PREP FOOTBALL: Bulldogs set to host Aggies, local teams preparing for road matchups

Fairview will travel to take on Hanceville this Friday. Left – Fairview’s Parker Martin (9). Right – Hanceville’s Bo Joles (15). (Nick Griffin and Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

There are just three home games on the docket this week but one of those is a local showdown. Fairview and Hanceville will face off at Ray Talley Stadium this Friday while Holly Pond and Good Hope prepare to host Ider and Priceville respectively. Cullman and West Point will be back on the road Friday to take on Mortimer Jordan and Arab in a pair of non-region showdowns. The Bearcats, Broncos and Aggies are looking to bounce back with a win this week and the Raiders and Bulldogs will try to build off last week’s momentum and move to 2-0 this Friday.

Cullman (0-1) (6A Region 7) at Mortimer Jordan (0-1) (5A Region 5)

The Bearcats renewed their rivalry with the Jasper Vikings last week and fell behind 21-6 but fought back to make it a 21-19 game late in the fourth quarter. Cullman took it down to the wire but couldn’t overcome the early Jasper lead and dropped the season opener on the road by two points.

Bearcats quarterback Max Dueland tossed an 83-yard bomb to wide receiver Isaiah Jones and added six more points on the ground with a yard out. Jamar Kay found the end zone from 13-yards out on a reverse late in the fourth quarter and Jaylen Hughey led the Cullman offense with over 100 yards on the ground. After falling behind early, the Bearcats defense settled in and gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. Cullman put together a solid performance against a strong team, but things won’t get any easier this week.

Mortimer Jordan is coming off a 12-2 season and an appearance in the semi-finals of the AHSAA state football playoffs. The Blue Devils fell in their season opener at Pleasant Grove but with their brand-new playing surface making its debut this Friday, the Bearcats will be walking into another tough environment looking for their first win.

Holly Pond (0-1) (3A Region 5) vs. Ider (2A Region 8)

After falling to New Hope on the road last week, the Broncos will be happy to return home for this week’s matchup. Holly Pond will host Ider Friday in what will be the season opener for the Hornets. Ider is coming off a 3-7 season but with a new head coach, the Hornets will be anxious to get their season underway against the Broncos.

Holly Pond led the way 22-10 at the half against New Hope but turnovers and some defensive lapses allowed the Indians to chip away at the lead. The Broncos managed to get in front 30-23 in the fourth quarter, but New Hope railed off 21 unanswered points to pull away from Holly Pond and hand the Broncos a loss to start the season.

Holly Pond will be looking to collect its first win of the season Friday night, but the Broncos will have to improve their ball security and finish all four quarters to put away Ider.

West Point (1-0) (5A Region 7) at Arab (1-0) (5A Region 8)

The Warriors got things started on the right foot last week when they edged out Fairview to win this year’s Brandin’ Iron Bowl, but they’ll have to gear back up and hit the road again this week to face Arab. The Knights are coming off a tight road win as well, opening the season with a 28-21 win at Boaz and now they’ll host West Point for the home opener.

The Warriors were able to do enough to win at Fairview last week but had to overcome some struggles on offense. Quarterback Will Cochran collected a pair of touchdowns through the air, including a 49-yard strike to Kobe Bowers in the third quarter, but West Point was held to just 71 yards on the ground. The Warriors narrowly defeated Arab 27-26 a season ago so the Knights will be anxious to see West Point on their field with a chance for revenge this week.

Good Hope (1-0) (4A Region 5) vs. Priceville (4A Region 7)

After falling behind 2-0 against Carbon Hill in last week’s season-opener, the Good Hope Raiders tore off 28 unanswered points to put down the Bulldogs and start the year 1-0. The Raiders’ defense smothered Carbon Hill, holding the Bulldogs offense scoreless until late in the fourth quarter when the varsity unit had left the field.

Colton Bagwell delivered as much punishment running the ball as he did rushing the passer, racking up 102 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries in the win. Quarterback Tanner Malin was effective in his starting debut as well, tossing a pair of touchdowns to Drew and Cole Maddox in the first half and taking one in himself from 25-yards out to put the game away in the third quarter.

The defense looked to be in midseason form last week, but they’ll have to show up and perform again against Priceville on Friday to continue building some momentum early in the season.

Fairview (0-1) (4A Region 7) at Hanceville (1-0) (3A Region 5)

The only local clash this week will be in Ray Talley Stadium Friday night when the Hanceville Bulldogs host the Fairview Aggies. Both teams are coming off tight games but only one of them could secure a win. The Aggies were held out of the end zone on the final play of last week’s Brandin’ Iron Bowl against West Point and the Bulldogs put away Sumiton Christian on the road with a touchdown in overtime.

Despite coming up short in the season opener against West Point, the Aggies had some success moving the ball, particularly on the ground. Running backs Tyler Simmons and Tyvn Ellis collected 80 and 79 yards on the ground respectively and Fairview totaled 262 yards of offense in the loss while holding West Point to 227 defensively. The Aggies defense was also able to force a safety in the first half against the Warriors.

The Bulldogs will be coming off a 32-26 overtime victory at Sumiton Christian in which quarterback Bo Joles completed 17 of his 32 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns while running for two more scores, including the game-winner. Hanceville running back Logan Guthery added 73 yards and a touchdown of his own in the win.

The Bulldogs offense will get a little more of a test this week when the Aggies arrive and Fairview’s offense will be anxious to find the end zone after moving the ball but being held to just eight points last week against West Point. At this early point in the season, both teams are still trying to get off to a fast start and this game will be critical to make that happen.

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