Post-season hopes on the line

Time for another quick playoff round-up.

Appalachian – pretty simple for the Eagles. A win against Shades Mtn. Christian this week and Joe Willie Whited’s team is in as the No. 4 team in 1A Region 6. The Eagles could probably still get in with a loss but a win would be much easier.

Cleveland – Gardner Gilliland’s banged-up Panthers still have a shot at the playoffs but it’s not a very good one. Cleveland will have to beat White Plains this week and powerful Saks next week to get in as probably the No. 4 team out of 3A Region 5. Possible but it’s not an easy road.

Hayden – the Wildcats have done some good things in Keith Register’s first season, just not enough of them. The playoffs will have to wait till next year.

Locust Fork – Chris Musso’s first team has put in solid work and has now won four in a row. The playoff seeding is all over the place for the Hornets. Wins this week at Guntersville and next week against St. Clair County and the Hornets could be the No. 2 team in 4A Region 6. Lose both and the Hornets could be out of the playoffs entirely.

Oneonta – the Redskins are assured of making the playoffs but not much else. A win this week at St. Clair County will wrap up the 4A Region 6 title and a home playoff game in the first round but a loss this week and next at home to Sardis could push the Redskins down to a two- or three-seed.

J.B. Pennington – Keith Garner’s Tigers need to win one of the two remaining games – tough road trips to Geraldine and New Hope – to seize a playoff berth. The Tigers could lose both and still make the playoffs but it would be much easier to just win and avoid the tie-breakers.

Southeastern – no playoffs for Drew Barnett’s Mustangs but that win in Tuscaloosa a few weeks back sure was fun. A win at Meek this week is possible.

Susan Moore – Bubba Jennings’s Bulldogs have had their share of ups and downs this year and the injury bug has bitten, as well. Susan Moore has a chance to play spoiler against Glencoe and White Plains the next two weeks.

Remember, all games kick off at 7 o’clock. Friday, Oct. 18

1A Region 6 Shades Mtn. Christian (1-5, 1-4) at Appalachian (3-3, 3-3) HC All-time – Appalachian leads 1-0

Last meeting – (2012) Appalachian 7, Shades Mtn. 3

Sum. Chr. 40, Shades Mtn. 13 Falkville 69, Shades Mtn. 0 Shades Mtn. – Open Addison 43, Shades Mtn. 7 Ragland47,ShadesMtn.0S h . Mtn. 21, Southeastern 14 Coosa Chr. 26, Shades Mtn. 24

Appalachian 38, Meek 22 Appalachian 30, Sum. Chr. 7 Falkville 49, Appalachian 6 Appalachian – Open Addison 48, Appalachian 0 Ragland 61, Appalachian 20 Appalachian 34, Southeastern 14

Eagles try to lock up playoff berth with win over…Eagles.

Shades Mountain is coached by former Homewood head coach Dickey Wright. He has inherited a program that has struggled for years – the Eagles are just 16-59 since starting football in 2006. Shades Mountain has one thing – size. As in, 5A or 6A kind of size. The Eagle offensive line averages about 255 pounds and the defensive front is a shade bigger at 265 pounds. The best of the Eagle linemen is 6’2, 310-lb. senior Adedotun Badewa. He is a potential difference-maker on either side of the ball. The Shades Mountain offense is not complicated as the Eagles will look to pound behind the offensive line or put quarterback Michael Rogers (6’1, 172 Sr) in the shotgun and let him throw it around a bit. The Shades Mountain defense has struggled to slow down opposing offenses, particularly those with speed at the skill positions.

Appalachian will clinch the No. 4 spot in 1A Region 6 with a win this week. The Eagles got a solid performance on both sides of the ball last week in a much-needed win over Southeastern. The Mustangs simply could not run the ball against the Eagle front and Appalachian will need the same type of effort this week to slow down the ground-andpound Shades Mountain attack. Shades Mountain hasn’t done much through the air but the Eagle secondary gave up some big plays to the Southeastern passing attack last week. Brandon Reese has thrown for six touchdowns the last couple of weeks and that balance – with the running attack led by Oziel Maldonado – could cause all kinds of problems for a Shades Mountain defense that has been roasted by better offenses.

