Playoff picture still not clear

The final week of the high school football regular season is upon us and that means the season comes to an end for Appalachian, Hayden, J.B. Pennington, Southeastern, and Susan Moore.

Cleveland, Locust Fork, and Oneonta are in the playoffs but, oddly enough, none of the three has an opponent yet.

With the loss last week at Gaston, Cleveland is locked in as the No. 3 seed out of 2A Region 7 and will travel in the first round. The opponent is not clear yet as Addison, Cold Springs, and Tarrant are tied for the runner-up spot in Region 6.

The same goes for Locust Fork and Oneonta. The Hornets and Redskins are tied with North Jackson for the top spot in 4A Region 7. Each of those teams could finish anywhere from first to third, depending on tie-breakers that will be applied after this week’s games.

The tie-breaker will come down to number of wins of defeated non-region opponents. North Jackson will already count at least four wins from Scottsboro (hosts Madison County this week) and could count another nine wins from East Limestone if the Chiefs win Friday night. The most wins North Jackson could count is 14.

Locust Fork will count the wins of Montevallo (only one now due to forfeits, vs. Billingsley this week) and Westbrook (three so far, at Ranburne this week). A win this week over Hokes Bluff (two wins) will help a little. The most wins Locust Fork could count is seven.

Oneonta will count Susan Moore’s three wins (and maybe another if the Bulldogs knock off Pennington tomorrow night) and could add seven more with a win over Piedmont Friday night. The most wins Oneonta could count is 11.

The schedule is split this week with Southeastern-Cleveland, Hayden-Curry, Hokes Bluff-Locust Fork, and J.B. Pennington-Susan Moore playing Thursday night.

Appalachian-West End and Piedmont- Oneonta will play Friday night.

Remember, all games kick off at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 30 2A Southeastern (2-7) at Cleveland (7-2) All-time – this is the first meeting

Ohatchee 37, SE 0SE 27, Vina 6Cold Springs 24, SE 14Sumiton Chr. 31, SE 12Tarrant 62, SE 13SE 33, Appalachian 20Southeastern – OpenTanner 56, SE 0Falkville 33, SE 13Addison 27, SE 7

Clev – Open
Clev 37, Pisgah 20
Fyffe 54, Clev 28
Clev 49, West End 6
Clev 49, Collinsville 20
Clev 41, J.B. Pennington 14
Clev 49, Susan Moore 35
Clev 41, Section 21
Clev 33, Ider 12
Gaston 35, Clev 28

The only 2A teams in the county meet to close the regular season.

Southeastern jumped out to a 7-0 lead last week but Addison just simply wore the Mustangs down over the final three quarters. Depth has been a major problem for the Mustangs this year and that was the case again last week. The Mustang defense has done an admirable job at times but this group will be tested by a Panther offense that is capable of putting up huge numbers. Southeastern has to figure out a way to keep Peyton Gilliland from making plays and that’s much easier said than done. Look for the Mustangs to try to run right at the Cleveland defense. The Panthers have given up plenty of yards this season and Southeastern will look to pound away with Mauris Zamora and Austin Pearson.

Next week – Cleveland, the No. 3 seed in Region 7 will travel to the No. 2 seed from Region 6 – either Addison, Cold Springs, or Tarrant.

5A Hayden (0-9) at 4A Curry (1-8) Last year Hayden 54, Curry 31 All-time – the series is tied, 4-4

West Point 31, Hayden 0 Oak Grove 40, Curry 20
Alexandria 28, Hayden 0 Cordova 50, Curry 6
Anniston 34, Hayden 0 Hamilton 44, Curry 12
Moody 24, Hayden 6 Haleyville 56, Curry 26
Lawrence Co. 28, Hayden 14 Good Hope 19, Curry 16
Lincoln 48, Hayden 0 Curry 36, Danville 15
Springville 39, Hayden 21 Carbon Hill 36, Curry 20
Mort. Jordan 39, Hayden 0 Fayette Co. 54, Curry 33
St. Clair Co. 35, Hayden 21 Oakman 61, Curry 7

Wildcats have a chance at a win but the Yellow Jackets are explosive.

