Mid-season standings reveal teams’ trajectories
High school football season has reached its midpoint. Teams will step out of region play this week. While the play-off picture isn’t close to being settled, things are coming into focus. It is worth taking a look at how the regions are stacking up. Who has a chance at the playoffs? Who has a chance to host?
CLASS 5A, REGION 8
Russellville is sitting pretty in region play. The Golden Tigers are 3-0 at the top of the standings. They have steamrolled all three of their opponents.
That is the good news. The bad? They have played the weakest part of the region schedule.
Russellville is still, however, in good shape. The remaining opponents are Brewer, Ardmore and Fairview.
Fairview, the team that eliminated Russellville from the playoffs this past year, will fight the Golden Tigers for the top spot in the region.
- To make the playoffs – 100 percent
- To host a playoff game – 90 percent
- To win the region – 60 percent
Brewer , 2-1
West Point, 0-2
East Limestone, 0-3
Lawrence County, 0-3
Russellville is on a three-game win streak, all to region opponents. Both of the Golden Tiger losses have come to non-region opponents: Class 7A Grissom and Class 4A Deshler.
This week Russellville steps down a few classes to face the Mars Hill Panthers. Mars Hill is a true 2A school playing 3A football because of recent success on the gridiron. Mars Hill has become a football juggernaut over the past few years.
The Panthers lost their first game to Class 6A Cullman 13-10 on a freak play in the endzone with time expiring. Since that game, the Panthers have steamrolled their opponents: Class 4A Brooks by a 64-35 final and their three weakest region opponents by an average score of 59-8.
This game will be tradition-rich football versus upstart football power. City school versus private school – both with their own built-in advantages. It should be a classic.
CLASS 3A, REGION 8
Phil Campbell’s loss to Colbert County two weeks ago put the Bobcats behind the proverbial eight ball.
Mars Hill is clearly the top of this region – and it is not even close. Lauderdale County appears to be the second best team at this time. Phil Campbell, Colbert County and Colbert Heights now appear to be jockeying for position.
Phil Campbell still has to play Mars Hill, Lauderdale County, Colbert Heights and Clements. That Colbert Heights game is looking huge for the Bobcats.
Phil Campbell’s chances:
- To make the playoffs – 75 percent
- To host a playoff game – 25 percent
- To win the region – 0 percent
Lauderdale County, 3-0
Mars Hill, 3-0
Colbert County, 1-1
Phil Campbell, 1-1
Colbert Heights, 1-1
After a week off following a tough loss to the Colbert County Indians, Phil Campbell returns to the field this week to face the Carbon Hill Bulldogs for homecoming.
Phil Campbell and Carbon Hill are both coached by Hackleburg alums, Kevin Barnwell and Mark Cochran.
The Colbert County loss is the only blemish on the Bobcats’ schedule, and it was a close one. Carbon Hill has had four lopsided losses – albeit to four pretty good football teams in Decatur Heritage, Winston County, Fayette County and Oakman.
CLASS 2A REGION 8
Red Bay and Tharptown both compete in this region. While a trip to the postseason is on the line for Red Bay, Tharptown has virtually been eliminated from play-off competition.
Red Bay took a bad loss to the best team in the region, Lexington, but beat Sheffield. The Tigers still have to play Falkville, Tanner, Hatton and Tharptown. The Tigers can make the playoffs, but they will likely have to go on the road to do so.
Red Bay chances:
- To make the playoffs – 50 percent
- To host a playoff game – 10
- To win the region – 0 percent
Red Bay, 1-1
In this week’s action, the Red Bay Tigers – coming off a homecoming win over Hackleburg – will face their state-line rival from Mississippi, Belmont. Red Bay will look to keep a win streak alive this week facing a Belmont team that has two straight losses after a season-opening win.
Tharptown is coming off four straight losses after a season-opening win over Shoals Christian. The Wildcats will go on the road this week to face the Cherokee Indians – and they should be able to tack on another win. The closest Cherokee has come to the win column was a season-opening loss to Brindlee Mountain 26-20. Since then the Indians have lost to Waterloo, Phillips, Addison and Shoals Christian by a combined score of 60-8. Cherokee lost to Shoals Christian 59-6 this past week.
CLASS 1A REGION 8
After a loss to the best team in the region, Addison, and Shoals Christian, it is hard to find a path to the playoffs for the Vina Red Devils. They still have games to be played against Meek, Phillips, Waterloo, Hackleburg and Cherokee. Cherokee looks to be the game Vina needs to circle to pick off a region win.
Shoals Christian, 2-1
Vina will host Class 4A Curry this week. These two teams have played since 1940.
Vina has struggled this year, but so has Curry. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with a relatively easy 42-21 win over Class 1A Berry, but their past three games to Dora, Northside and Cold Springs have been lost by an average score of 43-11.