Next week – Shades Mtn. hosts Meek while Appalachian has an open date.

3A Region 5 White Plains (3-4, 2-3) at Cleveland (4-3, 2-3) HC All-time – White Plains leads the series 2-1

White Plains 23, Ohatchee 6 Saks 48, White Plains 3 White Plains 20, Weaver 0 Glencoe 24, White Plains 12 Pleas. Valley 35, White Plains 24 Piedmont 68, White Plains 13 White Plains 35, Ashville 12

Cleveland 29, Pennington 0 Cleveland 47, Susan Moore 19 Cleveland 29, Ashville 0 Piedmont 55, Cleveland 7 Cleveland 49, West End 8 Weaver 49, Cleveland 28 Glencoe 28, Cleveland 26

Desperate Panthers need a win.

Cleveland will get a first-hand look this week at the greatest mystery of Region 5. A White Plains team that can be very good – a dominating shutout of athletic Weaver – and inexplicably bad – a 35-24 loss two weeks later to a 2A Pleasant Valley team that might not even make the playoffs. The Wildcats are at their best when they are running the ball behind an offensive line that averages 235 pounds. Johnny Bynum (5’10, 170 Sr) is a quick and surprisingly powerful runner who can beat a defense between the tackles or on the outside. The White Plains defense did a number on Weaver but has had trouble against just about every other offense it has seen. The balanced offenses of Glencoe and Pleasant Valley gave the Wildcats all kinds of problems. Bynum is a serious threat in the return game and White Plains special teams are very solid.

Cleveland put up 425 yards against Glencoe and lost. That’s just one week after putting up exactly 425 yards in a loss to Weaver. The Cleveland offense, with its balance, is tailor-made to give White Plains trouble. However, on the other side of the ball, the White Plains offense – with its big-time running game – is exactly the type of attack that the Panther defense has struggled to stop. Cleveland has to do a better job against the run. Bynum is a very good running back and the Wildcats also have a 230-pound back they will use at times. The Cleveland offense is more than capable of putting up points on White Plains. Can the Panther defense make stops and get off the field?

Next week – White Plains hosts Susan Moore; Cleveland hosts Saks.

3A Region 6 J.B. Pennington (3-4, 3-2) at Geraldine (5-2, 4-1) All-time – Geraldine leads 1-0

Last meeting – (2012) Geraldine 55, J.B. Pennington 28

Cleveland 29, Pennington 0 Pisgah 26, Pennington 12 Pennington 31, Sylvania 30 Plainview 41, Pennington 14 Locust Fork 20, Pennington 17 Pennington 28, Holly Pond 7 Pennington 28, Brindlee Mtn. 8

Geraldine 20, Fyffe 14 Geraldine 30, Plainview 13 Geraldine 47, Brindlee Mtn. 13 New Hope 21, Geraldine 13 Sardis 31, Geraldine 24 Geraldine 35, Sylvania 14 Geraldine 47, Holly Pond 20

Tigers have playoff hopes but this road trip won’t be easy.

Pennington put together a solid night on offense last week but the Tiger defense really had a rough night. While only giving up eight points, Pennington somehow let Brindlee Mountain rush for 358 yards. That has to change – and immediately if the Tigers are to knock off Geraldine this week. One thing the Tiger defense did do is force turnovers. Victor Ramirez had a pair of interceptions, Brandon Butts had a pick, and Jacob Washburn had a fumble recovery. That’s good. Allowing the Lions more than seven yards a carry? That’s bad. Geraldine has seen a couple of teams that throw the ball well this year and lost to both of them. If the Tiger defense can slow down the Geraldine offense, the Tigers have a chance.

