Helena releases 2019 football schedule

Published 5:47 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – The start of a new high school football season is still months away, but Helena High School parents, fans and students can go ahead and mark their calendars for dates this fall, as the Huskies released their schedule for the 2019 season.

The Huskies’ 2019 schedule will almost mirror its schedule from a season ago as Helena prepares for season No. 2 under head coach Richie Busby.

After starting the 2018 season 0-4, Helena rallied to win four of its final six games, including wins over Southside Gadsden, Chelsea, Carver Birmingham and Calera. The win over Chelsea was the first in school history.

Despite rallying to finish the season 4-6, Helena narrowly missed a spot in the playoffs after compiling a 2-4 record in Class 6A Region 5, which was good for a fifth-place finish.

The 2018 season was a drastic improvement from 2017, as the Huskies improved their win total from just one to four games. In 2019, Helena will look to continue to make strides under Busby in an attempt to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Let’s take a look at which opponents Helena will face in 2019:

For the second straight season, Helena will open with the McAdory Yellow Jackets on Friday, Aug. 23. The Yellow Jackets have made the playoffs every year since 1997 under head coach David Powell. McAdory defeated Helena 35-13 last year and fell in the second round of the playoffs to Spanish Fort. The Huskies will look to avenge the loss at home this season.

Next up, Helena will travel to take on Hueytown on a rare Thursday night game on Aug. 29. The Golden Gophers are coming off a strong 9-3 season where they won the Class 6A Region 4 championship. Last season, Hueytown defeated Helena 28-7 in an unusual two-day game that ended on Saturday due to inclement weather postponing the game on Friday night.

Following a bye week on Sept. 6, Helena will travel to Homewood to kick off area play against the Patriots who finished second in the Class 6A Region 5 standings last season. The Huskies should have this game circled as it was the largest margin of defeat for Helena a season ago, losing to Homewood by 42.

Following Homewood, the next three games will be crucial for Helena’s season, as the Huskies have three opportunities to get wins at home starting with Minor on Sept. 20, Southside Gadsden for homecoming on Sept. 27 and Chelsea on Oct. 4. Last season, Helena defeated Southside Gadsden and Chelsea both by seven points and fell to Minor by seven points. The area games against Minor and Chelsea could have a big impact down the stretch for Helena’s chances of making the playoffs.

Following the Chelsea game, Helena will travel to Carver Birmingham on Oct. 11 and Jackson-Olin on Oct. 18. Last season, the Huskies shut out Carver Birmingham 16-0 and nearly pulled a big upset over Jackson-Olin before falling 22-16 in overtime. The Mustangs went on to finish the regular season undefeated before falling to Decatur in the first round of the playoffs.

Rounding out area play will be a big matchup between crosstown rival Pelham at home on Oct. 25 for senior night. The rivalry game will be a big one for Helena’s program, as the Huskies are currently 0-3 all-time against the Panthers.

Closing out the regular season will be a road game against Calera on Nov. 1. Helena defeated the Eagles 28-14 at home last season.

As the Huskies attempt a run at the playoffs in 2019, it should be noted that Helena improved on both sides of the ball in 2018 when it came to scoring averages.

Offensively, Helena averaged 15.4 points per game which was good for a three-point increase from its 12.4 points per game average in 2017.

After giving up 29.4 points per game on defense in 2017, Helena dramatically improved in 2018, allowing just 23.8 points per game.

Before Helena suits up this fall, the Huskies will participate in a spring game against Childersburg on Friday, May 17.

For more information on Helena High School football, visit Podcasts.shelbyed.k12.al.us/hlhs-athletics/huskies-football/.