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AHSAA Spotlight


It’s a safe notion everyone watching Briarwood Christian’s 26-0 Class 5A, Region 4 victory over Fairfield last week witnessed something they had never seen before.

That’s because the Lions’ junior defensive end Cole Garner did something that most likely has never been done in a football game. Garner sacked the Tigers in their own end zone, not once, but three times to record three safeties in the win.

The incredible feat by Garner thrust him into the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 9.

The national team record for safeties is five by a team. Three schools have accomplished that feat: Montezuma (GA) in 1983, Linden (NJ) in 1989 and Niobrary County (WY) in 2000. Three other schools have recorded four safeties in a game: Pebble Beach (CA) in 1987, Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman (CA) in 1968 and Buckeye (AZ) in 1931.

“That’s the first time in all my coaching life that I’ve ever seen that many,” Briarwood Coach Fred Yancey told the Shelby County Reporter after the game. “That’s a credit to our defensive coaches for having the boys excited about really doing some great stuff tonight.”

There is no record for safeties recorded by players, however. Not only did Briarwood set the AHSAA record for safeties in a game for a team, Garner also owns the individual state record and quite possibly the national record. However, no records have been established previously for individual safeties by the NFHS Record Book or AHSAA Record Book.

By comparison, in the NFL Jared Allen, Ted Hendricks and Doug English share the all-time career record for safeties (4).

All three safeties in the Briarwood-Fairfield game started with the Tigers snapping the ball from inside their own 5-yard line. Garner got through the defense each time to sack the quarterback in the end zone.

The safeties by Garner edged out an explosive effort by Thompson and Hewitt-Trussville, a 63-49 Warriors win in a game featured live on ESPN last week. The two teams combined for 112 points and 1,165 yards total offense in a Class 7A, Region 3 battle that earned the winner the second seed in the upcoming AHSAA state playoffs.

Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson’s senior quarterback, ignited a comeback effort that saw the Warriors trailing 28-0 after one quarter. He was 14-of-23 passing for 264 yards and two touchdowns and added 152 yards rushing and three scores on 12 carries. Teammate Shadrick Byrd was the game’s leading rusher with 204 yards on 20 attempts. He scored two TDs.

Hewitt-Trussville senior quarterback Paul Tyson was 16-of-25 passing for 274 yards and three scores with senior receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson catching nine receptions for 232 yards and two TDs. He also returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score. Running back A’Montae Spivey had 20 rush attempts for 165 yards and one TD.

Thompson scored 28 points in the second quarter and outscored the Huskies (7-3) 63-28 in the last three quarters. The Warriors finished with 356 yards rushing and 264 passing for 620 yards, and Hewitt had 545 total yards.

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