Predictions: Breaking down Week 6, the midway point

Published 9:43 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Week 5 record: 9-0

Overall record: 34-10

After a few thrilling weeks of region play, we get a break at the midway point of the season as teams will take on non-region opponents in Week 6, before we get back into region play for the home stretch the following week.

The first half of the season has brought us several impressive storylines, including our lone unbeaten team in the Briarwood Lions, as well as several top 10 teams and matchups. It can only get even more exciting with playoff berths on the line in the coming weeks.

There are only a handful of games this week with several choosing to take their bye week this week, but we have a few exciting games nonetheless. Below we predict each.

Pelham vs. Oak Mountain (Game of the Week)

This is an interesting in-county matchup as the Eagles and Panthers will compete against one another for the first time since 2013, a game Pelham, who holds a 10-2 advantage in the series, won 42-41.

One thing is for sure, points should be aplenty in this game. Both teams are scoring right at 32 points per game, while both defenses are giving up more than 25 points per game. If Pelham’s defense can step up on defense to stop Oak Mountain’s option attack, they’ll win this one, but Oak Mountain has shown they can compete with the best 7A teams, I think they bounce back from a tough three-game stretch with a victory. Oak Mountain 42, Pelham 38 

Calera vs. Bibb County

After a difficult trek against 6A teams after the move up a classification, and an 0-4 start to the 2018 season, the Calera Eagles will now get a crack at a 5A team and will be coming off a bye.

This is a matchup Calera has won four years in a row, but sitting at 0-4 this season, it’s hard to know what to expect from the Eagles going into this matchup. Bibb County, sitting at 3-2, has been inconsistent this season showing promise at times and struggling at times, making this game a complete tossup. Calera 27, Bibb County 24

Helena at Southside-Gadsden

Despite losing to Minor last week, Helena finally showed some positives against the Tigers. After falling behind 19-2, the Huskies were able to battle back and make it a one possession game twice, before eventually falling by a final of 26-19.

That second half spurt should carry over into this week’s matchup with Southside-Gadsden, a struggling 5A team that is currently 1-3 on the season. Two of those three losses for Southside came to 4A opponents. With Helena having gained some momentum last week and the Panthers struggling, the Huskies should pick up win number one of the Richie Busby era this Friday. Helena 24, Southside-Gadsden 13

Briarwood at Hartselle

Honestly, I could get away with just putting the word defense in this prediction and it would say all that needs to be said. After a 29-0 thumping of Wenonah last week, Briarwood has now pitched back-to-back shutouts as the No. 1 team and is giving up an average of just three points per game through four games.

They’re now taking on a Hartselle team that should matchup well in this game as the Tigers are in the 6A classification and also have a strong defense that is giving up 13.8 points per game. Neither offense is lighting it up this season, but with Jonah Carroll adding a different dynamic at quarterback, J.R. Tran-Reno has the ability to make plays in the open field now. This should be a low-scoring contest that could go either way, the Lions will just have to keep up with the depth of a 6A team that is undefeated and coming off a bye week. Briarwood 17, Hartselle 20

Shelby County vs. Moody

After an 0-4 start, the Wildcats are finally coming off of a win and in dominant fashion after taking down Marbury 44-18 last week. It was a much-needed win for Shelby County, and the schedule sets up well for a strong run to close the season with four of its final five games against teams with a record under .500.

This week it’s the Moody Blue Devils, who are 1-3 this season and coming off a 41-7 loss to Central-Clay County. All of Moody’s losses have come to extremely talented teams, which makes them better than their record shows. I still need to see more from the Wildcats to be sold on a second-half surge, but if the offense continues playing as good as it did last week, they’ll have a chance. Shelby County 20, Moody 27

Vincent vs. Winterboro

Sitting at 0-4, the schedule has been a beast for the Vincent Yellow Jackets so far this season, and there aren’t any great breaks from difficult opponents the rest of the way either.

Still struggling to score, with an average of 11.5 points per game, paired with a defense that is giving up 48 points per game, the Yellow Jackets are just searching for one complete game on both sides of the ball to gain some momentum. They’ll be taking on a 3-2 Winterboro team this week that isn’t lighting up the scoreboard, but is playing solid defense. Vincent 14, Winterboro 31