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Oh, the drama

The 2007-08 academic year featured its share of the moments that make sports memorable.

The Clanton Advertiser covered 48 athletic teams – which came from eight schools and 12 sports – so any list that attempts to cover all these teams will be debatable. Nonetheless, below is the Advertiser’s ranking of the 2007-08 academic year’s top 10 sporting contests. The games were judged on significance and the drama involved.

10. Verbena breaks into win column

(B. B. Comer baseball at Verbena, March 7) In their sixth game of the season, the Red Devils broke into the win column with a strong offensive showing.

The home team pounded out 11 hits and drew 10 walks to win 10-9 in a game that was shortened to six innings because of darkness.

Kipp Moore, Trent Montgomery and Garrett Dennis all had run-scoring base hits in the bottom of the fifth to give Verbena the lead, and Montgomery tagged Comer’s Taylor Bryant at the plate after a wild pitch for the final out in the final inning to preserve the win.

9. CCHS clutches first win

(Chilton County High softball at Jemison, March 25) CCHS earned its first win of the season with a 6-5, eight-inning decision over rival Jemison.

Bevin Hawkins’ one-out single in the eighth scored Macee Thomas and Jamie Eiland and gave the Tigers the lead.

Kadie Coker got the final batter of the game to fly out with the bases loaded.

8. Routin’ Rebels

(Thorsby softball vs. Chilton County High at county tournament,March 29) Thorsby dominated the county tournament field the way it did most of its other opponents during the season.

The Rebels beat CCHS, 13-3 and 9-0, to take the title and remain unbeaten. The Thorsby seniors – Jessica Spearman (pitched a seven-inning shutout in the final game), Hollie Day (2-for-4 with a walk, a home run, two RBI and three runs scored) and Sarah Adkins (2-for-5 with two RBI) – all played large roles.

7. Panthers handle Holt, earn playoff berth

(Jemison football at Holt, (Oct. 19) Jamie McKenzie intercepted the pass when Holt was forced to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 26-yard line with time winding down. The play ensured a 16-13 win and a playoff berth for Jemison.

T.J. Robbins rushed for 121 yards and scored what would become the game-winning touchdown. Merrell Morrow added 166 yards rushing for the Panthers.

6. Too late to the plate

(Chilton County High baseball at Jemison, March 6) CCHS star Wes Driver had perhaps the defining game of his career. Down 4-2, the Panthers had only one out left in the game, and Driver had recorded 11 consecutive outs. Driver had also provided most of his team’s offense with a three-run home run.

But Driver walked Scott Kaylor, and Jordan Mims followed with a shot to the fence. Kaylor scored on the play, and the ball got away from CCHS catcher Justin Veazey. Veazey was able to flip to Driver, who was covering home plate, just in time to put out Mims and end the game at 4-3 Tigers.

5. Mustangs end streak with win

(Verbena football at Isabella, Sept. 14) Isabella beat Verbena, 21-8, to snap its 23-game losing streak.

Brian Donovan rushed for 138 yards, Brandon Veazey found Kelsey Gardner for two big pass plays and the home team played solid defense throughout.

4. Panthers keep the plaque

(Jemison volleyball vs. Isabella at county tournament, Oct. 13, 2007) Jemison dropped the first game of a best-of-three match to Isabella and fell behind 12-6 in the second game before rallying to win the county tournament title on the Mustangs’ home court.

The win gave the Panthers their fifth county title in the six years it has been held since a hiatus.

Stevie Martin, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, recorded 32 kills, six blocks, 24 digs and six aces in three matches.

3. Old and the not so new

(Chilton County High basketball vs. Maplesville at county tournament, Dec. 15, 2007) James Mays made both free throws after being fouled with 13 seconds left to play to give CCHS a four-point lead and secure the team’s sixth consecutive county tournament championship with a 54-52 win over Maplesville. No team led by more than five points the entire game. The Tigers were able to overcome a 33-point effort from Maplesville’s Nick Andrews.

2. Third time the charm for Tigers

(Chilton County High football at Bibb County High, Oct. 19) CCHS’s Ryan Williams took a toss left into the end zone for a two-point conversion on the last play of the game to defeat the Choctaws, 35-34, in triple-overtime. Gary Davis had scored the touchdown moments earlier.

The win kept the Tigers in playoff contention (they would later make the playoffs).

1. Turnover turnaround

(Maplesville football at Sweet Water, Nov. 30) Sweet Water’s Devin Wolf returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown with 5:37 left in the game to propel the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs a 46-36 win over scrappy No. 3 Maplesville.

Wilson completed 17 of 30 passes in the game for 311 yards. He ran for one touchdown and threw for scores to Brian Bailey, Brian Frith and Drek Gardner.

In their third consecutive playoff meeting, the two teams combined for 815 yards, 36 first downs and 34 fourth quarter points, leading Sweet Water’s public address announcer to proclaim after the game, “That should have been the state championship game right there.”