PREP FOOTBALL: Bulldogs, Eagles, Raiders hitting the road; Warriors and Aggies hosting region matchups

Left – Addison running back Grant Rice (18) (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune) Right – Good Hope running back Colton Bagwell (24) (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

With three games under the belt of most local teams, the playoff contenders are starting to separate themselves and that will only continue as we dive deeper into region play. Addison, Cold Springs, Fairview and Good Hope are all coming off big region wins while West Point will be looking to bounce back from last week’s loss at Hamilton. The Bulldogs will travel for an important matchup with Red Bay, the Raiders will head to Tanner to play the Rattlers, The Aggies are hosting St. John Paul in another region showdown, the Eagles are headed to Sumiton Christian with a 1-0 region record and the Warriors will play at home for the first time this season against Lawrence County.

(2-1) Addison (2A Region 7) at (3-0) Red Bay (2A Region 7)

The Bulldogs bounced against Winston County last week after a rough trip to Piedmont two weeks ago in which turnovers prevented a big win for Addison. Now that region play has begun, playoff contenders will begin to separate themselves from the rest of the pack and the Bulldogs plan to be part of that group once again.

Addison’s running game was put together by committee against the Yellow Jackets with five different players finishing with at least five carries in the win and collecting over 200 yards on the ground as a team. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 22-0 start over Winston County and held an all-state running back in check throughout the game. Red Bay is off to a fast start on both sides of the ball, winning their first three games by a combined score 110-20. The Tigers are scoring just under 37 points per game right now playing very well on the defensive end.

Addison defeated Red Bay 39-12 a season ago but with another region win on the line, it’ll be important for the Bulldogs to get off to another fast start against a good Tigers team at home.

(3-0) Good Hope (4A Region 5) at (0-3) Tanner (2A Region 7)

Good Hope is coming off a road win over Cordova that made them 1-0 in the region but now the Raiders will have to travel once again, this time to face the Tanner Rattlers. The Rattler are 0-3 so far this season with losses West Limestone, Clements and Colbert County.

Running the ball is the primary focus for Good Hope offensively but quarterback Tanner Malin has done a good job of bringing some balance to that side of the ball this season. Malin threw a pair of touchdowns at Cordova and ran in another to lead the Raiders to a win and he, along with running back Colton Bagwell, have made Good Hope formidable on offense yet again. The Raiders are allowing just over 16 points per game this season and with a struggling Tanner team in their sights this week, they’ll have another opportunity to show what they can do.

Good Hope took last year’s matchup with the Rattlers 32-0 and will certainly be the favorite when it travels to Tanner Friday night.

(2-1) Cold Springs (2A Region 5) at Sumiton Christian (2A Region 5)

After falling to Berry on the road 43-15 in week two, the Eagles returned home last week and edged Southeastern 34-33 to get region play started with a win. Now, Cold Springs is back on the road, this time to take on another region foe in Sumiton Christian.

The Eagles of Sumiton Christian are 0-3 on the season but have fought a couple of tight games in the season opener against Hanceville and last week at Sulligent. Opponents are scoring just over 37 points per game against Sumiton Christian at this point in the season and are being held to just 20 points per game offensively. Cold Springs’ defense has had a couple of rocky nights early in the season as well, allowing 43 and 33 to Berry and Southeastern respectively after shutting out Meek in week one.

Eagles running back Ayden Alexander went well over 200 yards and collected four touchdowns on the ground last week in Cold Springs’ win over Southeastern and if he and the offense can continue to build momentum off that performance this week, the Eagles will give themselves a chance to pick up another win on the road.

(1-2) West Point (5A Region 7) vs. (1-1) Lawrence County (5A Region 7)

The Warriors kicked off the season with a win at Fairview but are now 1-2 after Arab came from behind to defeat them 49-35 and Hamilton took last week’s matchup 24-12 to hand West Point its first region loss of the season.

Lawrence County fell to Madison Academy in its season opener but collected a 27-14 region win over Hayden last week. The Red Devils were held to just seven points in the loss to Madison Academy, but the offense appeared to find more of a rhythm in game two. Defensively, Lawrence County allowed 32 points per game a season ago but has held its opponents to 17 and 14 points in its first two games this season.

West Point Quarterback Will Cochran has had some success through the air this season with Kobe Bowers and Whitt Laney proving to be a problem for opposing defenses, but the Warriors will need some defensive stops to get a region win this week. Defense was an issue for West Point in 2018 and some of those problems appeared to be pop up in the Arab game but with a region foe coming to town Friday night, the Warriors have a chance to collect a big win and work their way up the region standings.

(2-1) Fairview (4A Region 7) vs. (2-1) St. John Paul II (4A Region 7)

It took two calculators to keep up with Fairview’s offense last week. The Aggies racked up nearly 600 yards of offense on the road against D.A.R. and over 500 of them were on the ground, led by running back Tyvn Ellis who posted an eye-popping 312 yards and six touchdowns in the win. That would be a solid season for some players, but Ellis collected it all in Grant, Alabama Friday night.

Now, Fairview will have to regroup, refocus and prepare to host St. John Paul II in a regional showdown at Dafford Smith Stadium. The Falcons are 2-1 this season but are coming off a 43-29 loss to Priceville that put them behind in the region standings. However, scoring points hasn’t been a problem for St. John Paul II so far. The Falcons are averaging 37 points per game and after playing a shootout at D.A.R., that could be a concern for the Aggies. Fairview is scoring right at 37 points per game as well so things appear to be ramping up for another high scoring affair unless the Aggies can duplicate their defensive showings from their first two games.

Fairview outgained West Point despite falling in the season opener 14-6 before handling Hanceville 41-6 and keeping the Bulldogs offense out of the end zone in that game. You won’t lose many games if you can run the ball like the Aggies did a week ago but if Fairview can hit its stride defensively as well, it’ll have a great chance to start region play 2-0.

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