Maplesville upended in third round by Elba

Published 9:58 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Maplesville High School’s magical run in the AHSAA Class 1A state football playoffs came to an end on Nov. 24 falling to unbeaten Elba High School 49-14. The Red Devils were out rushed 482 to 38 after six touchdowns from Elba’s Alvin Henderson.

The two schools traded punts to open the game, but Elba’s second drive went for points as Henderson got his first touchdown from eight yards out to make it 7-0. Henderson doubled the Tigers lead before the end of the first quarter on their next drive with his second touchdown on the ground.

Maplesville broke into Elba territory to start the second quarter, but the drive was stopped on fourth down inside the Tigers’ red zone. Henderson turned the defensive stop into his third rushing touchdown of the night at 21-0 with three minutes left in the first half.

Maplesville earned the defensive stop to end the first half to go into the halftime break with some life, and were receiving the second half kickoff.

“I thought our kids played hard, and I thought early we had some opportunities to do some things that we (could be successful on), but that was the best defensive line we played all season,” Maplesville head coach Brad Abbott said. “This game is not going to define who they are, and they have too many good memories to let this one (affect them). I know it is going to hurt for a while, but when they look back on this season and what they have done for this school, this town and this community they will have a lot more smiles than tears.”

Henderson added three touchdown runs after halftime to extend the Elba lead to 42-0 early in the fourth quarter. Henderson ended with an even 300 yards rushing on 21 carries and the six trips to the end zone.

Maplesville’s offense came alive in the fourth quarter as quarterback Bradlee Padgett found Johnathon Wilson for a 37-yard touchdown connection in both their final game. Padgett was 12-for-22 passing for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Wilson caught seven passes for 93 yards and the score, and he also led the Red Devils’ defense with seven tackles.

Nehemiah McCary got into the end zone in the fourth quarter as well from one yard out to put a pair of Maplesville touchdowns on the board. McCary ran for 33 yards on 14 carries.

“They were a gritty team this season, and after a disappointing game at Loachapoka (High School earlier this season), instead of letting that be something that they felt like the season was over, they got back to work,” Abbott said. “They got this program to the third round, and that is pretty impressive for this team. I think it is a great accomplishment, the seniors this year did a great job leading and I will miss these seniors because they did a lot to get this program started for next year. These young players who played with them this year will have something to shoot for next year.”

Maplesville ends its season at 8-5, and it was the third season out of the last four that the Red Devils have reached the third round of the state playoffs.