Hayden played pretty good football last week at St. Clair County but penalties took a pair of touchdowns off the board and that proved to be the difference. Now, the Wildcats must get ready to take on a Curry team that has had a ton of problems on the defensive side of the ball this year. 3A Oakman piled up more than 500 yards of offense last week against the Yellow Jackets. Hayden had a decent night on offense last week but the penalties were impossible to overcome. Look for the Wildcats to put some offense together this week, especially on the ground, against a Curry defense that has been hammered the last few weeks.

4A Hokes Bluff (2-7) at Locust Fork (8-1) Last meeting (2009) Hokes Bluff 49, Locust Fork 14 All-time – Hokes Bluff leads the series, 7-0

Hokes Bluff – OpenSouthside 37, HB 10HB 35, White Plains 7HB 22, Crossville 14Sardis 49, HB 21Glencoe 42, HB 14Cherokee Co. 28, HB 14Saks 47, HB 16Jacksonville 41, HB 7Cleburne Co. 35, HB 14

LF 47, Montevallo 0
LF 33, Westbrook 20
LF 32, North Jackson 14
LF 46, Westminster 21
Oneonta 35, LF 26
Locust Fork – Open
LF 49, Good Hope 13
LF 54, DAR 13
LF 50, Priceville 35
LF 36, J.B. Pennington 28

Tie-breakers mean Hornets need a win.

Hokes Bluff has been hit hard by injuries this year and the Eagles are just a shell of what they could have been. A couple of early wins against White Plains and Crossville (two teams that are a combined 2- 16) gave the Eagles a little confidence but blowout losses to Sardis, Glencoe, Saks, Jacksonville, and Cleburne County have followed. Stopping the run has been a big problem for the Eagle defense but last week it was the Cleburne County passing game that put up 250 yards. The Hornets will probably look to follow the blue print of Jacksonville and Saks – run the ball right at the Hokes Bluff defense. The Hornets pounded out more than 400 yards on the ground against Pennington last week and could do the same this week. The speed of Micah Stephens and the straight-ahead pounding of Chase Biles should cause plenty of problems for the Hokes Bluff defense. The Locust Fork defense will face an Eagle offense that has lost most of its playmakers to injury this year.

Next week – Locust Fork is in the playoffs and could play at home as a No. 1 or 2 seed (against Sardis or Jacksonville) or go on the road (to Saks) as a No. 3 seed.

4A J.B. Pennington (1-8) at 3A Susan Moore (2-7) Last year Susan Moore 30, J.B. Pennington 27 All-time – Susan Moore leads the series, 36-23-1

Boaz 27, Penn 19Priceville 41, Penn 14Penn 52, DAR 38Good Hope 28, Penn 21Cleveland 41, Penn 14N Jackson 69, Penn 28Oneonta 41, Penn 7Westminster 38, Penn 20Locust Fork 36, Penn 28

SM 28, West End 27
Winfield 35, SM 7
Oakman 54, SM 0
SM 27, Holly Pond 7
Oneonta 33, SM 26
Cleveland 49, SM 35
Winston Co. 43, SM 6
Vinemont 40, SM 14
SM 15, Hanceville 14

Lots of tradition in this one. Redskin fans might become Bulldog fans this week, as well.

You have to give a lot of credit to the Tigers. They came out last week and gave a very good Locust Fork team all it could handle. The Tiger defense definitely was more bend-but-don’t-break but the Pennington offense made enough plays to keep the Tigers in the game. Now the Tigers face a Susan Moore team that should be sky-high after last week’s Miracle at the Pod. The Bulldog defense was in all kinds of trouble early but this unit came back and kept Hanceville off the scoreboard for the final three quarters. Pennington has had trouble stopping the run this year – Locust Fork rushed for 403 yards last week – so look for the Bulldogs to test the Tiger defensive front early. Pennington will cause Susan Moore some problems with their wideopen, spread look. However, the Bulldogs are getting some players back from injury now and should match up a little better.

