Johnson leads Mustangs past Fayette County
Thu. December 06, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Madison Academy's Kerryon Johnson runs the ball in for a touchdown. (Photo by Jason Harless)
AUBURN | Sophomore Kerryon Johnson starred on offense and defense Thursday as the Madison Academy Mustangs claimed the AHSAA Class 3A football championship.
Johnson, the game’s most valuable player, ran for two touchdowns and scored on an interception return to lead the Mustangs to a 31-7 victory over Fayette County at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Fayette County, which qualified for its first final since 2000, was held to 80 yards passing and 60 yards rushing.
“They were big and strong enough up front that they didn’t have to blitz anybody,” said Lance Tucker, a former Fayette County quarterback who succeeded his father, Waldon, as the Tigers’ head coach in 2011. “They knew that they could stop our run without loading the box. When you can do that, you can double (cover) all the receivers.”
Johnson rushed for 135 yards on 25 carries. Malik Miller, a freshman, gained 121 yards on 14 attempts, and the Mustangs ran for a total of 281 yards.
“This year he’s had a target and still had some of his best games in the biggest games,” Madison Academy coach Eric Cohu said of Johnson. “He’s done an outstanding job learning what it’s like having everybody after him. Malik Miller is a phenomenal athlete. Coming in as a freshman, it’s a different, physical game. The speed of the game is different. He’s learned how to handle that. Even today he made some big plays defensively and running the football and did some key things when his back was against the wall. I’m so proud of him for stepping up.”
Madison Academy (13-2) took the opening kickoff at its 35 and drove 39 yards in nine plays to get a 43-yard field goal from Chandler Trach.
The Mustangs faced fourth-and-1 when Johnson took the snap from center and sped 35 yards for his first touchdown with 8:17 left in the second quarter.
Johnson scored his second touchdown on a 68-yard interception return.
“When I got it, I was thinking touchdown,” Johnson said. “I saw one of my teammates beside me, and they had two linemen chunking it down there. I just depended on him to get one. He picked him up, and I just had to run a straight line.”
Fayette County quarterback Marcellus Redmond completed 7 of 21 passes with three interceptions. Johnson had two, and Damiene Pam had one.
“We never get on a football player for trying to make a play,” Tucker said. “JaTevin and JaTrae (Madison) have had wonderful years on the outside for us (as receivers). Marceullus has done a super job of getting them the football. We get on Marcellus all the time about throwing back across his body. After about the fourth game, we just told him, ‘You throw it where you want to.’ He was making plays left and right. He’s been an amazing player for us.
“We got bit one time by it, and that just happened to be today.”
JaTevin Madison caught four passes for 45 yards. JaTrae Madison caught two for 16 yards.
Fayette County (12-3) drove 67 yards in 13 plays for its only touchdown. The Tigers overcame a fourth down at their 41 as Redmond threw to running back Kyle Nalls for 19 yards. On a fourth-and-four play at the Madison Academy 34, JaTevin Madison caught a pass for 15 yards. Redmond scored on a 2-yard run with 23 seconds left before halftime. John Smith kicked the extra point to cut the lead to 17-7.
Will Redmond stopped two Madison Academy drives in the third quarter with a fumble recovery and an interception, but the Tigers wound up punting after both turnovers.
“We just didn’t make it,” Will Redmond said. “We did what we were supposed to do, but we just fell short.
“It thought it was going to be a big lift for us. Our offense is great, but we just couldn’t get it in.”
Pam’s interception set up Johnson’s 3-yard touchdown run with 3:45 left. Garrett Lindsey recovered a fumble, and Miller scored the final touchdown on a 6-yard run.
“Our kids fought to the end,” Tucker said. “Today it didn’t work out like we wanted it to, but we’re going to keep our heads held high. We’re going to get on that bus and we’re going to go back to Fayette, Ala., and we’re going to celebrate with our fans.”
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.