By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Logan Campbell and Co. are cooking up something special in Cold Springs.
With last week’s 47-27 smashing of Sulligent, the Eagles are off to their first 2-0 start since 2003. The victory came one week after a 34-0 blanking of Decatur Heritage, marking Cold Springs’ first shutout since 2004.
And to think, just a little more than a year ago, the Eagles were mired in a lengthy 35-game losing streak.
My, how things have changed.
Coach Rod Elliott is in Year 2 of his second stint at Cold Springs, and it’s obvious the Eagles are buying into his winning attitude. The players have been thinking playoffs or bust since before the season even started, which certainly hasn’t changed with two weeks in the books.
The Blue and Gold offense have an entire stable of running backs and special teams standouts to thank for an early average of 40.5 points per game, though Campbell has clearly been the catalyst. The senior signal-caller piled on four touchdowns in Cold Springs’ Week 1 win and added another four just last Friday.
After traveling twice, Cold Springs (2-0, 1-0 in Class 2A, Region 4) is finally headed home, where Hale County (0-2, 0-1) will be waiting tonight with hopes of slowing down Campbell and spoiling the Eagles’ best start since 2003, when they opened 8-0.
The Wildcats’ winless record is somewhat deceptive, with one loss coming to 5A Brookwood and the other to Aliceville, a first-round winner in last year’s playoffs. They’re only mustering 6.5 points a game, which could bode extremely well for Cold Springs’ scrappy defense.
Hale County won the 2012 meeting by 20 points, but so did Sulligent, and we already know how that rematch went. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles make a few more believers by the end of the night.
% Southeastern (0-1, 0-1 in 1A, Region 6) at No. 5 Addison (2-0, 1-0): Now that they’ve wrought revenge on Ider and Ragland, the Bulldogs aren’t likely to be tested again until a Week 8 showdown with Falkville.
Starting tonight, go ahead and pencil in Addison for a win each week till that Oct. 18 meeting.
% Fairview (1-1, 1-0 in 4A, Region 6) at Guntersville (1-1, 0-1): The Aggies are coming off their first win of the season, while the Wildcats are hoping to bounce back from their first loss, a 23-21 nail-biter against No. 5 Oneonta.
Jordan Bentley had 216 rushing yards and all three of Guntersville’s touchdowns last Friday, so it should be fairly obvious who the Aggie defense keyed in on this week in practice.
In order to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Wildcats, Fairview’s offense will need to be as high-flying as it was against Hanceville in Week 1 and not quite as touch-and-go as it was in a 13-6 win over Douglas in Week 2.
% Good Hope (2-0, 1-0 in 3A, Region 7) at Winston County (0-2, 0-1): Most everyone knows who Sebastion Fendley, Jared McClure, Alex Cofer and Justin Turner are by now.
But what about Collin Harris, the kid who calmly kicked a game-tying 23-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter of the Raiders’ eventual overtime win against Hanceville?
Having that kind of clutch leg at his disposal is likely to help coach Chris Moss breath a bit easier if Good Hope needs three points in crunch time again at some point this season. Just don’t expect the situation to arise tonight, when the Raiders head to Winston County as heavy favorites.
At this time last year, Good Hope was 2-0 before beginning a seven-game losing streak with a 34-26 loss to the Yellow Jackets. This time around, watch the Raiders remove Winston County’s stinger and head into next week’s crucial region contest versus Hamilton with a 3-0 mark.
% Hamilton (2-0, 1-0 in 3A, Region 7) at Hanceville (1-0, 0-1): One week after suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss to Good Hope, the Bulldogs are stuck with the tough task of trying to right the ship against a strong Aggie squad that’s been practically flawless thus far.
Hamilton defeated Sulligent 42-0 in Week 1 and Cordova 34-6 last Friday. Neither opponent is on Hanceville’s level, though, so we’ll see just how well the Aggies handle the pressure tonight.
The Bulldogs’ only win against Hamilton came during their 10-0 regular season in 2011. They’ll need the same kind of magic to come away with a second series victory.
% New Hope (1-1, 1-0 in 3A, Region 6) at Holly Pond (0-2, 0-1): The Broncos’ best chance to pick up their first win of the Mike Bates era was probably last week at home against Brindlee Mountain.
Because that plan didn’t quite work out, however, Holly Pond is in for some choppy waters over the next three weeks — New Hope, Sylvania and Fairview — before it runs into another beatable foe, J.B. Pennington, on the road in Week 6.
After falling 26-20 to 4A Locust Fork, the Indians rebounded with a 26-0 shutout of Sylvania last week.
% Vinemont (2-0, 1-0 in 3A, Region 7) at Cordova (0-2, 0-1): The Eagles and Blue Devils appear to be heading in two very different directions at this early juncture in the 2013 campaign.
With a wholly healthy roster, Vinemont’s stock is soaring, while Cordova has yet to find a single buyer after scoring just six points apiece in a pair of blowout losses to 4A Dora and Hamilton.
Far before the earlier-than-anticipated return of Tyler Boland, the Eagles had more than enough weapons to make up a solid, sound squad capable of contending for a coveted playoff spot. Now that the senior leader is back, though, they very well could be deadlier than ever.
After going 0-fer in the first four matchups, look for Vinemont to make it two in a row against Cordova. Like last season’s 34-14 lopsided final in the Eagles’ favor, this one shouldn’t even be close.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.