Photo: 2016 Cold Springs High School football team, cheerleaders and coaches
CULLMAN – We are less than a week away from the kickoff of the 2016 high school football season. It is the only time during the year where each and every team is on level footing and each and every team has its eyes locked on their respective state titles. However, just as any other sport at most levels, we as sports writers can’t help but rank teams heading into the season, and 2016 is no different. The Alabama Sports Writer’s Association has compiled a list of the 10 best teams in each class, and even though no team in Cullman cracked the top 10, seven teams in the area will have a chance to prove they belong as they strap on the helmets, lace up the cleats and line up across from some of the best teams in the state.
Cold Springs at Berry
The first Cullman area team that gets a crack at a top 10 team is the Cold Springs Eagles. The blue and gold are coming off a 6-4 season that saw them make the playoffs for the second consecutive year after a nine-year drought. They will take aim at the No. 9 Berry Wildcats (1A) who are coming off of a deep, third round run in the 2015 1A State Playoffs.
Good Hope at Fayette County
The next team who gets a shot will be the Good Hope Raiders as they travel to Fayette County to take on the 6th ranked (4A) Tigers. It was a tough first year for new head coach Alan Scott and the Good Hope Raiders who had a down year at 3-7, but the Raiders have worked hard to right the ship and they get a chance to prove it in the third week of the season when they take on the 2015 4A state runner-up.
Cullman vs. Oxford
The Cullman Bearcats are rip roaring and ready to sink their teeth into the 2016 campaign after a disappointing loss to Clay-Chalkville, the 6A state runner-up, in a game they feel was winnable. The Cats will get their first of two shots at a ranked opponent when they welcome the No. 6 (6A) Oxford Yellow Jackets to Oliver Woodard Stadium in week four of the 2016 season.
Meek at Decatur Heritage
Also in week four, the Meek Tigers will be looking to clip the wings of the No. 10 (1A) Decatur Heritage Eagles, the team they fell one point short against in the first round of last year’s 1A playoffs.
Fairview vs. Mortimer Jordan
Week five features another pair of games where Cullman area teams will face ranked opponents. The first is the Fairview Aggies when they take on the No. 2 ranked (5A) Mortimer Jordan Blue Devils. The Aggies are hoping to improve on last year’s 5-5 season and what better way than to knock off the 2015 5A state runner-up?
Good Hope at Cordova
Game two will pit the Good Hope Raiders against the No. 3 (4A) Cordova Blue Devils. This will be the second chance the Raiders have a chance to take down a ranked team in the 2016 campaign.
Cullman at Fayette County
The sixth week of the season will see the Bearcats of Cullman take their second shot at a ranked team when they line up across from Fayette County.
Addison at Decatur Heritage
The Addison Bulldogs get their shot at a ranked opponent late in the season when they travel to Decatur to take on the Decatur Heritage Eagles. Addison looks to improve on last year’s playoff run that saw them ousted in the first round.
West Point at Mortimer Jordan
In week eight, the West Point Warriors will travel to Mortimer Jordan to take on the Blue Devils in a matchup that on paper looks to be one of the best games of the season.
Cold Springs at Tanner
The final Cullman area team to take on a preseason ranked opponent will be the Cold Springs Eagles as they take on perennial foes, the #6 (2A) Tanner Rattlers. Tanner is coming off an undefeated 2015 regular season and Cold Springs would love nothing more than to keep that from happening in 2016.
There you have it folks. All the games to circle on your calendar. Make plans to attend and support your local teams, and, as always, stay connected to The Cullman Tribune for up-to-the-minute scores throughout the 2016 high school football season.
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