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Balance a key for Hartselle's offense

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
If there is one facet to the Hartselle offense that has helped it be successful during the 2006 season, it has been the fact that the Tigers are extremely balanced in their attack.
Through nine games, Hartselle has scored 18 rushing touchdowns and 18 passing touchdowns.
The yardage totals have also been extremely close — Hartselle has 1,550 passing yards and 1,338 rushing yards. That balance has allowed the Tigers to average 6.28 yards per offensive play, compared to 5.24 yards per offensive play in the 2005 season.
That balance proved itself in Hartselle’s win over West Point, as the Tigers scored three touchdowns rushing and three touchdowns passing. Over the course of the season, five different players have scored at least one receiving touchdown and four different players have scored at least one rushing touchdown.
In high school football, where many teams have an offense that is one-dimensional, the Tigers have proven that they can toss the pigskin as well as they run it. It’s a big reason why Hartselle is 8-1 heading into the last game of the season.
Here’s this week’s picks:
Huntsville Panthers (6-3) at Hartselle Tigers (8-1): Both teams are headed for the playoffs, so it is hard to get a bead on this game since they’ll be trying to avoid injuries. Huntsville has a pair of Division I prospects at wide receiver in Quindarius Carr and A.J. Walker, while Hartselle has a balanced offensive attack of its own and has been strong defensively against the pass (just 103.8 yards per game) so far this season. I’ll go with the Tigers in a close one…Tigers 31, Panthers 28.
Priceville Bulldogs (5-4) at Falkville Blue Devils (5-4): This is a battle of two programs that appear headed in the right direction. After going 0-10 two seasons ago, the Falkville Blue Devils are headed to the playoffs for the second straight year. Priceville came close to making it, but the best the Bulldogs can do is finish the season with a winning record after going .500 last year. I think Priceville accomplishes just that…Bulldogs 35, Blue Devils 20.
Arab Knights (3-6) at Brewer Patriots (2-7): The past two seasons, Brewer has finished with a 2-8 regular season record. If the Patriots want to improve on that mark, they’ll have to beat a Knights team that is out of the playoff hunt in Region 7…Knights 27, Patriots 21.
Danville Hawks (1-8) at Speake Bulldogs (8-1): The Hawks hope to close the regular season on a positive note with two straight wins, but Speake is a tough customer. The Bulldogs are having one of the best seasons in their school’s history, including a win over perennial powerhouse Hazlewood…Bulldogs 24, Hawks 10.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-7, 0-5 in SEC) at Alabama Crimson Tide (6-3, 2-3): Sylvester Croom’s charges could give a slow-starting Alabama team fits early. But in the end the talent gap between the Tide and the Bulldogs is just too great for the visitors to overcome…Crimson Tide 31, Bulldogs 14.
Auburn Tigers (8-1) at Arkansas State Indians (5-3): As long as the Tigers don’t clam up at seeing “Arkansas” on the schedule, they should be fine…Tigers 45, Indians 7.
North Carolina Tar Heels (1-7) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1): Both head coaches in this game have Super Bowl rings (UNC’s John Bunting won one as co-defensive coordinator with the Rams in 2000, while Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis has four). However, only one will still have a job with his team following this season…Fighting Irish 42, Tar Heels 10.

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