Shelby County football predictions Week 9

Shelby County football predictions Week 9

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

Week 8 record: 8-1

Overall record: 58-12

We’re down to our final three weeks of regular-season high school football in Shelby County and while Week 8 doesn’t look to be the best lineup of games, two teams have a chance to lock up playoff spots, while others have a chance to gain some momentum with a region win.

Vincent vs. Reeltown (Game of the Week)

Since its two losses in a row to LaFayette and Lanett, Vincent (5-2, 3-2 Class 2A, Region 5) has reeled off four consecutive wins behind running back Chris Hardie, who has run for 994 yards in that time span.

That’s good enough for an average of 248.5 yards per game as Hardie and his offensive line continue to show out on a weekly basis, including three games of 220-plus yards in a row for the junior. They are also scoring 36.25 points per game in that four-game stretch.

Next to Thompson, the Yellow Jackets are the hottest team in the county and look to extend the win streak to five against Reeltown (3-4, 3-2 Class 2A, Region 5) at home this Friday in what may be their biggest game of the year.

A win for Vincent would go a long way toward making the playoffs. If they can pick up a win and Ranburne (2-4, 2-3 Class 2A, Region 5) were to lose to a ranked LaFayette team, then the Yellow Jackets would lock up a playoff spot. Lose and it’ll come down to a matchup between those two next week.

Reeltown and Vincent are fairly even on paper, but the Yellow Jackets’ offense is clicking right now, while Reeltown’s defense is giving up 23 points per game. That will be the difference maker. Vincent 31 Reeltown 27

Thompson vs. Huffman

The historic season for Thompson continues to unfold as an offense averaging more than 500 yards per game has now started the season 7-0 for the first time since the 1982 state championship team and is playoff-bound for the first time since 2006.

While we’ve given the offense its fair share of love this season, it’s time to give some kudos to the defense. It’s a unit that has playmakers at all three key positions of defensive line, linebacker and secondary, and is only giving up 17.3 points per game. They have yet to give up more than 22 in a game this season with the starters not having to complete a game due to the score.

With an offense that’s scoring 44.1 points per game, the defense playing as well as it is can be what leads this team to where it wants to go. This week, the Warriors get a 3-4 Huffman team that is giving up 27.4 per game and scoring just 17.1. It’s another one this Thompson team should be able to handle with ease before a matchup with Hoover for the region championship. Thompson 49 Huffman 10

Spain Park at Tuscaloosa County

Despite three losses in their last four games, Spain Park still has a strong shot to make the playoffs and it starts this Friday night. If the Jags pick up a win over Tuscaloosa County, Vestavia loses to Hoover and Oak Mountain loses to Mountain Brook, SPHS will clinch the fourth spot in Class 7A Region 3.

This week Spain Park gets a Tuscaloosa County team that is riding confidence after an upset-win over Oak Mountain. With the Jags’ defense on the ropes right now giving up 26.3 points per game, this could be interesting for a quarter, but offensively the Jaguars are too good and will run away as the Wildcats are giving up 37.3 points per game and Spain Park is scoring 32.9. Spain Park 45 Tuscaloosa County 17

Oak Mountain at Mountain Brook

A week ago, this would have been my upset special for the week, but instead Oak Mountain is coming off a 33-28 loss to Tuscaloosa County and has now lost four in a row. The Eagles may use that raw emotion to their advantage, and I still think it will be close, but the Spartans will wear down the Oak Mountain defense with their bruising ground game. Mountain Brook 31 Oak Mountain 14

Helena vs. Benjamin Russell 

Helena has lost five games in a row, but has shown some promising things over their last two games against Opelika and Wetumpka. Now it’s time for Helena to play a complete game as they take on Benjamin Russell this Friday night. The Wildcats are coming off a narrow 15-14 win over Minor and could find themselves in a close one this Friday. Helena 14 Benjamin Russell 24

Chelsea at Chilton County

Both offenses are scoring less than 16 points per game and subsequently each defense is giving up 30-plus per game. Against common opponents, Chelsea has been the better team and I expect the Hornets to pick up that elusive first win of the season this Friday night in a big way. Chelsea 31 Chilton County 14

Shelby County at Briarwood

Briarwood continues to be one of the best teams in the state having started the season 7-0 after the Lions’ 49-14 win over Woodlawn. The win streak started thanks to a defense that is still remarkably giving up less than 10 points per game at 9.1; but now it’s continuing because of an offense that is scoring 30.9 points per game.

The Lions should handle this one with ease behind a complete team that looks ready to win the state championship. Briarwood 42 Shelby County 7

Calera vs. Sumter Central

Calera, who clinched a playoff spot last Friday night, is now playing for seeding in the playoffs as they look to finish second in region play. This week, the Eagles get a 1-7 Sumter Central team that is giving up an abysmal 41.6 points per game and scoring just 11.8. The Eagles will have this one won at halftime. Calera 49 Sumter Central 7

Montevallo vs. Gordo

The Bulldogs have now lost four games in a row and have given up 42 or more in each. It’s in large part due to the injury bug as Montevallo is playing a multitude of young players, several of which are playing on both sides of the ball, but this week they get a No. 3 Gordo team that won’t have any sympathy for them as they look for another state championship run. Montevallo 14 Gordo 42