Week one preview: Back alley catfight
FROM STAFF REPORTS
There’s nothing like two cross-county battles to open the 2007 football season.
The strongest of these two battles is this week’s Game of the Week. Unranked Pelham, currently receiving votes, travels to No. 9 Spain Park Thursday at 7 p.m. to avenge last season’s 26-21 loss at home in a 6A catfight.
However the Pelham Panthers will have to look out for the two-sided attack of the Jaguars in quarterback Cody Wells and tailback Eli Smith.
Defensively Pelham’s strong point is in its secondary with junior Alvin Hines at safety, while Spain Park will use top prospect William Green to pressure the quarterback and soak up the run.
CALERA HOSTS VINCENT
The second cross-county rivalry receiving attention is the Vincent Yellow Jackets at the Calera Eagles. The Eagles are ranked in the Top 10 in Class 3A for the first time at No. 5 and look to senior Kaderius Lacey to lead their high-powered offense and put points on the board. Last season, the Eagles jumped on Vincent early and never looked back en route to a 49-24 victory. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Ricky M. Cairns Stadium.
EAGLES WELCOME TIGERS
Oak Mountain looks to even the score in this year’s season opener, as the Fairfield Tigers have won two of the last three meetings, outscoring the Eagles 37-36. Defensively, senior linebacker Grant Weingarten is expected to return from injury to help aid the Eagles as they look for a win to help launch a season geared toward the playoffs. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Heardmont Park.
THOMPSON HITS THE ROAD
The only team opening its season Friday more than an hour from home is Thompson. It will look to repeat a season opening win at Florence. The Thompson Warriors will look for experience at quarterback, running back and in the secondary to make up for what it lacks in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
BRIARWOOD LOOKS FOR UPSET
Don’t tell the Briarwood Christian Lions that Vestavia Hills is No. 4 in Class 6A. They still think Friday’s game is theirs. After losing by a touchdown last year, quarterback Barrett Trotter looks to use precision passes with a mix of running from senior back Jonathan Sillers to attack the Rebels defense and gain an upset. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Buddy Anderson Field in Vestavia.
CHELSEA GETS EARLY START
First-year Chelsea quarterback Blake Yance will look to exploit a weak Dallas County secondary Thursday night, while relying on the pass rush of David Strider on defense against Dallas County’s new quarterback. Chelsea controlled the game on the road last year 41-6 and expects to do the same when it kicks off at 7 p.m. at home.
SHELBY CO. HOSTS ST. CLAIR CO.
The Shelby County Wildcats are hoping that Friday’s opener against the St. Clair County Saints won’t be as close as last year’s 13-6 nail biter.
Darion Sutton and Tyrone Buie look to exploit the St. Clair defense on the ground. Defensively, the Wildcats will need to set the tone early, prevent the big play and win the field position battle. Kickoff is 7 p.m at PaPa McCombs Field.
EXPECT A NAIL BITER
Montevallo just edged Billingsley 36-30 last season. While summer workouts gave promising looks to Montevallo, some unexpected lineup shifts leave the Bulldogs pulling together to win.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday at Fisher Stadium in Montevallo.
POSTSEASON SNEAK PEEK
The South Choctaw Rebels have the ability to run all over teams or throw 25-30 times a game, making opponents’ uncertainty their biggest advantage. However, expect the Chargers to stack the box first and then grind it out on the ground. Controlling the clock is key for a chance to stay undefeated. Kickoff is 7 p.m. in Columbiana.
KINGWOOD AT MEADOWVIEW
The Kingwood Christian School Lions have shut out opponents in their last eight quarters of football, including the jamboree and a 21-0 opening night win over Hooper. When the Lions travel to Meadowview Friday they will look to deny a rushing attack after allowing -52 yards rushing last week. KCS won the match up 27-12 last year. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
COOSA LOOKS FOR TWO
Scoring 37 unanswered points to pick up a week one victory, Coosa Valley hits the road again, this time at Chambers to test Whit Lovelady’s passing ability for a second win. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Chris Megginson, Austin Phillips, Ricky Ruston and Perry Smith contributed to this report