It’s a little hard to believe we’re already in Week 5 of the high school football season.
Teams jump out of region play this week and most of them will renew rivalries with other teams in the area. After four weeks of play, East Central Alabama is left with just one undefeated team. Alabama School for the Deaf has found plenty of offense all season long, averaging 40 points per game. The Silent Warriors defense hasn’t given up any points in the last two weeks
There are five teams in the area looking for the first win of the season. And a few of them will get that this week simply because they’re playing other winless teams.
Because so many of our teams are playing each other this week, the picks won’t be easy. I slipped a little last week, going 9-4, which makes me 20-5 through two weeks. As always, home team in all caps.
Pell City over TALLADEGA: The first of a couple of winless matchups. I give Pell City the edge in this one because the Panthers have seen tougher competition so far this season. Both teams are young and are going through some serious growing pains this year. I think the Panthers take this one is a close game.
Talladega County Central over MUNFORD: I had a hard time with this pick, but in the end I think TC Central has a few more weapons to work with this season. And the Tigers probably remember the Lions coming to Howell’s Cove and beating them a year ago (regardless of the fact that the win was later taken away because of an ineligible player).
Alabama School for the Deaf over VICTORY CHRISTIAN: I wish I could see this game on Friday. The Silent Warriors put their undefeated record on the line against a pass-happy Victory Christian team. The Warriors haven’t let me down yet, so I’m going with them. The game will probably come down to which team scores last.
SYLACAUGA over Childersburg: The Aggies are looking to get back in the win column after losing a close game to Shelby County on Friday. The Childersburg Tigers should give Sylacauga all they want and probably a little more. They nearly upset Lincoln a week ago. I’ll take the home team in a close one, but wouldn’t be shocked if the Tigers pulled it out.
Other games: Hokes Bluff over RAGLAND, WINTERBORO over Vincent, B.B Comer over CENTRAL-COOSA, LINCOLN over Boaz, COLLINSVILLE over Fayetteville, Coosa Valley Academy over SMCA.
My apologies to the Winterboro Bulldogs. It seems I didn’t give enough credit to the team from Alpine in my picks last week. But they set me straight, proving they are not a team to take lightly. I’ll try to remember that when picking games the rest of the season. The Winterboro-Talladega County Central game is the only game I picked incorrectly last week, which leaves me with a record of 11-1. Now for this week’s picks (Home team in all caps)…
LINCOLN over Childersburg: The Golden Bears took a tough beating last week against Handley, but they’re back at home this week and I think they’ll be ready for county rival Childersburg. The Tigers are getting better each week, but I think they’ll come up a little short against Lincoln in this one.
SHELBY COUNTY over Sylacauga: The Aggies head into Week 4 with a three-game winning streak. Having not seen Shelby County, it’s hard to know just how much they returned from a year ago, but I’ll give Shelby the edge in a close one.
Saks over MUNFORD: The Lions are looking for their first win of the season. The Wildcats of Saks enter the game looking to bounce back from a shutout at the hands of Anniston last week. Saks has more experienced players, so I’ll give them the advantage over a young Munford team.
WADLEY over TC Central: This wasn’t an easy pick. The Tigers have a lot of incentive to win this one. And they could. But not if they play like they did last week. Playing in Wadley won’t be easy, so I’ll give the nod to Wadley and hope I’m wrong.
Other games: NOTASULGA over Fayetteville, RAGLAND over Parkway Christian, Victory Christian over COOSA CHRISTIAN, WINTERBORO over Donoho, B.B COMER over Montevallo, CHELSEA over Talladega, Clay-Chalkville over PELL CITY, CVA over Dixie, Alabama School for the deaf over FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF.
It’s hard to believe we’re already in Week 3 of the high school football season. I’ve decided to use this space to make picks on Wednesdays for the rest of the season.
