Montgomery, AL – Helena junior Jordan Washington opened the 2022 high school football season in style Thursday night with a dazzling 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to lead the Huskies to a 28-6 win in the AHSAA’s 17th Kickoff Classic season opener at Cramton Bowl.
Washington, who rushed for over 1,700 yards as a sophomore for Coach Richie Busby’s Huskies in 2021, finished the night with 123 yards rushing on 25 carries and scored two TDs. He gave Helena a 14-0 lead later in the first quarter with a 15-yard TD run to cap a four-play, 38-yard drive with 4:40 left in the opening period.
Huskies quarterback Dalton Lewellyn added a 9-yard scoring run in the second quarter and scrambled to find receiver Nathan Wade on a well executed 9-yard TD pass late in the third for Helena’s final TD.
Chelsea used just four plays to cover 70 yards on a drive that started late in the third stanza and scored its only TD of the night early in the fourth quarter with Emerson Russell, who had 87 yards on 15 carries, spinning around left end on a dazzling 10-yard TD run. Jydarrian McKinney provided some early excitement for the Chelsea fans with a 55-yard kickoff return following Washington’s return. The drive stalled, however, and the Hornets struggled offensively for much of the first half. Coach Todd Cassity, making his debut as the Hornets’ head coach, had his offense come out throwing in the second half – with Lewellyn finishing the night 9-of-22 passing for 79 yards. Nathan Wade had two catches for 42 yards, and M.J. Conrad hauled in three for 31 yards.
Helena finished with 238 yards rushing and 18 first downs. AJ Horstead added 71 yards on 11 carries, Hunter Hale had 31 yards on six rush attempts. Lewellyn finished 6-of-14 passing for 52 yards.
Defensively, Cody Fortenberry posted six tackles and two assists, Owen Ken had four tackles and three assists. Thomas Brakefield snagged one interception.
Leading Helena was Kevin Pinkard with four tackles and one assist, and Mason Johnson, had a hand in seven stops.
The AHSAA Kickoff Classic’s final game, pitting Hoover and Auburn will kick off at Cramton Bowl Friday night at 7 p.m. Like Thursday night’s Shelby County rivalry clash, the game will be televised over the AHSAA TV Network and the NFHS Network with WOTM TV producing the contest. The game will also be broadcast by the AHSAA Radio Network over its bank of radio stations and over the internet
Cover photo: Chelsea linebacker Carter Parrish (21) gives chase to Helena RB Jordan Washington (34), who finished with 123 yards on 25 carries. (AHSAA PHOTO | MARVIN GENTRY)