Geraldine has recovered nicely after backto back losses in the middle of the year. The Bulldogs had trouble stopping the balanced offenses of New Hope and Sardis but have done a good job against those that just want to run. The Bulldog offensive and defensive lines are solid with good size (avg. 235 lbs.) and these groups have played well this year for the most part. The Bulldog offense is not built around one player as several backs will carry the ball each week. Damion Totherow (5’8, 165 Jr) is quick and athletic and he has been one of the Bulldogs’ biggest big-play threats this year. Geraldine can thrown the ball when needed but the Bulldog offense would prefer to run. The Geraldine defense never got a handle on New Hope or Sardis and you can bet the Pennington coaching staff has been studying those films.

Next week – J.B. Pennington travels to New Hope; Geraldine hosts Pisgah.

5A Region 6 Hayden (0-7, 0-5) at Center Point (6-1, 4-1) All-time – Center Point leads the series 4-1

Sylacauga 35, Hayden 3 Springville 35, Hayden 0 Moody 35, Hayden 14 Pinson Valley 44, Hayden 6 Corner 27, Hayden 20 Walker 42, Hayden 0 Mortimer Jordan 43, Hayden 13

Center Point 26, Huffman 16 Center Point 52, Curry 16 Center Point 61, Springville 20 Center Point 25, Moody 21 Cen. Point 22, McAdory 14 OT Cen. Point 40, Pinson Valley 14 Walker 28, Center Point 8

Wildcats travel to face what could be a very upset flock of Eagles.

Hayden got behind early last week against Mortimer Jordan and never had a chance to recover. The Wildcats can’t get off to that kind of start this week or it will be over before it begins at Center Point. Hayden has struggled to run the ball with any consistency this year and injuries have taken the Wildcats’ best linemen and leading rusher. Hayden could be catching Center Point at a good time. The Eagles went to Walker without their starting quarterback and the Viking defense teed off on the Center Point offense all night long. Hayden needs to have some early success this week to have a chance at the upset.

Walker did what it wanted to last week against a Center Point team that appeared to be the class of Region 6. The Eagles were banged-up last week and never got going. Walker dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and the game really wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. Center Point had done a good job on defense against the run this year but Walker was able to pound the ball between the tackles and play keep-away from the Eagle offense. The Eagles are big (avg. 255 lbs.) across the defensive front. Center Point struggled to run the ball last week (only 14 yards on the ground) and without starting quarterback Keilan Knight, the Eagles were forced to use freshman Chris Baker. He only managed 96 yards through the air and threw three interceptions.

Next week – Hayden hosts Curry; Center Points travels to Mortimer Jordan.

4A Region 6 Locust Fork (5-2, 3-2) at Guntersville (6-1, 4-1) All-time – Guntersville leads 1-0

Locust Fork 26, New Hope 20 Sardis 34, Locust Fork 15 Oneonta 38, Locust Fork 6 Locust Fork 16, Fairview 12 Locust Fork 20, Pennington 17 Locust Fork 28, Crossville 18 Locust Fork 42, Douglas 22

Guntersville 28, Boaz 0 Oneonta 23, Guntersville 21 Guntersville 41, Fairview 6 Guntersville 44, St. Clair Co. 6 Guntersville 33, Arab 28 Guntersville 35, Sardis 13 Guntersville 42, Crossville 17

Hornets and Wildcats meet with all kinds of playoff possibilities on the line.

Locust Fork has now won four in a row, something the program hasn’t done since 2002. The Hornets couldn’t get out of their own way early last week – turnovers killed the first three drives of the night – but once Locust Fork settled down, Douglas had no chance. The Hornet running game has been very good and the quickness of sophomore Micah Stephens was on display last week as he went over 200 yards and scored on four straight touches. The success of the running game means the offensive line is playing physical football. That will be tested this week by a big, deep, and experienced Guntersville defensive front. The Locust Fork defense has been solid this year but the solid won’t get it done this week. Guntersville will line up and come right at the Hornet defensive front. If Locust Fork can slow down the Wildcat running game, the Hornets have a chance.