We have five undefeated teams in East Central Alabama and seven teams still searching for the first win of the season. Here are my picks (Home teams in all caps):
Montgomery Academy over B.B. COMER: The Comer Tigers seem to be getting better and better each week. Their wins are coming, but I don’t know that they’ll pull it out this week.
TALLADEGA COUNTY CENTRAL over Winterboro: I haven’t seen TC Central play so far this season, but others who have tell me the Fighting Tigers have found a nice balance with the run and the pass. The Bulldogs have some speedy running backs, but Winterboro will have its hands full on Friday. I’m taking the home team in what I hope is a close game.
VICTORY CHRISTIAN over Jacksonville Christian: The Lions are off to an undefeated start this season and should be able to go to 3-0 this week. But only if they don’t overlook the Thunder of Jacksonville Christian. JCA had mistakes and miscues against Alabama School for the Deaf a couple of weeks ago, but the team is capable of beating VC if the Lions don’t come ready to play.
SYLACAUGA over Talladega: Man, I want to pick Talladega in this one. History says I should. Sylacauga is the better team this year. They were the better team last year too, but lost to the Tigers at Mary Dumas Stadium. I think the Aggies are tired of losing to their county rival and will come out victorious in 2009.
Hewitt-Trussville over PELL CITY: The Panthers have struggled so far this season and they’ll probably experience more growing pains before the year is over. The Huskies are just too strong for the young Panthers in this one.
Wadley over FAYETTEVILLE, CHILDERSBURG over Central-Coosa, CLEBURNE COUNTY over Munford, CORNERSTONE over Coosa Valley Academy, Ragland over JEFFERSON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY, HANDLEY over Lincoln. ALABAMA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF over Indiana School for the Deaf.
It’s hard to predict which teams will still be playing football in Week 11, especially since they haven’t played a regular season game yet. But after talking to coaches, looking at rosters, schedules and regions, I feel like I can make a guess. And if nothing else, it’ll give the coaches and players a chance to prove me wrong. Below you’ll find all the teams from the DH coverage area that are eligible for the playoffs (either AHSAA or AISA – this means Alabama School for the Deaf is not listed because they do not compete in a region in AHSAA play) and some explanation as to why I think they will or will not make a postseason appearance in 2009. All right, here we go…
AHSAA Class 1A
Fayetteville – The Wolves lost nearly half of their 2008 roster to graduation and now have a new coach. Playing in a region with TC Central, Loachapoka and Wadley won’t do them any favors. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 and they won’t do it in 2009.
Ragland – This will be the youngest team Brian Mintz has had at Ragland in quite a while. The Purple Devils will struggle in a few games this year and yet their region will save them because as young as they are, they’ll still be better than a lot of the teams they play. Don’t be fooled by their record…the Purple Devils will make the playoffs, but I’ll be shocked if they make it out of the first round.
Talladega County Central – It’s a little hard to know what the Fighting Tigers will do this season, but the athletes will be there. They may not be as experienced as the ones that played last year, but they’ll be playing in the postseason.
Victory Christian – The Lions may play in the same region as Ragland and the schools may be located in the same county, but that’s about all the two teams have in common in 2009. Where Ragland is young, Victory is loaded with experience. The Lions lost very little from last year’s playoff team. Expect them to make the playoffs and possibly host the first round.
Winterboro – The Bulldogs should make the playoffs, but they’ll have to show up every week and play the entire four quarters. Winterboro had a lot of turnovers in the spring scrimmage against B.B. Comer. They can’t do that much this year if they want to play in Week 11.
B.B. Comer – Every single year I can talk myself into B.B. Comer making the playoffs. But they may stand a better chance this year. Tripp Henderson is back for his second season as the head coach of the Tigers and I think he’s got the program headed in the right direction. So I’ll go out on a limb and say the Tigers will still be playing in Week 11. It’s up to them to prove me right.
Central-Coosa – There may not be another school in the state that has as much coaching turnover as they do at Central-Coosa. That leaves them at a huge disadvantage when it comes to putting together a winning season. The players rarely know who their coach will be in the fall when they get out of school for the summer. The Cougars have plenty of talent, but they’ll be taking that talent to the gym after Week 10 this year.
