Special to the Enquirer/Mariann Parker The Hartselle Tigers prepare for their opening week matchup during an intra-squad scrimmage Aug. 16.

High school football kicks off: Week Zero games to watch

The 2019 high school football season kicks off this week for all but two teams in Morgan County. Here are the five games involving local teams. Records will be from the 2018 season.

Hartselle (11-1) at Austin (7-4)

When: Aug. 23, 7 p.m.

Where: Austin Football Stadium, Austin High School

Hartselle enters this year under the guidance of new head coach Bo Culver. The Tigers returns five starters from last year’s team and will be looking for players to emerge and lead the 2019 team. 

On offense, Hartselle will start a junior, Cal George, at quarterback following the graduation of Luke Godsey. Replacing all-state athlete Keondre Swoopes, who is playing at UAB, will be senior Brinten Barkley. 

On defense, the Tigers return three starters in linebackers Jackson Boyer, a Navy commitment, Drew Cartee and safety Addison Parker.

Austin enters the game looking to improve on the 2018 season, which ended with a shut-out loss to Mountain Brook in the first round of the state playoffs. 

On offense the Black Bears return quarterback Quincy Crittendon, who split time with Kulyn Hubbard last season. Also returning on offense with be Tre Shackleford, Austin’s leading receiver in 2018. On defense, the Black Bears’ strength will be in their secondary, with safeties Tarik Sykes and Jaylon Barrett to go along with cornerback J.T. Johnson.

Hartselle won the 2018 game 24-17. The Tigers lead the all-time series against the Black Bears 30-21-1.

Falkville (11-1) at Danville (0-10)

When: Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

Where: Smith-Owens Stadium, Danville High School

Falkville enters the season under new head coach Tyler Mitchell. The Blue Devils will be looking to build off last year’s record-breaking season, when they lost in the second round of the state playoffs to Pickens County. 

Falkville returns five starters on offense and six on defense from last season, including second-team all-state Christian Angulo. FHS will be replacing all-state performers Aaron Dove, Fred Walls and Noah Holmes. 

Danville is looking for its first win since defeating Cold Springs in the final game of 2017. Coach Shannon McGregory returns for his second season leading the Hawks.
They will be changing from a run-oriented offense to more of a spread passing attack. The Hawks will have a new starting quarterback in senior Luke Nail, who transferred from Madison Academy. He was named as a 5A second-team all-state performer for the Mustangs in 2018.

Falkville won the 2018 game 54-7. Danville leads the all-time series 27-17.

Decatur (7-5) at Huntsville (3-7)

When: Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.

Where: Milton Frank Stadium

Coach Jere Adcock enters his 24th season as head coach of the Red Raiders, who are looking to build upon their success from a year ago. They enter the season with four returning starters on offense and six on defense. 

Decatur’s offense will be led by quarterbacks Turner Stepp and Grayson Vermeire. The strength of their defense will be in the secondary with four returning starters led by Cole Cagle. 

Decatur defeated Huntsville 38-21 to open the 2018 season. The Red Raiders lead the all-time series 52-31-6.

Ardmore (4-6) at West Morgan (1-9)

When: Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

Where: Rebels Stadium, West Morgan High School

West Morgan enters the 2019 season looking to return to a winning tradition following the 1-9 season a year ago. The Rebels will be led by junior quarterback Glavine Segars, a returning starter. 

The Rebels will look to run the ball this year with running backs Tate Cottingham and Zeke Black. They return eight starters on a defense that struggled a season ago.

Ardmore comes into 2019 looking to improve on a 4-6 record in 2018. After winning three of their first four games last season, the Tigers lost five straight before defeating West Limestone to close the season. They finished seventh in 5A Region 8 but narrowly missed out on the playoffs following three losses in region play by a total of 12 points.

Ardmore defeated West Morgan 52-39 to open the 2018 season. The Rebels lead the all-time series 19-8.

Decatur Heritage (6-4) at Phillips (4-7)

When: Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

Where: James E. Glass Stadium, Phillips High School

Both teams enter 2019 coming off play-off appearances last season.

Decatur Heritage returns numerous starters on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The offense will be centered on leading rusher Colton Keith, who ran for 1,316 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago. The Hawks’ offense averaged 30.7 points a game but struggled on defense, giving up 26.5 points a game.

Phillips will enter the season under new head coach Adam Lawler. The Bears return three starters from last year, including quarterback Ken Edwards. They will be transitioning from a Wing-T offense to more of a spread attack.

Decatur Heritage defeated Phillips 19-14 to open the 2018 season. The all-time series is tied 3-3.

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