Baldwin County football roundup: Spanish Fort, Gulf Shores, St. Michael dominate in victories

Foley takes down Alma-Bryant to even region record, setup showdown with Davidson for final playoff spot

Sports Editor
Posted 10/16/23

Baldwin County teams scored important wins in Week 8 as the regular season winds down and the playoff picture firms up.

In Class 7A, the Foley Lions beat Alma-Bryant 35-22 to even out to 2-2 in …

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Baldwin County football roundup: Spanish Fort, Gulf Shores, St. Michael dominate in victories

Foley takes down Alma-Bryant to even region record, setup showdown with Davidson for final playoff spot


Baldwin County teams scored important wins in Week 8 as the regular season winds down and the playoff picture firms up.

In Class 7A, the Foley Lions beat Alma-Bryant 35-22 to even out to 2-2 in Region 1. This week, Foley will face Davidson, the only other team in the group that has not yet either clinched a top-four spot or has been eliminated.

The Spanish Fort Toros rode stellar special teams to a 41-19 win over McGill-Toolen in Class 6A Region 1. The top-ranked Gulf Shores Dolphins flexed their defensive muscles with a 55-7 win over Elberta in 5A-R1 and St. Michael Cardinals provided a similar output in their 45-6 win over Wilcox Central in Class 4A Region 1.

Spanish Fort 41, McGill-Toolen 19

Senior linebacker Sterling Dixon surpassed the century mark for total tackles with a 20-tackle output to help the Toros down McGill-Toolen. The Butkus Award Watch List member and Alabama commit also contributed 5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries where one led to an interception that he returned 4 yards.

Classmate Grey Freeman was not far behind with 16 total tackles in addition to a quarterback hurry and fellow senior Javontae Walton also provided 12 total tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery to the winning efforts. Junior Bishop Burkhalter joined them in the double digits with 12 total tackles although his biggest contributions might have come on special teams.

To open the scoring, Burkhalter returned a blocked field goal 85 yards for a touchdown before he found himself in the right spot on a shanked punt and chewed up 43 yards untouched to stake claim to a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.

Senior Drew Williamson delivered 3 rushing touchdowns as part of his 4 carries for 18 rushing yards and sophomore quarterback Aaden Shamburger registered the other touchdown on the ground as part of his 8 carries for 94 rushing yards. Shamburger also found himself on the receiving end of a 31-yard pass from classmate Justin Bonner.

Juniors Nehemiah Hixon (9 carries for 126 rushing yards) and Sawyer Wilson (11 carries for 85 rushing yards) paced the run game where the former also added 21 receiving yards on 3 catches.

Up next: The Toros (6-2, 5-1) have a home contest with the Robertsdale Golden Bears (0-7, 0-6) set for Friday night.

Foley 35, Alma-Bryant 22

The fifth lead change of the night left the host Lions with a one-possession advantage at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Although they’re typically known for their offense, Auburn commit Perry Thompson and South Alabama commit Logan Joellenbeck came up with big defensive stops down the stretch and had Kolton Nero’s third touchdown of the night, a 76-yard score with 4:17 left in regulation, sandwiched in between.

The trio was also recently named to all-star squads where Thompson will compete in the Alabama-Mississippi Classic and Joellenbeck and Nero will suit up in the AHSAA North-South Game.

Nero’s three-touchdown night was accompanied by 289 rushing yards on 22 carries for his fourth game with at least 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season. Over seven games, his 1,484 rushing yards on 162 carries ranked third in MaxPreps’ state rankings as of Monday, only seven yards behind Lamar County’s Jordan Godsey.

Sophomore quarterback Nelson Thompson completed 9-of-14 attempts Friday night for 114 passing yards with 2 touchdowns. After his 93-yard scoring connection with Perry set a school record for longest play from scrimmage last week against Fairhope, the Thompsons logged a 74-yard touchdown hookup Friday night.

Perry finished with 6 catches for 94 receiving yards as well as 31 rushing yards on 4 carries. Junior Shaborn Oakes caught the other touchdown pass as part of a 2-catch, 18-yard performance.

