Region play kicks off for area teams this weekend
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
All five area teams begin region play this week, and all but Hartselle are at home to face their first region opponent. Hartselle travels to Jasper to face the Curry Yellow Jackets, Priceville entertains Lamar County at home, Sulligent visits Danville, Cleveland takes on Falkville and Russellville travels to Florette to face Brewer. All games are scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday.
Hartselle (1-0) at Curry (1-0)
The Tigers are coming off a hard-fought 28-22 win against Austin last Friday, where sophomore running back Montrel Murphy had an impressive debut with 250 rushing yards. The Black Bears primarily attacked Hartselle through the air, but Tigers head coach Bob Godsey expects Curry to feature a run-oriented attack.
The Yellow Jackets come into their game against Hartselle with a 1-0 record, after defeating 3A Carbon Hill 38-20 last Thursday. Running back Kyle Miller had a career day, collecting 253 yards on 26 carries.
"They're a power running team," he said. "They're going to load it up and bang it right at you, which is a big contrast from the spread formations that Austin was using. Defensively, they're very aggressive and they'll put a lot of guys on the line of scrimmage. They'll dare you to throw the football."
Hartselle's game against Curry is the second of three road games to start to 2005 season. Next week the Tigers visit powerhouse Russellville, but Godsey isn't concerned that his team will be looking past the Yellow Jackets, who were 0-7 in region play last year including a 42-20 loss to Hartselle.
Russellville (1-0) at Brewer (1-0)
Brewer defeated Madison County 28-7 Friday, and now puts its three-game winning streak on the line Friday as it takes on the powerhouse Russellville Golden Tigers. Russellville was 13-2 in 2004, and 7-0 in region play including a 50-6 win over the Patriots.
"We're going to have to play as good as we can possibly play," Brewer coach Billy Coleman said. "And we'll also have to force Russellville to make some mistakes and some turnovers. Like I told our kids, 'If we play our best and they play their best, they're better than us. If we play our worst and they play their worst, they're also better than us.' We've got to play our best and have them make some mistakes."
Russellville opened its season with a 32-16 win over Deshler, the runner-up in the 2004 Class 4A state championship. The Patriots hope to at least be competitive with the potent Golden Tigers.
"You go into every game expecting to win, but I think the big thing for this game is that we want to come out of the game feeling that we've improved," Coleman said.
Sulligent (0-1) at Danville (1-0)
The Hawks might not have been proud of their 6-0 win over Falkville Thursday, but it was still a win.
"Everybody early in the season is going to make some mistakes," Danville coach Joey Burch said. "We've got to hold on the football."
The Hawks face a Sulligent team that started the 2005 season with a 12-7 loss against Class 4A Hamilton. The Blue Devils fell 21-7 to Danville last year.
"We know that Sulligent's a real athletic team," Burch said. "They're kind of young but they have really good skill players. We're going to have to play better this week."
Lamar Co. (0-1) at Priceville (0-1)
The Priceville Bulldogs suffered a close 6-3 loss to Class 3A Hanceville on Friday, and now hope to even their record at home against region opponent Lamar County. Lamar County opened its season with a 20-14 loss to South Lamar.
"Lamar County is very big and athletic, with a lot of speed," Priceville coach Marty Chambers said. "We've got to control the ball, run the clock, and limit their chances to touch the ball. On defense, we've got to be in the right place and be ready to gang tackle."
Priceville's offense scored only three points Friday, but could have had more. Chambers said turnovers at the end of potential scoring drives doomed Priceville's attack and gave Hanceville needed momentum.
"Offensively, we've got to cut out our mistakes," he said. "We had the ball inside our 10-yard line two times and turned it over each time Friday. You just can't do that. We've got to convert on our chances in the red zone."
Cleveland (1-0) at Falkville (0-1)
The Blue Devils were 0-10 in 2004, but have already served notice that they are not a team to take lightly this season. Falkville played Class 3A rival Danville tough before allowing a fourth-quarter touchdown to fall 6-0 to the Hawks.
"(I felt a little) nauseated," Falkville coach Neil Estes said. "We felt like we had let one get away. We couldn't hold on to the football and made some other mistakes that cost us the game. We're trying to fix those things in practice this week."
Falkville will try for its first win of the season against the Panthers of Cleveland, a team who defeated the Blue Devils 22-14 in 2004 – Falkville's closest loss of the season. Cleveland opened its season with a 26-20 win over Class 3A Locust Fork.
"Cleveland's a balanced team with a quarterback who can throw the ball and a big powerful running back," Estes said.
The game Friday is the home opener for the Blue Devils.
"We had great fan support up in Danville and we're hoping to see all those folks again this weekend," Estes said.