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Brody Sparks caries for a first down against Ardmore on Friday. The senior QB had 295 yards passing, 204 yards rushing and five touchdowns. [CALEB SUGGS/DECATUR DAILY]

It's been a whirlwind season so far for Lawrence County's Brody Sparks.

The senior entered the season preparing for his first season as the starting quarterback. It was unlikely that many outside of the county knew who he was.

Then he started playing.

In his first game at Hazel Green, he passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 59 yards.

His second game at West Point he threw for 190 yards and three more touchdowns.

All of that was just setting up his coming-out party.

Friday, in the Red Devils' first region game against Ardmore, he accumulated 499 all-purpose yards. That included 295 passing yards and 204 rushing yards, while scoring five total touchdowns as Lawrence County routed the Tigers

"I've had a little time to soak it up now that the game is over," Sparks said. "But that's in the past now so I try not to think about it too much."

Getting attention

He might not be thinking about it, but others are. Sparks' performance has made the rounds on social media in north Alabama the past few days.

"Yeah, that's something different to get used to," Sparks said. "I guess that's something I just have to handle now. But I'm not going to let that affect how I prepare every day. I still know I have to do things the right way."

Sparks, 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, may be new to making plays as a quarterback, but he's been a playmaker for the Red Devils for a few years now.

He's started both at defensive back and receiver the past two years while he waited his turn behind two of the school's most successful single-season passing quarterbacks, Austin Blankenship and Ty Hutto.

Although waiting his turn may have tested his patience, Sparks said it prepared him more to be a quarterback in the long run.

"I won't lie it was definitely annoying at times. You know you're capable of doing the job, but you have to sit behind two very athletic and successful QBs," he said. “But in reality it only helped me. Because having played as a defensive back, and a receiver I know what to look for in the defense and I know what to expect as a receiver."

Of course the athleticism is takes to play those positions has paid dividends at quarterback as well. Sparks can do damage with his feet just as much as his arm.

"I think it makes me more dangerous, because it's hard to game-plan against that. Whether it’s scrambling to pick up a first down, or buying time to find someone down field, you have to account for me as a runner."

Challenge ahead

This week Sparks will face his biggest test to date when Russellville (4-0, 2-0 Class 5A, Region 8) comes to town.

Not only are the Golden Tigers a region opponent, they also are the biggest rival for Lawrence County (2-1, 1-0).

"This game means a lot to this team and this community," said Sparks. "I was a freshman when we beat them last, so I've seen the momentum that beating them gives us."

The win he referred to took place in 2017, and it also happens to be the Red Devils' only win over Russellville in the last 75 years. The senior feels like it's time to add another win to that list.

But a win won't come easy, and to do it he will have to take lessons learned from his predecessors.

In the past two meetings, it was two late interceptions that ended the Red Devils' chances of scoring a win in either game.

Avoiding offensive mistakes won't be easy considering the Russellville defense has allowed no points through three games and has forced 13 turnovers. Russellville's fourth win this season was by forfeit.

"I haven't thrown a pick yet, so that gives me confidence, but they have a very good defense and are very opportunistic when it comes to forcing turnovers," he said. "Facing them is going to be a challenge, but to beat a team like that, I know I have to play my game."

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(1) comment

scott smith

Go Brody you can do this, go red devils!

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