Two years ago, Terraris “T.J.” Saffold playfully boasted that he was Central-Hayneville’s best player.
Saffold didn’t say anything about being the best in school history, but he can argue that now.
Saffold, named All-State by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, is the first All-State player in the school’s history.
“Oh, man,” Saffold said when he learned of the honor. “I’m excited. I think I deserved it. That means a lot.”
Two other Montgomery metro schools also ended long All-State droughts, though none as long as Central’s.
Will Hogan is Holtville’s first All-State player since 1993, while Kenny Thomas is St. James’ first since 2006. Both are juniors.
“That’s pretty cool,” Hogan said. “It’s a lot of inspiration for next year. I have to keep working hard and keep grinding.”
Hogan was Class 4A All-State at defensive line. He made 94 tackles, including 48 for loss this year for the Bulldogs, whose last All-State player was tight end Orlando Ezell in 1993. Holtville has had five honorable mentions since then, but honorable mention is not All-State.
Thomas, who measures 6-foot-6, 330 pounds, graded out better than 80 percent in every game for the Trojans. St. James’ last All-State player was kicker Graham Sutter in 2006.
“I’m shocked, really,” said Thomas, who is drawing major college interest. “This lets me know I need to hit the weight room hard, stay in shape and get ready for next season.”
Saffold, who was Class 2A All-State at linebacker, made more than 100 tackles and ran for more than 1,000 yards for the Lions. He played in just seven games due to injury.
“It was good, but it could have been better,” Saffold said. “I missed three games, but I bounced back.”
Carr honor: Edgewood’s Bobby Carr was the AISA coach of the year for the second time in four years.
The Wildcats, after returning just three starters, were 14-0, won their fourth straight AISA championship and extended their winning streak to an AISA-record 45 games.
Trinity streak ends: Trinity failed to have an All-State player for the first time since 1996, snapping the state’s longest All-State streak.
The Wildcats, who had two honorable mentions, had 31 All-State players over the last 16 years.
North Jackson’s 13-year streak, the state’s second longest, was also snapped.
Thomasville had gone 27 straight years with at least one honorable mention or All-State player until this year.
3-timers: Three players were named All-State for the third straight season: 6A Hoover’s Marlon Humphrey, 2A Mobile Christian’s Tyler Rogers and AISA Tuscaloosa Academy’s Terrell Bush.
Sweet Water: It took five extra years, but Sweet Water now can brag it has had the most All-State players.
The Bulldogs, with three this year, have had 60 All-State players since the Alabama Sports Writers Association started picking teams in 1982. Hazlewood, which last fielded a team in 2008, had 59.
Sweet Water has also had at least one All-State player for 10 straight years, which is now the state’s longest streak.