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Brown runs wild in Pickens County’s shutout win


Pickens County running back Jermarcus Brown rips through the attempted tackle of Cedar Bluff’s Dalton Cosby during Friday night’s Class 1A playoff game. Brown rushed for 286 yards and one touchdown in the Tornadoes’ 34-0 win. (Photo by Marc Golden | The Gadsden Times)


CEDAR BLUFF | Performances like this have become old hat for Pickens County’s Jermarcus Brown.

The junior running back torched No. 5 Cedar Bluff on Friday, rushing for 286 yards and a touchdown to lead the eighth-ranked Tornadoes to a 34-0 win over the Tigers and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state playoffs.

Brown has had a stellar season for the Tornadoes (10-2), rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 24 touchdowns entering Friday night’s game. So when asked about his performance, Brown was honest.

“I’m kind of used to it by now,” he said. “We got a great line, great coaching. Give me the ball, I do what I have to do.”

Pickens County dominated Cedar Bluff (10-1) on both the offensive and defensive fronts. The Tornadoes outgained the Tigers 489-196. Cedar Bluff netted just 45 yards on the ground.

“Their defensive and offensive lines, they took the game over,” Cedar Bluff coach Jonathan McWhorter said. “For most of the year, we were able to do that. We knew coming in it was going to be tough to run the ball. We hoped we could have enough success to be able to do some things in the passing game, and we ran it a little at times, but nothing consistent enough to sustain drives. We just couldn’t do it tonight.”

Pickens County coach Patrick Plott echoed his star running back.

“The offensive line did a great job blocking,” Plott said. “Once we get our running backs in space, we feel like we always got a chance to score. (Brown’s) been playing like this for us all year. He did a good job, but it started on the offensive line.”

Devonte Simon, the team’s quarterback and a defensive back on defense, picked off Cedar Bluff’s Levi Mintz — one of the top quarterbacks in Northeast Alabama — three times and locked down leading wide receiver DeAngelo Hardy for much of the game.

“We went over what they did in practice and it just worked out perfect,” Simon said. “Coach put us in the right spot and I made the play.”

Pickens County set the tone early, getting touchdown runs from Darrien Latham and Brown. Brown’s touchdown run was 93 yards down the sideline and gave the Tornadoes a 14-0 lead.

A Cedar Bluff miscue on offense in the second quarter gave Pickens County a 20-0 lead, as a pass from Mintz slipped through the hands of Devante Dixon and was intercepted by Simon. He sprinted 80 yards for the touchdown.

While things went right for Pickens County, everything went wrong for Cedar Bluff.  Mintz started the game 3 of 10 but six of his incompletions were either dropped or slipped through the intended receiver’s hands.

In the first half alone, Pickens County outgained Cedar Bluff 284-43.

The only thing positive for Cedar Bluff in the first half was Dixon’s interception to end a late drive for the Tornadoes. Dixon returned the pick to the Pickens County 25 before he was run down, but time had expired and sent both teams to locker rooms.

Neither team scored in the third quarter and Cedar Bluff had multiple chances to drive the field in the third quarter but couldn’t.

Pickens County’s William Stewart, who gained 96 yards on the ground, scored twice in the final quarter to make what would be the final margin. One of his touchdowns was set up by Simon’s third interception.

Mintz finished 12 of 31 for 151 yards and three interceptions. Rickey Pendley caught six passes for 78 yards. Curtis Abernathy led the ground game with 44 yards on 10 carries.