Guntersville lives and dies by the running game. Head coach Brent Reese has a big (avg. 250 lbs.) offensive line that is loaded with experience and this group has been very consistent this year. The Wildcats have a stable of backs but Jordan Bentley (6’0, 175 So) is the difference-maker. He went over the 1000- yard mark last week with 135 yards and three touchdowns on 15 attempts. He has scored 23 touchdowns this year. Quarterback Gunner Lemons (6’1, 165 Sr) can beat a defense with his legs but he hasn’t thrown much. He completed 8 of 15 passes for 85 yards last week – far and away the most passes he has attempted in a game this year. The Wildcat defense has been good to very good this year. The strong running attacks of Oneonta and Arab had some success against the Wildcat front but this group has played well for the most part. The defensive line has good size (avg. 245 lbs.) and there is enough depth so that none of the linemen are forced to play both ways. Wildcat special teams have been very good.

Next week – Locust Fork hosts St. Clair County; Guntersville hosts Douglas.

4A Region 6 No. 5 Oneonta (6-1, 5-0) at St. Clair County (3-4, 3-2) All-time – Oneonta leads the series 5-4

Last meeting – (2012) Oneonta 63, St. Clair Co. 16

Pinson Valley 25, Oneonta 18 Oneonta 23, Guntersville 21 Oneonta 38, Locust Fork 6 Oneonta 49, Crossville 0 Oneonta 56, Susan Moore 12 Oneonta 51, Douglas 0 Oneonta 63, Fairview 19

Moody 45, St. Clair 18 St. Clair 42, Crossville 14 St. Clair 41, Douglas 7 Guntersville 44, St. Clair 6 Cleburne Co. 51, St. Clair 21 Fairview 36, St. Clair Co. 34 St. Clair 61, Sardis 28

Redskins can claim the region title but watch out for the dangerous Saints.

The Redskins have just flat-out mauled their last four opponents with a potent running game and brick-wall defensive front. Fairview never slowed down the Redskins last week and Oneonta finished the first half with 268 yards on the ground. The Oneonta passing game continues to develop and Ko Powell completed 8 of 9 for 118 yards and a touchdown last week. The Redskin offensive front will be the key this week. St. Clair County never came close to stopping the running games of Moody, Guntersville, or even Fairview. The Redskin defense will have to tackle well this week. The Saints have quality skill players, especially at quarterback and receiver. The best pass defense is the pass rush and it will be interesting to see if the Redskin front can harass the quarterback enough to disrupt what can be an explosive Saint passing game. Redskin special teams should get plenty of chances to make plays this week.

St. Clair County was dead in the water heading into last week’s game at Sardis. The Saints had been buried by Guntersville and couldn’t keep pace with Cleburne County and that was before losing a heartbreaker at home to Fairview. However, Saint running back Justin Brown (5’9, 185 Sr) went 74 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the game last week and suddenly the Fighting Saints were back in business. St. Clair County has talent, especially at quarterback with Matt Hicks (6’1, 197 Sr). He had three rushing touchdowns in the first half last week to go with an 80-yard touchdown pass to Juan Montgomery (5’9, 155 Sr). The St. Clair County offensive line is big (avg. 260 lbs.) but this group has struggled against better defensive fronts. The Saint defense has made some plays but this bunch has been eaten alive by good offenses this year. St. Clair County is good in the return game but has struggled in kick coverage.

Next week – Oneonta hosts Sardis; St. Clair travels to Locust Fork.

1A Region 6 Southeastern (1-5, 0-5) at Meek (1-6, 0-5) All-time – Meek leads 1-0

Last meeting – (2012) Meek 53, Southeastern 0

Falkville 49, Southeastern 0 Southeastern – Open Addison 47, Southeastern 0 Ragland 41, Southeastern 0 Southeastern 34, Holy Spirit 6 Shades Mtn. 21, Southeastern 14 Appalachian 34, Southeastern 14

Appalachian 38, Meek 22 Meek 44, Woodville 8 Sumiton Chr. 25, Meek 24 Falkville 27, Meek 20 Marion County 41, Meek 16 Addison 47, Meek 8 Ragland 46, Meek 8

Mustangs take a long trip to take on a staggering bunch of Tigers.

