Dora offense goes against Muscle Shoals' top-ranked defense
by Johnathan Bentley
Sep 26, 2012 | 2388 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dora running back Kai Thomas will lead the Bulldogs against Muscle Shoals, the No. 2 team in Class 5A, on Friday. The Trojans have given up just three points in four games this season. Photo by: Jeff Johnsey
Dora running back Kai Thomas will lead the Bulldogs against Muscle Shoals, the No. 2 team in Class 5A, on Friday. The Trojans have given up just three points in four games this season. Photo by: Jeff Johnsey
Every high school football team gets a test or two during the regular season.

The Dora Bulldogs aren’t just getting a test Friday night — they are getting a final exam.

Dora makes the trip to Colbert County to take on the Muscle Shoals Trojans, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 5A. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from J.F. Moore Stadium.

While Dora (4-0) has the fourth-ranked scoring offense in Class 4A, Shoals has the No. 1-ranked scoring defense in the state, allowing just three points through four games this season. The Trojans’ opponents are averaging .75 points per game.

“This is a great challenge for us,” Dora head coach Johnny Wright said. “Muscle Shoals is good. This is the best team they’ve had since they opened the school in the 1960s. They are as good defensively as any team I’ve seen. They are the real deal.”

Muscle Shoals (4-0) opened the season with three consecutive shutouts — Rogers (34-0), Russellville (43-0) and Lawrence County (53-0) — before beating Athens 38-3 last week.

Dora has also had its way through the opening four games of the season, scoring an average of 44.3 points per game. The Bulldogs hammered West Blocton 54-14 last week to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2005. No team has played Dora within 20 points this season.

Wright is looking forward to Friday’s challenge.

“This game will be good for us. We will have to play four quarters this time definitely. That’s something we haven’t had to do yet,” Wright added. “This is not a region game, but it’s a big game for our program. Our kids are excited about going up there.”

Muscle Shoals is led by former Parrish and Cordova coach Scott Basden, who has been with the Trojans since the 2008 season. In four-plus years at the school, Basden is 34-16. He led the Trojans to an 11-2 mark at the third round of the state playoffs last season.

This year’s game was set up by former coach Dusty Goode, who left after one season at Dora.

Russellville at Walker

Walker brings momentum heading into this week’s non-region matchup with Russellville.

The Vikings have won three straight region games, including Friday’s 41-15 win over Curry.

Russellville, coming off its first losing season since 1997, has rebounded in 2012, winning three of its first four games with the only loss coming to second-ranked Muscle Shoals.

Both teams enter Friday’s game at Walker’s Ki-Ro Gambrell Field with identical 3-1 records. The Vikings dropped the season opener to Cullman, but have followed with three convincing wins.

Last week’s showdown with Curry saw Walker trailing 15-14 in the third quarter before closing the game with a 27-0 run.

Blake Wilkes has led the Walker passing attack, throwing for 500 yards and four touchdowns while Tyler Phillips has rushed for a team-high 295 yards. Running back Michael Bridges sat out last week’s game, but is expected to play against the Golden Tigers.


Sipsey Valley at Curry

Curry played inspired football against Walker last week.

Now the Yellow Jackets and coach Shay Oliver hope to get the same effort Friday night when Curry hosts the Sipsey Valley Bears.

Curry fell to Walker 41-15, but held a 15-14 lead in the third quarter before the Vikings pulled away.

Sipsey Valley (1-3), a Class 3A team in its third year of football, knocked off Greensboro 27-22 on the road in Week 3 before falling to Fayette County 33-21 last week. The Bears have won a total of four games since playing thier first season in 2010.

Curry (1-3) has dropped three straight games since beating Carbon Hill in the season opener. This week’s game is the first meeting between the two teams.


Carbon Hill at Winston County

The Carbon Hill Bulldogs enter the fifth week of the season still seeking their first win.

Carbon Hill looks to get in the win column with a game at Winston County Friday night.

The Yellow Jackets have turned their luck around under first-year coach Wes Tidwell. After going 0-10 in 2011, Winston County dropped its first game to Lynn before reeling off three straight region wins.

Winston County (3-1) is only 15 points away from matching last year’s offensive output of 162 points.

Carbon Hill (0-4) won last year’s matchup 37-33, snapping a six-game losing streak to Winston County.

This season the Bulldogs have had trouble on both sides of the ball, allowing an average of 55.8 points per game.


Hayden at Corner

Coming off back-to-back region losses, the Corner Yellow Jackets step out of region play for a game against rival Hayden. The teams bring a combined record of 1-7 to this year’s matchup, which will start at 7 p.m. Friday from Corner Stadium.

Corner (1-3) fell to Calera 33-22 last week while Hayden dropped a 29-9 decision to Pinson valley. The Wildcats have also have tough-luck losses to Springville (21-20) and Moody (14-13).

Hayden (0-4) has won five straight games in the series, including a 20-13 win last year.

Quarterback Blake Byrd led the Yellow Jackets last week, throwing a pair of touchdown passes and adding a rushing score.