Some look to remain unbeaten, others look for first win

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our local teams had a better week on Sept. 12 as the record improved to 5-3.

We had some outstanding games. Jemison won a thriller over Calera. Isabella continues to amaze me as they beat Vincent. Maplesville, Billingsley and Verbena all took care of business. Unfortunately, CCHS, Thorsby and Marbury are looking for their first wins, and it doesn’t get any easier for each of these three teams.

CCHS vs. Gardendale

This one is interesting for me because Gardendale is my alma mater’s biggest rival. The Rockets are in the toughest region in high school football. They played well in losses to Hoover and Vestavia Hills but rallied last week with a win over Oak Mountain. By that, you can tell the Rockets will be a tall order for the Tigers.

Gardendale wants to run it with Trey Hilliard, who has had three consecutive 100-yard games against stiff competition. It could be another long night for the ailing Tigers.

Jemison at Livingston

If this was a basketball game, the Panthers would get beat bad, but it’s football. Livingston is reeling after an 0-10 season last year and an 0-3 start this year. Jemison should be able to get playing time for its second string and rest the starters for most of the game after a physically, emotionally and mentally draining contest with Calera last week.

Isabella vs. No. 3 American Christian

Now, we will see just how far the Mustangs have come in two years. American Christian always has teams with college recruits on them. As you probably know, South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley played there just a couple of years ago.

The Mustangs and Patriots have only met one time. American Christian won 44-9 in the second round of the playoffs in 2003. If Isabella wants to earn a ranking in the top 10, this is their chance to prove they belong.

The Mustangs must eliminate their mistakes. The rushing attack of Brian Donovan & Co. must have a good night to not only score but control the clock to keep the Pats offense off the field.

Autaugaville at Billingsley

Autaugaville hasn’t been the same after their 10-1 season in 2005. They have had back-to-back losing seasons, and they have yet to win so far this season. That being said, the Eagles always play you tough and physical. Billingsley should continue to rely on its strong running attack to get its third straight win.

Marbury at Beulah

Something’s gotta give. One team will win its first game tonight, and I think it could be Marbury. The Dawgs have played hard, but they just haven’t had the firepower and the playmakers to match up with their first three opponents. It would be good for Marbury to get a win tonight so they can feel positive about themselves heading into their off week.

Maplesville at John Essex

The question is not how many points the Red Devils will score, but it’s how many points John Essex will score. So far the Hornets haven’t scored any. If John Essex does score, that’s news to me.

Fultondale at Thorsby

After seeing the Wildcats play, Thorsby will have a difficult time. Fultondale wants to run the ball up and down the field, and the short-handed Rebels won’t have an easy time stopping it. Once the Fultondale running backs get in open space, it’s hard to tackle them before paydirt.

Verbena at No. 6 Loachapoka

The Indians are probably the best bet to compete with Wadley for the region championship. Verbena can’t afford to have any turnovers if they want to pull off the upset.