Football Playoffs First Round Preview
Published 11:40 am Tuesday, November 2, 2021
By ZACHARY SEIFTER/ Staff Writer
After 11 weeks of regular season football, the playoffs have finally arrived. Teams fought their way through tough competition to get this point, and now they have to win or go home.
Four local teams earned the right to keep playing this postseason. Two won their regions, so they will stay in Chilton County and host playoff games in the first round. Two others will hit the road, hoping to come back home with a victory.
Here is each playoff matchup in the first round.
Maplesville (9-1) vs Fruitdale (4-6)
Maplesville High School will host Fruitdale High School in its first-round playoff matchup. The Red Devils won their region, giving them home-field advantage for this game.
The Red Devils are coming off a loss to Montevallo in their regular season finale, and will look to get back to their winning ways in this game. They won nine straight games before falling to the Bulldogs, and they are in a good spot to begin another winning streak this week.
The Pirates will be a challenge for Maplesville though. After starting off the season 0-4, they got hot, winning four of their last six games to qualify for the playoffs. During that stretch, Fruitdale’s defense led the charge, giving up an average of just over 13 points per game. The Pirates will need to limit Maplesville’s explosive offense to have a chance at pulling off the upset.
Isabella (7-3) vs J.U. Blacksher (4-6)
Isabelle High School is another Chilton County team that will host its playoff matchup in the first round. However, they are playing a team that they were not originally supposed to play.
The Mustangs were originally scheduled to play St. Luke’s Episcopal School, however, after it was discovered that St. Luke’s had played ineligible players in six games, they had to forfeit, resulting in J.U. Blacksher moving up in the standings. Now, it will be the Bulldogs traveling to Isabella for this game.
Isabella is coming off a tough loss in its season finale to Keith High School. The Mustangs had won seven straight games prior to the loss, and will look to get back on the winning track against J.U. Blacksher.
The Bulldogs had a tough regular season. AHSAA violations by St. Luke’s and Leroy High School resulted in forfeits, giving J.U. Blacksher a 4-6 final record. However, before it was discovered that St. Luke’s and Leroy had violated the rules, the two schools had defeated the Bulldogs, giving J.U. Blacksher a 2-8 record that went on to be changed.
Thorsby (6-4) vs Clarke County (8-2)
Thorsby High School will hit the road in its first-round playoff matchup. The Rebels will face off against Clarke County High School. They are coming off a win over Billingsley High School in their regular season finale, while Clarke County is coming off a loss to Thomasville High School.
Clarke County will be a tough test for Thorsby. The Bulldogs are the top ranked 2A team in the state, according to the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
The Bulldogs have averaged over 30 points per game on offense while giving up just over 12 points per game on defense.
It will be difficult for Thorsby, but the Rebels have had success on both sides of the ball in 2021. They averaged 35 points per game in the nine games they played, as one of their wins came off a forfeit. On defense, the Rebels gave up just over 17 points per game.
It will be a battle on both sides of the ball. Thorsby will need to bring it’s A game to pull off the upset.
Billingsley (4-6) vs Sweet Water (10-0)
Billingsley High School will go on the road in their first-round matchup to play Sweet Water High School.
The Bears are coming off a loss in their regular season finale to Thorsby, while Sweet Water beat Choctaw County in its regular season finale.
Sweet Water comes into this matchup as the number two ranked 1A team in the state, according to the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
It will be a tough test for Billingsley. The Bears come into this game hot though. They won three of their last four games, surging into postseason play.
To pull off the upset though, Billingsley will need to fix its turnover problem. The Bears have given the ball away a lot this season, including five times against Thorsby. If they are to pull off the upset, they will need to protect the football, and possibly take the ball away a few times on defense.