Montgomery, AL — The Beauregard Hornets employed a punishing ground attack and an opportunistic defense to secure a 29-6 victory over Selma on Thursday night in the 18th AHSAA Kickoff Classic, officially marking the commencement of the 2024 high school football season at Cramton Bowl.
The AHSAA Kickoff Classic will continue on Friday night, featuring the four-time defending Class 7A state champion Thompson Warriors facing the Opelika Bulldogs in the second game of the annual classic at Cramton Bowl, scheduled for 8 p.m. The match will be broadcasted live via the AHSAA TV Network and streamed in real-time on the NFHS Network.
Jayden Doolittle amassed 74 yards on 19 carries and notched a touchdown, while his teammate Z.J. Grady contributed 46 yards from seven carries and found the end zone twice with runs of 1 and 16 yards. Grady also tallied two successful fake extra point conversions for the Hornets (1-0), led by Coach Justin Jones.
In the opening game of the season, Beauregard swiftly advanced to the end zone during their initial possession. Junior Grady secured the touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and executed a flawless fake attempt for a 2-point conversion, granting the Hornets an 8-0 lead at the 5:28 mark of the first quarter.
Selma quickly retaliated, as Samarion Woods connected with Jarvarius Marks on a 58-yard touchdown pass at the 2:21 mark of the first quarter, narrowing Beauregard’s lead to 8-6. However, the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Following a defensive halt by the Saints, a mishap in the kicking game provided Beauregard an opportunity when a punt was inadvertently touched by a Selma player. Corday Stinson recovered the ball at the Saints’ 43-yard line, concluding the first quarter.
The Hornets struck again at 6:03 in the second quarter when Doolittle caught a screen pass from Trent Moulton and sprinted down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown. The ensuing kick by Josh Lugo was successful, extending Beauregard’s lead to 15-6.
Beauregard’s stout defense, which held Selma to minus-1 yard rushing and 68 total yards in the first half, thwarted a fourth-and-4 attempt by the Saints near midfield with just under five minutes remaining in the half.
With two minutes to go, facing fourth-and-four, the Hornets secured a pivotal first down at Selma’s 29-yard line, with Grady exploiting a gap for a 6-yard gain. A pass interference penalty on the ensuing play set up Grady’s second touchdown of the night, a 16-yard untouched sprint into the end zone. Employing their fake kick strategy once again, Grady took the snap into the end zone while Lugo adeptly feigned the kick, propelling the Hornets to a 23-7 lead with 1:45 left in the first half.
Selma exhibited vigor in the third quarter as Omari Smith’s 31-yard reception positioned them near midfield. Despite a pass interference penalty advancing Selma’s position, the drive nearly stalled due to a sack and penalties against the Saints.
Woods then embarked on a 25-yard rush to the Beauregard 15-yard line, injecting momentum into Selma’s offense. However, the Hornets’ defensive unit, spearheaded by linebacker Caleb Piner’s impactful performance of 10 tackles, including a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss, stalled the Saints’ drive at the 22-yard line.
Selma’s defense rallied with a sack by Ameire Eaton, setting the Saints’ offense up a the Beauregard 20 after a 20-yard punt return by Smith. A 13-yard run by Desmeon Connor advanced the ball to the 4-yard line. Yet, a scoring opportunity was curtailed when freshman J.J. Jones intercepted the Saints’ pass deep in the end zone.
Doolittle subsequently embarked on a 39-yard dash to Selma’s 36-yard line, narrowly prevented from scoring by Kendarius White’s pursuit. Guided by the determined running of sophomore Tay Foreman, the Hornets progressed towards another score, with Doolittle dashing the final 10 yards for the touchdown with 9:04 remaining. However, the extra point was blocked by Eaton, leaving the Hornets with a 29-6 advantage.
Beauregard quarterback Trent Moulton completed 2-of-3 passes for 71 yards. Selma’s Woods completed 8-of-20 passes for 102 yards, securing one touchdown. Smith made three receptions for 29 yards, and Marks had two receptions for 62 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Brandon Dixon contributed six tackles for Beauregard. Selma’s Kendarious White led with a game-high 11 tackles, while Eaton recorded eight tackles, including one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss.