Carbon Hill has some good memories as a Class 4A team.
The Bulldogs best two football seasons came in the classification. Carbon Hill went 12-1 and made the 4A state quarterfinals in 1999 and advanced to the 4A second round in 1988, finishing 10-2.
Carbon Hill returns to 4A for the first time since 1999 for the 2012 football season. The Bulldogs face a schedule filled with first-time meetings and long-time rivals under third-year coach Royce Young.
Recent years haven’t been kind to Carbon Hill’s football program with the team winning just seven games over the last five years. This year’s schedule doesn’t promise to be easy with perennial power Bibb County on the region schedule along with Dora, which is coming off its best season since 2006.
Carbon Hill, which moves from 3A, Region 5 to 4A, Region 4 faces Bibb County, Jemison, Oak Grove, Calera, West Blocton, Corner and Dora in region play.
The Bulldogs have played against just two region opponents (West Blocton and Dora). West Blocton and Carbon Hill were in the same 3A region in 2006 and 2007 and Carbon Hill faced Dora consistently from 1927 to 1973 before the Walker County rivalry came to an abrupt end.
Carbon Hill faces a pair of winless teams in non-region games in 2012.
Winston County (0-10) was one of three Class 3A teams to not win a game in 2011 while Cold Springs (0-10) was the only 2A team to go winless. Winston County has lost 14 games in a row dating to the 2010 season while Cold Springs hasn’t won a game since beating Hanceville in Week 5 during the 2008 season, a span of 35 games.
Carbon Hill plays three Yellow Jackets (Corner, Curry and Winston County), two Tigers (Oak Grove and West Blocton) as well as two Eagles (Cold Springs and Calera) this season.
Carbon Hill opens the season at home against county rival Curry (5-6 in 2011) on Aug. 31. Curry has won the last five meetings and eight of the last nine. Carbon Hill leads the series 37-27.
The Bulldogs’ first three region games come against opponents Carbon Hill has never faced: Bibb County, Jemison and Oak Grove.
Carbon Hill opens region play in Week 2 at home against Bibb County, which is making the 230-mile trek from Centerville. The Choctaws have won three straight region titles and have won a total of 46 games over the last four years. Bibb County advanced to the third round of the state playoffs in 2011 and made the semifinals in 2010.
Carbon Hill hits the road in three consecutive weeks starting in Week 3 with a 100-mile trip to Jemison to take on the Panthers (6-4). Jemison has advanced to the playoffs 22 times during the last 28 years, but missed out on the postseason last year for the first time since 2003. Like Carbon Hill, Jemison’s best season came in 1999 when the Panthers were beaten by Deshler in the state championship game. Deshler knocked out Carbon Hill in the third round that season.
Week 4 sees Carbon Hill travel to Oak Grove to face the Tigers (6-4).
Oak Grove missed out on the playoffs last year despite winning five of its last seven regular-season games. The Tigers are 11-4 in their last 15 home games.
Carbon Hill takes on a familiar opponent in Week 5 with a non-region game at Winston County (0-10). The Bulldogs rallied for a 37-33 homecoming win over Winston County last season for one of its two wins. The win snapped a six-game losing streak to the Yellow Jackets.
Calera (4-6) travels to Carbon Hill in Week 6.
The Eagles missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001 last year. This will be the first meeting between the teams.
Carbon Hill hits the road to West Blocton (7-4) in Week 7. The Tigers have been to the playoffs each of the last three season, losing in the first round each year. The team, which is entering its third year in 4A, hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992.
Carbon Hill’s last three opponents each have a new head coach.
Corner (6-5) makes the trip to Carbon Hill in Week 8. The teams have never played.
The Yellow Jackets made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 last year under coach Brent Smith, who took the job at Shelby County. Zac Willis is the new coach at Corner.
Carbon Hill’s final road game is across the county at Dora. The teams haven’t played in nearly 30 years with Dora winning the most recent meeting, 70-3, in 1973.
Dora (9-3) won a playoff game for the first time since 2006 last year when Johnny Wright guided the Bulldogs to the postseason. Wright returns to coach the Bulldogs this season.
In Week 10, Carbon Hill hosts Cold Springs.
The Eagles are 0-4 all-time against the Bulldogs. Rodney Elliott is Cold Springs’ head coach this season.