Bulletin board material

Coaches will do anything to motivate their players. From a pat on the back to a strategically placed foot, many methods are used to get their teams physically and emotionally ready for next week’s game.

Sometimes they get lucky and get a little help from a sportswriter.

Take for instance the boys over at Coosa Valley Academy.

Last Wednesday, the Reporter, complete with the weekly sports column featuring my Shelby County football picks, made its way to the school and into the hands of some kids who have been busting their butts all year long.

They woke up early to run and work out; they geared up in 90 degree weather all summer; and everyday they strapped on a helmet and knocked each other around &045; all so some guy who hasn’t played football in eight years could sit in an air conditioned office and pick them to lose and not to some powerhouse team.

No, the Rebels didn’t take too kindly to predictions of a loss to a school that didn’t have a team two years ago.

Sure they had struggled early on, but this was a Coosa Valley team loaded with talent. They had been pre-season favorites to battle for the state championship, after all.

So the Rebels hit the field Friday night with something to prove &045; to themselves, to the teams who line up across from them and to a local sports writer who must have been crazy.

And boy, did they prove something &045; beating the stuffing out of Calvary 49-0.

Coosa Valley wasn’t the only team I picked to lose last week that pulled out a victory. Both Oak Mountain and Pelham shocked teams from Hewitt-Trussville and Clay-Chalkville.

So here again are my weekly picks, or locker room material, complete with perforated edge for an easy transition to the bulletin board.

Last week, I was 9-4 in my picks, bringing me to a record of 20-4 since I took over as sports editor.

Oak Mountain surprised many by taking care of Hewitt-Trussville last week. The big win may have been just what the Eagles needed before heading in to region play for the next three weeks. But John Carroll is a good team with a couple of dangerous athletes. JC 28, OM 14.

Pelham is also coming off a shocker, with a huge win against Clay-Chalkville. The Panthers hope to make it three straight, with a win against Spain Park. The region battle should be hard fought. SP 31, PHS 28.

Briarwood’s still rolling after discarding Brookwood. McAdory will be a much tougher opponent with a strong running game and some grinding backs. But quarterback Joe Craddock’s crew is running on all cylinders. BCS 38, MHS 16.

Thompson definitely had the heartbreak of the week last Friday night, losing in overtime to the defending state champion Homewood Patriots. It will be interesting to see if the Warriors can build from the loss or if they will let it demoralize them. They won’t have much time to reflect, with a region game against West End on their plates. THS 35, WE 20.

The Chelsea Hornets snapped a two-game skid with a big road win over region-rival Montevallo. They’ll have Corner at home for what looks to be another great game. CHE 21, COR 14.

Montevallo has had a tough run of late, losing four of their last five games. Hayden got stomped by Childersberg last week and will also be looking for the region win. The Bulldogs should be able to get back on track. MHS 21, HHS 14.

The Shelby County Wildcats have been on a tear, winning their last five games after dropping their opener to Tarrant. Last week’s win over Corner wasn’t too impressive, but the Wildcats should come out strong and catch a Jemison team that’s down after losing to Moody in overtime. SCHS 38, JHS 21.

Calera remained undefeated with a win on the road against Keith. The Eagles have been plagued by turnovers the last few games but still manage to pull out big wins. Highland Home beat the Eagles in Calera last year and fans stormed the field to celebrate. Calera will look to repay the favor at Highland Home. CHS 34, HH 10.

Seven weeks into the season, Vincent is still looking for a win. The Yellow Jackets will face Ohatchee, who lost to Cold Springs 36-6. Vincent could finally put it together on the road. VHS 21, OH 14.

Kingwood scored its first touchdown of the year last week against Taylor Road, but the Lions couldn’t get that elusive victory. Coosa Valley won’t get another opportunity to prove me wrong by winning this week as the Rebels will have no problem with Kingwood. CVA 42, KCS 0.

Cornerstone has lost two straight after a last-minute win over Evangel in week four. The Chargers will host a Taylor Road team that allowed Kingwood to score its first touchdown of the year. The Chargers should be able to get back on track by ending their homecoming week with a win. KCS 28, TR 17.

The game of the week could be unbeaten Shelby Academy against AISA powerhouse Bessemer Academy. The Rebels have been dominating both sides of the ball all season and the matchup with Bessemer promises to be exciting. Don’t expect another Raider shutout here; a shootout is more likely. SA 42, BA 35