Edgewood Academy is a perfect 3-0 in region play and is on the heels of a 24-21 road win against Autauga Academy last week.
One key for the Rebels will be trying to find a way to contain the Edgewood prolific offense, which is averaging 48.2 points per game. According to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society, the Wildcats’ scoring average places them sixth in the state among all teams, not just AISA teams.
Quarterback Taylor Hawthorne was the ASWA offensive player of the week for throwing an AISA record eight touchdown passes, finishing 23 of 29 for 414 passing yards in a 62-20 win against Lakeside.
As CVA head coach Arlton Hudson pointed out, Edgewood is currently on the longest winning streak in school history.
“You’ve just got to go out there and play technique football; you’ve got to make your reads, you’ve got to run your angles,” Hudson said in how the Rebels can contain the Wildcats. “They’ve won 37 games in a row. It’s not a mistake that they’ve done that, it’s not by accident. They’re a good, quality football team, a great program. Their kids were wearing those t-shirts that say ‘We run Alabama,’ and until somebody beats them they do. We’re going at it and we’re going to go down there and play the best game possible. If we do that, we feel like we have a chance of going and picking up a win.”
Meanwhile, CVA also has a little bit of momentum. They are coming off a region 41-28 win against East Memorial, a team they lost to last season.
“We came out, jumped on them early and took control of the ball game and were able to play everybody,” Hudson stated. “It was real big win, an area win for us, a payback win for last year when we felt like we should have won. If we beat them, we would have gotten into the playoffs; it didn’t work out that way. Now, we’re a step toward that direction. Our running game was really, really good Friday night I can’t say enough about our offensive line and how much they’ve improved over the course of the last two weeks. They were knocking people off the football and giving our running backs a lot of room to run.
Rebels’ running back Niko Teofilo received a nomination for the ASWA player of the week for his performance against East Memorial. According to numbers submitted to the ASWA, Teofilo rushed for 178 yards and had three touchdowns with lengths of 12, 16, and 18 yards.
Teofilo started at quarterback for the Rebels last season, but this year he had started at running back while also seeing time at slot receiver.
“If you put Niko out in open space, good things are going to happen for you,” Hudson said. “He’s not real big; he’s about 165, but he runs hard. He’ll run the ball inside, as well as outside. He’s very elusive, a very quick kid, just a very determined young man that does a great job for us running the football. If he had to go to quarterback, then he’d go to quarterback. He plays a lot of positions for us. He’s one of our most valuable players, no question because he can play so many different spots.”
The win moved the team to .500 with a 3-3 overall record, but had bigger regional implications by moving the team to third place in the region with a 2-1 region record. An upset win against the top-ranked Wildcats would not only give the Rebels a huge shot of confidence, it would also move them one spot higher in the region standings.
Last year, the Wildcats steamrolled the Rebels on while on the road 62-14 on their way to a perfect 14-0 season while winning the AISA class AA state championship.
Hudson said last year’s team is completely different from this year’s team. One cursory glance at the two rosters confirms such a statement, although the change involves more than the different jersey numbers.
“Our kids have changed from last year,” Hudson said. “Last year, they would walk on the football field hoping they might have a chance to win. We’re walking on the football field now expecting to win and that’s a big difference. I told them coach (Nick) Saban gets paid millions to talk his kids into believing in themselves. I don’t have a million dollars, but I told the kids you need to believe in yourself and you need to believe that you can beat Edgewood, so we can go down there and play a good football game. I fully expect us to go and play and beat them. We’re going expecting to win; we don’t want anything less than a win and we’re going down there with that attitude.”
CVA travels to Elmore to play at Edgewood Academy Friday at 7 p.m.