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FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: Isabella at Billingsley

The Chilton County area boasts some of the state’s most heated and most significant rivalries.

Chilton County-Jemison, Billingsley-Maplesville, Isabella-Thorsby and Thorsby-Verbena play regularly in games that determine bragging rights for an entire year.

Rivalry games take on even more significance when the teams involved are in the same region, and thus the contests help determine playoff standings.

Such will be the case Friday as Isabella visits Billingsley for a local rivalry that is perhaps underrated.

Though not recognized as one of the area’s traditional rivalries because the teams haven’t played each other as regularly as other local foes, this game will once again serve as an important test as both teams enter the final stretch of region play.

Billingsley won, 20-16, at Isabella last year and used the victory as a springboard all the way to the semifinal round of the state playoffs.

Isabella’s last win in the series came in 2002, the last in three consecutive wins over the Bears.

Billingsley has won eight straight over IHS since then, with last year’s game being the closest final score.

BHS holds a 43-21 edge all-time in the series, according to the best available records.

This year’s installment will be important again.

Both teams compete in Class 1A, Region 3, which is wide open after Loachapoka, which leads the region with a 3-0 record in region play.

The only other unbeaten team in region play is Notasulga, but the Blue Devils have won only one region game.

Billingsley (1-1) in region play, Isabella (0-2) and Verbena (1-2) are in contention for the No. 2 spot in the region, which will earn someone homefield advantage in the first round of the state playoffs.

A loss Friday for Billingsley or Isabella would be a severe blow to the team’s playoff hopes.

Who will win the Isabella-Billingsley game?

  • Billingsley (76%, 28 Votes)
  • Isabella (24%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 37

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Billingsley has made the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, while Isabella has competed in the postseason the past two years.

The Bears seem to be trending in the right direction. After an 0-3 start, BHS has won its past two games in impressive fashion.

Isabella, meanwhile, had perhaps its most disappointing performance of the season in last week’s 56-21 loss to Central-Coosa.

As is said about rivalry games, the record books can often be tossed out the window. Don’t do so for this one, though, as you’ll need to check the records afterward to see which team is still on track for a playoff appearance.

ALSO THIS WEEK

•Verbena at Fruitdale

•Helena at Jemison*

•Maplesville at Northview (Fla.)

•Chilton Co. at Valley*

•Thorsby at Vincent*

*-Region game

All games begin at 7 p.m.

FRIDAY NIGHT WEATHER

Now that the season is past the midpoint, it’s starting to feel like football weather. The high temperature on Friday is predicted at 70 degrees, but it will likely be cooler by the time the games start, especially considering the sun is setting earlier (about 6:30 p.m. Friday) as we move farther away from summer. Fans may want to take jackets to the game, as winds at 5 to 10 mph will add to the chill. Forecasts call for a 20-percent chance of rain on Friday.