Must watch high school football games of 2019
Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Every football season there are certain games that make an impression when looking at the schedule.
These are the games that players, coaches and fans live for and one of the main reasons they are so passionate about the sport to begin with.
There are usually only a handful of opportunities for a player to take part in a “hype” game during their career, and several teams will have that chance this upcoming season.
Many of these games are rivalries, have playoff implications or are just surrounded by interesting storylines that make it a must-watch affair that week.
The following are the top 10 games to keep an eye on during the 2019 season:
No. 1 Maplesville vs. Isabella (Oct. 11)
This game has been among the highly-anticipated showdowns in the county ever since head coach Tate Leonard stepped foot at Isabella in 2016.
However, the results have yet to go in Isabella’s favor, as the Red Devils have had their way with the Mustangs outscoring them 146-34 in the three outings.
Is this the year Isabella finally breaks through against their in-county nemesis and takes the rivalry to the next level?
This may be the last year that the game has region title implications, if the possibility that Isabella could move up to Class 2A becomes a reality.
No. 2 Jemison vs. Chilton County (Sept. 20)
The rivalry game is once again also a region game, which means that the stakes will be even higher than they already would have been.
This is a classic “throw out the records” game where both teams are sure to show up with a bucket full of intensity, and previous results seem to mean very little in how the game will play out.
Chilton County High School got back on track with a win in the series last season and is carrying a ton of momentum following a playoff appearance.
Jemison appears to be on the other end of the spectrum with more questions than answers currently surrounding the program with Blake Bradley coming in as the team’s new head coach.
No. 3 Jemison vs. Thorsby (Aug. 22)
Both teams renewed the old rivalry last season, and the Rebels pulled off an emotional victory in the North Chilton Clash.
Round 2 now heads to Jemison, but just like last year fans on both sides of the fence are sure to flood through the gates and create quite the atmosphere.
There are new faces for each program.
For Thorsby, it is on the field as they work to replace several key contributors from last year’s squad, while for the Panthers the change will be found on the sideline with the coaching staff.
No. 4 Maplesville vs. Linden (Sept. 13)
Redemption is the one word that best describes this game.
The Red Devils’ only two blemishes on their schedule a year ago came against Linden, including in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
Maplesville lost both games by an average margin of 9.5 points, which makes it even more painful.
Will the Red Devils finally be able to get that yearlong bad taste out of their mouths?
No. 5 Isabella vs. Linden (Sept. 20)
The contest takes place a week after Maplesville’s faceoff with Linden, which could play into Isabella’s favor.
As the fourth game into the season, it will begin to prove what the Mustangs are capable of in 2019.
A win would set the tone for the rest of the season and validate Region 3-1A as a three-team race for the top spot.
No. 6 Chilton County at Bibb County (Oct. 11)
The Tigers ended up on the wrong end of the battle last season and missed out on finishing runner-up in Region 3-5A as a result.
Similar to last year, the open date falls right before the game, while Bibb County will be playing for the eighth-straight week.
This is a crucial game if CCHS truly wants to take the next step forward and build upon the success from 2018.
Expect several CCHS fans to make the trip to the neighboring county, which is less than an hour away.
No. 7 Thorsby vs. Isabella (Sept. 27)
This was quite the highly contested game a year ago but this time around Isabella will look to turn the tide after Thorsby got the best of them on their home turf.
By late September both teams should have a pretty good idea of who they are after already having faced some tough tests prior to kickoff.
The game had become a fixture as the final game of the season until last year.
For the second-straight year it creates a very intriguing non-region game in the middle of the season.
No. 8 Billingsley vs. Notasulga (Oct. 18)
These two teams will likely once again be competing for the final playoff spots in Region 4-1A with Lanett and Wadley still on a different level at the moment.
Last year the Bears won a defensive showdown 8-7. Will both defenses be impenetrable forces again this season?
Billingsley has some offensive weapons in the likes of Taylor Arington and Brisen Tatum that will have something to say about that.
Regardless of the amount of points scored, a spot at the postseason table will definitely be up for grabs.
No. 9 Maplesville vs. Fultondale (Aug. 23)
It will may be a little bit of a weird feeling for Red Devil fans, as it will be the first time in 16 years that Brent Hubbert will not be patrolling the Maplesville sideline.
Instead, Brad Abbott takes over the reigns and looks to keep the train of success going.
As has been the case over time, Maplesville does not shy away from challenging tough opponents to start and oftentimes step up in class to do so.
In fact, the Red Devils have a track record of showing they have no problem punching above their weight and picking up wins no matter who lines up against them.
No. 10 Chilton County at Stanhope Elmore (Aug. 23)
The interesting sub-plot surrounding the game is that it pits the Tigers against their former head coach Brian Bradford.
At this point it is probably a bigger deal for the fan base than it is for the players, who would have been freshmen during his final year in 2016.
However, it is still an important game for CCHS to make sure they get off on the right foot.
The Tigers are a far more confident team than the one that got blown out by Stanhope Elmore in the opener last year.