. Calhoun trailed just 6-0 at halftime to Seminole County but gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter to fall, 33-0.

Now at 1-1 in Region 1-A play, Calhoun has shown the ability to reach its goal of postseason play.

"Our No. 1 goal is to try to make the playoffs," Williams said. "There's a lot of people who say that's a difficult task. I think it's attainable if we keep every body together and keep everybody healthy."

The Cougars have the running back to do it in Willie Brown. He ran for 83 yards in Friday's loss after having 61 at halftime. Outside of Brown, Calhoun had minus-58 yards rushing due to bad snaps and one huge rushing loss.

They also have found a receiving threat in Marquez Williams, whose leaping ability helped him pull in three catches for 49 yards from quarterback Aaron Thornton on Friday.


SOUTHLAND STOMPS TRINITY: Southland coach Tim Goodin said he didn't plan on punting much Friday, and he didn't.

Southland gashed Trinity Christian between the tackles for three first-quarter touchdowns en route to a 34-6 win Friday.

Clay Oxford led the charge with 133 yards and a touchdown as the Raiders rushed for 378 yards.

"We were just knocking them off the ball in the first quarter," said coach Tim Goodin. "I think the line did a great job. The backs were blocking for each other, and the backs were running hard. They couldn't match up with us in a traditional defense."

Southland's first three drives consisted of 15 plays and 108 yards. Jake Hood scored on a 1-yard run, and Dustin Shattles took a sweep to the right side 11 yards for a 14-0 lead.

Shattles recovered the ensuing squib kick, and two plays later, Lawton Williams scored from six yards out.

Freshman Cauldin Smith led the Raiders with nine tackles and a sack; Williams and Andrew Alexander each had eight, and Shattles had seven with a fumble recovery.

Southland travels to Tiftarea this week, another winless team. Trinity had allowed at least 49 points entering Friday, and Tiftarea is allowing 54.8 points a game.


Albany Herald staff writers Mike Phillips, John Millikan and Matt Stewart, as well as Americus Times-Recorder sports editor Chris Whitaker, contributed to this report.