Beginning of a new rivalry?

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

It’s a natural rivalry, but Friday’s meeting between Spain Park and Briarwood will be the first for the two schools, located less than three miles apart.

Briarwood will welcome the Jags to Lion Pride Stadium for its second home game of the season after shutting out Moody, 35-0, on Friday. Spain Park comes in confused and battered after facing a 35-0 shutout on the road at Mountain Brook.

The Jags will be eager to prove to themselves and their coaches that they can run the football. Zero yards on 26 carries won’t cut it anywhere in football, even more so in Class 6A, Region 6. Briarwood, a Top 10 program in Class 5A, will appear as the favorite Friday, but the Jags may have a few tricks to pull. The Lions’ learned what it’s like to play a team with something to prove when they traveled to Shelby County in week two. If they can take that and also remember what it’s like to be that team wanting to prove something, as they did at Vestavia on opening night, then they should be mentally ready. With Caleb Castille causing a threat in the backfield and Paul Barber back under center, Briarwood has its questions worked out, while the Jags are still trying to figure which back should start the game. Pick: Briarwood


Calera stays home for the second-straight week and is looking for its second-straight upset. The Eagles (2-2) are looking for revenge when the Wildcats come to Cairns Field Friday after being upset last year at Shelby County. Brandon Wells is improving week-by-week at quarterback for Calera, but the sophomore will have to be careful not to give away his passes, or Shelby County’s Dustin Wood will be ready to pick one or two off. While the spread offense is beginning to click for Calera, its defense has not faced a bruising backfield like Darion Sutton and Tae Lewis. As long as Shelby County stays focused and does not overlook the Eagles, Sutton and Lewis should plow through the Calera line and control the clock for their for fifth-straight victory. Pick: Shelby County


Jemison is undefeated on the year, but don’t let the record fool you. While this Panther team is good, they have squeaked out victories against Chilton County and Calera this year. Chelsea is coming off its first win of the season at Talladega, when Garrett Salter finally became unleashed from the backfield. Zero turnovers helped give the Hornets life Friday. If Chelsea can keep its mistakes corrected, then they should not struggle on the road this week. However, if they can’t, then they still have a shot at winning a close battle. Pick: Chelsea


Oak Mountain put together its best quarter of football this season in the fourth quarter against Homewood on Friday. The Eagles now know they can win, but will continue to be plagued by injury. While they should be able to put at least a few points on the board at Hoover, the Bucs will be too strong to overcome this week in Region 6. Pick: Hoover


After a 2-0 start, the Pelham Panthers are 2-2. Pelham has struggled to run the ball the past two weeks, barely breaking 100 yards. The Panthers will go on the road this week to Homewood, where the Patriots are hungry for their first win of the season. Pelham must wake up in order to hold of the tricks of Homewood this week, who will be ready to pull off a large upset. But while these Panthers are on the ropes, they’re not going to fold. Pelham’s playoff quest will continue with a motivated group on the field Friday. Pick: Pelham


Thompson lost two starters midway through the game Friday against Hoover. If Sideeq Cooper is not back this week, it doesn’t matter what the Thompson Warriors throw onto the field, they will struggle at home against Gardendale this week. Quarterback David Bria was the other Warrior to check out of Friday’s game early. Gardendale comes into the game an even, 2-2, just like Thompson. The Rockets seem to have momentum on their side after rolling off two big wins after losing the first two weeks to Hoover and Vestavia. The question is what can Thompson do on offense and can its defense stop a Gardendale team that scored 43 points last week against Chilton County. Pick: Gardendale


Vincent put the ball on the turf six times Friday and lost four of the fumbles. Play like that may be overcome against developing weaker programs, but there are only so many weeks of breaks that are given out. Vincent jumped out on Isabella two weeks ago to show that it can play with the top teams in Class 2A, Region 4. Cramps became an issue late in the game, but with October just a few days away, the heat shouldn’t bother the boys in black and gold this week. Juwan Rogers is picking up yards on the ground and finding the end zone. As long as he can lead the effort to eliminate turnovers, and have others follow suit, it shouldn’t be difficult for the Yellow Jackets to get their first home win of the season. Pick: Vincent


Last year’s game against West Blocton was the Kevin Callender show. The junior quarterback at Montevallo is looking to top his record seven touchdowns that he scored against West Blocton last year. This Friday may be the night he has his chance. Callender should be able to run and throw at will against West Blocton. The Bulldogs’ pattern this season has been good game, bad game, great game, decent game. While coach Jim King look for consistence this week, he’ll get at least a good game if not a great game out of his team on Friday. Pick: Montevallo


Coosa Valley is looking for its first win at home. The 2-3 Rebels come home for homecoming Friday to meet South Montgomery, a game chosen as homecoming during the offseason because it is one that CVA feels like it should win. One of the big advantages for CVA this week will be the weather. As the heat begins to fade on Fridays, so does the Rebels issues with cramping. A win will move CVA to 3-1 in AISA Class 1A, Region 1. Pick: Coosa Valley


Chambers comes to Columbiana on Friday with its first win under its belt. The Rebels beat Abbeville on the road this past week, 41-14, to even its record at 1-1 in AISA Class 1A, Region 1. Cornerstone has been able to bounce back and win three-straight since falling in week one against Shelby Academy. If the Chargers can strike quickly like they have the past three weeks, then Chambers will be in trouble. Look for J.V. McKinney to find some way into the end zone, while Cory Woodall should collected another 100 yards on the ground. These two can’t do it alone though, as the Chargers will need others to step up in preparation for the weeks to come. Pick: Cornerstone


Shelby Academy went up against the top two teams in AISA Class 2A, Region 1 the last two weeks and learned that its success of the season can’t be measured off two wins. Five turnovers were hard to overcome at Lowndes, despite collecting nearly as many offensive yards as Lowndes. This week Shelby returns home, where it is 2-0 on the year, to host Springwood. Springwood is on a two-game losing skid also. Shelby will look to mix a passing attack in with its run package this week. Raiders quarterback Cody Jones put up his best numbers of the season last week and is possibly on the verge of breaking into his role at quarterback. Pick: Shelby


Bessemer Academy is stacked. Kingwood better go prepared with an extra medical bag Friday when its offense has to go up against defensive stand out Tavon Arrington and Auburn commit Harris Gaston. The two linebackers have helped Bessemer hold opponents to an average of 13 points per game, while the Rebels offense is putting up 33 points per game. Kingwood’s struggles may end this season, but it won’t be Friday. Pick: Bessemer


It’s not every week that we pick our 8-man football games. But this week, the Evangel Lightning (6-0) of Alabaster will travel to Huntsville to take on the Rocket City Cowboys (6-0). Evangel is 1-4 against Rocket City over the past three seasons. The Cowboys are averaging 48 points per game this year and allowing an average of 19 points by its opponents. Evangel has been unstoppable offensively, averaging 49.8 points per game. The major difference though is the Lightning’s defense, which has shut out its last three opponents, allowing just 34 points total in six games. Pick: Evangel

Last Week: 11-3, Season: 30-19