Junior quarterback and safety Javion Belle led the Pickens County Tornadoes (10-3) past the Hubbertville Lions (9-3) 40-24 in the round three of the AHSAA Class 1A playoffs. Belle seized the momentum for good for the Tornadoes by cashing in a 35-yard pick-six to close the half and send Pickens County into the locker room with a 20-12 halftime lead.

Photo By Mason Woods
Photo By Mason Woods

The Tornadoes did not look back as they put away its region foe Hubbertville for the second time this season. Pickens County will now hit the road to play the region champion Berry Wildcats, the Tornadoes lost by just one point to Berry in their regular season matchup.

"It's kind of amazing for us to be paying Hubb and then Berry in the third and fourth round. A lot of people like to say our region is somewhat weak but as you can see there's some great football played around here, playing against Berry is exactly what we wanted and we wouldn't want it any other way," said Pickens County Head Coach Michael Williams after the game.

Pickens County was led offensively by Belle and swiss army knife, junior K.J. Byrd. Belle passed the ball for 122 yards and two touchdowns, finding senior Jacoris Barnes for 30 yards and a touchdown and freshman Kemaurion Plott for 82 yards and a touchdown. Belle additionally rushed for 52 yards to keep the defense on its toes. Bryd aided the offense with 36 yards rushing and two touchdowns and helped in the passing game with 28 yards receiving.

The scoring was capped off for the Tornadoes by running back Elijah Barnes. Barnes chipped in 48 yards rushing including a 24-yard touchdown to give Pickens County an even 40 points on the evening.

The Lions mostly attacked Pickens County on the ground, utilizing quarterback Gage Key and running back Gage Alexander to move the ball. Key was the primary component, involved in all four Hubbertville touchdowns. Key rushed the ball for 120 yards and two touchdowns, he also passed for 86 yards and two more touchdowns. Alexander handled most of the running back duties for the Lions, he rushed for 31 yards on 13 carries.

While the night went well for Pickens County it wasn't without a setback. Senior cornerback Jaylon Jones had to be airlifted to UAB after


a collision left him with a head and neck injury. Jones went up to defend a pass and got tangled with a Hubbertville receiver before landing in his head and neck area. Jones reportedly was taken for observation and out of an abundance of caution he as reportedly responsive and able to use all his limbs prior to being airlifted to UAB.

Berry will host Pickens County while Linden will take on Brantley as we are down to the final four now in the AHSAA Class 1A playoffs.

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