A close look at Cornerstone’s 2020 football schedule

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

COLUMBIANA – As we approach the 2020 football season, teams have returned to start workouts and conditioning to prepare for the 2020 season, which means it’s time to also start breaking down and taking a close look at each team’s schedule, starting with the Cornerstone Chargers.

Coming off a 2-9 season last year, Cornerstone had its share of struggles, but wins in two of the final four games to slide into the playoffs gave the Chargers something to build off of heading into the fourth year under head coach James Lee.

Last year, the Chargers lost a couple of close games out of the gate by 15 points or less, but the next few weeks saw a more difficult path against some of the AISA’s best teams, which sparked a 0-6 start.

This year’s schedule, however, will be a bit more manageable for the Chargers, who will now reside in Class A, Region 1, instead of Region 2.

With that change, seven of Cornerstone’s nine opponents this year had a record of .500 or less, while only one region opponent had a record above .500 during the 2019 season.

And the good news for the Chargers is that they’ll get their two toughest games out of the way within the first month of the season.

It will start on Aug. 28 when Cornerstone welcomes Banks academy to Columbiana. The two have never met before, while Banks is coming off a 6-4 season last year, which marked their first season with a team.

Following that game, the Chargers will host Lakeside on Sept. 4 for their first region game of the season.

That will mark an important early-season opportunity for Cornerstone, as they’ll take on a Lakeside team that went 2-8 a season ago and lost 49-0 in the first round of the playoffs. A win in that and a quick 1-0 start in region play would be a big momentum boost.

Another reason that will be key is because the following week on Sept. 11 will not only mark the first road game of the season for the Chargers, but also their toughest matchup as they travel to take on Crenshaw Christian for their second region contest.

Crenshaw finished last season 10-1 after losing in the semifinals of the playoffs by three points. The Cougars also beat Cornerstone 49-0 in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

That will lead into a non-region matchup against Snook Christian on Sept. 18, who didn’t field a team last year and last went 2-10 in 2018.

Cornerstone will then have another great chance to pick up a region win on Sept. 25 when they come back home to host Abbeville. The Generals went 3-8 last year with a 42-6 loss to Southern Academy in the first round of the playoffs.

Following that, the Chargers will have another scheduled region matchup on Oct. 2, as they travel to county foe Coosa Valley on Oct. 2. The Rebels didn’t field a full AISA team last year, but played a few eight-man games and will look to try and get back to the AISA for the upcoming season.

The Chargers will then head out on the road for a second consecutive week on Oct. 9, when they travel to Springwood for a non-region matchup with Springwood.

Last year, that was one of the tight early game for Cornerstone, eventually losing to the Wildcats 35-20 in week two of the season. But Springwood went on to lose 7 of its next nine games, including five in a row, after a 2-0 start to finish the season at 4-7.

Following a bye week on Oct. 16, Cornerstone will close out region play with a road trip to Lowndes Academy on Oct. 23.

Lowndes finished last season 5-5 with a first-round loss in the playoffs, which marked a 2-4 record in its final six games. The two schools have only met twice with Lowndes winning both in 2004 and 2005.

Then, the Chargers will end the regular season a week later at home on Oct. 30 with a matchup against Hooper Academy, who finished last season with a 2-7 record. It will mark the first matchup between the two schools.