Baldwin County repeats as Unified Champions

Bandits top Vestavia 26-18 for back-to-back AHSAA/Special Olympics state titles

By CHRIS MEGGINSON, for AHSAA.com
Posted 12/6/18

AUBURN, Ala. – A 119-yard passing performance by T.J. Caraway guided the Baldwin County School System Bandits to their second straight AHSAA/Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game 26-18 victory …

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Baldwin County repeats as Unified Champions

Bandits top Vestavia 26-18 for back-to-back AHSAA/Special Olympics state titles

Posted

AUBURN, Ala. – A 119-yard passing performance by T.J. Caraway guided the Baldwin County School System Bandits to their second straight AHSAA/Special Olympics Alabama Unified Game 26-18 victory Wednesday in a 26-18 win over Vestavia Hills High School at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game, which is a partnership between the AHSAA and Special Olympics Alabama, kicked off the 2018 AHSAA Super 7 State Football Championships.

Baldwin County athlete Caraway completed 11-of-25 passes and had three touchdowns in the win, a near repeat performance from his 2017 performance of 16-of-26 passing for 121 yards and three touchdowns against Vestavia in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Caraway also completed and caught an extra point pass.

Trey Morrissette caught two passes in the game, each 35-yard touchdowns, to lead the Bandits’ receiving corp. The first TD catch came with 15 seconds remaining in the first half to give Baldwin County a 13-12 halftime lead. The halfback pass from Jacob Bankster was the only pass he threw on the game.

Baldwin County, coached by Mike Conner, took a 7-0 lead midway through the first half on an 8-yard TD from Caraway to Jaron Hyatt. The Rebels answered with a 32-yard touchdown run by Weyman Prater and a 35-yard touchdown down rush down the sideline by Winston Bosworth. Both extra point passes failed.

The Bandits created some distance, 26-12, with another 8-yard connection between Caraway and Hyatt with four minutes to play. The Rebels, coached by Terry Tingle, cut the score to 26-18 with 29 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Austin Ballard to Bosworth, but the extra point pass failed. Bosworth followed the touchdown catch by intercepting Caraway with 14 seconds to play, but time expired before Vestavia ran out of time on the final drive.

Dayne Howard led Baldwin County with six tackles, including one for a loss and had one break up on defense. Jacob Bankster had three pass breakups and three tackles, including two on Vestavia’s final drive. Mack Brock applied pressure on Ballard with five quarterback hurries.

Davis Spain led Vestavia’s defense with seven hurries, while Bosworth finished with three tackles, followed by two stops each by Prater and Parker Turner.

The 63rd annual AHSAA football playoffs will feature seven finals with Thompson meeting Central-Phenix City in the 7A championship Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Thursday’s schedule kicks off at 11 a.m. with Piedmont and Flomaton the 3A championship, followed by Linden and Mars Hill Bible in the 1A final at 3 p.m. and Vigor versus Central-Clay County for the 5A title at 7 p.m.

The Super 7 will conclude Friday with UMS-Wright meeting Deshler in the 4A title game at 11 a.m., Fyffe and Luverne meet at 3 p.m. for the 2A championship and Pinson Valley will battle Saraland for the Class 6A championship at 7 p.m.

Visit AHSAA.com for more information.

The NFHS Network live-streamed the Unified game Wednesday. Local cable information can be found at www.pathtotheplayoffs.com. The NFHS Network will also live-stream the Raycom telecast over the NFHS Network subscriber-based platform.

For more information, go to www.nfhsnetwork.com.

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