Prep football opens this week

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 8/18/18

Will Carbon Hill finally end its playoff drought?

Can Jasper bounce back from its worst season in more than two decades?

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Prep football opens this week

Posted

Will Carbon Hill finally end its playoff drought?

Can Jasper bounce back from its worst season in more than two decades?

Starting this week, we will begin getting some answers.

Two area teams open the football season on Thursday, with Jasper playing at Cullman and Cold Springs hosting Meek.

Eight other area teams hit the field on Friday — with Oakman and Lynn opening the season on Aug. 31.

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This week’s games

Jasper at Cullman

After a five-year hiatus, the rivalry between Jasper and Cullman resumes.

This year’s matchup brings plenty of changes on both sides. Both teams have new head coaches — Bryan Moore at Jasper and former Gardendale head coach Matt Plunkett at Cullman. Jasper is also dropping one classification to 5A.

The teams last played in 2013 in a game that ended with an on-field confrontation between Vikings’ head coach John Holladay and a Cullman assistant coach. The incident resulted in Holladay’s resignation and the Vikings’ receiving a playoff ban.

Jasper has won a combined seven games over the last two years, their worst total in a two-years span since 1993-94.

Despite their recent woes, the move to 5A results in a more manageable schedule for the Vikings, who spent the last two years in Class 6A, Region 6 with state champion Pinson Valley and Clay-Chalkville, a semifinalist.

Of this year’s region opponents, only Dora (9-3) and West Point (6-5) had winning records last year.

Though Cullman has won nine of the last 10 meetings against Jasper, the Vikings hold a 34-33-2 series edge.

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Cordova at Dora

Dora saw a resurgence in coach Bart Lockhart’s first season at the helm, racking up nine wins and advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

Lockhart was named the Class 5A Alabama Sports Writers Coach of the Year thanks to Dora’s turnaround, which also included a 48-12 win over archrival Cordova.

The Bulldogs had won just four games the previous two years.

Dora and Cordova played in the same region each of the last two seasons. With Dora moving up to Class 5A, the game moves back to the start of the season. Both teams lost plenty of talent from 2017 with Dora’s 2,000-yard running back Caleb Danner graduating as well as Cordova stars Kolbi Fuqua and Demetrius Kirk.

The Bulldogs have won five of the last seven games against Cordova.

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Good Hope at Carbon Hill

Carbon Hill looks to make an early statement in the season opener against Good Hope.

The Bulldogs bring momentum into coach Scott Curd’s third season. Carbon Hill not only won three games last year, they contended in many more, losing two region games by a total of 12 points.

Carbon Hill returns more skill players and experience than any team in the area. The Bulldogs defeated Locust Fork in the season opener last year. The win marked Carbon Hill’s first season-opening win since 2009.

Carbon Hill has the longest playoff drought in the county. The Bulldogs haven’t made the postseason since 1999.

Good Hope leads the all-time series 6-0.

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Addison at Curry

Addison will make the short trip to Curry on Friday for the first meeting between the teams since 1979.

Curry saw vast improvement in coach Philip Smith’s third year, just missing out on a playoff berth due to close losses to both Hayden and West Point. The Yellow Jackets move down one classification to 4A for the 2018 season. On the other end, Addison moves up a class to 2A.

Curry hasn’t had a winning season since 1996 and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011. Addison has won 23 games over the last two years, advancing to the semifinals and quarterfinals respectively.

The all time series between the schools is tied at 14-14-2.

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Sumiton Christian at Hanceville

Two new head coaches look to start the season on a winning note in the season opener at Hanceville on Friday.

Sumiton Christian is under its third head coach in as many years with Bart Black taking over the program. The Eagles, coming off a four-win season, make the move up from Class 1A to 2A this season.

Cody McCain comes to Hanceville from Clements, where he was 10-30 in four years.

Since making the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, Class 3A Hanceville has won nine total games over the last four years, including a 1-9 season in 2017.

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Meek at Cold Springs

Meek had a successful season in David Norwood’s first as head coach, winning seven games and reaching the state playoffs.

The Tigers look to build on that momentum in the season opener at Cold Springs. Friday’s game will be the first meeting between the teams since 2007, a 13-6 Meek win.

While the Tigers enjoyed a seven-win season last year, Cold Springs struggled to a 1-9 record while scoring 71 points on the season.

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Hackleburg at Winston County

Winston County looks to start the Mark Mitchell era on a winning note.

Mitchell, who served as an assistant at Piedmont, takes over a program that has three wins over the last two years in Double Springs.

The Jackets host Hackleburg in the opener. The teams last played in 1987 in the playoffs. Their last regular-season game came in 1971.

Hackleburg has made the playoffs each of the last 10 years, finishing 10-2 last year. The Panthers have won 39 games over the last four years.

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Northside at Corner

Corner’s Jon Clements faces a test in his first game as a head coach as the Yellow Jackets host Northside on Friday.

The Rams are coming off a school-record nine wins last season.

Clements takes over a program that has made the first round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons, but hasn’t won a playoff game since 2006.

This will be the first meeting between the Yellow Jackets and Rams.