Playoff football predictions; Round 2

Published 2:34 pm Monday, November 9, 2015

Briarwood pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the first round of the playoffs when the Lions beat Fort Payne. Can they keep rolling this week with a home playoff game against Austin? (Contributed / Randy Glover)

Briarwood pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the first round of the playoffs when the Lions beat Fort Payne. Can they keep rolling this week with a home playoff game against Austin? (Contributed / Randy Glover)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

After the first round of the playoffs, there are only four teams in the county left alive. Three were predicted to make it through the first round while one surprised the whole state with a win. With only four games to discuss this week, let’s dive a little deeper than normal into each one.


Spain Park vs. James Clemens

In predictable fashion, Spain Park marched through the first round of the 7A playoffs with little issue, beating Hazel Green easily by a final of 31-7. Now, for the first time in well over a month, the Jaguars look like they’ll be in for a dogfight in round two against James Clemens.

James Clemens is only in its fourth year of existence as a school, and the Jets have come a long way on the football field since losing all 10 games in 2012. Taking away their only loss this season, a nail-biting 27-24 loss to Bob Jones, the Jets have won their other 10 contests by an average score of 35-6.

Spain Park has not really been tested since beating Hewitt-Trussville by three back on Sept. 18, and has won its last six games by an average of 17 points, but most of those scores could have been much more lopsided. Now, the Jaguar defense is going up against one of the best senior running backs in the state in Maceo Booker while the offense is facing probably the stingiest defense it has seen all season. This is an opportunity for Spain Park to show it deserves the No. 1 ranking it got at the end of the regular season, and the Jaguars will get the win. Spain Park 21 – James Clemens 17.


Briarwood vs. Austin

If you saw this Briarwood team being one of final four teams alive in the county back in mid-September then quit your job and go play the stock market. After talking last week about how the Lions’ inability to score points would be their downfall against Fort Payne, Briarwood went and hung 30 on the Wildcats, which was the second-highest point total Fort Payne gave up all season. Now, all of the sudden, Briarwood (5-6) is hosting a second round playoff game.

Austin holds the distinction of being the only team to beat both Spain Park and Bob Jones this year, both of which have spent time as the top team in 7A in 2015. The Black Bears are scoring just north of 32 points per game, and by all accounts should take care of Briarwood, making the Lions’ win last week seem even more like a fluke.

But guess what. That’s not going to happen. We’re all in on Briarwood now. Everyone loves a Cinderella story, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more fitting foot to slip that glass slipper on right now than this Briarwood team. Quarterback William Gray has rounded into form the last half of the season, and the defense is playing its best football of the year as well. Let’s dance on the wild side here. Briarwood 24 – Austin 21.


Helena at Beauregard

The first round of the 5A playoffs played out with very minimal drama, as 13 of the 16 favorites took care of business. Helena was one of those favorites, beating Sidney Lanier thanks in part to a slew of second half special teams plays. The Huskies beat the Poets 24-7 to earn the schools’ first-ever playoff victory. Now Helena will travel to Opelika to take on an undefeated Beauregard team.

The Hornets, ranked the No. 4 team in 5A in the final regular season poll, have one of the most high-powered offenses in the state. They have won each of their 10 games this season by an average score of 51-17. Let me say that again. Beauregard is scoring, on average, more than half a hundred points per contest. The Hornets first fielded a football team in 1963, and the 513 points they have posted so far is already the most points for one season in school history, and they only played nine regular season games.

Helena has only scored more than 50 points once this season, in a 55-0 victory over a Wilcox Central team that didn’t win a game this year. To have a chance in this contest, Devan Walker, Riley Davis and company are going to have to keep pace with Beauregard quarterback Quay Wright, who has accumulated over 1,600 yards of offense this season on the ground and through the air while scoring 28 touchdowns. The Husky defense, which is giving up a stingy 15 points per game this season, is also going to have to play its best football of the season.

This has been a coming-out season for Helena. The Huskies have proven themselves as one of the top teams in the region and have played consistently at a high level all season. Unfortunately this is the end of the line for this squad, as Helena will fall this Friday. Beauregard 42 – Helena 28.


Montevallo at Leeds

After finishing the regular season in disappointing fashion, going 1-2 over the final three-game span, Montevallo returned to its earlier-season form in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Playing in the school’s first home playoff game since 1995, Montevallo beat visiting Saint James by a final of 21-7, and the game was never as close as the final score made it out to be. Now, the Bulldogs (9-2) turn their attention to the defending 4A champ, Leeds.

The Green Wave have won 23 of their last 26 dating back to last year, and have not given up 100 total points this season, posting shutouts in six games so far this year. They have cemented themselves as the team to beat in the class, and Montevallo will have all it can handle this week.

The Bulldogs have easily had the best season in recent Montevallo history. They were a last-second field goal away from claiming their first region title since 1995 and have won as many games this year, nine, as they lost just one season ago. The offense has utilized a potent passing attack to counterbalance a capable rushing game all year, and has been able to keep defenses on their toes as a result. The defense has also played well all season, posting three shutouts and giving up just an average of 15 points per game this season. It’s been a banner year in Montevallo, no doubt about it.

That being said, this is most likely the end of the line for Montevallo against the defending 4A champs on the road. The Bulldogs will put up a fight, but Leeds is just too strong. Leeds 31 – Montevallo 21.