Chelsea announces 2024 football schedule for return to Class 6A

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After two years in Class 7A, the Chelsea Hornets are back in Class 6A, Region 3 and have announced their schedule for their return to the classification in 2024.

In addition to their new region opponents, the Hornets will keep their rivalry alive with Oak Mountain and face Elmore County, Wetumpka and Paul W. Bryant in non-region play as well.

Chelsea will start the 2024 season with back-to-back home games, the first coming against the Elmore County Panthers on August 23 in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

The Panthers were a playoff team last year in Class 5A as they finished with an 8-3 record in Region 4 before losing to Faith Academy in the first round.

The Hornets will then welcome the Wetumpka Indians on August 30 for their final game before the start of region play.

Chelsea is 1-3 all-time against Wetumpka, but their last meeting was in 2017. The Indians made the Class 6A playoffs in 2023 with a 5-6 record and lost to Helena in the first round.

From there, the Hornets will kick off region play against the Pelham Panthers on September 6.

This is the second straight season that Chelsea has made the trip to face their county foe after Pelham won last year’s meeting 27-7. However, this season’s matchup will have playoff stakes early in region play.

The Hornets will take their bye week in Week 4, and afterwards, they will face the Calera Eagles at home on September 20.

Chelsea will host Calera for the second straight season after beating the Eagles 38-24 in 2023, and also for the second year in a row, Calera will have a new head coach in Scott Rials.

After two games of region play, the Hornets will travel to Paul W. Bryant on September 27 to battle the Stampede in a non-region matchup.

Paul Bryant is in the middle of a rebuild under second-year coach John McKenzie and went 3-7 during the 2023 season.

Chelsea will resume region play on October 4 with a visit from the Chilton County Tigers.

Chilton County has struggled over the last few seasons as they haven’t had a winning record since 2019 and will have a new head coach in 2024.

Then, the Hornets will have a quick turnaround for a Thursday night rivalry game against the Spain Park Jaguars on the road on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Both Chelsea and Spain Park dropped from Class 7A in the latest round of reclassification and had a tight battle in region play last season. The Jags won 38-21 after the Hornets kept the matchup close for most of the game.

From there, Chelsea will close region play with a pair of big matchups, first with their final home game of the regular season against Helena on October 18.

The Hornets are 5-5 all-time against the Huskies after meeting every year for the past 10 years. However, this is the first time the matchup has carried region stakes since 2019, so Chelsea will have even more motivation to earn its first win in the series since 2020.

The Hornets’ final region matchup of the season will come against the Benjamin Russell Wildcats on the road on October 25.

This will be the first matchup between the teams since 2017, and Chelsea will look to earn its first win over the Wildcats since 2006 to close its region slate on a high note.

Finally, the Hornets will finish out the regular season with the latest edition of a highly competitive county rivalry with the Oak Mountain Eagles on November 1.

Chelsea has won each of the last two meetings between the teams, including a thrilling 21-13 game at home in 2023. Now, the Hornets will hope to make it three straight wins when the teams square off at Heardmont Park in 2024.