The Pickens County Tornadoes (8-3, 6-1) bounced back from last week's defeat to rival Gordo by defeating the Woodville Panthers (5-6, 4-2) in the first round of the AHSAA Class 1A Playoffs 33-8.

"I was very pleased with the way we performed. Coming into the first round, we wanted to get back on track from last week and we got back on track the way we wanted to," said Pickens County head coach Michael Williams.  "We played physical, we played smart and had some explosive plays finally. The one thing I would tell them is if you don't turn the ball over you give yourself a pretty good chance and I think we came out with zero turnovers so I was very pleased with the way we played."

The Tornadoes owned the line of scrimmage on both the offensive and defensive ends which allowed Pickens County to control the game. The Tornadoes defense mustered up five quarterback sacks and held the Panthers to just 70 yards rushing as sack yardage counts against rushing yards.

The game was broken open by Pickens County junior running back and linebacker Adonta Warner. Warner returned an interception 90 yards for a Tornadoes touchdown to extend the Tornadoes lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter.

Photo By Joe Gaither

"The crazy part about it was he told me, I have him in gym in 5th period and he said 'Coach I'm going to pick this pass off'. You would not believe that this was the exact same play that he was looking at and he picked it off. He said 'I told you I watch film coach', I was very proud of that moment," said Williams.

Warner did his part on offense as well rushing for 75 yards on 10 carries and finding the endzone for the final Tornadoes touchdown. He also made a big play on special-teams, blocking a Panthers' punt in the third quarter.

Photo By Mason Woods

Junior quarterback Javion Belle played a pivotal role in the Tornadoes success tonight passing for 124 yards with two touchdowns and rushing for 48 yards and another score. He found sophomore receiver Zach Boone for a 24-yard score to open the game and senior receiver K.J. Byrd for a 25-yard TD as well. Byrd ended with three receptions for 69 yards and the score and accounted for one of the Pickens County defensive sacks.

Quarterback Jackson Peek put on a valiant effort for the Panthers in defeat, Peek passed for 73 yards and rushed for 28 yards on 16 carries. Scoring for the Panthers on the final possession of the game for Woodville was Brett Berger on a 12-yard run.

Pickens County will hit the road to play Decatur Heritage Christian Academy in the second round. The Eagles defeated Wadley in the opening round 48-37. Decatur Heritage won Class 1A Region 8 and finished with an 8-2 regular season record, they are currently on a 9-game winning streak.

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