SAKS — Saks lost a great player in departed star quarterback Tre Smith, but Devin Harris looks like he’ll more than hold his own for the Wildcats this season.
Leading Saks’ read-option attack, Harris rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Wildcats to a 38-17 victory over St. Clair County in Thursday’s jamboree at Saks.
Harris ran for scores of 64 and 10 yards and added non-touchdown runs of 45 and 39 yards to set up two more scores. Tailback Calvin Figueroa added touchdown runs of 2 and 15 yards, and Saks rolled up 349 rushing yards.
Harris also had an interception to set up a touchdown and made quite an impression on St. Clair County coach Bobby Smith.
“There’s a good possibility he’ll be the best one we’ll see all year,” Smith said. “If we happen to get in the playoffs, we might see somebody, but I think as far as athletic ability and skill wise, him and 22 (Figueroa) are as good as you’re going to see.”
Harris broke his 64-yard touchdown run around left end on Saks’ third offensive snap. His 10-yard score came on the next possession, on Saks’ fifth offensive snap.
“It was a pull just about every time because the end went down,” Harris said. “Not much you can do, but it’s pretty good. At the end, they started bringing a linebacker around to the quarterback’s spot.”
Harris’ 45-yard run set up Figueroa’s 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Harris broke a 39-yard run before Figueroa scored from 15 yards out at 9:15 of the third quarter.
“He’s done a nice job,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said. “We’ve got some guys we can get the ball to on offense along with him. He did a great job tonight reading the option. I think he’s going to have a good year.”
Figueroa gives Saks the middle running threat if defenses spread out to stop Harris.
“Calvin is a guy that had almost 700 yards rushing last year as our No. 2 running back,” Miller said. “He had a nice season as a sophomore.
“He’s gotten bigger and stronger, and he’s a real tough kid. He runs the ball hard, a true, between-the-tackles guy, and he’s got a little bit of speed.”
Saks also got 83 rushing yards including a 33-yard touchdown, from freshman Rodney Reddick and an 8-yard touchdown run from backup quarterback Quay McCord. Penalties wiped out touchdown runs of 63 yards for Reddick and a 65-yarder by Jonathan Oliphant.
Saks led 19-3 at halftime and built as much as a 38-3 lead before St. Clair County crossed the goal line. Justin May had touchdown runs of 2 and 12 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Saints, which joined Anniston, Alexandria and Lincoln in a Class 5A region through this year’s reclassification, brought a young team to Saks.
“In our top 44, we’ve got 23 that have never been on a high school football field at all,” Smith said. “I wanted them to see what a good football team was on a high level and intensity so they can get to where they understand what we’re talking about when we try to get them to practice at a high level.”
Kicker Kylee Harrell was the brightest spot for the Saints, scoring the game’s first points on a 33-yard field goal and hitting both extra points. The sophomore is coming off a year that saw her make 33 of 38 kicks, including a 38-yard field goal against Locust Fork that put St. Clair County into the playoffs.
“She works hard at it,” Smith said. “She goes to camps all year round, and it’s great to have somebody like that.
“This is my 10 year at St. Clair County, and we haven’t had a great field goal kicker at all. She’s very reliable.”
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.