It’s been a tremendous start to the season so far for Mark Britton and the Cullman football program.
The Bearcats gutted out a come-from-behind road victory over Walker in Week 1, before reeling off back-to-back Class 5A, Region 8 victories against East Limestone and West Point in their following two games.
However, Cullman’s biggest accomplishment to date came last Friday evening, when the Black and Gold played perhaps their best game of the young season against No. 5 Hartselle.
For the first time since 2007, the Bearcats were able to defeat the Tigers, edging one of their most heated rivals in a 14-6 defensive slugfest at Oliver Woodard Stadium.
“Anytime you can find a way to beat Hartselle, you've done a good job,” Britton said. “We felt like it would come down to the wire. Our guys were excited to win that game, no doubt about it. It was a big region win for us. It puts us in good shape, but we still have a lot to do.”
Cullmas has, without a doubt, improved steadily over the course of its first four games. Despite a stout defense that’s only yielding a mere 14.2 points per game and an offense that continues to grow and become more rhythmically efficient, Britton knows that his squad must keep building on what it’s learned so far this season.
According to the longtime coach, there is still plenty his players need to work on and get stronger at, which was made more noticeable after a team film season on Sunday afternoon.
“One thing about playing a great team is that they'll show you what your exploits and your weaknesses are,” Britton said. “It's good for our players and our coaches to see that. That's how we used this past weekend. We looked at what Hartselle was going after and what weaknesses we might have.”
As Cullman prepares for another tough test on Friday — a showdown with Madison Academy, the top-ranked team in Class 3A — you aren’t likely to find many players dwelling on the Hartselle victory as they hit the practice field.
At least, maybe not too much.
For seniors Trey Moon and Tyler Glenn, they couldn’t have been more excited to defeat the Tigers in their last go-round with the Bearcats.
Although they’re both thrilled to death with the decision, they’re both well-aware of the need for a short memory.
“For our senior year, it's a great accomplishment,” Moon said of the win. “We just gotta keep moving forward now. It'll be hard, because it’s a big win to get over. We just have to be focused because Madison Academy is a really good team.”
Added Glenn: “We were able to celebrate over the weekend, but today's a new day and a new week. We've got to get prepared and be ready to play on Friday.”
The players might be riled up still, but it’s unlikely Britton will let a victory last week distract from the task at hand. However, he’s not too worried about his squad, as he believes he has the all the right guys to make the proper preparations.
“We try not to get too sky high or too low,” he said. “Had it been a loss, we'd have expected our guys to come out and work as hard. We had a good weekend. All of guys showed up for both practices so far. They’re real business-like.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.