Shelby County football Week 11 predictions

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Week 10 record: 7-2

Overall record: 73-15

It’s hard to believe that some teams will play their final football game of the 2017 season this Friday night. After a crazy Week 10 that saw some down-to-the-wire games and history made, we head into the final week of the regular season during Week 11. Of note, there are two games on Thursday this week, while the rest finish the regular season on Friday.

Five teams will continue their season after this week, however, as Thompson, Spain Park, Pelham, Briarwood and Calera have all made it to the first round of the playoffs.

Thompson at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (Thursday)

Thompson is coming off an emotional weekend that saw the Warriors beat Hoover for the first time in school history and pick up their first region championship since 1997; but there’s no time for relaxing if they want to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1982.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Thompson will travel to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa to close out the regular season before embarking on a postseason run. Since losing their first two games of the season to Oxford and Oak Mountain, the Patriots have reeled off seven straight wins, winning each game by an average of 22.7 points.

Hillcrest is giving up just 11.7 points per game, meaning the Warriors’ offense will have its work cut out for the second consecutive week. The Patriots won last year’s game 34-23, but this is the best Thompson team in decades and they want to finish the regular season perfect before taking on Huntsville in the first round of the playoffs. Thompson 34 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 17

Spain Park vs. Minor (Thursday)

The struggles continued for Spain Park this past Friday night in a 29-3 blowout loss to Oak Mountain, who had lost five games in a row coming into the rivalry matchup. Braxton Barker looks to be unhealthy and trying to battle it out with his teammates for his senior season, but threw four interceptions in that loss.

Minor is a 6A team that is sitting at 4-5 going into this matchup. Spain Park has enough talent to rebound with a win in this one, as they look to gain some much-needed confidence. Spain Park 24 Minor 13

Oak Mountain vs. Hazel Green

Since the second half against Mountain Brook, Oak Mountain has seemed to have found something. It almost led to a comeback win in that game before falling 31-28 and led to a rivalry rout of the Jags this past Friday, 29-3.

This week, the Eagles get a Hazel Green team that has lost five games in a row in the 6A classification. Oak Mountain will win its second in a row to end the season. Oak Mountain 31 Hazel Green 17

Helena at Pell City

The Huskies have lost seven games in a row after a loss to rival Chelsea, who now has a better record after starting the season 0-7. Helena (1-8, 1-5 region play) will close out the season with a Pell City team that is getting better and better under head coach Keith Etheredge. Helena 14 Pell City 24

Chelsea vs. Cullman

Cullman has been up and down this season, but has won four of its last five games, while the Hornets have won two in a row and are looking to win their third in a row after starting the season 0-7. It should be a tightly contested game that comes down to the wire, but Cullman’s offense will make one play that is the difference. Chelsea 21 Cullman 24

Pelham at John Carroll

Pelham has made it through the tough stretch of its schedule and now ends the regular season with John Carroll before a brutal matchup with Spanish Fort in the first round of the playoffs. The Cavaliers have lost six of seven games and don’t have the defense to keep up with Pelham’s dynamic offense. Pelham 38 John Carroll 20

Briarwood vs. Madison Academy

The Lions currently sit at 9-0 on the season and are looking to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 2007; while Madison Academy has won seven in a row. The Mustangs fell 21-17 last season in this game, and I expect another tight one in 2017. Briarwood 24 Madison Academy 17

Calera vs. Sylacauga

With home field advantage locked up in the first round of the playoffs, the Eagles may rest some starters, which could play a factor, but the Eagles offense has been playing lights out in three straight outscoring opponents 146-30. They’re clicking at the right time. Calera 31 Sylacauga 27

Shelby County vs. Jemison

Shelby County won this game 42-35 in a thriller last year, but Jemison will be looking for redemption in 2017. The Wildcats are coming off a bad loss to Woodlawn and now take on another mediocre team in Jemison, who sits at 3-6. While it’s senior night, the Wildcats are banged up and struggling too much defensively. Shelby County 31 Jemison 38 

Montevallo at Fultondale

After losing five games in a row, the Bulldogs picked up their first region win over Carbon Hill this past Friday, 28-22. The celebration of senior night was great for the players and a great win for the city. This week, however, they take on undefeated Fultondale, who is No. 4 in the 3A classification. The Wildcats are scoring 48 points per game and fiving up just 10.6. Montevallo 7 Fultondale 49

Vincent at Victory Christian 

Vincent felt sincere heartbreak in their loss to Ranburne on Oct. 27, but they’ll get a bounceback win against Victory Christian on Nov. 3. The 1A Lions are 4-5 on the season and have lost three straight games. Even if the Yellow Jackets are still unhealthy, they should win this one easily as they get win number six on the year. Vincent 31 Victory Christian 14