Friday, Oct. 31 1A Appalachian (1-8) at 2A West End (0-9) Last meeting (1983) West End 6, Appalachian 0 All-time – West End leads the series, 4-0

Spr. Garden 44, App 20Victory Chr. 34, App 18Wadley 51, App 12Ragland 49, App 12Southeastern 33, App 20Winterboro 37, App 13TCC 27, App 0App 21, Shades Mtn. 14Donoho 48, App 0

Susan Moore 28, WE 27
Collinsville 34, WE 3
Cleveland 49, WE 8
Section 33, WE 21
WE 59, Coosa Chr. 30
Ider 59, WE 26
Gaston 49, WE 20
Fyffe 62, WE 6
Sumiton Chr. 69, WE 32

Eagles and Patriots could be a nice little rivalry but these teams have only played four times.

Appalachian got an up-close-and-personal look at one of the top teams in Class 1A last week. Donoho is big, strong, and physical and they rolled to a big win over the visiting Eagles. The key for Appalachian this week is not to let that loss become two. West End has not been at all competitive in 2A and their one win was a blowout of a below-average 1A in Coosa Christian. Appalachian will look to run the ball right at the Patriot defense – a defense that has given up an average of 60 points per game over the last five weeks. West End has struggled to stop the run this year and the Eagles will need to take advantage. The West End offense has made plays this year. The Patriots have improved on offense during the second half of the year and there are playmakers at the skill positions.

3A No. 7 Piedmont (7-2) at 4A Oneonta (7- 2) Last meeting (2003) Oneonta 39, Piedmont 7 All-time – Oneonta leads the series, 2-1

Pdmnt 48, Cherokee Co. 20Pdmnt 46, Ashville 6Pdmnt 49, Ohatchee 12Glencoe 31, Pdmnt 28Leeds 42, Pdmnt 18Pdmnt 48, Plsnt Valley 8Pdmnt 35, Wltr Wellborn 13Pdmnt 49, Westbrook 0Pdmnt 42, Weaver 0

Pinson 42, OHS 0
OHS 34, DAR 21
OHS 53, Good Hope 8
OHS 35, LF 26
OHS 33, SM 26
OHS 47, Priceville 15
OHS 41, Penn 7
N Jackson 52, OHS 27
OHS 33, W’minster 13

Redskins need a big win to boost tiebreaker hopes.

The Bulldogs may not be quite what they were but they are still very, very good. Steve Smith’s team lost a heartbreaker to Glencoe (undefeated and ranked No. 3 in 3A) and then got run over by the loaded ground game of Leeds (9-1 and No. 3 in 4A). The Bulldogs aren’t quite as big as they have been along the line of scrimmage (avg. 225 pounds) but there are plenty of playmakers at the skill spots. Quarterback Tyler Lusk (6’1, 175 Sr) has thrown the ball well this year and he is athletic enough to make plays with his legs. Dreek Thompson (6’0, 185 Sr) is a threat at running back or split out as a receiver. The Redskin defense simply has to get pressure on Lusk and make him uncomfortable. The Oneonta offense was decent last week but decent won’t get it done this week against a Piedmont defense that is playing its best football of the season. Ko Powell had more than 100 yards last week against Westminster and the running game could be key this week. If Oneonta is able to run the ball effectively, the passing game of Zach Dimmock will be much more effective. Redskin special teams were not special last week, although Luke Wall had a big kickoff return to set up a short field. Coverage units will be severely tested by Thompson this week.

Next week – Piedmont is the No. 2 seed from 3A Region 6 and will host a playoff game next week; Oneonta is in the playoffs and could play at home as a No. 1 or 2 seed (against Sardis or Jacksonville) or go on the road (to Saks) as a No. 3 seed.