Dawgs will be ready for Calera this time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Montevallo’s football team wasn’t ready when it rolled into Calera late last August to renew an old rivalry with the 2A school just down the road.

The Bulldogs showed up for a water fight at Oliver Park with a sack of balloons, only to watch Calera crank out the fire hose.

The Eagles plowed through the visiting team for 403 rushing yards on their way to a 34-15 win and an 11-1 season.

After the game, Montevallo coach Jim King admitted he didn’t do enough to prepare his team for the season opener &045;&045; hard to believe, coming from the kind of coach who believes the off-season is a few days’ break around Christmas.

Whatever it was that caused the Bulldogs to look ill-prepared at Cairns Stadium, you can bet will be taken care of before the two teams meet again in Montevallo Friday night.

Shelby County’s leading rusher, A.J. Ward, returns as

King’s crown jewel in an experienced Bulldog backfield.

Problem is, Ward broke his leg the first day of baseball practice and may not be 100 percent by kickoff. He could even be out of commission for the first few ballgames.

And Calera returns pretty much in tact after last year’s undefeated regular season.

Playmaker T.J. Green and the Eagles should play just as tough under new head coach Lanny Jones as they did for Ken Adams, who rallied CHS to victory last year.

The rematch promises to be every bit as challenging for Montevallo, but this year the Dawgs will be ready, even if Ward isn’t.

u Game of the Week prediction: Montevallo 28, Calera 21.

Vincent coach Dwight Spradley didn’t back down when scheduling non-region games for the 2A Yellow Jackets.

Instead, he loaded the openings with three in-county rivals from higher classifications.

Vincent’s first test comes Thursday night at Chelsea Field, where the 4A Hornets will look for a spark from new running back Davin Palmer, son of former Alabama standout David Palmer.

If the deuce is loose Thursday night it won’t be the younger Palmer &045;&045; jersey No. 2 was already taken by sophomore Hunter Craft &045;&045; instead the running back will wear No. 3.

u Prediction: Chelsea 35, Vincent 20.

There seems to be a quarterback controversy brewing over at Briarwood Christian, although coach Fred Yancey couldn’t be happier with the situation.

Sophomores Barrett Trotter and Bo Walters both had impressive outings in the school’s jamboree win over Shades Valley.

Yancey plans to use both this season in what looks to be a two-quarterback system.

The duo will have to have a pretty impressive outing Friday night for the Lions to have a shot at upending perennial 6A power Vestavia Hills.

u Prediction: Vestavia 27, Briarwood 21.

Shelby County may be the smallest school in Class 5A, but that didn’t stop the Wildcats from making the playoffs last year.

Walter Wellborn, on the other hand, is coming off a one-win season in 4A.

The Wildcats shut out Wellborn, 14-0, on the road last season in Bruce Breland’s Shelby County coaching debut.

Different year, same prognosis.

u Prediction: Shelby Co. 24, Wellborn 0.

Oak Mountain was shut out last season by Fairfield, who returns to Heardmont Park as the Eagles’ first 2005 opponent.

The 5A school is no pushover, coming off a 10-2 season, but the 6A Eagles have finally settled in under second-year coach Jerry Hood.

Oak Mountain quarterback Richie Fordham will lead an improved offense, but the defense remains the team’s strength.

u Prediction: Oak Mtn. 17, Fairfield 10.

New Pelham head coach Brett Burnett officially receives his welcome to Alabama high school football Friday night with a trip to 5A Paul Bryant in Tuscaloosa.

The wide-open offense Burnett brought from Elizabethtown, Ky., may take a few weeks to run efficiently, but the Panthers should be able to take care of Bryant to give the coach his first victory at Pelham.

u Prediction: Pelham 35, Bryant 21.

Spain Park quarterback Neil Caudle made a verbal commitment to play college football for the Auburn Tigers, but Friday night the top recruit will try to torch the secondary of a team with the same name.

Auburn High School travels to Hoover to face the Jags in their season opener.

u Prediction: Spain Park 24, Auburn 17.

Thompson High School will honor longtime head coach Ricky Seale before Friday’s kickoff with Central-Tuscaloosa.

Seale retired last year after

a 6-4 season that included a 49-0 shutout of Central.

New coach Brian Maner and the Warriors will look to follow up the recognition with a show on the field.

u Prediction: Thompson 42, Central 7.

Coosa Valley hosts Taylor Road, a team it knocked off 21-9 last season.

The Rebels will ride senior Curtis Martin in head coach Tommy Garrett’s second season opener at Coosa Valley Academy.

u Prediction: Coosa Valley 28, Taylor Road 6.

Cornerstone could be one of the surprise teams in AISA football this season.

The Chargers open up with Sumter at home.

u Prediction: Cornerstone 48, Sumter 14.

Kingwood will look for another shot at Lee-Scott, the team that defeated the Lions, 36-9, in the first contest last year.

The team will need help from senior Lakin Spinks and quarterback Andrew Pearce.

u Prediction: Lee-Scott 35, Kingwood 28.

Glenwood was one of only two opponents to defeat Shelby last season as the Raiders finished as AISA, Class 1A runners-up.

Shelby will look to turn the tables on last season’s 26-14 loss this Friday night.

u Prediction: Glenwood 21, Shelby 20