Week 10 predictions: Final week of region play features big games

Published 7:32 pm Sunday, October 16, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Week 9 record: 10-2

Overall record: 69-23

The final week of region play is upon us and it couldn’t be much bigger with five games having some sort of postseason implication.

Thompson/Hoover, which can be read in a separate prediction story here, Helena/Benjamin Russell, Vincent/Thorsby, Montevallo/American Christian and Pelham/Chilton County will all either determine a region champion, a playoff spot or playoff seeding.

In addition to that, there are several other exciting matchups that should make for one of the best weeks of the season. 

Spain Park vs. Oak Mountain

 These two teams are looking to end the season with any sort of momentum, and while they haven’t had the most successful of seasons, that won’t mean a thing when these two rivals meet. Separated by 2 miles, both want this game desperately for bragging rights. The two offenses have struggled so far this season with Oak Mountain scoring 14.6 points per game and Spain Park scoring 17.4 points per game, but the Jaguars have played better defensively at 27.8 points per game compared to 33.4 points per game from the Eagles. The talent on that side of the ball and being on their home field should ultimately make a difference, while they have slightly more experience on the offensive side as well. Spain Park 20, Oak Mountain 14 

Chelsea at Hewitt-Trussville 

It’s the final game of Chelsea’s first season as a Class 7A team, and the Hornets get a challenging matchup against Hewitt-Trussville. Chelsea has lost five in a row to fall to 1-8 on the season and has lost the last three by a combined 125-31. Most importantly going into this one is that the offense is scoring 15.1 points per game going up against a defense that is giving up 17.9 per game and has given up 17 or less in all but two games. Don’t put it past Chelsea to leave it all on the field and make this one close, but the difference between their offense and Hewitt’s defense seems to be too much to overlook. Chelsea 10, Hewitt-Trussville 35 

Helena vs. Benjamin Russell 

Following last week’s four-overtime loss to Calera, there is no time for Helena to sulk. The Huskies have to respond this week in a crucial matchup against Benjamin Russell. With a win, they get the two seed in the region and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, while the margin between second and fourth is razor thin. The Huskies are scoring 32.8 points per game and giving up 23.1, while the Wildcats are scoring 31.4 and giving up 16.3. Benjamin Russell tends to battle in low-scoring games, while Helena has given up 28 or less in every game aside from last week. The Huskies have now played in three overtime games and have had six games in a row decided by 10 points or less, while the Wildcats have had three of the last five decided by 10 or less. It’s safe to say this one should be close. That said, I really like the way Dalton Lewellyn has come along, while Jordan Washington and AJ Horstead are a dynamic one-two punch in a physical and low-scoring game. Helena 21, Benjamin Russell 17

Pelham at Chilton County

There is still a chance Pelham can earn home field advantage in the first round and get the two seed if the Panthers win this week and Helena loses. That said, the Panthers enter off a 28-0 loss to region champion Homewood last week and will have to bounce back against a much-improved Chilton County team. The Tigers are scoring 23.1 points per game and giving up 29.1 points per game, but they have lost five of the last six to fall to 3-5 on the season. Pelham is scoring just 22.8 points per game, but the defense is giving up 23.8 points per game and has been consistent all season. With Chilton scoring 14 or less in three of the last four, the Tigers have gone the wrong way offensively and have scored 29 or less in the last six. Pelham’s defense has to be ready to capitalize on that. Pelham 28, Chilton County 21 

Briarwood at Homewood

Well, for the first time in 29 years, the Briarwood Lions will not be heading to the playoffs. That said, they have a chance to finish region play with a bang. Homewood locked up the region title a week ago, but this game is a rivalry game that both will want desperately, which makes it easier for the Lions to find a way to get up for this game. Briarwood has been on the verge all season, and that’s something that flies under the radar. The Lions have lost three in a row by 10 or less and all four region losses have come by 10 or less with three by three points or less. This team could very easily be playing for a region championship this week had the cards fallen differently. It’s a talented team that is coming off one of its best defensive games of the season and the seniors will be ready for one last run at the Patriots. That said, Homewood is scoring three more points per game than Briarwood and giving up eight less. It will likely be a lower-scoring, physical battle, but the Patriots have won more of those the last few weeks. Homewood 31, Briarwood 24

