Keith Register won a lot of football games at Fultondale and made a couple of deep playoff runs in Class 2A.
His first year at Hayden was a glimpse of the other side as his Wildcats limped to a 1- 9 record, just 1-6 in 5A Region 6.
None of that was exactly unexpected. Hayden was trolling in deep water with established powers Walker, Pinson Valley, and Center Point and up-and-coming Mortimer Jordan and Moody.
For 2014, Hayden gets an almost completely new Region 6 and, at least on paper, what looks to be an easier schedule. Region 6
Swapping Pinson Valley, Walker, and Center Point for Alexandria, Anniston, and Lincoln looks good. At least in the summer before anyone’s played a game. St. Clair County is also new to the schedule. Oddly, all of Hayden’s new region opponents were 4A schools last year.
Alexandria is as tradition-rich as any program in north Alabama but the Valley Cubs are coming off a rough 3-7 season in class 4A.
Anniston is also up from 4A and the Bulldogs were a very average 5-5 a year ago.
Lincoln was a 4A playoff team last year but the Golden Bears were 4-7 and their final game was a 49-16 splattering at the hands of J.O. Johnson in the first round.
Mortimer Jordan looked very strong in the spring and the Blue Devils return a ton of talent from a playoff team – a team that handled Hayden 43-13 last year.
Moody has a lot coming back from a 6-5 team that gave Cullman all it could handle in the first round before losing, 20-14.
The numbers are up for Springville but the Tigers were just 3-7 last year and will be breaking in a new coach.
St. Clair County was a 4A playoff team last year but lost a lot of playmakers from a 5-6 team. Non-region
West Point has had its share of problems with established 5As and the Warriors were just 4-6 a year ago. They were blasted by Athens (49-7), Cullman (35-14), Russellville (35-0), Hartselle (35-7), and Muscle Shoals (48-3), all Region 8 opponents. West Point got clocked 45-22 at mid-season by 3A Hanceville.
The Warriors are expected to be muchimproved this year and they did win three of their final five games last year to finish 4-6.
One of West Point’s former Region 8 foes, Lawrence County, welcomes the Wildcats in Week 5. The Red Devils were 3-7 each of the last two years and haven’t had a winning season since going 6-5 way back in 2005.
The final regular season game has Hayden traveling to Curry on Halloween night. Blount County
Curry was just 2-8 last year and that includes a 74-0 roasting at the hands of Pinson Valley.
The Yellow Jackets have a new head coach as Russell Funk moves over from Marion County. You can’t argue with his resume – three state titles, two in Mississippi and one at Marion County. It will take some time but Funk is expected to turn the Yellow Jackets around. By the numbers
Hayden’s opponents were a combined 39-65 a year ago. Moody at 6-5 was the only team with a winning record.
It’s been awhile: Hayden and Lawrence County have met once – the Red Devils beat the Wildcats 60-6 in 1947.
Hello again: Hayden and Mortimer Jordan have met 33 times with the Wildcats winning 11 and the Blue Devils winning 22.
And your name is?: The Wildcats will face Anniston and Lincoln for the first time ever this season.
Aug. 29 West Point (5A)
Sept. 5 Alexandria*
Sept. 12 @Anniston*
Sept. 19 Moody*
Sept. 26 @Lawrence County (5A)
Oct. 3 Lincoln*
Oct. 10 @Springville*
Oct. 17 Mortimer Jordan*
Oct. 24 @St. Clair County*
Oct. 31 @Curry (4A)
*denotes region game