(October 26, 2017)
Last week’s big games set up this week’s big "uns."
Several teams still have work to do to either improve their seeding in the playoff or to actually make the post season.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, there is still holes to fill in the playoff brackets. Start with Wetumpka which has a chance to create a three-way tie in Class 6A, Region 4. The Indians face Benjamin Russell on the road and after winning their first eight games, could fall to third seed with a loss.
Montgomery Catholic and Alabama Christian battle at ACA while St. James faces Trinity. Those two games will decide the Class 4A, Region 2 title. The Trojans, Knights and Eagles all have one loss and a Catholic win will give it the region title with the tiebreaker over St. James. ACA needs a win and help from Trinity to force a three-way tie at the top.
Tallassee still has a shot to win a share of the region title but needs a win over Elmore County and a Munford loss to Leeds to froce a three-way tie for first.
Wetumpka at Benjamin Russell
What: Class 6A Region 4 game
When: Friday at Alex City Sportsplex
2017 Records: Wetumpka 8-1 (4-1); Ben Russell 7-1 (5-0)
Last week: Opelika def. Wetumpka, 20-19; Ben Russell def. Helena, 38-20
Last year’s meeting: Wetumpka, 41-14
Series record: Ben Russell leads, 25-14-1
Keys: In the loss to Opelika, the Indians were limited to 310 yards of offense and was penalized 11 times for 79 yards.
Outlook: It would be hasty to say the Indians collapsed under the pressure of last week’s situation if it were not for a few facts. First, it was the defending 6A runner up they were playing. Second, it was at their place and third - and most importantly - the Bulldogs are a good team and has been in this situation before. True, Wetumpka had too many penalties and had a couple of key turnovers. But they still made good work offensively with Kavosiey Smoke doing most of the damage. He will need another big night in Alex City this week. The Wildcats have a similar build as Opelika and will try to grind it. They’ve done that well over the course of the season although many of their games have been closer than you might expect the region leader to have. It might not make sense to pick the Indians since the Wildcats were able to beat Opelika and Wetumpka didn’t. But the guess is Tim Perry’s team learned a few things last week and will make the corrections necessary to mess up the region race.
Preddiction: WHS 21, Ben Russell 20
Trinity at St. James
What: Class 4A Region 2 game
When: Friday at Carlisle Field
2017 Records: Trinity 4-5 (3-2); St. James 6-3 (4-1)
Last week: Trinity def. Ashford, 43-15; St. James def. Dale Co., 49-22
Last year’s meeting: St James, 33-21
Series record: Trinity leads, 33-8
Key stat: St. James broke a 10-game losing streak against Trinity last year.
Outlook: Trinity can guarantee a playoff spot with a win or gets one with a Dale County loss. But that’s not what this game is about. Annually, this is one of the better rivalries in the River Region, even if it has been a bit one sided. Last year, the Trojans figured it out. This year, they are simply the better team with a running game that will challenge anybody. Trinity has shown improvement on offense but will need a little more to have a chance to keep the Trojans from making it two straight in the series. Trojans win and then await the results of the other big game in the region just up on Wares Ferry Road.
Preddiction: St. James 29, Trinity 15
Montgomery Catholic at Alabama Christian
What: Class 4A Region 2 game
When: Friday at Norton Field
Last week: Catholic def. Bullock Co, 31-6; ACA did not play
Last year’s meeting: Catholic, 29-3
Series record: ACA leads, 23-15
Key stat: Catholic can win its first region championship since 1989 with a victory. ACA’s chances depend on a win, a STJ loss and the tiebreakers.
Outlook: We have watched as ACA has built a special season that seemed to hit a wall a couple of weeks ago when starting quarterback Reece Solar went down with a season-ending injury. That was followed with the first loss to St. James last Friday. The Eagles now have a chance to finish region play with a flourish with a win over Catholic. The Knights have recovered nicely after their upset loss to Trinity back in mid-September. While they have played the easier portion of their schedule, they have been dominant for the most part. It’s hard to tell what type of game ACA will play on Friday. They’ve had two weeks to rest and prepare, which is an advantage this time of year. But they are still missing a key ingredient to their perfect-season run. And that will be the Eagles’ undoing. Catholic clinches its first region title in 28 years.
Preddiction: Catholic 30, ACA 20
Also this week…
Enterprise at R.E. Lee: The Generals need a turnaround and they need it fast. Enterprise is not what it was a year ago. Lee, 35-20.
Auburn at Jeff Davis (Thurs.): JD has secured a spot in the playoffs. A win here would be a nice warmup, but no dice. Auburn, 24-10.
Stanhope Elmore at Sidney Lanier: Poets must regroup or they will carry the Park Crossing loss into the playoffs. Lanier, 29-14
Montgomery Academy at Prattville Christian: This one might be billed as a rivalry but that’s in name only. Eagles soar. MA, 42-16.
Elmore Co at Tallassee: Tigers take care of business early and then do a little scoreboard watching, hoping for a miracle win by Leeds over Munford. Tallassee, 42-10.
Other games: Park Crossing over Clay-Chalkville, 29-20; Carver over Russell Co, 25-21; Central-Phenix City over Prattville, 45-17; Calera over Marbury, 35-23; Aliceville over Billingsley, 24-14; Handley over Holtville, 30-20; Verbena over Autaugaville, 45-8; Autauga Aca over Morgan Aca, 35-18; Crenshaw Christian over Edgewood, 31-16; Hooper Aca over Evangel Christian, 39-6; Lowndes Aca over Coosa Valley, 32-12; Macon East over Southern Aca, 27-15.
OPEN DATE: None
Last week: 18-4 Season: 153-26 (.810)