Calera vs. Gadsden City

It has been a chaotic two weeks for the Calera Eagles with a combined seven overtimes. Coming off a 52-51 four-overtime win last week against Helena and a triple-overtime victory against Briarwood a week earlier, the Eagles will now host Gadsden City in what should be a thrilling non-region game. Calera has lost all four of its games by 17 or less this season and two by 10 or less, showing how close they also were to a special season. Gadsden City, however, is also on the upswing. The Titans have won three in a row and have scored 53 and 55 in back-to-back shutouts, while they’ve given up seven or less in the three-game win streak. Calera’s offense has really found a rhythm lately, and they’ll have to make sure that continues this week to have a chance, especially with the defense coming off an exhausting game. With Amari Brundidge, Daniel Brown, Preston Stokes and Braylyn Farrington all seemingly clicking at the moment and fresh off two of their biggest 6A wins ever, I think they at least have a chance to make it three in a row. Calera 35, Gadsden City 31

Shelby County at Rehobeth

The Shelby County Wildcats have now lost four in a row after their 3-1 start and are officially out of the playoff picture following last week’s 35-14 loss to Marbury. Now, they’ll look to end the season with some momentum for next year, and that starts with a road trip to 2-6 Rehobeth this week. Both teams have struggled offensively with the Wildcats scoring 11.4 points per game and Rehobeth scoring 18.1 points per game, while both have solid defenses. That should lead to a lower scoring game, but Shelby County’s offense is at a point where it will have to prove it can make a difference after scoring 23 or less in every game and 14 or less in all but two. Shelby County 14, Rehobeth 20

Montevallo vs. American Christian

The postseason hopes boil down to this one for Montevallo. The Bulldogs not only have to beat region-leading American Christian, who is 6-0 in the region and 7-2 overall, but they have to hope for Hale County to beat Sipsey Valley as well. That’s a lot that has to go right, but a win over the Patriots would be massive for this program regardless and truly show the growth of this team during a challenging season at times. Montevallo’s defense is giving up 18.1 points per game and may be what keeps this one tight for a while, but the Bulldogs have just struggled too much on offense. American Christian is giving up just 17.9 points per game on the season, while Montevallo is scoring 17.6. The Patriots have given up 12 or less in the last three in a row and 14 or less in all but three. Montevallo 13, American Christian 31

Vincent vs. Thorsby

One last hurdle stands in the way of Vincent earning the two seed in the region and home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. After a huge 49-42 win against Thorsby last week, the Yellow Jackets will host Thorsby this week looking to lock up the two seed and avoid a three-way tie for the final three spots in the region. The good news for the Jackets is that Thorsby lost to the other top teams in the region, falling to B.B. Comer 44-16, a team Vincent lost to by one, and falling to Isabella 59-30, a team the Jackets just beat by seven. That tells you that Vincent should enter as the favorite, but it all depends on focus. The Yellow Jackets have scored 48.2 points per game and are giving up 15.3 points per game, which gives them at least an advantage of 10 points per game on both sides. Should the focus be there, the score will reflect that. Vincent 49, Thorsby 28

Cornerstone vs. Evangel Montgomery

Following two straight losses, the Cornerstone Chargers have responded in a big way with back to back wins to improve to 5-2 on the season. They are playing lights out on offense and averaging 42.3 points per game right now. Going up against an Evangel Montgomery team that has given up 36.1 points per game this season, the Chargers should continue to have success on offense this week. If they win or by how much depends on the defense showing up. The Chargers have responded after giving up 50 or more three weeks in a row by giving up 22 and 16 the last two weeks. That has to continue this week. Cornerstone 48, Evangel Montgomery 34

Coosa Valley vs. Southern Academy 

Coming off a bye week, Coosa Valley will be looking to add a second win this season after a 1-7 start. The Rebels are scoring just 5.6 points per game and now get Southern Christian, who is giving up 33.7 points per game. This is a chance for the Rebels to score some points, but it’s something that will have to be proven. The defense should be able to keep this game tight, and it will likely be lower scoring, but the Rebels will need to make up 19 points on the offensive side from an average standpoint for the two teams to win. Coosa Valley 15, Southern Academy 20

Evangel vs. Carolina

It was another dominant week for the Evangel Lightning last week in a 54-7 win against Southern Christian. Now, the Lightning will get the Carolina Wildcats from South Carolina. Sitting at 8-0, Evangel has been dominant on both sides of the ball, but the defense has played particularly well for 8-man football and will get a Carolina team that has scored 14 or less in a three-game losing streak. Expect Evangel to roll to 9-0. Evangel 50, Carolina 14