Week 10: Region title on the line
Chelsea will look to overcome two things Thursday night — the Calera Eagles and the decreasing size of its seemingly silent crowd. But the Hornets have to know that they can win whether their fans show up or not.
The Chelsea staff put together a solid game plan Friday, but a few costly fumbles hurt their chances of wrecking Shelby County’s perfect season. This week, the old wrecking ball has a chance to rear its head as Chelsea can bust up a region title for Calera.
The Eagles enter the game in the three-way tie for first in Class 4A, Region 3. A number of tie breaking scenarios show the Eagles coming away with the region title no matter the outcome Thursday, but a Chelsea can win can still has a chance to force a coin flip.
Calera’s Brandon Wells has developed into a solid quarterback that will force Chelsea’s secondary to make plays. Calera will be ready to push through the Hornets, but if the Hornets eliminate their turnovers, they have a shot at forcing the Eagles to settle for second best in the region. Pick: Chelsea
Vincent head coach Dwight Spradley decided at the end of last season that he would clear his schedule of county opponents this year, in order to allow his team to match up against schools more its size. However, one county foe remains, as Montevallo will come to town this Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs come into the game with a number of question marks after having a rough second half of the season, while Vincent is coming off one of its most impressive showings of the year, despite a 34-21 loss to American Christian. As long as the Yellow Jackets play with the same intensity as they did last week, they should have no problem sending seniors Houston Waldrop, Corey Deloach, Centauri Calhoun, Jonathan Whitfield and Michael Snell out with a senior night victory. Pick: Vincent
TRAVELING To T-ToWN
Also playing on Thursday this week, Pelham will travel to Hillcrest High in Tuscaloosa, for what could be a preview of the second round of the playoffs. The Panthers will look to pick up the pieces after a loss at Hoover. Pelham’s offensive line needs to go to work this week to protect quarterback Tripp Martin, while the defense will have to work to stop the run game. A solid win Thursday can help prepare Pelham for its trip to the playoffs and first round visit to Tuscaloosa County High next week. Pick: Pelham
CLOSING THE SEASON
Oak Mountain had hopes of a .500 season two weeks ago. Now it looks to simply end the season with a win. The Eagles (2-7) are struggling with their worst season in years, but hope to end on a high note Thursday at Paul Bryant (0-9). Oak Mountain has played two close, emotional games the last two weeks. Look for them to charge out and take an early lead against the Stampede. Pick: Oak Mountain
After losing six straight games, Spain Park has become a rally team the last two weeks to bring its record to 3-6. The Jaguars will close the season Thursday with homecoming, as they play host to Region 8 champion Huntsville. The Panthers enter the game with a four-game win streak, in which they have outscored opponents 132-30. But don’t let Huntsville’s 62-0 win over Hazel Green last week play as a measuring stick for this game, considering Hazel Green has not won a game in its last 19 played. Spain Park will have to come out focused. The motivation of it being homecoming and the final game may be enough for the Jaguars to put together four strong quarters and pull off the upset. Pick: Spain Park
TIME FOR RECOVERY
Not much seemed to work for Briarwood on offense Friday, as the Lions went for it three times on fourth down and failed each time. The main positive for the Lions as they host Anniston for senior night is that they had no forced turnovers in Friday’s loss to Florence. Look for Briarwood to bounce back and try to regain some momentum before the start of next week’s playoffs and having to host Greenville in the first round. Pick: Briarwood
Shelby County is on the verge of history in Columbiana. It’s been 14 years since a Wildcat football team has finished the regular season undefeated. Head coach Ryan Herring has only come close, 9-1. But for Herring, Friday’s win is not about him. It’s about his team and the Wildcats community. This is a win this program needs for its psyche. Any thoughts by Jemison that Shelby may be looking ahead to the playoffs can be left at the city limits Friday as the Panthers roll in on Alabama 25. Not only is this Wildcats’ team prepared with a balanced offensive game plan and a secondary that is averaging 1.5 interceptions a game, these young men are prepared mentally — truly taking one win and looking to the next one. Pick: Shelby County
JUST A WIN
A win. That’s all Coosa Valley wants — one more win. The Rebels (3-6) came within two points of their fourth win of the season Friday. That loss to Sumter keeps CVA from having its chance at its first .500 season since 2003. Now, they just want a four-win season, something these seniors have not done since they were freshmen. On top of that, the Rebels haven’t won the final game of the regular season since its last trip to the playoffs in 2002. But those numbers simply recite history. None of them matter Friday when Abbeville Christian (3-5) comes to town. Both teams have defeated the same three teams. CVA should have no trouble gaining something to build on for next year with a win. Pick: Coosa Valley
LOOKING TO UPSET
One week ago, Cornerstone stood a chance of playing for a region championship. Now the Chargers (6-3) face the challenge of hosting Crenshaw Christian (8-1) with nothing on the line except the chance to disrupt Crenshaw’s perfect region record. Friday’s loss showed that the Chargers’ offensive line needs some work and also encouragement. While CCS may give the Cougars a good game, it’ll be hard to find the end zone against a defense that has not allowed more than two touchdowns in a game. The Chargers must find a way to score to top Crenshaw’s average of 41.7 points per game. Pick: Crenshaw
INVADING THE FORT
Shelby Academy (5-4) hits the road for its final game of the regular season and will be the homecoming guest of Fort Dale Academy (7-2). The Fort Dale Eagles are on a three-game win streak, while Shelby enters the game after having a break out game from running back Brandon Horton. While Shelby will look to move the ball on the ground, their 3A opponent will be hard to budge. Pick: Fort Dale
Closing it out
Last year, Meadowview handed Kingwood its first loss of the season, 45-6, in the second week. This year, the Trojans will look to close the season in a similar way, only this time its by avoiding being Kingwood’s second win. The Lions have been close the past four weeks and have only been able to pull out a win once. Friday’s trip to Selma won’t be much different. Pick: Meadowview
Megginson’s Picks — Last Week: 8-4, Season: 80-32 (.713)
CORRECTION: The printed version of this preview was in correct in saying that Calera must beat Chelsea to win the region title.