McCALLA – When it was all said and done, somebody was going to Auburn’s Jordan-Haire Stadium to play for the 5A state AHSAA crown. That somebody? The McAdory Yellow Jackets, by virtue of a 10- 3 win in a Final Four game Friday night against Muscle Shoals. The game’s only touchdown, which broke a 3-3 fourth quarter, came from junior running back Thaddaus Houser, on a 6-yard run.
Several top prospects were in action, and that’s probably why both Alabama Assistant Coach Mike Groh and Auburn’s Trooper Taylor were both in attendance. To the categories:
TOP PROSPECT: That would be the Trojans’ Horse, Mr. Davian “Dee” Liner, a 6-3, 280-pound man- mountain currently (and apparently very temporarily) committed to Auburn. How aptly named is this D-lineman, Dee Liner? Very. Physically, he looks like Bama pledge Darius Paige of Foley. Liner may actually be more mobile, as he showed when he chased down athletic McAdory quarterback Kyran Moore.
“He’s just a great athlete, and a great kid,” said Muscle Shoals Coach Scott Basden. “You’ve got to put somebody else on him to block him, usually, at the end of the night, more than one (man).”
Added Jackets’ Coach David Powell, “(Liner’s) got size and he’s got speed. He’s such a great athlete to be so big. A guy like that, who weighs 280, and can move. He’s just a great player.”
Can one man block Liner, at this level? “I haven’t seen it,” replied Powell. Liner is a disruptive force who had several TFL’s. He was called for a somewhat questionable roughing the quarterback penalty that helped set up the only touchdown.
Liner is still committed to Auburn. That is subject to change sooner than later. His situation is similar to that of T.J. Yeldon a year ago. The results are likely to be the same. Bama is in good shape.
SENIORS WHO SHINED: McAdory defensive back Damien Whitfield (6-0, 175) is having quite the season. Of his five interceptions coming in, he took three of those to “the house,” including two in last week’s win over Cullman. He got another big one this week, and returned it to the 5 to set up a field goal.
For the Trojans, running backs Jamarcus Nance and Tyler Jackson are not big but both are quick as a hiccup and run hard.
JUNIORS TO WATCH: McAdory has a pair of juniors who are considered top SEC prospects and both have visited Tuscaloosa. Fullback Garian Bradley (6-0, 230) is a load, but he mostly blocked Friday.
Defensive end Cory Thomas is every bit of 6-5, 260, and knows how to “affect the quarterback,” as coaches call it. Thomas has caught the eye of lots of SEC coaches. He is built much like former Bama defensive end Antwan Odom was at age 17. Corner Jordan Wells (5-11, 175) had two big picks Friday. Muscle Shoals linebacker Ethon Felton is not huge (5-11, 160) but he hits like a 6-3, 250-pounder. He had combined with Liner for 43 tackles for a loss coming in.
SUPER SOPHS: McAdory corner Robert Cooks (5-9, 165) is a good hitter and open-field tackler.
CRIMSON CONNECTION: As discussed a few weeks back, former Bama and pro football star Jackie Cline’s son, Dylan, is a 6-3, 255-pound two-way lineman for Powell’s Jackets.
“(Cline) has been an outstanding player, and an outstanding leader,” said Powell. “He’s been a very consistent player. You know every play, he’s going to play as hard as he can play.”
The younger Cline, also an accomplished punter who downed a 39-yarder at the 3 in the final minutes, is bound for Jacksonville State, for now. The Gamecocks fired veteran coach Jack Crowe Friday.
HOW ‘BOUT THEM RIBS: I was treated to a sample of a few ribs from the newly opened Ladu’s Café in Warrior Friday. You know the old Lay’s Potato Chips commercial jingle, “No one can eat just one?” I had to have another. And then two more. They melt in your mouth good, tender, juicy, awesome! The sauce was good, too. It was concocted by one of the owners, former Birmingham area pro wrestler Tony Ladu, whose family hails from Sicily. He and his son and daughter-in-law, Adam and Casey Ladu, have come up with a winner. My next goal is to try their catfish, which is raised in Uniontown (home of former Tide hoopster Erwin Dudley).
NEXT UP: Fox Sports recruiting reporter John Garcia, Jr., will head to Auburn to provide you complete coverage of the 2012 Super Six championship games, including tons of recruiting info. If history is a guide, and it usually is, John will discover some sleeper prospects we may not have heard of.