Week 11 predictions: Breaking down the final week of regular-season play

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Week 10 record: 7-2

Overall record: 58-21

Wow. That went by fast. The final week of the 2018 regular season is already upon us, and it seems as if it went by in the blink of an eye. With only four teams guaranteed a playoff spot, and Vincent still holding out hope of a tiebreaker, that means the end of the road for six other teams, who hope to go out with a win.

It’s a special week for those six teams, as seniors will be battling to end their careers with a big win as they put on the pads and their respective school’s jersey one final time at the high school level. This is a week that truly represents what the game is about, especially for teams not headed to the postseason. Predictions from our eight games are below (The Thompson/Crestview (Fla.) game has been canceled).

Montevallo vs. Lincoln (Game of the Week)

The final week of the regular season for playoff teams is tough to predict because we don’t know how many teams will rest players, but for Montevallo, I expect as much effort as the team has given throughout its 8-1 season to this point. The Bulldogs are looking to cap off a 9-1 regular season after already gaining home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Lincoln is a solid football team as well, and is coming off three consecutive wins where the Bears gave up no more than 14 points and eight or less in the last two weeks. Overall their defense is giving up just 16.6 points per game. That defense going up against a Montevallo offense scoring 42.8 points per game will be the aspect of this game to watch. If the Bulldogs are able to score, Lincoln’s offense is scoring just 27.6 points per game, which gives Montevallo an advantage. Montevallo 35, Lincoln 28

Spain Park at Shades Valley – Thursday 

Mason Pronk has hit his stride at quarterback for Spain Park in the last two weeks, and the Jags have won each game. Now, the Jaguars will get a 2-7 Shades Valley team this Thursday that resides in Class 6A and has lost five games in a row. With Spain Park’s seniors ready to close the season out with a three-game win streak, I expect a big win by the Jags here. Spain Park 35, Shades Valley 14 

Oak Mountain vs. Center Point

Oak Mountain has lost eight in a row after starting the season 1-0, but the cards seem to stack in their favor this week to close out the 2018 season with a victory. Center Point (5-4) is in the 5A classification, giving Oak Mountain more depth, and is headed to the playoffs a week later. The Eagles, on the other hand, are looking to send the seniors out with a win and actually have something to fight for. Oak Mountain 35, Center Point 14 

Helena vs. Calera 

Calera’s offense is going the wrong way right now with how good Helena’s defense is playing to end the season. The Huskies (3-6) are coming off a difficult 37-7 loss to Pelham in a game for a playoff spot, but overall the team has played well in recent weeks. The Eagles (1-8) have scored just 20 points in their last three games, 10, 3 and 7, respectively, while giving up at least 30 in all three. Helena 24, Calera 10

Chelsea vs. Pell City 

This should be a very interesting matchup. Chelsea sits at 2-7, while Pell City sits at 3-6. The Hornets, however, have won two games in a row, while the Panthers are coming off a 1-6 stretch after starting 2-0. Pell City had an extremely difficult schedule but is only scoring 15 points per game. That’s exactly what the Hornets like to see as a team that has scored 31 and 35 the last two weeks, while also having a strong defense. Chelsea 28, Pell City 24

Briarwood vs. Hueytown

It’s not often Briarwood is the underdog, but that’s the case this week against an 8-1 Hueytown team that resides in Class 6A. With both having home matchups in the first round of the playoffs, it’s hard to determine how long starters for each squad will play in this game, but if they play the duration, both defenses will have an impact. The Golden Gophers are giving up 11.7 points per game, while Briarwood is giving up 7.3 points per game. I do think Hueytown’s offense, however, has more of a chance to make a play to win the game at some point. Briarwood 10, Hueytown 21

Shelby County at St. Clair County

Both of these teams have struggled this season sitting at 2-7, but have reasons for confidence coming into this game. St. Clair is coming off an 18-12 victory against Springville, while the Wildcats have scored 44 points in their last two games, despite losing both by giving up 50 and 53. For the second week in a row, I think Shelby County is the better team, but the Wildcats will be in for a battle to close out the season. Shelby County 35, St. Clair County 28

Vincent at Ashville

Vincent fell to Fayetteville 35-21 a week ago in a game it should have won that would have locked up a playoff spot, but the loss didn’t end up hurting the Yellow Jackets’ playoff chances as the AHSAA notified the school on Monday that they had made the postseason. It marks the first time since 2014 and just the 19th time since the school started playing football 90 years ago. Now, Vincent will get an Ashville team that is two classifications higher, but 1-8 overall this season. I do think the two classifications will impact the game, but I also have a belief in the Yellow Jackets to pick up a win because of the excitement they’ll be playing with knowing they have made the playoffs. Vincent 21, Ashville 20