Walker heads to Center Point for key region showdown
by W. Brian Hale
Oct 12, 2012 | 1617 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker running back Michael Bridges and the Vikings take on Center Point on the road tonight in a game that will go a long way in deciding the Class 5A, Region 6 champion. Photo by: Jeff Johnsey
Walker running back Michael Bridges and the Vikings take on Center Point on the road tonight in a game that will go a long way in deciding the Class 5A, Region 6 champion. Photo by: Jeff Johnsey
After suffering their first shutout in the tenure of coach John Holladay against Russellville, the Walker Vikings bounced back last week to earn their first shutout victory of the season in a 37-0 rout of the Hayden Wildcats to remain perfect in Class 5A, Region 6 play.

The Vikings looked dominant both offensively and defensively against the Wildcats, rolling up 376 yards while holding Hayden to just 126.

The Vikings’ quest for its first region title since 1999 takes them to Center Point (3-3, 3-1) tonight, where the Eagles have posted back-to-back losses, including last week’s 31-6 defeat to Pinson Valley.

Walker (4-2, 4-0) hits the field tonight with a new signal caller.

Starting quarterback Blake Wilkes is out with a thumb injury, meaning freshman Bryant Atkins gets his first varsity start. Atkins filled in nicely last week, playing the final three quarters, completing 4 of 8 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Walker playmaker Quadrekas Key had two touchdowns in limited play last week, hauling in five passes for 98 yards. On the season, he has 19 catches for 321 yards and four scores. He also is tied for the lead in the area with five interceptions.

This week, Walker will also rely heavily on its ground attack led by Tyler Phillips (371 yards, four TDs) and Michael Bridges (295 yards, 3 TDs).

The overall series has gone strongly in Walker’s favor, with the Vikings winning 10 of the 12 meetings, including a 32-8 victory in 2009. The game will be broadcast on WJLX 101.5 FM at 7 p.m.

Hale County (3-3, 3-1) at Oakman (5-1, 4-0)

It’s the final home game of the regular season for Oakman, who carries a five-game winning streak into tonight’s Class 2A, Region 4 contest with the Hale County Wildcats at Hosea Collins Field — and there’s plenty at stake for both teams.

A victory for Oakman (5-1, 4-0) sets up a mythical region championship match next week at Aliceville and would almost ensure home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. An Oakman defeat would leave the region in a big mess, with several one-loss teams vying for both first-round home field advantage and the region championship.

Oakman edged Sulligent 21-13 last week, while Hale County dispatched R.C. Hatch 45-24.

Hale County (3-3, 3-1) holds a 10-7 series edge over Oakman, including the last meeting, a 41-30 win in 2007. The game will be broadcast on WJBE 88.5 F.M. at 7 p.m.

Hanceville (3-3, 2-2) at Winston County (5-1, 4-0)

The Yellow Jackets are one of the feel-good stories of the year, undefeated in Class 3A, Region 7 play and riding a five-game winning streak after going 0-10 in 2011.

They return home this week to the friendly confines of Malcolm Blake Stadium for a region clash with the Hanceville Bulldogs, who bring a three-game winning streak into the contest.

It’s a crucial spot for Winston County, as a win tonight would set up a region championship battle next week with No. 4 Hamilton. Winston County defeated Cordova last week, 31-16 while Hanceville shutout Winfield, 12-0. The overall series is tied at 2-2, with the Bulldogs picking up a 41-6 victory last year.

Oak Grove (1-5, 1-3) at No. 10 Dora (5-1, 4-0)

The Bulldogs locked up their second consecutive playoff appearance last week in a narrow 27-25 Class 4A, Region 4 win over Bibb County, helping Dora climb into the ASWA rankings for the first time this season.

Meanwhile, Oak Grove has struggled this year, with their only win of the season coming against Carbon Hill. By staying undefeated in region play with a victory over the Tigers tonight at Horace Roberts Field, Dora could ensure next week’s showdown with Jemison would be for the championship and home field advantage in the playoffs. Dora leads the series, 9-6, over Oak Grove, winning last year’s meeting 49-6.