Childersburg – The Tigers are another team I usually give far too much credit to. With a new coach and some talent on both sides of the ball, it’s hard to know just what they’ll do. I know they don’t have an easy road to the playoffs in the region they’re in. But the Tigers could be in the fight for the fourth playoff spot this season.
Lincoln – Everyone expects Lincoln to make the playoffs and they should, but it wouldn’t shock me to see the Golden Bears traveling in the first round. They may have D.J. Howard back and in tip-top shape, but this is not the same team that made the quarterfinals of the playoffs a year ago. A lot of the other teams in the region have gotten better and it won’t be easy for the Bears to repeat as region champs.
Munford – The Lions won’t make the playoffs this season, but they’re not a team opponents should take lightly. Playing with 24 kids on the roster last season, the Lions were a field goal away from defeating rival Lincoln. Most of those playmakers are gone now, but Todd Smith’s players will give every opponent a fight each week. Sadly, it won’t be enough to put them in the playoffs.
Sylacauga – The Aggies come in as possibly the most experienced team in our coverage area. They lost some linemen from last year’s playoff team, but return most of their skill players. Matt Griffith’s team should be pretty good this season and definitely good enough to make the playoffs.
Talladega – Ah, Talladega. I really wish I could wait and make my pick after I see them play a game. The Tigers would need three region wins to get in the playoffs because they play in a region with just seven teams. It sounds doable, right? The Tigers have yet another new coach and the fans are really excited about Chris Mahand taking over the program. He took the Fighting Tigers of TC Central all the way to the state championship. Can he turn things around at THS? There’s nobody more confident of his chances for success than he is. Since I’m making these picks now, I’m going to have to say the Tigers won’t have to postpone basketball season this year. I really hope Mahand and company prove me wrong.
Pell City – For the first time in a long time Jay Brown’s dealing with a young team. A really young team. That doesn’t usually work too well in Class 6A. The Panthers will gain a lot of experience this year, but I think they’ll fall short of making the playoffs this season.
Coosa Valley Academy – The Rebels are putting new players all over the field this season. Vince DiLorenzo has stepped in as the head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator. It’s hard to know exactly how good Coosa Valley will be since they got in a couple of transfers from public schools. And it’s hard to know how good the competition in AISA will be each year because so many kids transfer in and out a lot. I think the Rebels are going to be too inexperienced to make the playoffs in 2009 though.
LaVonte Young will post his playoff predictions later today, so be sure to check out his blog as well.
Welcome to the start of a new high school football season in East Central Alabama and to the inaugural blog for yours truly. My goal for this space is to provide a little more commentary on high school sports in Talladega and St. Clair counties, more than we are able to print in The Daily Home.
While I’ll have plenty to say about high school football, I certainly don’t want to leave out the other sports happening during the fall, such as volleyball. Since Talladega is home to Talladega College, you’ll find my thoughts on all the sports offered there as well.
Anyone who read my columns in the Daily Home when I first started at the company four years ago knows I have a passion for NASCAR racing. That passion has waned some in the past few years, but I’ll try to throw in a little commentary on that sport from time to time.
If you’re interested in high school sports in Talladega and St. Clair, check back often for my thoughts on the teams we cover (Alabama School for the Deaf, Fayetteville, Ragland, Talladega County Central, Victory Christian, Winterboro, B.B. Comer, Central-Coosa, Childersburg, Lincoln, Munford, Sylacauga, Talladega and Pell City).
My colleague on the DH sports desk, LaVonte Young, has also started a blog and will be posting his thoughts on many of the same things. We don’t always agree on things (like which teams in our area will make the playoffs) so be sure to check out his postings as well.
If all goes according to plan (and really, it rarely does) I’ll post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
Check back later today for my best guess of which of the local teams will make the high school football playoffs this season.