(October 6, 2016)
While the 2016 season isn’t ready to come down to cases, it’s getting closer.
Several teams in the River Region are in position to make a big move for the postseason, whether up or down.
Key games in Class 7A and in 6A could turn hopes into reality while a few need some help.
The highlight of the Capital City Conference takes place on Wares Ferry Road where Alabama Christian plays host to St. James. The Eagles can earn a first-place tie in Class 4A, Region 2 with a victory.
Tallassee, Elmore County, Dadeville and Montgomery Catholic all have important games in 4A.
(all games begin at 7 p.m.)
Central-Phenix City at Jeff Davis
What: Class 6A Region 2
When: Friday at Cramton Bowl
2016 Records: Central 5-1 (3-0); JD 3-4 (1-2)
Last week: Lee def. JD, 41-13; Central def. Enterprise , 43-24
Series Record: JD leads, 14-5
Last year: Central, 43-14
Key stat: Zerron Haney threw a TD pass to Jon Butler and Lexi Shaw had a TD run in last week’s loss.
Outlook: Last week, Jeff Davis celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 1996 state championship team. It was the highlight of the evening for the Vols, who couldn’t keep up with the Lee offense. This has become a weekly occurrence. While losing three of the last four games, the offensive production has fallen. Part of the problem seems to be finding another weapon beyond Travez Bozeman. Lexi Shaw is getting more touches and injuries may be playing a role but another part of the problem has been the schedule. JD is hitting the meat and this week is no different. Central is expected to win the title. At this point, the Vols need a win to have a chance to make the playoffs. But based on the last few weeks, that seems to be a tall order.
Preddiction: Central 45, Jeff Davis 20
Auburn at R.E. Lee
When: Thursday at Cramton Bowl
What: Class 7A Region 2
2016 Records: Lee 6-0 (3-0); Auburn 3-3 (1-2)
Last week: Lee def. JD, 41-13; Auburn defeated Mary Montgomery, 42-14
Last year: Auburn, 28-14
Series record: Auburn leads, 8-2
Key stat: Auburn has won eight straight in the series, all coming since 2001.
Outlook: Every program has its bane. For Lee, most recently, it’s been Auburn. The Tigers have owned the Generals since the two became region regulars in 2012. The games haven’t been close. Part of that is due to the Generals’ demise prior to last season while Auburn was enjoying a lot of success. But last year could have been a reversal with Lee on its way to a fabulous season while Auburn finished a respectable 7-5. One of those seven wins was a 28-14 victory over the Generals and would begin a turnaround of the Tigers’ season. That brings us to now where the situation is somewhat similar as last year. Lee is on its way to the playoffs but would love a home game in the first round. To get it, the Generals must end the streak and set up the final two games against the region’s best - Central-Phenix City and Enterprise - as the deal maker for the playoff seedings. Lee is playing well and at home for this one. Take the Generals - big.
Prediction: Lee 41, Auburn 21
St. James at Alabama Christian
When: Friday at Wade Norton Field
What: Class 4A Region 2
2016 Records: ACA 4-3 (3-1); STJ 6-1 (3-0)
Last week: ACA def. Ashford, 34-33; STJ def. Bullock Co., 26-14
Last meeting: 2013 - STJ, 29-26
Series record: STJ, 26-11
Key stat: Alden Stroud had 148 yards rushing with a TD for ACA… The Trojans’ Blake Underwood had 161 yards rushing and scored four TDs in last week’s win over Bullock Co.
Outlook: ACA continues to impress, even when it doesn’t play its best game. Last week was an example with turnovers and penalties at the most inopportune time. Yet, the Eagles found a way to win. If not for a long TD play against Elmore County (and a forfeit of the first game), the record would be more impressive at 6-1. They will certainly take the 3-1 record in the region and could be tied for first with a victory over St. James. The Trojans sit alone atop the standings with their three most important games left on their schedule. Win the next two and they win the region. It would be the second time in three years the Trojans have done that. It makes for a rousing matchup at Norton Field. STJ has been superb on defense most of the season. It’s why they are the pick to earn a hard-fought victory in this one.
Prediction: St. James 26. ACA 21
G.W. Carver at Stanhope Elmore
When: Friday at Foshee-Henderson Stadium
What: Class 6A Region 2
2016 Records: Carver 1-6 (1-2); Stanhope 3-3 (2-1)
Last week: Park Crossing def Carver, 55-7; Stanhope def. Russell Co., 51-7
Last year: Carver, 30-20
Series Record: Carver leads, 6-5
Key stat: Derrick Dunnigan has led the way for the Autauga offense with nearly 500 yards rushing, 70 yards receiving and and 10 TDs.
Outlook: The season to forget for both Stanhope and Carver can take a significant turn on Friday. Believe it or not, the winner has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs… And not just as a longshot. All three teams outside the River Region are not very good (Dothan, Northview and Russell Co.). That means one of these teams can earn a fourth seed. So, which one gets it done? At this point, the Mustangs look better, thanks in part to injuries on the Carver side of things. Quarterback Willie Smith was hurt (again) in last week’s loss to Park Crossing. There are others with nagging injuries. Stanhope has its share as well but seems to be on an uptick. The Mustangs are at home and that’s enough for the pick.
Prediction: SEHS 25, Carver 20
Also this week…
Dothan at Park Crossing: A Saturday matinee that should be over before well before lunchtime….PCHS, 45-13.
Wetumpka at Helena: Indians win to set up important games in the next two weeks. Wetumpka, 38-16.
Ashford at Montgomery Catholic: The Knights can all but clinch a playoff spot, even if not mathmatically… Catholic, 22-13.
Trinity at Bullock County: The Wildcats’ opponent usually is a cakewalk, but nobody fits that description this season. Closer than expected…TPS, 23-18.
Holtville at Tallassee: In a season that has taken a nosedive, the Tigers get back on the winning track. Tallassee, 31-10.
Dadeville at Elmore Co: Tigers seem to be getting hot at just the right time. Dadeville, 42-20.
Ellwood Christian at Autaugaville: Eagles break a five-game losing streak… Autaugaville, 21-6.
Other games: Marbury over Dallas Co., 24-21; Montgomery Academy over Southside-Selma, 24-13; Pike Co over Prattville Christian, 27-20; Billingsley over R.C. Hatch, 40-14; Autauga Ac over Jackson Ac, 45-24; Glenwood over Edgewood (Thur), 36-14; Cornerstone over Evangel Christian, 28-27; Monroe Ac over Hooper Ac (Thur), 42-16; Lowndes Ac over Abbeville Christian, 28-24; Macon East over Lakeside (Thur), 18-15; SMCA over Sparta Ac, 23-21.
OFF: Sidney Lanier; Prattville
Last week: 17-5, Season: 106-34 (.743)