Cary L. Clark

Here are my impressions of a high school game Tyler Martin and I covered last Friday: We all knew Roydell could run. This column saw him plow through Hillcrest last season at Hueytown. This year Mr. Williams brought his talents to Hillcrest and – no shocker – he broke loose again. And again. Final: Hueytown Golden Gophers 39, Hillcrest Patriots 17.

Top prospect

Roydell Williams is listed at 5-10, 205. Some compare him to former Tide back Josh Jacobs. I say Mark Ingram. Either way, that’s rich company.

“Roydell’s just one of those special players you don’t see many times in your career,” said Hueytown Coach Greg Patterson. “I tell him all the time I’m glad he’s on my team.”

Added Pats Coach Sam Adams (who probably felt like imbibing his namesake afterwards), “You have to try to gang-tackle him. He’s a load.”

Friday night Williams’ official stat line was 146 yards on 26 carries, and one catch for 32 more. He’s the real deal. He scored from five and eight yards out. Williams also had a couple of 2-point conversion runs from the Wildcat. That’s 16 points.

Seniors who shined

For the Golden Gophers, Williams’ backfield mate Antonio “Yo-Yo” Mason (5-11, 225) is headed to UAB. He’d be the star on most teams. Sadly, he missed this game with injury. His teammate and defensive end Mike Hines had a sack and will play at Navy. Anchors Aweigh!

For Hillcrest, linebacker Kalvyn Crummie (6-2, 221) has offers from Troy, South Alabama and Furman.

Juniors to watch

At 5-11, 155, Hillcrest wide receiver Andre Siler needs to hit the weight room (and McDonalds), but he makes plays.

For the Gophers, a receiver to remember is Quindarrius Mayes. He’s 6-2, 215 and had five grabs for 46 yards, including a 38-yard TD on a post route. He also is effective in the Wildcat, scoring from the 8 and adding a pair of two-point conversions. For a receiver, he’s a load.

Super sophs

Hueytown quarterback Alex Young is 6-4, 178 and a name to watch. He can run and throw. He also can check off at the line.

“He’s grown tremendously,” said Patterson of Watkins. “He’s worked his tail off all summer and gone to a bunch of camps. He’s real poised, calm, cool and collected, and he’s a 4.0 student. He’s going to be really, really good for us.”

For the Pats, receiver Terrance Calloway is tall and lean with loads of potential, per Adams.

Larry Munson ‘My God, a Freshman!’ award

Funny story: I was once sitting on a church bus bound for the beach to chaperone the Taylorville Baptist youth. My seat mate, Zac Williams, is a safety at Hillcrest Middle School. He began to tell me about Ethan Crawford (5-11, 175), now a Hillcrest High ninth grader. I listened, and filed the name away, not really thinking a freshman quarterback could start in 6A AHSAA ball. Well, I am thinking twice. Zac served as my “shadow” Friday as I conducted interviews. I asked him for a memorable middle school play by Crawford. “The pocket started to close, and he just somehow found a hole,” Zac said, “and ran straight through it untouched for the TD. 70 yards.”

“The thing about Ethan is you’d never know he’s a ninth grader. He’s posed and he’s confident out there,” said Adams. “He doesn’t let things bother him.” That trait likely came in handy as Crawford lost three turnovers: two picks and a fumble. In his defense, he ran for his life much of the night.

Crawford was thrown in the fire in the Pats’ opener against Harrison Barker (son of Jay) and Spain Park. He came off the bench and got Hillcrest back in the game, but they lost. He then led a victory against Tuscaloosa County. Against Hueytown, Crawford threw for 85 yards on 10-of-18 passing. He ran for another nine yards, but sacks greatly affected his net rushing. He has a LOT of potential. Please remember his name. You will be hearing it for years.

How ‘bout that soul food

Back in the day, Brian Owens starred in both football and basketball for Tuscaloosa County High. He played college football at Livingston (now West Alabama). Owens, as it turns out, has a culinary side too. He now owns and operates Mae’s Soul Food on US Highway 43 in Northport, and man, is it good. In three trips I sampled fried chicken, fried catfish on the bone (I eat the tails) and ox tails, which are more tender than any roast beef you’ve ever had. The veggies and desserts are good, as is the sweet tea to wash it down. Give it a try. You won’t regret it.

Next up

It’s on to Clay-Chalkville, where the Cougars will host the Indians of Pinson Valley. Pinson junior corner/receiver “Kool Aid” McKinstry will be featured and we’ll see if Clay-Chalkville has another diamond in the rough like Bama freshman DJ Dale.


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Christopher Walsh

Christopher Walsh