FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS PREVIEW: And then there were four
The playoffs are upon us, and four teams remain from the Chilton County area.
Maplesville (8-1 overall, 4-0 region) is a serious contender once again, and begins its journey in defense of its state title from a year ago. It would be the school’s third state championship and second under head coach Brent Hubbert, who has built a consistency of success during his 12 seasons at the helm.
The Red Devils took the first step by capturing its sixth straight region championship, which set up a first-round home contest against Kinston High School (5-5) on Thursday.
Verbena (7-3 overall, 2-3 region) will make its return to postseason play following an eight-year drought.
It appears that head coach Mike Harris has rediscovered some magic, as the team finished with a winning record for the first time since 2006, its last playoff berth.
The Red Devils will travel south to take on J.U. Blacksher High School (7-3) in Uriah. Verbena will look to capitalize on a J.U. Blacksher squad that ended the regular season on a two-game losing streak.
It’s another year and another playoff trip for Billingsley, but this time around the route it took to get there was different. The Bears finished third in Region 3-1A with a record of 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the region.
Billingsley won the region in 2014 and advanced to the semi-finals before losing to Maplesville.
Though the record is different entering this postseason, the sights remain focused on making another deep run and accomplishing its ultimate goal of bringing home a state title. The Bears open up on the road against Millry high school (7-3).
After a successful season, Thorsby (6-4 overall, 4-2 region) enters postseason play with the focus pertaining to the recent offensive production.
The Rebels scored an average of 32 points per game during the regular season. Maintaining that pace will be a major factor in Thorsby’s advancement through the playoffs.
Head coach Billy Jackson has rekindled the program and appears to have it pointed in the right direction moving forward. Following a pair of one-win seasons, the Rebels have bounced back with consecutive postseason appearances.
The next step is a playoff victory, and Thorsby will look to achieve that when it travels to take on Providence Christian School (7-2) in Dothan.
This postseason could be memorable for each team, but especially for Verbena, which will give its fans the taste of the postseason once again. It is the longest playoff absence of the four teams that qualified this year, and will come to an end Friday.
GAMES THIS WEEK
• Kinston at Maplesville
• Verbena at J.U. Blacksher
• Billingsley at Millry
• Thorsby at Providence Christian
All games begin at 7 p.m.
GAME NIGHT WEATHER
Thursday’s forecast looks to be a perfect night for football with a projected high of 80 degrees and a low of 67 degrees. There is a slight chance for showers early in the day, but any threat of rain should be long gone come game time.
Friday’s weather should be a wet one, with a 30-percent chance of rain in the forecast throughout the day. As kickoff approaches at 7p.m., the likelihood of rain increases to 60 percent, which could cause some sloppy playing conditions. Friday will have a high of 80 degrees and a low of 66 degrees. Temperatures could fluctuate, as teams travel to various destinations throughout the state.