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Maplesville win, Billingsley loss set up game of the year

All good things must come to an end, and so it was with Jemison’s unbeaten start to the season. The Panthers fell to Chelsea, 26-14, on Friday night but have nothing to hand their heads about.

So often, a football team plays in a game in the manner it prepared for the game during the week. Well, Jemison had a rough go of practice last week, with 10 players missing time because of injury or an illness that made its way around the school.

The Class 4A Panthers needed a perfect week of preparation to have a chance against the Class 5A Hornets. The week was far from perfect. But because of the difference in classification, Jemison’s goals for the season didn’t take a hit. The team is still unbeaten where it matters: in region play.

Jemison simply must put the loss behind them immediately and begin to focus on the rest of the schedule, which appears quite favorable.

With the outcome of the Chelsea-Jemison game, Maplesville is now the area’s only unbeaten team. The Red Devils breezed past Autaugaville, 50-0. We now have a week to look forward to what will surely be the area’s game of the year to this point: Linden-Maplesville.

The Red Devils have won 24 consecutive regular season games, but will be tested by the Patriots, the only other team that looks to have a shot at the Class 1A, Region 3 title.

Linden is a program on the rise under coach Andro Williams, a former assistant nearby 1A dynasty Sweet Water. The Patriots lost in the quarterfinals of last year’s state playoffs to (guess who?) Maplesville.

Linden squeaked by Billingsley on Friday night partly because of two missed extra points by the Bears. A football game comprises lots of plays, and lots of players have roles in every play. So, it’s difficult to blame a loss, or a win, on just one or two things.

It is telling, however, that Billingsley had a chance to defeat Linden on the road but fell at home to Maplesville by a 40-20 score to begin the season.

– 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