FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Isabella primed for playoff pushBy Stephen Dawkins Published 4:14pm Thursday, October 4, 2012
Friday’s visit to Lanett is an important game for the Isabella football team.
Lanett, with its 2-1 record in Class 2A, Region 5, stands between 1-2 Isabella and a playoff berth. Win, and the Mustangs will be in the thick of the playoff race down the homestretch. Lose, and qualifying for the postseason will be an uphill battle.
But the contest is significant to IHS coach Scott Booth beyond those mentioned. For him, the game is important because it’s the next one on the schedule.
“We don’t dwell on it a whole lot,” Booth said about playoff positioning. “The biggest thing we talk about is trying to improve from week to week. We don’t want to get caught up looking ahead. The most important game for us is the one Friday night.”
Still, at the halfway point of the regular season, it’s hard for fans not to take a look at the region standings.
Class 5A Chilton County is tied for third in its region, with a chance to make some noise Friday as Sylacauga brings its perfect region record to Tiger Stadium.
The top four teams in each region qualify for the state playoffs, with the top two teams earning the right to host in the first round.
CCHS rival Jemison is unbeaten in Class 4A, Region 4 and tied for first place, as is Maplesville in Class 1A, Region 3.
Billingsley, which also competes in Maplesville’s region, is tied for third and has a chance to help out the Red Devils on Friday with a visit to 3-0 Keith.
Playoff hopes for Thorsby and Verbena look bleak as they have yet to win a region game.
Isabella’s situation is perhaps most intriguing among local teams. The Mustangs sit in fifth place and need a strong close to the season to earn a berth.
The squad might be primed for a playoff push. Booth said the Mustangs have improved since the beginning of the year.
“We’re playing a lot better defense than we’ve been playing,” he said. “Offensively, injuries have hurt us, but the guys that are playing have stepped up. We’ve cut down on penalties and turnovers.”