Addison (4-2, 4-1) at Sumiton Chr. (2-3, 2-2)

After suffering a two-game slide to start the year, Addison has been unstoppable, winning four straight games and outscoring their opposition 136-3. Conversely, Sumiton Christian’s season has taken an opposite path — losing their past three games after starting 2-0. Although a Class 1A, Region 6 championship is a slim possibility for the Bulldogs, a victory can lock-up a playoff spot, whereas the Eagles would need to win their next three games in order to preserve a shot at postseason play. Addison shutout county rival Meek last week, 28-0, while Sumiton Christian was off. It will be the first meeting between the programs.

No. 4 Ragland (5-0, 4-0) at Meek (3-3, 2-2)

2012 has proven to been a season of ups and downs for Meek. After starting the year 3-0, the Tigers have reached the .500 mark after dropping their last three games, including last week’s 28-0 shutout at the hands of Addison.

Despite the recent slide, Meek is still in control of its own destiny for a playoff spot — in lieu of their victory over Sumiton Christian in week 3, the Tigers can edge into the playoffs by winning the remainder of their Class 1A, Region 6 games.

It won’t be an easy path, as the road begins with tonight’s showdown with the No. 4 Ragland Purple Devils, who have gone nearly untouched this year — outscoring opponents 230-32. Ragland drubbed Appalachian 50-7 last week for their fifth-straight victory of the season. It will be the first meeting between the two teams.

Lynn (4-2, 2-2) at Berry (4-2, 3-1)

Although the Class 1A, Region 5 title and home field playoff races will be finalized next week between Marion County and Pickens County, Lynn, Berry and Hubbertville are still in contention for the remaining two spots, with tonight’s Bears-Wildcats clash at Fred Webster Stadium being a major contributor to the big picture.

With Hubbertville awaiting in week 9, Lynn will need to clinch a victory over Berry and avoid a slipup against Parrish along the way to grab one of the two available spots.

Lynn lost to No. 1 Marion County 42-18 last week, while Berry defeated Brilliant 46-20. Lynn holds a 20-13 edge in the overall series and has won the past two meetings.

Jemison (5-1, 4-0) at Corner (3-3, 2-2)

The Yellow Jackets face a major obstacle in their journey for a second consecutive playoff appearance in the Jemison Panthers, who are unbeaten in Class 4A, Region 4 play and hold a five-game winning streak. Corner’s defense, which has surrendered 178 points this year, will have its hands full with a Jemison offense that has produced 231 on the season. Corner beat Oak Grove 35-28 last week, while Jemison was victorious over West Blocton, 34-13. The Panthers lead the series 3-1, including the last meeting, 28-23 in 2003.

Brilliant (2-4, 1-3) at Parrish (2-4, 0-4)

The Tornadoes provided No. 4 Pickens County their most competitive Class 1A, Region 5 opposition in a 28-0 loss last week, while Brilliant dropped a 46-20 decision to Berry. Parrish holds a 9-5 record in the series with the Tigers, including last year’s 40-6 win at Brilliant.

Pinson Valley (3-3, 3-1) at Curry (1-5, 0-4)

Curry is on a five-game skid after losing a 34-31 heartbreaker to Springville last week, while Pinson Valley routed Center Point 31-6. Today’s Class 5A, Region 6 clash at Hudson-O’Rear Field will be the first meeting between the programs.

Cordova (0-6, 0-4) at Danville (3-3, 2-2)

The Blue Devils’ woes continued last week in a 31-16 Class 3A, Region 7 loss to Winston County for the sixth of the season. Danville, in pursuit of their first playoff appearance in three years, edged Good Hope 22-19 last week. It will be the first match between the teams.

Carbon Hill (0-6, 0-4) at West Blocton (1-5, 0-4)

Both teams come into today’s contest searching for their first Class 4A, Region 4 victory. The overall series is tied 1-1, with West Blocton beating Carbon Hill 48-25 in the last meeting in 2007.