By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Guntersville defeated Fairview 21-14 in Week 3. St. Clair County then beat the Wildcats 31-28 the very next Friday.
So based on those results, one plus one equals a win for the Fighting Saints tonight in Aggie land, right?
Not so fast.
That could wind up being the outcome, but anyone who knows anything about sports should know better than to cross-reference opponents.
With that lesson out of the way, let's turn the discussion to the boys donning the Purple and Gold. Fairview (4-1, 2-1 in Class 4A, Region 6) has recently developed a reputation as a program that racks up wins each season against mediocre to average opposition but generally comes up short versus above-average teams when it matters most.
Well, Aggies, tonight's your chance to prove your doubters wrong. A win against St. Clair County (3-2, 3-0) would not only be a step in the right direction for that argument, but it would also put George Redding's squad on the fast track for a playoff spot in an extremely competitive Region 6. Halfway through the season, No. 1 Oneonta, Sardis and the Fighting Saints are all 3-0 in region play. If Fairview pulls out the victory tonight, and Sardis also defeats Guntersville, then the Aggies will have the luxury of holding their own playoff fate. If not, they could wind up on the outside looking in come Week 11.
% No. 4 Hamilton (5-0, 3-0 in Class 3A, Region 7) at Vinemont (4-1, 2-1): Their records might be close, but the Eagles have yet to play a squad as powerful as the 3A Aggies.
The offensive line will have to provide Ty Jones and Tyler Boland with plenty of room to run, the defense must avoid a Hanceville-sized meltdown — see Week 4 — and everything will have to come together perfectly on homecoming night if Vinemont hopes to stay within striking distance of Hamilton. The Aggies are averaging 37 points a game on offense, compared to the mere 10.7 they've yielded per night on D.
Alan Scott is still searching for that signature win in his second season as the Eagles' coach. An upset over Hamilton is just what he's looking for.
% Meek (3-2, 2-1 in Class 1A, Region 6) at Addison (3-2, 3-1): A meeting between these Winston County rivals hasn't held this much importance in quite some time.
That's because the Bulldogs have always been a pretty powerful postseason team, and Meek has always been...uh, meek.
Addison would love nothing more than to take down the Tigers for a 10th straight year. If that is indeed the end result, the Bulldogs would fall right in behind Falkville and Ragland in the region standings, leaving Meek to battle it out with Sumiton Christian for the final postseason berth.
After a disappointing 0-2 start, talk of playoffs is certainly welcome for Addison. I'd hate to see what that community would be like with their home-town team riding the couch during the postseason.
% J.B. Pennington (1-4, 1-2 in Class 3A, Region 6) at Holly Pond (1-4, 1-2): Following three straight weeks against top-tier competition, it's about time the Broncos are given the chance to duke it out against a team with a similar skillset.
That's precisely what they'll be getting tonight in the Tigers, who are mired in a three-game losing streak just like Holly Pond.
After last week's 28-7 loss to Fairview, Bronco coach Nate Ayers talked about his team being set up to “make a run at the playoffs.”
For that to happen, Holly Pond must defeat J.B. Pennington. A 1-3 region record after a loss might be too much to overcome.
% Francis Marion (0-5, 0-3 in Class 2A, Region 4) at Cold Springs (1-4, 0-3): Much like the Broncos, the Eagles haven't been able to catch a break in terms of the stellar opposition they've been dealt the last three weeks.
Luckily for Cold Springs, that tough stretch comes to an end tonight when the winless Rams come to town.
After a well-documented 35-game drought, the Eagles are looking to end their latest skid at three. There's a good chance they can do that against the Rams, which are averaging a shade under eight points of offense a game while giving up an even 40 on defense.
% Hanceville (2-3, 1-2 in Class 3A, Region 7) at Winfield (2-3, 1-2): After an 0-3 start, the Bulldogs are back in business and ready to get the second half going after consecutive wins against Vinemont and 5A West Point.
Hanceville beat the Pirates for the first time in school history with a 55-13 smackdown during its undefeated regular season run in 2011.
With Hanceville holding all the momentum and Winfield down yet another year, it appears the Bulldogs could force the Pirates to walk the plank for a second straight season.
% Good Hope (2-3, 1-2 in Class 3A, Region 7) at Danville (2-3, 1-2): What started out as a pleasant 2-0 re-introduction to 3A football has since unraveled for the Raiders in the form of three straight losses.
Although Austin Crumbley has started to get his legs under him behind center in the wake of Sebastian Fendley's indefinite suspension, it'll take a stronger defensive effort for Good Hope to tack another win on the scoreboard. The Raiders have allowed a tad more than 40 points per game in their last four contests.
The Hawks have had their own struggles, losing to Priceville, Winston County and Vinemont. Their 19-18 win against Winfield was nice, but it shouldn't be comforting considering the competition.
% West Point (1-4, 0-3 in Class 5A, Region 8) at Lawrence County (2-3, 0-3): After giving up 63 points in their last region game, the Warrior defense will get a treat tonight when they face the Red Devils, who are scoring slightly more than five points a game.
Both teams are already out of the playoff picture in the “SEC West,” but coach A.J. Lamar isn't about to let the opportunity for a win slip past him. With Hartselle, Muscle Shoals, East Limestone and Fairview rounding out the schedule, it could be the last one he gets.
% No. 10 Cullman (4-1, 2-1 in Class 5A, Region 8) at Russellville (4-1, 2-1): Check out www.cullmantimes.com or Thursday's print edition of The Times for a full preview of this region matchup.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.