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November 14, 2005

Auburn WR commit breaks all-time record

Wadley wide receiver Terrell Zachery will never forget his second reception in the second-round playoff game against Hackleburg his senior season. It was only one play, but one he will always remember.

It was second-down-and-seven on the Bulldogs' own 42-yard line when Wadley quarterback Brandon Brown stepped to the huddle and called the play. 'Pistol-left fade'.

"That's where Terrell is actually a flanker to the tight end side and we've got two wideouts to the other side, out of a shotgun look," said Wadley head coach Randy Sparks. "We run a fade route to both sides and the quarterback reads it. Of course, pre-reading is pretty simple when you have Terrell on one side. That influences (Brown) a little bit."

Zachery ran his route, went up over the corner, caught the ball and raced to the end zone like he had done for the last four-and-a-half years. The 58-yard touchdown catch would be a memorable one for any normal high school football player, memorable enough to put the press clippings about it in their scrap book.

But Zachery is not your normal high school football player. And he may have a scrap book, but his touchdown catch with 10:33 remaining in the second quarter Friday night will go down in the state record book. With that catch and run, Zachery, who is committed to play his college ball at Auburn, became Alabama's all-time leading receiver.

"(The record) was in the back of my mind and I thought I could get it on that play," said Zachery, who already had a 28-yard catch earlier in the game. "It was a great feeling when I scored because I knew that I had broken the record."

Zachery finished the night with five catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 87 yards rushing on two carries including an 80-yard scoring run. Wadley won their 12th game of the season in convincing fashion 54-20.

For his career, Zachery now has 176 catches for 4,410 yards (25.1 avg.) and 51 touchdowns breaking the previous record held by Cedar Bluff's Josh Moten, who had 4,272 yards receiving from 1999-2002.

"I think it's an honor that he deserves. He's worked awfully hard for four years to reach his goals," said Sparks.

The long-time and successful Wadley coach has seen the maturation of Zachery as a football player and person. From the first time he ever put the young, skinny athlete into the starting lineup in the playoffs as an eighth grader until he called the second-down play that would put Zachery into the record books as a senior.

"He's improved from day one. He's actually become a different type of receiver, from being the long, wiry elusive receiver to a big, physical receiver," Sparks said. "His hard work in the weight room has paid off and probably given him the opportunity to stay healthy and compete every week and continue to pile those numbers up."

What most don't realize about Zachery's feat is that he's been almost the secondary go-to guy in Wadley's run-oriented system since he began his prep career. During his eighth and ninth grade years, the Bulldogs had one of the state's top running backs in Timothy "Red" Haynes, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in both of those seasons and earned all-state honors as well.

After Haynes graduated, in stepped a little freshman by the name of Terrance Wilkes. Wilkes hasn't done anything since then but rush for 7,263 yards, good enough for sixth all-time in the state. Wilkes, a junior this season, even tied and broke two state records himself Friday night in Hackleburg. Wilkes became the state's all-time record holder for points in a season with 270, and tied the state record with 43 total touchdowns in a season. This year alone, Wilkes has rushed for 2,498 yards and 41 touchdowns.

And still Zachery has found ways to become the state's all-time leading receiver.

"It's more amazing since he's been on a team with several weapons and he's had to share the wealth," said Sparks. "It wasn't like he was getting the ball every time. He's played his whole career on basically a running football team that had a tailback that was getting the majority of the reps. We're talking about a guy who gets the ball seven or eight times a game."

Zachery's never complained about the lack of touches or sharing the wealth, and won't. He's never been about himself. It's a trait, Sparks said makes Zachery breaking the record even more enjoyable.

"I tell people every day that we have two players (Zachery and Wilkes) who are very good football players and put up lots of numbers. But what makes it more enjoyable is that they are even better people," he said.

After crossing the goal line Friday night and breaking the record, Zachery dropped the ball and ran to the sidelines. A few high-fives, a couple of hand shakes. No fireworks. No retrieving the game ball. It's not the mild-mannered senior's style.

"I congratulated him and he just sort of grinned," said Sparks. "That's it. It was very typical of him."

Zachery's name now sits alone at the top of the Alabama all-time list. He says the reality of that is still sinking in.

"There are a lot of good receivers on that list," Zachery said. "It feels good and I have worked hard for it, but I really can't believe that I've had the most receiving yards in the state of Alabama."

It may be hard for him to believe, but it won't be difficult for him to remember.

Like that routine, second-down play against Hackleburg Friday night, he won't soon forget.


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