No. 1 Spanish Fort handles Stanhope Elmore in Champions Challenge

Published 12:41am Sunday, August 24, 2014

Spanish Fort junior quarterback Tyler Johnston’s six total touchdowns proved too much for Stanhope Elmore, as the Class 6A No. 1 ranked Toros bulldozed the Mustangs 42-14 in the AHSAA’s Champions Challenge game Saturday night at Cramton Bowl.
Johnston threw for 353 yards on 16-for-24 passing with five touchdowns and an interception. The signal caller added another 101 yards and another score on the ground.
“We had a lot of workouts over the summer that came through tonight,” Johnston said after the game. “We have great coaches, coaching us all week for this game. I trusted my offensive line and great defense. And I trusted all my wide receivers any everybody and they did good.”
On offense, Stanhope managed 276 total yards, but its defense gave up 604 yards.
“We made mistakes all over the place. You make them in game one, but you hope you can come out and compete,” Mustang head coach Jeff Foshee said. “We give up five touchdown passes, that’s killer.”
Johnston opened the scoring with a 20-yard scamper less than six minutes into the game, and connected with senior wideout Kristian Cotton on a 90-yard, one play drive at the 2:47 mark for Spanish Fort’s second touchdown, Cotton’s first of four receiving scores. Michael Farnell added extra points to put the Toros up 14-0.
The Mustangs first score tied an AHSAA record. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Anderson found senior receiver Michael Brown on a 99-yard touchdown pass, a feat done only 10 other times in Alabama high school history–the last in 2011. Trenton Lewis’s extra point pulled SEHS within 14-7.
Two minutes later, Spanish Fort answered with another Johnston-to-Cotton connection to push the lead back up to two touchdowns.
Stanhope cut its deficit back to seven points when Anderson floated a pass over the middle to Brown from 30 yards out, and a Farnell point after. Anderson finished the night 3-for-9 with 129 yards.
Cotton hauled in a crushing touchdown reception, as time expired in the first half, from Johnston from 16 yards out, giving Spanish Fort a 28-14 advantage heading into the break.
Johnston added two more touchdown passes, a 30 yard pass to Cotton with 2:09 left in the third and a 74 yard pass to LaDarrell Pettway, to round out the scoring.
“Go back, teach technique. We got to fix a few things here-and-there,” Foshee said of his defense. “Those touchdown passes, one the guy was wide open, but the other ones, that guy made a heck of a play.”
Johnston said the Toros didn’t expect much difference in the team’s Class 6A debut game.
“It’s not different,” he said, “they’re good teams, but we just had to compete.”

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