No Tanner. No Fultondale. And that’s just the beginning.
Oakman’s 2012 football schedule doesn’t include either of last year’s region front-runners, but does include teams from eight different counties as well as a road trip some 100-plus miles to Uniontown.
The Wildcats, coming off their best season in eight years (8-4 and a spot in the second round of the playoffs), get a stong dose of southern teams in Class 2A, Region 4 this season.
Tanner, Fultondale, Westminster Christian, West End, Cleveland, Falkville and Sumiton Christian are all gone from last year’s schedule. In their place, Oakman gets Lamar County, Francis Marion, R.C. Hatch, Sulligent, Hale County, Aliceville and Cold Springs. Only Cold Springs is a holdover from last year.
While travel is a concern for the Wildcats, Oakman opens as one of the favorites in the region. Lamar County (6-5 in 2011) is the only region opponent to finish with a winning record last year and Aliceville (5-6) is the only other region team to make the playoffs in 2011. Oakman’s seven region opponents went a combined 28-34 last year.
Oakman opens the season with three straight home games: Parrish, Lamar County and Francis Marion.
The Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak to Parrish (4-6) last season, winning 21-19.
Parrish, under coach Jarrod Wooten, is one of four teams on Oakman’s schedule that will open the season with a new coach.
Oakman has never beaten Lamar County (6-5) with the closest game being a 28-point loss in 2005. Lamar County finished fourth in Region 8 last year to earn a playoff spot.
Francis Marion (3-7) makes the trip from Perry County to Oakman in Week 3. The Rams haven’t made the postseason since 2000 and have never won a playoff game.
This year will mark the first meeting between the teams.
Oakman hits the road to Uniontown to take on R.C. Hatch in Week 4 for its first road game. The Bobcats (5-5) had the best season in school history last year. Since 1988, R.C. Hatch has won just 17 games with nearly a third coming last season. The Wildcats are 2-0 all time against the Bobcats.
In Week 5, Oakman takes the short trip to Tuscaloosa County to face Northside for a non-region game.
The Rams (1-9) are under new coach Chris Hilliker in 2012. He is Northside’s third coach in the last three years. Oakman is 12-8 against the Rams. The teams haven’t played since 2009.
Sulligent travels to Oakman in Week 6.
The Blue Devils (4-6) ended last season with three straight wins under first-year coach Scott Marchant, who was 19-7 in two seasons at Pickens County before making the move to Sulligent.
Oakman hosts Hale County in Week 7. Hale County (5-5) is also under its third head coach in three years, Joey Milligan. The teams haven’t played since 2007.
The Wildcats close the season with three consecutive road games: Aliceville, Cold Springs and Berry.
Aliceville (5-5) is on the region schedule after dropping from Class 3A. The Yellow Jackets have made the playoffs every year since 1996, but haven’t won a first-round postseason game since 2006. Aliceville has had a staggering 11 different coaches since 1996.
This will mark the first meeting between the teams.
Cold Springs (0-10) is on Oakman’s schedule for the fifth straight season. The Eagles have lost 35 straight games dating back to Week 5 of the 2008 season. The Wildcats have won four in a row against Cold Springs and eight of the last nine meetings. Oakman closes the season at Berry, which is coming off a 10-2 season in 2011. Berry had one of the top offenses in the state last season, averaging 52.2 points per game. The teams haven’t met since 2007.
Berry has won the last three meetings.