PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Bearcats, Eagles, Raiders traveling for round 1; Fairview, Addison hosting playoff matchups

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Addison (left) and Fairview (right) will host North Sand Mountain and Central Florence respectively for round one of the AHSAA State Playoffs Friday night. (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)

Postseason football is finally here and there are five local teams in state brackets that will be hitting the field again this Friday. Cold Springs, Cullman and Good Hope will be on the road for their opening round matchups while Addison and Fairview stay home to host their round one opponents.

Class 2A: (5-5) Cold Springs at (9-1) Ranburne

The Eagles are coming off a big win over their cross-county rival Vinemont but now they’ll hit the road to take on one of the strongest teams they’ve seen this season. Ranburne finished up its regular season last week with a 48-34 win at White Plains and the only loss for the Bulldogs this season came against undefeated Ohatchee.

Ranburne has been very good on both sides of the ball all season, scoring over 39 points per game while allowing just 13 and has shut out three of its opponents on the way to the postseason. The Eagles are putting up just under 25 points per game offensively and allowing 23 on the defensive end so the Bulldogs will be a handful for Cold Springs on both sides. The Eagles actually have a better record away from home this season so if they can play sound for four quarters and make plays in critical moments, they’ll have a chance to knock off the Bulldogs and shake up the class 2A bracket in round one.

Class 2A: (8-2) Addison vs. (7-3) North Sand Mountain

The Bulldogs completed the regular season as the second seed in region seven, earning the chance to play at home against North Sand Mountain in the opening round of the state playoffs. The Bison used a high-powered offense to play their way into the postseason, scoring over 36 points per game and outscoring their last two opponents 98-25.

Addison is carrying some momentum into the playoffs as well, having won six straight and defeating its last two opponents by a combined score of 80-7. The Bulldogs have been an effective running team all season and scoring over 31 points per game, but they’ve been even better on the defensive end. Addison is holding its opponents to 11 points per game and held teams to 16 points or fewer in all but two of its regular season matchups. Something will have to give between these two units Friday night but if they play sound offensively, the second round is very much in reach for the Bulldogs.

Class 4A: (8-2) Good Hope at (7-3) Oneonta

The Raiders will be headed back to a familiar place for their first-round matchup Friday night as they prepare to play the Oneonta Redskins in another postseason showdown. The Redskins ended Good Hope’s playoff run in round three last season, so the Raiders are no doubt anxious for another shot at Oneonta this week.

The Raiders are coming off a 28-18 win at Hanceville last week and the Redskins have won three straight coming into this playoff matchup. Good Hope has been a solid defensive team throughout most of the regular season, allowing just 20 points per game and has become more balanced on the offensive end as the season has progressed. Quarterback Tanner Malin and his corps of receivers have been a great compliment to a powerful running game led by Colton Bagwell and they’ll need big games from all of them to knock off Oneonta this week.

The Redskins are scoring 30 points per game this season, so it’ll be important for the Raiders to keep pace on the scoreboard and come up with the critical stops when they need them to advance to round two.

Class 4A: (8-2) Fairview vs. (3-7) Central Florence

It’s been a fun season for the Fairview Aggies and they’ll have at least one more chance to put on a show in front of their home crowd. Fairview secured its region crown with a 55-14 win over Danville two weeks ago and now they’ll host Central Florence for round one of the state playoffs. This will be the first time these two have met and despite the sharp contrast in their regular season records, the Wildcats have played a brutal schedule and are a stronger team than their record would suggest.

Central Florence will still have its hands full with Fairview. The Aggies are putting up 37 points per game this season and have won five straight since falling on the road to Priceville in September. Defensively, Fairview is allowing fewer than 19 points per game and is coming off strong performances against Danville and Holly Pond. The Wildcats are scoring 26 per game and allowing 28 so if the Aggies can keep the momentum going on both sides of the ball, they’ll have a good chance to advance past Central Florence Friday night.

Class 6A: (5-5) Cullman at (5-5) Mae Jemison

After missing the playoffs in 2018, the Bearcats have played their way back into the postseason in head coach Oscar Glasscock’s first year back at his alma mater. Cullman secured the third seed in region seven after defeating Hartselle and will travel to Milton Frank Stadium in Huntsville to take on Mae Jemison in the opening round of the state playoffs. Friday night’s clash will be the first meeting between the Bearcats and the Jaguars.

Mae Jemison dropped five of its first six games to start the season in a deep, 1-5 hole but has won four straight to get back to .500 and earn a playoff spot. The Jaguars are averaging 26 points per game on the season but in their last four wins, they’re scoring over 36 points per game so they’re riding some momentum into this week’s meeting. Cullman is coming off an impressive, 42-23 win over Fort Payne so the Bearcats are bringing in some momentum of their own. When the Cullman run game is clicking with Jayden Sullins, Jaylen Hughey and the offensive line, the Bearcats are hard to stop so if they can keep it up on the offensive end, they’ll have a real chance to move on to round two.

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