Southeastern continues to improve. The Mustangs struggled to do anything on the ground last week against Appalachian. However, the same offensive line that couldn’t get much of a push against the Eagles, gave Cole Garner enough time to throw for more than 200 yards. The Eagles will need to get more out of the running game this week but the development of the passing game is a very positive sign. The Mustang defense has been pushed around a bit against better offenses – Appalachian ran for 285 yards – and Meek will try to pound on the Southeastern defensive front. Mauris Zamora continues to make a ton of tackles in the middle of the Mustang defense but he is getting help. Southeastern had nine tackles for loss last week and they face a Meek offense this week that has struggled with turnovers.

Meek has simply not recovered tough early-season losses to Appalachian, Sumiton Christian, and Falkville. The Tigers have been banged-up and were simply no match the last two weeks for Addison and Ragland. Meek wants to run the football and there is plenty of size (avg. 240 lbs.) across the Tiger offensive front. When the mood strikes, the Tigers can roll in a pair of 190-pound tight ends with a 225-pound fullback and a 190-pound tailback. It was that combination that gave Falkville all kinds of problems in Week 4. Fullback Daniel Griffith (6’2, 225-lb. Jr) is a load to handle and he is a good athlete with deceptive speed and agility. The Meek defensive front has been hit hard by injuries and better offenses with speed have had their way with the Tiger defense.

Next week – Southeastern hosts Sumiton Christian; Meek travels to Shades Mtn.

3A Region 5 Glencoe (4-3, 2-3) at Susan Moore (1-6, 0-5) All-time – Glencoe leads the series 3-2

Glencoe 29, Westbrook 12 Glencoe 38, Weaver 13 Piedmont 41, Glencoe 7 Glencoe 24, White Plains 12 Glencoe 40, Hokes Bluff 20 Saks 39, Glencoe 28 Glencoe 28, Cleveland 26

Susan Moore 44, West End 14 Cleveland 47, Susan Moore 19 Saks 46, Susan Moore 7 Weaver 41, Susan Moore 13 Oneonta 56, Susan Moore 12 Ashville 20, Susan Moore 6 Piedmont 56, Susan Moore 0

The Bulldogs will try to spoil the Yellow Jackets’ playoff hopes.

Glencoe survived last week against Cleveland, despite giving up 425 yards of offense to the Panthers. The Yellow Jackets now have the inside track to a playoff berth but will have to win this week and next week to make the postseason. Glencoe wants to run the ball and the Yellow Jackets were able to do just that last week with 279 yards on 33 attempts (8.5 per pop!). The Yellow Jackets don’t throw it much but Dylan Stone (6’2, 170 Jr) completed two of his three passes for touchdowns last week. He added 138 yards rushing. The Yellow Jackets have good size (avg. 240 lbs.) across the offensive and defensive lines. The Glencoe defense is solid but this is a unit that has struggled against quicker skill players. Piedmont, Saks, Weaver, and Cleveland were able to make plays against the Yellow Jackets. Glencoe special teams are very good.

Susan Moore found out what six other teams have experienced this year – Piedmont is every bit deserving of the No. 2 ranking in Class 3A. Piedmont got out early against Susan Moore and the Bulldogs need to do the same this week to Glencoe. The Yellow Jackets have struggled stopping the pass at times this year and the Susan Moore offense could give the Glencoe secondary some problems. If the Bulldog offensive line, which has been banged up of late, can give Ryan Brown time, he should be able to find some open receivers in the Yellow Jacket secondary. The Susan Moore defense will be tested this week. Glencoe is physical on the offensive line and the Bulldog defensive front has struggled against better rushing attacks. Look for Susan Moore to stack the box and try to shut down the Yellow Jacket running game.

Next week – Glencoe hosts Ashville; Susan Moore travels to White Plains.