Big D

Handley's LaDarious "Big D" Johnson tackles Bibb County's Tyler Fielding on a fourth down play in the fourth quarter of Handley's 28-14 win in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs Friday.

Handley set a school record for most consecutive playoff wins, Woodland once again went on the road and knocked off a higher seeded team, and the Wadley Bulldogs held up their end of the deal to set up a third-round cross-county rematch between the Bulldogs and Bobcats.

It was an eventful and historic night of playoff football in Randolph County, and here's how it went.

Handley 28, Bibb County 14

The young man known as “Big D” came up with some big defensive stops on a couple of critical second half fourth downs and the Handley Tigers emerged from a battle with Bibb County with 28-14 win in Roanoke Friday night.

The victory puts Handley in the third round of the playoffs and gives the Tigers a school-record seventh straight playoff win going back to last year.

Tae Meadows rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries for Handley, and none of those carries was bigger than his 40-yard touchdown run on the third play of the fourth quarter that gave Handley the 14-point cushion that would carry them to the win.

Jay Haynes added 62 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and Quadae Lewis had a pivotal 4-yard scoop and score on defense late in the first half that helped send Handley to the locker room with a 22-7 lead.

The two teams traded touchdowns early on as Meadows capped a 68-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run on Handley's first possession of the game.

But Bibb County answered right back and used a little trickery to do so, as a halfback pass turned into a 10-yard touchdown to tie the score at 7-7 on the first play of the second quarter.

Handley survived a botched kickoff return to put another drive together later in the second. This one spanned 87 yards and was jump-started by a 46-yard run by quarterback Ty Fetner. Haynes later scored from nine yards out to put Handley up 14-7.

Handley 22-7 lead became a little tenuous in the third quarter as Bibb County took advantage of another fumbled kickoff by Handley to set up an 11-yard touchdown run that cut the lead to 22-14.

The Choctaws quickly forced a Handley punt and began to go on the move again with momentum firmly to their advantage.

But that momentum was interrupted by a serious moment in the game, when Handley's Ayden O'Neal hit the turf and was unable to get to his feet. After examination by the medical staff O'Neal was eventually taken off the field on a stretcher as all of his teammates gathered around him on the field.

There was no official word of O'Neal's condition after the game, but Handley head coach Larry Strain did say that he had feeling in all his extremities and that he was of the belief that O'Neal did not suffer a major injury.

After an emotional stoppage of play, Handley seemed to regain its focus and that's when LaDarious “Big D” Johnson made his impact.

Bibb County was driving toward what could have been a game-tying score and faced a fourth-and-6 at the Handley 20-yard line. But Johnson was wise to the Choctaw's screen pass attempt and tipped it at the line of scrimmage, causing it to fall incomplete.

Meadows broke free for his 40-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession to put Handley back up by two touchdowns.

Bibb County took over near midfield on the ensuing possession, but Johnson once again came up with a big-time tackle for loss on a fourth-and-1 play, and that proved to be Bibb County's last gasp at the upset.

Handley held the Choctaws to 86 yards rushing and 83 yards passing and also forced three turnovers in a solid all-around defensive effort. Lewis was responsible for two of those turnovers, with the fumble recovery and an interception, while Jordan West also had an interception for the Tigers.

Handley will travel to Jackson in round three of the Class 4A state playoffs next week.

Woodland 21, Meek 14

Wadley 28, Hubbertville 14

Woodland and Wadley both won their second-round games, setting up the first-ever postseason meeting between the two county schools.

Woodland's Tate Bradford had a 62-yard touchdown pass from Jackson Lovvorn in the fourth quarter against Meek as Woodland rallied from 14-13 down to win 21-14.

Wadley hung on for a tough 28-14 win against Hubbertville in a battle of two teams that were both ranked in the top 10 in the state in the final regular season poll.

Wadley will now host Woodland next Friday in the first playoff meeting between county schools since Woodland defeated RCHS in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs in 2012.

Other scores

Faith Academy 40, Clay Central 33

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