Fort Payne’s McPherson in weekly AHSAA Spotlight

Fort Payne's Alex McPherson.

Fort Payne place-kicker Alex McPherson was just a freshman in 2017 when he served as the holder for the Wildcats’ special team unit anchored by his older brother Evan McPherson.

The highlight of that season was the brothers’ teamwork leading to a state-record 60-yard field goal kicked by Evan vs. Brewer for the longest boot in AHSAA history from a snap, hold and kick. Sage Ledbetter of Auburn High School beat that kick by 1 yard with his 61-yard field goal on a free kick following a fair catch in 2015.

Roll forward to 2021 and Evan is still kicking – albeit with the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL after a phenomenal college career with the Florida Gators. And Alex, well, his strong leg earned him the AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 10 as he kicked four field goals in a 32-7 victory in the team’s regular-season finale against North Jackson, including a 61-yard field goal from a snap, hold and kick to break his brother’s record by 1 yard. The kick also tied Ledbetter for the longest field goal in state history.

McPherson told reporters he contacted his older brother Evan immediately after the game.

“It was a lot of fun to tell him I broke his record,” he said.

Alex, who is committed to Auburn and was selected to punt and place-kick for the Alabama All-Stars in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic set for Dec. 11, also led the Wildcats with four successful field goals of 39, 52, 55 and 61 yards in the win against the Chiefs. Earlier in the game, he lined up to try another 61-yard kick but an illegal shift penalty pushed it back to 66 yards. He just missed a 70-yard try earlier this season.

His four field goals in a single game tied 16 others for second most in a single game. And his three field goals over 50 yards in a single game set a new AHSAA record. His older brother Logan held the mark with two kicks of 56 and 57 yards vs. Boaz in 2012. Cade Stinnett of Enterprise also had kicks of 51 and 50 yards in a 2013 41-34 loss to Smiths Station, and Kevin Gentle had kicks of 59 and 51 yards in a 1993 win against Scottsboro.

Tied for most field goals in a single game (five) are Crosby Gray of Spain Park (2015); Ledbetter (2013); Josh Woodard of Decatur (2001); Tim Rogers of Mountain Brook (1990); and Ricky Beck of Geneva (1970). The last previous place-kicker to score four field goals in a game was Daphne’s Diego Guajardo (2018); his longest in the Trojans’ 40-6 win against B.C. Rain was a 53-yarder on his first kick of the night. 

Evan McPherson finished his college career with 302 kicking points with 51-of-60 on field goal tries and 149-of-150 extra-point kicks. He currently is 10-of-13 on field goals for the Bengals this season with a long of 53 yards. His longest kick at Florida was 55 yards. 

In high school, Evan also had an 84-yard punt in the same game as his 60-yard field goal in 2017, and finished his prep career with 207 kicking points – coming on 30 field goals and 117 extra points.  

The AHSAA’s strong kicking legacy was first established with Philip Doyle of Huffman setting the national record with 22 in a single season in 1985. That record is still the AHSAA’s best, but was tied by Park Crossing kicker Jake Lane in 2016. Doyle’s national record was broken and is now 25.

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