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Final week’s games needed to decide some regions

While the playoff picture is muddy for several local teams, I can tell you that six of the teams in our coverage area are bound for the playoffs. Thorsby ended its season last night.

While some of next week’s match-ups haven’t been determined, we do know who everyone is playing tonight.

Before I get into the games this week, I must tell you that some recent rule changes by the AHSAA could make some coaches choose to bench their star players this week. So, these breakdowns will be based on all of the starters playing tonight.

CCHS at Bibb County

This game could affect Jemison’s playoff future. A CCHS win coupled by a Jemison win would force the Panthers’ region to the “flip of a coin” tiebreak to determine places 1-3. The Tigers need to build momentum as they get ready for a powerful Shelby County team to open the playoffs. As usual, the Choctaws have a strong running attack, so the Tiger defense must find a way to force Bibb County to put the ball in the air. The Tiger offense must have a stable running game of its own to take pressure off the passing game.

Verbena at Marbury

This game is always special, but it has more to it tonight. First of all, it’s Halloween, and it has been said that Marbury’s football field is haunted. It’s also the final regular season home game for the Bulldogs at their current school site. Both teams will want to run the football, but there might be a difference in the way each team does it. Verbena will be under center while Marbury will be in the shotgun. This should be an interesting game.

Jemison at No. 4 Shelby County

As I mentioned, Jemison needs a win for any chance of hosting next week, and it won’t be easy against Class 5A No. 4 Shelby County, a team looking to complete a perfect regular season. The Tigers have a dynamic one-two punch with Tae Lewis and Darion Sutton. So, Jemison must get good production out of its running game and eliminate turnovers.

American Christian at Maplesville

This game won’t affect either team’s region position, so I expect both teams to open it up tonight. The Patriots are a very good team out of Class 2A, a team that Isabella and Thorsby are familiar with. Maplesville can’t afford to turn the ball over like it did last week, and the Red Devils need to get the offense rolling if they are going to go far in the playoffs.

Lamar County at Isabella

The Mustangs are facing a Lamar County team that is averaging 7.7 yards per play for the season. The key players to watch for are Michael Bradford, Lance Bobbit and Keith Myles, who have combined for nearly 2,500 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns. However, the Mustangs have a solid rushing attack of their own. This game will be won in the trenches.

Dallas County at Billingsley

The Bears are in an unusual situation. A win really doesn’t help their playoff standing, but you never want to lose. On paper, Billingsley should be able to compete with the Class 4A Hornets. I expect to see the Bears try to use as many back-ups as possible.