West Alabama High School Football: Week 3 Preview
Once again, Friday’s slate of high school football didn’t disappoint. Hillcrest and Northridge won their big rivalry games against Tuscaloosa County and Central-Tuscaloosa, respectively. The Green Wave of Gordo move to 2-0, as expected and will begin region play against an Oak Grove team that frankly doesn’t stand a chance.
As for the other teams in west Alabama, talent is filled to the brim. I would argue that this region has just as much talent as any other part of the state.
Every west Alabama team has a divisional opponent this week. Region play has started and the race for the playoffs has now begun.
Last Week’s Record: 4-1
Overall Record: 7-3
Paul Bryant Stampede (0-2, 0-0) @ Northridge Jaguars (2-0, 0-0):
Despite Paul Bryant’s two losses to open the season, the Stampede looks drastically better this season than they have. Unfortunately for the Cottondale program, they have drawn a tough hand with three tough games to start the schedule. Bryant lost to a visiting Sidney Lanier program 33-13. This is the second straight game that the Stampede has allowed 30-plus points.
The Jaguars of Northridge had an interesting week, to say the least. After having to postpone their game with Central last minute to Saturday morning, Northridge still managed to play an almost-perfect game. Not only did their offense look powerful, but their defense looked like they’ll be set for many low-scoring performances by region teams.
Bryant’s Pick: Paul Bryant has a lot of potential in Region 4 this year. Hillcrest will most likely take the division title, but the Stampede can continue to plant seeds for a possible playoff run in the next few seasons. With that being said, Northridge should win this game handily. The holes in Paul Bryant’s defense will be a thorn in the side, and the Jaguars should rack up some serious rushing yardage.
Montevallo Bulldogs (2-0, 0-0) @ American Christian Patriots (1-1, 0-0):
American Christian managed to rebound after a loss to Parker in Birmingham last week by defeating Greensboro 34-20. In reality, the Patriots’ defense only allowed two touchdowns - one touchdown was scored on a field-length scoop-and-score fumble-recovery touchdown. Both allowed touchdowns came in the second half, which could be interpreted as defensive longevity that needs to be improved on.
On the other hand, the Patriots’ offense, led by Sawyer Deerman, looked solid enough to put some points up against Montevallo.
The Bulldogs come into this matchup with an impressive 2-0 record. They are averaging 35.5 points a game on offense, and their average margin of victory is 17 points.
Bryant’s Pick: Well… this is not something I expected to write in 2021, but I’m picking a Montevallo upset. ACA hasn’t looked nearly as good this season. Between a tight loss to Parker and a better 14-point victory over Greensboro, it’s safe to say that the Pats are definitely improving. Still, the Bulldogs are looking better overall. Their high-scoring average and low points-allowed stat lead me to believe that if ACA starts slow, then it could be a tense night in Tuscaloosa, resulting in the first region loss for the Pats since 2017.
Northside Rams (1-1, 0-0) @ Haleyville Lions (1-1, 0-0):
Arguably the most surprising result of Week 2 has to be the 18 point loss to Winfield by the Rams. Northside’s first game against Berry was a rainy, turnover-filled physical victory. Berry was the victim of the turnover bug, but they might have spread it to the Rams - this definitely help their efforts against Winfield. Still, Haleyville will be a nice region-opener for Northside to prepare for the rest of the slate.
The Lions are 1-1, and they are averaging 28 points a game. Their defense hasn’t looked great, allowing 25.5 points, and if Northside can take advantage of this, then the Rams could see a lot of scoring opportunities.
Bryant’s Pick: Northside’s loss Friday was tough, but as I have stated prior, doesn’t matter for the playoff race. Now that region play has started, I’m expecting full steam ahead for the Rams. I’m predicting a big Northside victory to make their series 4-0 over the Lions.
Thompson Warriors (2-0, 0-0) @ Tuscaloosa County Wildcats (1-1, 0-0):
Like Paul Bryant, the County High Wildcats have a tough stretch of games to start the season. The victory at Paul Bryant was a good start to get an early win, but T-County hit a brick wall against Hillcrest. Quarterback Brad Garrison has looked great so far, like most of the team, but the Patriots are a good football team. Now, the Wildcats have to play another tough game - the No. 1 7A team in Alabama, Thompson.
I have made it known on Tide 100.9 that I am a Thompson alumnus. That being said, I will put bias aside for this game, but let’s face it - Thompson is an absolute machine. In the past two games, the Warriors have won 55-0 against both Oxford and Sparkman - 110 points score and zero points allowed in two games. To put that in perspective, it took T-County six games to score over one hundred points.
Bryant’s Pick: Most of the staff at Tide, including myself, are very high on Adam Winegarden and the potential that his Wildcats team has in the next few years. Still, we are in the middle of a dynasty run by the Warriors. Tuscaloosa County will score, especially by Garrison, but Thompson should win this in a landslide.
Central-Tuscaloosa Falcons (1-1, 0-0) @ Demopolis Tigers (0-2, 0-0):
In the words of former Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson, the Central Falcons have been a “tale of two halves.” Week one featured a 58-0 victory over Holt, but the Falcons looked slow against Northridge. Sure, Central scored 16 points, but they were essentially garbage-time touchdowns. Regardless, I don’t think that we have seen the true talent of Central yet. That can start this week in Demopolis.
The Tigers are 9-0 against Central and are usually one of the best teams in 5A Region 3. In 2021, though, Demopolis is 0-2. Both losses have been by five or fewer points. Scoring around 25 points a game is perfectly acceptable, but allowing 28.5 points isn’t great.
Bryant’s Pick: Central can definitely win this game if they score early in the game, but I’m not sure how likely this is. Demopolis will take this game for their first win of the season. Luckily for the Falcons, their bye week is next week, so they can regroup and get ready for Marbury on Sept. 17.
Tuscaloosa Academy @ Ft. Dale Academy
Pickens County @ Hubbertville
Hale County @ Montgomery Academy
Sipsey Valley @ Shelby County
Wilcox Central @ Holt
Oakgrove @ Gordo
Hillcrest @ Brookwood