Ready for round two?

Published 2:40 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ring the bell! It is time for round two between Maplesville and Isabella on the football field.

For the second straight season, both teams enter the matchup with an undefeated record, region supremacy, county bragging rights, and just about anything else you can think of on the line.

Here is a breakdown of the matchup:

Quarterbacks: Senior quarterbacks call the shots for both teams behind center, with Jaqarise Stacy at Isabella and Brent Schoener at Maplesville.

Both have exhibited excellent command of the offense and their decision-making has often times resulted in big plays rather than turnovers.

“He’s [Shoener] matured in his play, but he is also just gaining knowledge,” Maplesville head coach Brent Hubbert said. “He had gotten better at the end of the season last year and that game experience has paid off.”

Edge: Even

Running backs: Multiple players carry the ball throughout the game for both teams, the majority of which are averaging chunks of yards per carry.

Austin Brasher and Jarred Campbell have combined to run for 17 touchdowns this season for Isabella, while Ryan Morrow is the leader for Maplesville with Nathaniel Watson and Christin Brown offering a change of pace.

Both Schoener and Stacy add another dimension at quarterback have shown the ability to take off and make plays with their legs on read option type plays.

“We don’t have one guy that we lean our hat on,” Isabella head coach Tate Leonard said. “We spread the ball around to different people and they’re are not selfish.”

Edge: Even

Receivers: Nathaniel Watson leads the county in receiving yards and touchdowns and not far behind is teammate Michael Harris.

They both present a deep threat with an average of well over 20 yards per reception this season.

Each has size out wide, especially Watson, who has been know to win the battle in a jump-ball situation.

“We Knew coming in [the season] that, if they produced, we were capable of having an offense that could spread it around,” Hubbert said.

Edge: Maplesville

Offensive line: The Red Devils are led by a senior-laden group, which understands their roles in the unit.

No matter if it is run blocking or pass protection, the job seems to get done and the offense is able to run smoothly as a result.

“They have four seniors and they’re massive,” Leonard said. “It all starts with them and they probably don’t get the credit they deserve, but that’s what stands out to me.”

Edge: Maplesville

Defensive line: Pressure is the name of the game and one of the goals heading into each game for both teams.

Isabella has the top two sack artists in the county and they go about it in very different ways.

Jordan Campbell has a county-high six sacks from off the edge, where he uses his speed off the line of scrimmage, while Willie Washington has five sacks and collapses the pocket with push up the middle from his tackle position.

Edge: Isabella

Linebackers: Both linebacker corps are very similar in the way they flow to the football and play with a sense of energy that seems to feed to the rest of the defense.

Timothy Bradley of Maplesville leads all county tacklers with 50 and is accompanied by Tristen Thetford and Jalen Hall, which is equivalent in many ways to the Mustangs’ trio of Jarred Campbell, Austin Brasher and Cornelius Stacy.

Edge: Even

Secondary: The Red Devils have a potent combination in Chaz Morris and Michael Harris, who have been ball hawks throughout their careers and have two interceptions each this season.

Jaqarise Stacy will have to be aware of where both of them are at before pulling the trigger in the passing game

It will be up to the Isabella receivers to win the battles down field to open up options for the Isabella rushing attack.

Edge: Maplesville

Special teams: This area of the game could play a vital role, but both teams are fairly even in both their kicking and return game.

However, a special teams mistake can always come into play. Both teams will have to be on top of their game.

Edge: Even

Intangibles: Maplesville proved too much for Isabella a year ago, but this time around, Isabella head coach Tate Leonard believes that his players will have learned from that experience.

Although the Mustangs have played in some big games, having made the postseason in Leonard’s first year, there is no question that Maplesville still holds the advantage of knowing what it takes to handle a big-game atmosphere.

Although Maplesville is the home team, you can expect Isabella fans to pack the house as well, which could give it more of a neutral site feel.

Edge: Maplesville