County predictions; Week 2
Published 4:41 pm Monday, August 31, 2015
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
As the first quarter of the season continues to roll forward, a hazy, gray outline of identity is beginning to come into focus for each team across the county. It’s still early, and a number of teams haven’t played enough football to get an accurate picture of what they’ll do the rest of the way, but that doesn’t matter here. Let’s look at some predictions.
Oak Mountain at Vestavia Hills. Whoops. A week after a short staffed Oak Mountain team got beat soundly on its home field in the first week of the season, the Eagles will look to bounce back against an upstart Vestavia team fresh off a big win over Homewood. With Warren Shader and head coach Cris Bell back from AHSAA-sanctioned purgatory and Payton Youngblood hopefully back from a lingering shoulder issue, the Eagles should show people why voters put faith in them to be a top-five team in the preseason. Oak Mountain 28 – Vestavia 17.
Spain Park at Thompson. The Warriors have had no problem putting points on the board while also making sure their opponents do not, but they have yet to face a team with the caliber of talent that Spain Park has. Perry Young is one of the best individual players in the county, and the one-two backfield combination of Larry Wooden and Wade Streeter is a tough matchup for any defensive front. But, Thompson seems to just have too many weapons on offense at this point for Spain Park to handle. This will be Thompson’s closest game to date, but the Warriors will stay perfect for another week. Thompson 35 – Spain Park 28.
Briarwood at Jackson-Olin. Briarwood showed it is a scrappy team in its season opener; coming from behind late in the second half to take a slim lead over Chelsea before letting it slip away in the final minute. The Lions will get back on track this week with a win against a Jackson-Olin team that has never been able to beat the Lions in five tries. Briarwood 25 – Jackson-Olin 10.
Chelsea at Southside-Gadsden. Chelsea is one of the most intriguing teams in the county. There are enough positive pieces here, from lightning-in-a-bottle quarterback Matt Marquet, to the backfield tandem of Zalon Reynolds and AJ Jones, to the trio of senior linebackers starting for their third seasons, the Hornets can make some noise. However, Southside-Gadsden is, as usual, no joke, and with junior sensation Alaric Williams running the ball and middle linebacker/wildcat quarterback Hunter Armstrong laying the wood, the Hornets are in for a tough contest. Southside-Gadsden 32 – Chelsea 24.
Pelham at Homewood. Both teams are coming off rough weeks, as Pelham got beat handily by rival Thompson and Homewood had its hat handed to them by Vestavia Hills. Homewood is deeper and has more talent across the board than does Pelham, and will be looking to respond after getting beat badly a week ago. Homewood 42 – Pelham 21.
Calera at Demopolis. Calera has one of, if not the, most explosive offenses in the county, led by the backfield trio of Kyle Harrell, Ty Evans and Charles White. The three will need to be at their best against a Demopolis team that is always tough. This could conceivably break either way, but Calera has the weapons and the chip on its shoulder this season to pull this out. Calera 38 – Demopolis 24.
Shelby County at Central Clay County. Central Clay County is one of the most recent additions to the football landscape across the state, with its first season coming in 2012. The Volunteers spent their first two years in 4A, where they won 10 games each season before transitioning to 5A a year ago. They are, like most every team in Shelby County’s region, known for being fast. This year, the Wildcats will have more weapons to throw at their region foe, and the game will be closer than last year’s 21-7 loss. Central Clay County 28 – Shelby County 21.
Helena vs. Wilcox Central. Wilcox Central hasn’t won a game since Sept. 27. Of 2013. That trend will continue for at least another week as there is no reason to think Helena won’t be able to repeat last year’s 42-0 beatdown of the hapless Jaguars. Helena 38 – Wilcox Central 6.
Montevallo vs. Oak Grove. Montevallo’s win last year against Oak Grove was erased in the wake of the academic ineligibility that came to define the Bulldogs’ season. Head coach Andrew Zow and company have already taken care of avenging one of those games with a 37-12 win against Francis Marion on Aug. 28. That trend will continue as Montevallo continues to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the young season. Montevallo 35 – Oak Grove 14.
Vincent at Holy Spirit. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Yellow Jackets of Vincent, losing their first two games by a combined score of 103-26 against a 4A and 5A school, respectively. The silver lining, seven of Vincent’s remaining eight games are against 2A schools or below, with the only game remaining against a larger school on Sept. 29 against BB Comer. The other piece of good news, Holy Spirit has not fared much better than Vincent in the early going, losing its first two games by a combined 90-47 to two 1A schools. Vincent 24 – Holy Spirit 17.