Senior kicker Matt Owen connected on all five of his points-after try opportunities for his fourth five-point game of the season. He improved his total points to 31 with 19-of-20 PATs and 4-of-4 field goals.

Up next: The Lions (4-3, 2-2) are scheduled to hit the road and face the Davidson Warriors (3-4, 1-3) Friday night.

No. 1 Gulf Shores 55, Elberta 7

The Dolphin defense dominated once again and allowed only 25 yards of total offense to lower its average point allowance to 8.8 points per game.

Sophomore Landon Everett led the way with 9 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He was complemented by junior Jamichael Garrett who racked up 6 total tackles and 2.5 sacks to go along with a 23-yard pick-six.

Senior Braden Jackson came through on special teams with a pair of blocked punts in addition to his 59-yard touchdown catch offensively. Classmate Ronnie Royal, an NC State commit, registered 154 return yards on 4 punts including a 38-yard return for a touchdown to supplement 39 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns as well as 6 catches for 77 receiving yards.

Freshman quarterback Jud Harris completed 12-of-18 passes for 213 passing yards with the touchdown to Jackson. Junior Kolin Wilson also ran pay dirt as part of a 120-yard, 13-carry night to help keep the Gulf Shores offense on pace to break its scoring record once again.

Up next: The Dolphins (8-0, 6-0) are open in Week 9 and are set to return to action at home against the Vigor Wolves (5-2, 4-2) on Oct. 27.

St. Michael 45, Wilcox Central 6

Another balanced attack helped the Cardinals cruise the victory where freshman quarterback Gunner Rivers completed 10 passes for 106 yards with 2 touchdowns and senior running back Martin Corte registered 58 rushing yards on 6 carries with 2 touchdowns.

Junior Brady Zdyb led the defense with 4 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss where classmate Parker Baas was not far behind with 3 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a 10-yard sack.

Senior Zach Taylor and sophomores Deese Thompson and Franklin Cash all added 3 total tackles where Taylor also recorded 3 tackles for loss. Junior Ollie Deese contributed an interception he returned 25 yards.

Corte was also on the receiving end of one of Rivers’ touchdown passes, a 4-yarder, where junior Cooper Kurth caught the other scoring pass on a 12-yard hookup. Sophomore Noah Moss supplemented the running game with 57 rushing yards on 5 carries and 2 touchdowns for his third multi-touchdown game of the season.

Senior Braxton Mills contributed 3 catches for 36 receiving yards and sophomore Brody Jones caught 4 passes for 35 receiving yards.

Up next: The Cardinals (5-3, 4-1) are scheduled to hit the road to face the No. 4 Jackson Aggies (6-0, 5-0) Friday night.

Other Week 8 finals

Bayside Academy 35, Orange Beach 14

Up next: The Admirals (5-2, 3-2) are set to host the Escambia County Blue Devils (5-3, 2-3) in Week 9. The Makos (0-6, 0-4) have a road trip to face the Wilcox Central Jaguars (1-6, 0-5) scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20.

Daphne 16, Fairhope 13

Up next: The Trojans (4-3, 2-1) have a home game scheduled against the No. 4 Mary G. Montgomery Vikings (8-0, 5-0) on its Week 9 docket. The Pirates (1-6, 0-4) are scheduled for a road trip to face the Alma-Bryant Hurricanes (2-5, 0-4) Friday night.

No. 1 Saraland 56, Baldwin County 7

Up next: The Tigers (1-6, 1-4) will return home to face the St. Paul’s Saints (5-2, 3-2) with a Friday night kickoff scheduled.

St. Paul’s 54, Robertsdale 14

Up next: The Golden Bears (0-7, 0-6) will visit The Hill for a region game against the Spanish Fort Toros (6-2, 5-1) in Week 9.

Wilcox Academy 48, Snook Christian 7

Up next: The Eagles (0-7, 0-3) will face the Sparta Academy Warriors (0-8, 0-3) on the road Thursday night to determine who wins the fourth seed and a playoff berth from AISA’s Class A Region 2.