Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories looking back at some of the most memorable 2021 varsity football games featuring DeKalb County teams. Seven of DeKalb County’s 10 varsity teams participated in the 2021 postseason. Six first-year head coaches led teams through respective campaigns. There were come-from-behind victories, blowout wins, narrow defeats. The 2021 season had a little bit of everything.With football season finished in DeKalb, The Times-Journal recounts some of the most memorable games of the 2021 season.
Sylvania powers past region rival Plainview:
On Oct. 15, Sylvania produced 487 yards of offense behind Brody Smith’s 301 yards passing and six touchdowns in a 49-31 victory against Class 3A, Region 7 rival Plainview.
Smith completed 15 of 20 attempts and finished with no interceptions, while targeting Sawyer Hughes four times for 130 yards and four scores.
Smith completed six passes to Zack Anderson for 89 yards and two touchdowns, as Sylvania won its fourth game in a row, bumping its overall record to 6-2 and a region-leading 5-1 mark.
Dylan McCullough ran for two touchdowns behind 67 yards, Noah White rushed for 72 yards and one score and Sam Crowell added a 4-yard scoring run for Plainview.
Joseph Buchanan caught four passes for 128 yards, while White threw for 158 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Fort Payne stymies longtime rival Scottsboro:
On Sept. 1, Jake Barnes tossed three touchdown passes, two to Marcus Ledford, as Fort Payne’s defense stifled longtime rival Scottsboro 28-0, retaining the TopCat Trophy for a third straight year at Fort Payne High School’s Wildcat Stadium.
The last time a team won three or more consecutive games in the rivalry series was 2009-12, when Fort Payne maintained the TopCat Trophy for four years in a row, according to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society’s website.
With the loss, Scottsboro dropped to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in region play.
Fort Payne unleashed a 21-0 halftime lead, reaching the end zone on its first two series.
In his return to game action in the backfield, Kaden Dubose capped Fort Payne’s opening drive with a 2-yard scoring run to the right side. Alex McPherson’s extra-point kick made it 7-0 with 8:44 left in the first quarter. The scoring drive wrapped up an eight-play, 69-yard effort.
Barnes connected with an open Sawyer Burt streaking across the middle for a 23-yard scoring strike on a third-and-8 play. The drive consisted of a first-down completion from Barnes to Ledford, a first-down run by Alex Akins and a short rushing pickup by Dubose.
Fort Payne’s defense forced a turnover on downs on Scottsboro’s next possession, but the visitors regained the ball with an interception.
Again, Fort Payne’s defense pushes Scottsboro off the field, forcing a punt with 3:55 remaining in the half.
With 25 seconds left, Barnes hit Ledford for a 9-yard touchdown connection.
Devin Wells collected a fumble on Scottsboro’s opening second-half series, leading to another Fort Payne score.
Barnes hooked up with Ledford for a second time for a 15-yard touchdown in a third-and-6 situation.
McPherson’s ensuing kick extended Fort Payne’s advantage to 28-0 at the 8:13 mark of the third.
When a bad snap put Fort Payne’s offense in a fourth-and-long scenario, the field goal unit jogged out and McPherson attempted a 62-yard kick. The kick pushed left with 2:18 remaining in the period.
Bulldogs win 100th Battle of Skirum Creek:
On Oct. 30, Geraldine football team added another unforgettable memory to its 2021 season by crushing Crossville 53-0 to win the 100th meeting of the Battle of Skirum Creek.
The historic contest took place at Coolidge Isbell Field, where the Bulldogs haven’t lost to the Lions since 1997. Crossville leads the series 57-40-3, but Geraldine is 18-5 against CHS since 1999.
The Bulldogs became the first team to receive the new Battle of Skirum Creek trophy, which was created by Geraldine assistant coach Jamie Gilbert. GHS Principal Jason Mayfield presented the trophy in a postgame ceremony.
Just over a minute into the contest, the Bulldog defense forced the first of four CHS turnovers when Colton Lusher grabbed an interception.
GHS quarterback Jaxon Colvin’s 20-yard keeper gave his team a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line, from where he scored on the next play with 7:42 left in the first quarter. Geraldine missed the extra point.
Carlos Mann’s fumble recovery came with 6:06 on the clock and set up the Bulldogs’ next touchdown, a 4-yard run by Lusher at the 4:58 mark. Caleb Hall ran for two points, making it 14-0.
The Bulldogs gang tackled the Lions on their 13-yard line following a bad punt snap. On first down, Colvin dashed to the end zone with 2:39 left. Crossville’s Javier Juan made a tackle for a loss on the two-point conversion, but GHS led 20-0.
Crossville failed to convert a fourth-down situation and turned it over on its 33-yard line. On the next snap, Colvin rifled a 33-yard TD pass to Mann. Kobe Hill ran for two points, extending the Bulldogs’ advantage to 28-0 with 30.2 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
Hall’s 2-yard scoring run made it 34-0 with 7:29 remaining in the second quarter. The Bulldogs missed the extra point.
Lusher picked off his second pass of the game and returned it more than 30 yards to inside the CHS 10-yard line. The theft came with 6:21 on the clock. Crossville was penalized for a personal foul on the return, which moved the ball to the 3.
Mann burst into the end zone on first-and-goal, stretching Geraldine’s lead to 40-0 with 6:15 to go before halftime.
Bo Harper capped Geraldine’s first-half onslaught with a 6-yard TD run with 20.1 seconds remaining. Crossville’s Manuel Gaspar partially blocked the extra point, but the Bulldogs commanded a 46-0 advantage.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions turned it over on downs at Geraldine’s 13 after Caleb Causey’s fourth-and-three pass fell incomplete.
A few plays later, Geraldine’s Cody Satterfield broke free and sprinted 72 yards down Crossville’s sideline for the only touchdown of the second half. Danny Felipe kicked the extra point, making it 53-0 with 3:40 left in the game.
Satterfield’s interception ended Crossville’s last series with 56 seconds to go.
Geraldine’s 53-point margin of victory is the largest in series history. The Bulldogs also shut out the Lions for the first time since 1993.
Crossville finished 0-10 in Josh Taylor’s first season as head coach. The Lions last went 0-10 in 2014 under Brian Clowdis.
Shannon J. Allen, publisher of The Sand Mountain Reporter, contributed to this report.