Villeda, Cummings lead Jemison to second win

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

A quartet of Jemison High School rushers are this week’s athletes of the week for their performance in the Panthers 20-12 win over Montevallo High School on Sept. 23.

Three running backs for Jemison, senior Tucker Bradford, senior Efrain Villeda and junior Coden Cummings, all ran for at least 65 yards and got into the end zone for a touchdown. Senior quarterback Jaxon Padlo added 41 yards on two carries to give Jemison four rushers with at least 40 yards on the ground. Jemison had 319 total yards in the game, and the four rushers accounted for 264 of those.

Jemison head coach John Therrell said his offense had more wrinkles in it this week, and found ways to get the ball out on the perimeter for his playmakers.

“We are putting our kids into situations where they can be successful, and as we keep doing that they keep being able to make (important) plays,” Therrell said. “I thought that worked out pretty well for us, and I am excited to see how the guys progress with that.”

After Montevallo cut the Jemison lead down to 14-12 to start the fourth quarter, the Panthers needed a boost to finish the game. Villeda, who has been Jemison’s power rusher this season, rumbled for a 15-yard touchdown run to push the advantage to eight points.

Villeda rushed for a game-high 81 yards on 18 carries and posted a 4.5 yards per carry average. His longest rush of the game was the 15-yard touchdown run.

“I just told them, we have to keep doing what we do,” Therrell said. “We went and had a good offensive drive that put us up that extra score, and the defense went out and did what they needed to do.”

Villeda added two catches for 19 yards, and was a presence on defense recording four tackles, three of those were solo and pulling down an interception.

Cummings was another workhorse for Jemison against Montevallo carrying the ball 15 times for 74 yards, a 4.9 yards per carry average. He got the Panthers on the board first with a 26-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Cummings led the Jemison defense with nine tackles, six of those were solo and had three pass breakups.

Bradford was everywhere for Jemison on both sides of the ball. The senior ran for 68 yards on three carries, including a 53-yard touchdown run to double the Jemison lead in the second quarter 14-0. He led the Panthers receivers with four catches for 27 yards.

Bradford ran for the long touchdown just two plays after he intercepted a Montevallo pass on defense. He hauled in two interceptions in the game, and added four tackles to his totals.

Therrell said he is seeing his team begin to shift towards a more confident group following the Panthers early 2-3 start.

“They realize that if I do my job, and the guys to my left and right do their job, then we can be successful,” Therrell said.

Jemison sits tied for second place in the AHSAA Class 5A Region 3 standings at 1-1 with three other teams. The Panthers take on one of those teams they are tied with in Holtville High School on the road on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.