Week 10 preview: Best backfield to gain ownership


“We own Chelsea!” Expect to hear this cheer from the visiting bleachers Friday, as the Shelby County Wildcats invade Chelsea’s “Hornets’ Nest.” While Chelsea’s spot in the postseason is locked, the Wildcats need to continue their winning ways over Chelsea in order to break a three-way tie and earn a bid. The bragging rights can go without mention. Expect a battle of the backfields, as a strong, power back, Darion Sutton, will lead the charge for Shelby County and try to gain ground on the county’s leading rusher Garrett Salter, of Chelsea. A key to victory outside of the running game will be how well the Wildcats’ Braten Dill and Chelsea’s Blake Yance can balance the offense. The Wildcats defeated Chelsea last season, 21-17.


Neither the Montevallo Bulldogs or the Vincent Yellow Jackets would have imagined, or hoped, they would be sitting at home for the playoffs this season, but that is exactly what happened. So it is only fitting that the two cross-county schools will face-off Friday in a game that will build a lot of momentum heading into next season. Montevallo is coming off a loss to B.B. Comer while Vincent is coming off a win for the first time since late September.


The Calera Eagles reeled off four consecutive wins to start the season and have reeled off four more since falling to Shelby County Sept. 28. The team will be looking to make it five straight as they head to Weaver Friday. Although the Weaver Bearcats are fresh off a win over Walter Wellborn, don’t look for this one to be close. The Eagles will more than likely attack the Bearcats early and then work in the substitutes as the playoffs loom Nov. 9.


The Briarwood Christian Lions will head into Friday’s game against Jackson-Olin looking to finish the regular season with a perfect record for the first time since doing it three times from 1996-98. The Lions have blown out opponents this year 340-132, with the exception of the two-point overtime victory over Homewood Sept. 28. Friday’s contest against J.O. should give the backups plenty of reps before the playoffs.


The Oak Mountain Eagles suffered a devastating loss at home to the Hoover Buccaneers Friday, thus ending the team’s chance at making the playoffs. A win would have put the Eagles in and kept the Bucs out, due to Hoover having to forfeit four wins. Oak Mountain played the Bucs close and had a chance to win it in the end, but things just didn’t fall the Eagles’ way. Friday’s game against Erwin will be a perfect ending to the 2007 season as the Eagles will host homecoming, giving the senior players and fans one last round of excitement before bringing the season to a close.


The Pelham Panthers will look back at the Thompson loss two weeks ago and wonder what could have been as the team was eliminated from playoff contention Friday at the hands of Tuscaloosa County. And now that the playoffs are not a possibility, the Panthers have a terrific opportunity to get some underclassmen playing time against a quality opponent as the Vestavia Hills Rebels come to town Friday. The Rebels finished No. 1 in Class 6A, Region 6 after Hoover was forced to forfeit four wins, and Vestavia will be looking to keep everyone healthy heading into the playoffs.


The Spain Park Jaguars had one heck of a week last week as the team defeated Minor, earned their first-ever win over Hoover via a forfeit, and moved into second place in Class 6A, Region 6, thus sealing home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But before the Jags turn their attention to the playoffs, the team must travel to Hillcrest to take on a Patriots team that is also playoff bound. The Jags have reeled off five consecutive wins since falling to Vestavia Sept. 21, and the team could use the momentum of six-straight wins in preparation for a championship run.


With the playoffs out of the question, the Thompson Warriors will close out the 2007 season at home Friday against the Homewood Patriots. The Warriors have won two consecutive games for the second time this season, but will look to make it three straight for the first time all year. Although Friday’s win over Paul Bryant was against an inferior team, the Warriors continued to get better offensively and defensively, which should help against Homewood. The Patriots are also out of the playoffs, which means both teams will be fighting for respect come Friday.


The Cornerstone Chargers will host East Memorial Friday as the first round of the AISA state playoffs begin. The Chargers are reeling following a devastating and embarrassing 35-0 shutout loss at the hands of Kingwood. If the Charger running back trio of Austin Vinsant, Cory Woodall and Kirk Johnson do not get healthy in a hurry, it could be one-and-done for the

Columbiana boys.


The Shelby Academy Raiders have been up, down, up and then down again this season, but the team ended the regular season on a high note Friday in a huge 48-12 homecoming win over Abbeville. The Raiders hit the road Friday as the team travels Luverne to take on the Crenshaw Christian. Crenshaw head coach Roland Jones always has his team prepared and the Raiders will need to bring their A-game if they want a chance at repeating as Class 1A state champs.


The Kingwood Christian Lions will hit the road for the first round of the AISA playoffs Friday as the team travels to Marengo. Jerry Stearns’ Lions have reeled off three consecutive wins to close out the regular season, which is exactly the number of games the team will have to win in a row if they expect to take the Class 2A championship. Marengo is coming off a tough loss to Cottage Hill to close out the regular season, which means the Longhorns will be hungrier than ever for a playoff win.

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