Great run by Tigers
The greatest win streak in the history of Hartselle football came to a halt Friday night, when Decatur upset the No. 1 Tigers 21-14.
We all knew it had to end some time, but I’m still a bit in shock just because I’ve forgotten how to cover a game in which the team I’m covering lost. It’s not near as much fun, but I’ll take my 19-1 mark here at the Enquirer.
Probably what caught up with Hartselle is the schedule. When you play three rivalry games back-to-back – Athens, Cullman and Decatur – plus a trip to new No. 1 Muscle Shoals, it’s impossible to think you can get through that stretch unscathed.
The good news is that losing to Decatur doesn’t affect the region record. HHS is still tied with Muscle Shoals for first place in the region. And Hartselle could become better team following this loss for its run through the rest of its Region 8 schedule.
Speaking of the showdown with Muscle Shoals, don’t count out the Tigers. This will likely be a defensive struggle, similar to the state championship game with Vigor last season.
This Hartselle team has been battle tested and should give the Trojans their toughest game of the year.
Falkville continues to impress
It’s been a great year for coach Joel Schrenk and the Blue Devils, staring 5-0 for the first time since 1992.
What probably been the most amazing thing to watch is how Falkville’s defense has been playing. They’ve shut out their last three opponents in the second half, allowing them to pull away. The road gets tougher from here as they face Donoho, Addison and No. 4 Ragland. Donoho’s only loss came to No. 8 Collinsville. Addison is always tough and Ragland has been close to winning the north for the last few years.
Fortunately, after this week, the Blue Devils will get a bye week to prepare for their stretch run.
Bell delivers in the clutch
Nick Bell has been a clutch player for the Priceville Bulldogs. He pulled Priceville through this past weekend, hitting a late field goal to beat Danville.
Last year, his performance got him listed in the state record book for one of the best single-game receiving performances.
Bell is currently being recruited as a college kicker. Congratulations to him.
Priceville has a chance to win some games down the stretch after a brutal region schedule to start the season and could finish with a 5-5 or 6-4 record.
All is not lost for Danville. The Hawks still have an outside chance to make the playoffs, but they must win three of their last four region games to have a shot.
Chizik needs win streak
The first part of the Auburn football schedule was as tough of a schedule as an team has played. The result has been a 1-3 record, including a close loss against then No. 2 LSU.
The key for head coach Gene Chizik is to finish the season well. They should be able to win about six of the next eight games, but with as bad as Auburn’s offense has looked, no win is guaranteed.
By winning all six of those games, 7-5 doesn’t look bad, but no one has any confidence that the program is heading in the right direction.
If Auburn loses to Arkansas, however, the Tigers might finish 0-8 in the SEC. If that happens, Chizik will not survive the season. So this weekend’s game is the most important of the season.
The best way for Chizik to gain the confidence of the fan base is to win out. That would include upsets of Alabama and Georgia, but realistically, Chizik cannot afford to fall to 1-3 against those rivals, especially since the Tigers have to travel to UGA and Alabama shows no signs of slowing down. And he already owns a 1-3 mark against LSU.
It’s time for Chizik to show he belongs among the best in college football.
Alabama rolls on
While Alabama hasn’t been perfect in the first five weeks, they look like the team to beat again this year. LSU and the SEC East champion may have something to say about that later, but the Crimson Tide has been in control since Day 1 of this season.
Granted the schedule hasn’t been challenging so far, but they haven’t struggled near as much as their fellow SEC top 10 teams have in similar matchups.
The Tide has looked sluggish at times on offense and hasn’t been able to run the ball when they want to. When they’re in rhythm, no one can stop Alabama’s offense and they’ll put up a bunch of points in a short period of time.
The defense is as good as advertised. They have allowed teams to drive on them, but they’ve been very opportunistic in creating turnovers.
The one area of concern has been injuries. They now have five serious injuries including running backs Jalston Folwer and Dee Hart. They are down to just three scholarship running backs, but they still have plenty of talent with Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake. Also Brent Callaway and Blake Sims could help fill that void.
If anyone can overcome these injuries, Alabama has the depth and talent to do it.