Predictions: Taking a look at Week 4 in the county

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Week 3 record: 6-4

Overall record: 17-9

Last week was a 3-11 week for our local Shelby County teams. Not the exciting start to region play most of our teams wanted, but with Week 4 comes a new opportunity for each team.

While there will be some difficult matchups for many of our local teams, who will be taking on top 10 teams, each has a game they should be able to compete in as they’ll look to improve to 2-0 or 1-1 in region play. Below we predict each of the games that will take place this week.

Thompson vs. Oak Mountain (Game of the Week) 

Oddly, despite both teams coming off of difficult losses, Oak Mountain and Thompson each have reasons for confidence heading into the second week of region play this Friday.

While the Eagles lost to No. 7 Hewitt-Trussville 51-47, they showed they could bounce back from a 28-7 deficit, that they could compete against a big and physical team, and that they could score a lot of points for the second game in a row.

Thompson fell to rival and No. 2 Hoover by a final of 45-26, and while that seemed lopsided, they had a chance in the fourth quarter to make it a four-point game with seven minutes remaining. An early mistake and a deficit of 21-0 were the reasons for the loss, but the defense improved in front of our eyes, and Taulia Tagovailoa continued to wow us with his 474 yards passing and four touchdowns.

With both team’s catching fire on offense to start the season, I would expect another high-scoring game in this one. Thompson’s defense is improving, but was dreadful at stopping the run last week, which is what Oak Mountain does extremely well.

I do think the Warriors will come out with a point to make on defense and won’t struggle as much running sideline to sideline, so the game will come down to how the Eagles handle that and how their defense responds to giving up 51 points.

In the grand scheme of things, I think Thompson is still the second best team in the state, and while I am very confident in Oak Mountain right now, especially the Eagles’ chances at the postseason, the Warriors’ offense is just to much in this one. Thompson 49, Oak Mountain 21

Spain Park at Mountain Brook

What a big game this has turned into for the Spain Park Jaguars. Having lost back-to-back games, including a difficult region game to Vestavia last week, the Jags have to win this game with their toughest games still ahead, or the playoffs will already be a longshot through just two weeks of region play.

Their last two losses have come in the final minutes in games they should have and could have easily won. Now it comes down to how they will respond. Mountain Brook is 3-0 and inside the top 10 now, which makes it tough to go against them right now. They’re riding confidence and Spain Park is reeling. While I still think the Jags are the better team, they’ll have to prove it to me on Friday. Spain Park 20, Mountain Brook 27

Pelham vs. Minor

It was a tough setback for the Pelham Panthers in Week 3. After scoring 43.5 points per game in their first two contests, the Panthers were held to just seven points by the Homewood defense to drop their region opener.

While it was a difficult loss, they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to get their confidence back in Week 4. It marks the first home game for Pelham this season, who will be taking on an 0-3 Minor team that has scored no more than 15 points per game. I expect the Panthers to bounce back easily this week. Pelham 35, Minor 14

Calera at Stanhope Elmore

The first year in Class 6A is proving to be a monster for the Calera Eagles, who are now 0-3 after a loss to No. 1 Wetumpka last week. It hasn’t been an easy schedule to start the year, but they’ll have chances to gain confidence, starting this week.

While the Eagles will have a chance against Stanhope Elmore this week, it will be tough yet again. Sitting at 2-1, the Mustangs are coming off a shutout against Benjamin Russell and have yet to give up more than 19 points in a game this season. With Calera’s offense struggling having scored just 21 points in the last two games and 24 total in the last two games and three quarters, I don’t see them posting enough points to win this game. Stanhope Elmore 27, Calera 17 

Chelsea at Jackson-Olin 

An 0-3 Chelsea team is showing improvement each week, especially on offense behind quarterback Turner Griffin, but this week, they’ll get a 3-0 Jackson-Olin team that has a strong chance to win the Class 6A, Region 5 championship. The Mustangs’ defense has given up no more than 15 points this season, and while the Hornets are improving on offense, that will be the difference. Chelsea 13, Jackson-Olin 28

Helena vs. Homewood 

The biggest positive for Helena in this game is that the Huskies will be coming off a bye week, giving them extra time to study and prepare for this contest. While that may make it closer than it might be on paper, this Homewood team is riding too much confidence. The Patriots just beat a very good Pelham team 27-7 and have given up just an average of 10.3 points per game, while Helena is only scoring 10 per game. Helena 7, Homewood 28

Briarwood at Woodlawn

This is a pretty easy one to pick. While Briarwood’s offense has yet to score more than 19 points this season and needs some improvement, their ground game has been extremely successful and the defense has been even better. Having given up just six points in each of their first two games, the Lions will now take on a Woodlawn team that hasn’t scored a point in its last two games. Briarwood 28, Woodlawn 0

Shelby County at Bibb County

The Wildcats are struggling to say the least right now. Sitting at 0-3, the offense has failed to score points in two games this year, and has a season total of two, while the defense has progressively gotten worse. The good news? They are in a favorable region and can turn the season around with one win. They’ll have chances and take on an average to below average Bibb County team this week, but have to show proof of improvement for me to pick them again. Shelby County 13, Bibb County 17

Montevallo at Jemison

The hottest team in the county and our only team at 3-0, the Bulldogs are barking up a storm right now. For the third time this season, Montevallo will be taking on a team currently in the 5A classification. Jemison, however, is 0-3 on the season, giving up an average of 35.3 points per game. With the Bulldogs’ offense clicking, I expect them to eventually run away in this one as well. Montevallo 31, Jemison 14