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Stanhope Elmore’s Tray Duncan (24) was one of the top sprinters for the track program. He was a multi-sport athlete for the Mustangs, also shining on the football field.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a six-part series highlighting the biggest moments from sports in Elmore County during the 2019-20 academic year.

Tray Duncan leads SEHS to first playoff win since 2010

Tray Duncan ran for 203 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries to help Stanhope Elmore clinch a spot in the second round of the AHSAA football postseason. The Mustangs’ 35-13 win over    Paul Bryant was the program’s first playoff victory since   2010.

The win also marked SEHS coach Brian Bradford’s first playoff win in six years as a head coach. Stanhope finished the season with a 9-3 record, its best finish also since 2010.

“Everybody was 100% bought in,” Bradford said after the game. “We’ve been preaching all week, all season, that if you buy into what we are doing, we will win some football games. I think we played well as a team.”

DJ Jamerson has coming out party at MA Tournament

Stanhope Elmore found itself a new star on the basketball court when DJ Jamerson dominated the rest of the field at the annual Montgomery Academy Tournament. He averaged 20.1 points and 10 rebounds per game as the Mustangs made a surprising run all the way to the championship game.

In the final, Jamerson scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Mustangs to a 68-59 win over LAMP, a team they lost to just one week prior. 

Jamerson went on to average 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds in his first season with Stanhope Elmore. He was named the 2020 Elmore County Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

“He can be a big part of the future here,” SEHS coach Terry Hardy said. “I don’t see why he can’t be back-to-back player of the year in the county and even push for player of the year in the state. It’s hard to stop a kid with that many weapons. With his skill set, there is no ceiling for him.”

Thompson, Bradford make Blue-Grey all-star game

Stanhope Elmore had a pair of seniors participate in a national all-star game in January as Conner Bradford and Jeremy Thompson looked to make some noise and gain some extra exposure before heading to play at the next level. The two players competed in the annual Blue-Grey All-American Bowl and helped Grey to a 27-20 victory.

Bradford, a wide receiver, got only one touch but made the most of it with a 31-yard rush on a reverse. Thompson played defensive back and grabbed an interception in the first half, setting up three points for Grey.

“It’s always good to see how they compete against the best of the best,” Stanhope Elmore coach Brian Bradford said, “not just to see them compete but to have them be some of the better players out there. That was great to see on that stage.”

King’s gem takes down rival

Neci King allowed six hits and two walks across seven innings but never allowed a runner to score as she finished off her first complete-game shutout of the season to help Stanhope Elmore secure a 1-0 win over Prattville. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak at the time and gained some momentum as the Mustangs won four of their next five games.

Stanhope Elmore did not give King much support at the plate, finishing with just three hits, but it found just enough to make sure she didn’t have to go back out for extra innings. Megan Smith scored on a groundball off the bat of Emily McElvaine in the bottom of the seventh as the Mustangs walked off with the win.

“The best thing about Neci is she is a leader on and off the field,” SEHS softball coach Virginia Barber said. “She is always talking to the team and getting things started. She’s phenomenal at the plate, on the mound and on the bases. She’s just a leader.”

Wrestling wins Hornet Slam VI

After seeing its previous tournament canceled due to severe weather, Stanhope Elmore added another challenge to its schedule and the Mustangs showed out as they prepare for the postseason. Stanhope racked up 175 team points, including two gold medals, to win Hornet Slam VI, finishing 12 points ahead of host Beauregard.

Jeremiah Cherry Daniel led the way, earning four pins in four bouts at 160 pounds. Cherry Daniel pinned all of his opponents in the first period including flattening Beauregard’s Jacob Clark in the first-place bout with five seconds to go in the opening period.

Ethan McCord also grabbed a top spot on the podium as he eased to four victories at 132. McCord finished with only one pin but he added a major decision and two technical falls to grab the gold. 

Gabe Taunton (170) and Connor Russo (145) finished second in their weight divisions while Adrian Laskey (152) and Davion Brown (285) won third-place matches.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.