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Isabella in great position to achieve goal of playoff berth

Even though I wasn’t there, I was pulling hard for Isabella on Friday night.

Talking to coach Lanny Jones last week, it was obvious the visit from Fultondale was a game the Mustangs really wanted to win.

The Isabella program has made remarkable progress under Jones. Just think, the Mustangs were in the midst of a 23-game losing streak last season.

Isabella ended the streak and ended up winning five games, but this latest accomplishment – a win over a Class 2A top 10 team – is even more impressive.

It hasn’t come full circle yet – that’ll take a playoff berth. Isabella barely missed out on that opportunity last season, and anything less this year will be considered a disappointment.

With the 20-10 win over Fultondale, Isabella put itself into great position to make the playoffs. The Mustangs have formed an identity over the last year as a team that plays smart and physical and is unintimidated by the opposition, and that’s how they toppled Fultondale.

The Wildcats came in with a No. 6 ranking and a Week 1 rout of preseason No. 3 Addison, but they left having fallen to a team that keeps finding ways to win.

There are many games left to be played – most notably key region contests with American Christian and Pickens County High.

Those two teams have established a reputation for success the last few years, and Isabella will have a chance to show it belongs with the big boys.

If the Mustangs knock off either one, they could be looking at home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Who would have imagined that two years ago?

Another county team, Jemison, also continued to impress with a win on Friday night.

The Panthers cruised over Southside-Selma by a 54-20 score. Jemison got a monkey off its back with a win over rival Chilton County High in Week 1 but came out of the game with injuries to a couple of key offensive players.

Judging by the amount of points the Panthers put up at Selma, they didn’t miss a beat.

If Jemison and Isabella can finish as strong as they’ve started, the two teams could be in for special seasons.

– Stephen Dawkins is the sports editor for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Sunday and each Wednesday. He can be reached at stephen.dawkins@clantonadvertiser.com