Week 4: Warriors look to double up

This week is the only week in the season where a county team will not play a county team, which leaves us to pick the most interesting match-up as this week’s Game of the Week.

One week ago, Thompson vs. Hoover would not sound like an interesting game, but the Warriors are on the rise. After coming from behind to beat Austin two weeks ago and then being able to upset Spain Park on Friday, despite a number of first-half mistakes, Thompson has found a way to play football in its return to Class 6A, Region 6. Of course, the real test begins Friday.

The Bucs are coming in off their first loss of the season, a 44-16 beat down by Camden County (Ga.). The loss was most likely a wake up call to a program that has been a perinnial postseason favorite.

Thompson is considered the surprise team in Region 6 this week after the Spain Park upset, but don’t get too excited about the Warriors just yet. There are a number of mistakes that need work. If early turnovers can be eliminated and if the Warriors’ execution can increase in all areas of the game, Thompson will keep the Bucs close. However, don’t hold the win over Spain Park higher than it should be right now. Thompson has a long way to go before they beat a team like the Bucs. Pick: Hoover

AVOID THE MARSH

Spain Park enters week four sitting at 1-2 in Region 6. A loss this week at Mountain Brook will set the Jags back to next to last place in the region.

Hunter Walker is putting up impressive numbers at quarterback, while the Jags have managed to run the ball well with Alton Daniels and Tamar Mickens. However, Spain Park can’t seem to find what it needs to let the stats reflect on the scoreboard.

The test for Spain Park is not its offense, but its defense. Can the Jags stop the ground attack of Mountain Brook? The Spartans like to gain between 200-300 yards a game on the ground, with J.D. Marsh leading the way. Mountain Brook showed Friday that it may be a team to beat, if not the team to beat, this year in Region 6. However, if the Jags can hold Mountain Brook below 30 points, they should pull off a victory. Pick: Mountain Brook

BACK TO BASICS

Pelham will go back to the basics on defense this week to examine how it can stop the run after struggling to do so the past two weeks. Vestavia was my preseason favorite to finish at the top in Region 6 however, that is all about to change.

Tripp Martin threw for possibly the best half of football in his life Friday night, collecting three touchdowns and more than 250 yards in the game. This break out in the air attack is what the Panthers have been waiting for. While there is still a need for consistency on offense, if Pelham can put its run package of the first two weeks together with Martin’s arm from the Mountain Brook game, the Vestavia Rebels will have a hard time stopping the Panthers at home. Pelham hasn’t won a home game since beating Bob Jones in the second round of the 2006 playoffs. That changes this week. Pick: Pelham

TOO BAD IT’S NOT GOLF

In some sports you want to have the lower score, but not this time of year in this part of the country. Oak Mountain and Homewood meet Friday at Heardmont Park for a battle for last place in Class 6A, Region 6. Neither team wants to move to 0-4 on the season. Injuries plague the Eagles right now, while the Patriots are out to prove that they can play with the big boys in Class 6A.

Homewood will give Oak Mountain a game, possibly leading most of the way if the Eagles don’t watch out. With his favorite target sidelined, Oak Mountain quarterback Drew McKnight will have to get creative with his feet and find other ways to move the ball down field and eat up the clock.

A lot of work is left to be done, but if the Eagles are going to climb out of the basement, this is the week to do it. Pick: Oak Mountain

BACK IN BLUE

Briarwood is returning home for the first time since beating Russellville in early November last year — six games ago. Since then, the Lions suffered a heartbreaking loss at Legion Field in December and an embarrassing wake up call in Columbiana two weeks ago.

Caleb Castille is coming into his No. 2 uniform and beginning to live up to his family name. The junior halfback had a good outing Friday and will look to explode against Moody this week in front of a home crowd. Briarwood has yet to break the game wide open with its offense. Quarterback Paul Barber has been a comeback, clutch quarterback, but this week we’ll get to see if he can rise to the challenge of firing for the end zone out of the gate and returning his team to its style of play seen in years past. Moody is on an emotional high after beating Chelsea, but being back in the Navy uniform should bring a bigger high for Briarwood. Pick: Briarwood

STING OR BE STUNG

Eight lost fumbles on the season have Chelsea stuck in a rut that it appears to have trouble getting out of. This week should be the emerging week, but Talladega just knocked off rival Sylacauga and will be at home for the Hornets. This week is about more than just motivating a team for a road game, it’s about motivating a team for a season. A loss Friday and the Hornets will most likely be turning in their uniforms after the final horn sounds Oct. 31. If Chelsea wants to see November, the Hornets must find a seam, squeeze the football with all their might and plow forward. Pick: Chelsea

TRUE TEST

Pell City was a test. Briarwood was even bigger. While Georgiana wasn’t a team to be scared of, the Wildcats’ flaws were exposed Friday. This week, Shelby County hits the road for the first time this year and will meet one of its largest challenges at Sylacauga. The Aggies are coming off a loss to their rival and hungry for a win. But if the Wildcats can stick their game plan and pound the football while eating up time, they should be able to balance out Sylacauga’s offense. Pick: Shelby County

NOT QUITE THERE

Calera is still working on putting together its total package. Bibb County coming to town this week doesn’t help things. The Eagles lost to one of the best teams in its region on Friday at Jemison, but Bibb County is probably even better. Brandon Wells may find his receivers and execute the Eagles’ spread offense, but it’s going to take a little more I-formation to keep the Choctaws off the field. Calera’s only hope on defense is to keep Bibb’s offense off the field. Pick: Bibb County

HERE COMES THREE

Montevallo turned the ball over six times at Dadeville two weeks ago and bounced back with a near flawless victory over Beulah on Friday. This week the Bulldogs will look to fine tune further with a struggling B.B. Comer team (0-3) coming to town. Kevin Callender is near the top of the passing and rushing categories in the county and will have a chance to do his part in moving up the leaderboard this week. Pick: Montevallo

CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN

Vincent showed Friday that it has what it takes to emerge from Class 2A, Region 4 and make the playoffs. With Shades Mountain coming to town, the Yellow Jackets have the chance to improve to 2-1 in the region. Juwan Rogers is picking up yards left and right by ground and air. Vincent’s key to success Friday. Cramps late in the game hurt Vincent Friday. A similar mistake this week may put the Jackets in jeopardy, but plenty of fluids during the week should keep the deciding factor something between the lines instead of the water bottle. Pick: Vincent

BOUNCING BACK

Coosa Valley still struggles to put a complete game together. Even with such a struggle, the Rebs won’t have a problem on the road at Dixie. Friday needs to be a good, hard practice for CVA to see how well it can execute against a weak opponent. Pick: Coosa Valley

DIAL UP THE MAGIC

Cornerstone shouldn’t need to call on a double reverse pass to beat Lyman Ward, but the Chargers do not have an easy game ahead on Friday. Coosa Valley had to fight to come from behind tow weeks ago at Lyman Ward. As long as the Chargers can attack early and find the end zone first, they will move to 3-0 in the region. Pick: Cornerstone

RUNNING FORWARD

Look for the Raiders run game to be perfected and excel at Lowndes to bounce back from a road loss at Edgewood. Pick: Shelby

HOME AGAIN

Kingwood will be at home for the second-straight week and still without a win. Marengo pounded Kingwood last year, but is struggling this year. However, the Lions may be struggling more. Pick: Marengo