The Lynn Bears are no stranger to change when it comes to their schedule.
With regions throughout Class 1A shifting as teams enter and exit, the Bears will see a collection of familiar faces — as well as opponents they’ve never encountered — in 2012.
After finishing the 2011 season with a 9-3 overall record and the team’s seventh consecutive playoff appearance, Lynn’s road back to the postseason will be marked with challenges. Five of the Bears’ regular season opponents were playoff contenders last year — including defending state champion Marion County and region newcomer Pickens County, who advanced to the third round while a Region 4 member.
County arch-rival Addison is off the non-region slate, as is Class 4A Carbon Hill and Shoals Christian. Meek, a region foe last year, returns as a non-region opponent after transitioning to Region 6 alongside Addison. Class 3A Winston County and 2A Cold Springs round out the out-of-region competition.
Joining Marion County and Pickens County in region opposition are playoff contenders Berry and Hubbertville, along with Brilliant, South Lamar and Parrish.
In a renewal of in-county rivals, Winston County heads to Lynn in the season opener in a meeting between former Bears coach Dan Hogan and his former player and current Lynn coach, Philip Smith. The match-up between the teams will be the first regular-season meeting since 2007, when Lynn triumphed 27-7.
The Bears take to the road to battle Brilliant in week two to open region play. Lynn holds an overall 22-17 record against the Tigers, including last year’s 70-12 victory.
Pickens County makes the week three trip to Posey Field for their first ever meeting with the Bears. Pickens County, in its first year in Region 5, went 11-2 in 2011 — eventually losing to Sweetwater 38-36 in the third round of the playoffs.
Lynn travels to Millport for the second consecutive year to take on the South Lamar Stallion in week four. The Bears hold a 4-2 edge over the Stallions, including last year’s narrow 14-7 win.
The Bears host the Cold Springs Eagles in week five in another first meeting between the two teams. Cold Springs has not won a game since Sept. 2008, amassing a 0-35 losing streak.
Week six will see a home re-match with defending state champion Marion County. The Red Raiders have bested the Bears in the last two meetings, including the 63-28 home rout in 2011. Lynn holds the series edge, 12-9. Lynn travels to Berry in week seven, where the Bears hold a two-game winning streak over the Wildcats. Berry, the only team to beat Marion County last year, finished the season with a 10-2 mark and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Bears edged the Wildcats 47-40 last year at Posey Field and lead the series, 20-13.
The Parrish Tornadoes under new coach Jarrod Wooten, travels to Lynn for week eight’s region battle. The Bears hold a six-game winning streak over the Tornadoes, including last season’s 22-19 victory at Harland-Nelson Stadium.
The Bears travel to Hubbertville in week nine to close out region play.
Lynn has won the last nine meetings with Hubbertville and leads the series 20-16. The Lions finished the 2011 season with a 7-4 record and clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive year.
Lynn takes on Meek in a non-region matchup to end the regular season. The Tigers have not beaten the Bears in nine previous battles, with Lynn holding the overall series edge 35-21-2. The 2012 meeting will be the 56th-straight meeting, between the two teams.