Wright, the new Dora head football coach, and his Bulldogs face the toughest non-region schedule in the area for the upcoming 2012 high school football season.
Former Dora coach Dusty Goode drew up this year’s schedule before stepping down from his post two months ago.
That leaves Wright with a non-region schedule that includes a 5A state power and a defending state champion.
Dora’s non-region games feature Cordova, Muscle Shoals and Handley. The trio went a combined 32-7 last year.
All three teams made the playoffs, but the final two non-region games — Muscle Shoals and Handley — are particularly daunting for any high school team.
Class 5A Muscle Shoals, led by former Parrish and Cordova coach Scott Basden, amassed an 11-2 record after losing to Briarwood in the third round of the state playoffs. Handley, which is making the jump from 3A to 4A, won the state title in 2011, going a perfect 15-0 on the season. Only two teams scored more than 20 points against the Tigers, who won their first ever state title.
Dora opens the season at Cordova, which went 6-5 under first-year head coach Woody Smothers’ squad last year. The Bulldogs travel to Muscle Shoals in Week 5 before hosting 3A champ Handley in the regular-season finale.
At Walker, after taking on Northridge, Russellville and Dora each of the last two years, the Vikings schedule sees a change in 2012.
Cullman is no longer a region foe for the Vikings, but is on the schedule as a non-region game, taking the spot of Northridge.
Walker also keeps Russellville on the schedule, but replaces Dora with Hueytown. The move is hardly a step down, the Golden Gophers finished 13-1 last year, advancing to the state semifinals before being put out by Vigor.
The Vikings, coming off a 6-5 season in 2011, open the season at Cullman, host Russellville in Week 5 and make the trip to Hueytown in Week 10. Walker has beaten Russellville in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1964-65.
Parrish takes on three playoff teams from last season in its non-region games.
The Tornadoes open the season at rival Oakman, which finished 8-4 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Tornadoes host Cordova (6-5) in Week 5 and close the regular season at 2A Fultondale, which went 10-3 in 2011.
Oakman doesn’t have to travel far for its non-region games. The Wildcats host Parrish (4-6) in Week 1, play at Northside (1-9) in Week 5 and close the season at Berry, which went 10-2 last season.
Cordova plays three Walker County teams in non-region play. The Blue Devils host Dora in the season opener. The rivals have met in Week 1 since 1994. Cordova plays at Parrish in Week 5 and closes the regular season at home against Curry.
Curry, which only leaves Walker County twice during the 2012 season, opens the year at Carbon Hill (2-8). The Yellow Jackets host Sipsey Valley (2-8), which opened two years ago, in Week 5 and play at Cordova to end the season.
Carbon Hill plays a pair of winless teams in non-region games. The Bulldogs open the season at home against Curry. Carbon Hill also travels to Double Springs to take on Winston County in Week 5 and hosts Cold Springs in Week 10. Carbon Hill’s two wins came against Winston County and Cold Springs last year.
Lynn’s non-region opponents went a combined 1-29 last season.
Like Carbon Hill, Lynn plays both Winston County and Cold Springs. Lynn hosts the Yellow Jackets in the season opener as well as Cold Springs in Week 5 before playing at Meek (1-9) to close the regular season.
Two area teams play nine-team schedules this season due to Jefferson Christian doing away with its football program.
Sumiton Christian and Addison each get an off week this season.
Sumiton Christian (6-5) has two tough non-region games. The Eagles play at Collinsville (11-2) at Jacksonville State University in Week 4 and they host Corner, which made the playoffs in 4A last year, in Week 10.
Addison hosts Ider (7-4) in the opener and hosts Winston County in the finale.
Meek has one of the tougher non-region schedules with Lynn (9-3) and 1A champion Marion County (14-1) on the docket.
The Tigers open the year against a Woodville team that has won just five games in its six years of football. Four of the wins came against Skyline, which no longer has a team. The other win came due to a forfeit against Parkway Christian last season.
Meek hosts Marion County in Week 5 and Lynn in Week 10.
Winston County gets a pair of rivals as well as Carbon Hill in its non-region schedule. The Jackets play at Lynn to open the season and travel to Addison in Week 10. Winston County hosts Carbon Hill in Week 5.