Football travel gets tougher
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
So long to the football rivalry between Hartselle and Cullman.
At least for now.
We’re still a little more than two months away from the opening of the prep football season, but already the revised region alignments are creating plenty of interest. And some financial woes.
Hartselle will be in a reworked region this fall that won’t include rivals Cullman and Brewer.
And when it came time to piece together a schedule, something had to go.
In the case of the Tigers, that meant three rival games, including Austin.
It’s just part of the changing landscape in the regional system that the state implemented several years ago.
If the losses of some attractive matchups had fans concerned, there are some interesting non-region games on the Tigers’ schedule - Chelsea in the season opener and Cordova in a mid-season non-region game.
Cordova is coming off a Class 3A state championship season and the Blue Devils return one of the state’s premier prospects in running back Tim Simon.
There was some favorable news for the Tigers’ schedule on the travel front. Most of the team’s road trips are within an hour of Hartselle.
The same can’t be said for other schools in the area, including Brewer, Danville, Falkville and Priceville.
With gas coming tenuously close to $4 a gallon, the prospect for some long road trips won’t be an easy pill to swallow.
Falkville faces long trips to Oakman, Lamar County and Sulligent for region games the next two years, while Danville will have to face road trips to Carbon Hill, Winfield and Hamilton.
Brewer’s longest trips for region games will be to Walker, Springville and Curry.
Priceville’s schedule features games with North Jackson, certainly the Bulldogs’ longest road trip. But Priceville will also take advantage of a non-region schedule that features three opponents - Falkville, Danville and Brewer - that will keep the team in the county.
And that might be easier on a program’s travel budget, something the state should have considered when the region proposal was first discussed.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org