PREP FOOTBALL: Local teams kicking off region play in week 2

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Cullman’s Jake Dueland, Good Hope’s Colton Bagwell and Hanceville’s Bo Joles. (Joe McElroy, Bill Piper & Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

Last week’s slate of games was packed with matchups between local teams and now its time to get region play underway. Every local squad with the exception of West Point are preparing for region openers and many of them will be on the road. The Warriors will host Lawrence County in a non-regional matchup and Arab, Hanceville, Cold Springs and Meek are playing at home Friday as well. Cullman, Fairview, Good Hope, Holly Pond, Vinemont and Addison will be forced to travel for some critical regional showdowns.

(2-0) Cullman at (1-1) Hartselle

Its been two weeks and the Bearcats still haven’t allowed anyone to get on the scoreboard. Cullman has shut out Grissom 23-0 and Jasper 21-0 to start the season 2-0 and now they have another massive game in front of them. The ‘Cats will travel to face another historic rival, the Hartselle Tigers. Cullman is averaging over 200 yards per game on the ground right now and its defense has been playing lights out so far, but it always comes down to the wire when the Bearcats play the Tigers. Hartselle is coming off a 34-14 win over Mae Jemison and after the way Cullman took last year’s meeting, expect the Tigers to be ready for another shot at the Bearcats. Hartselle leads the all-time series 48-46-4 but the ‘Cats plan to cut into that deficit Friday night.

(1-1) Arab v. (0-2) Fort Payne

Last week’s loss to Guntersville was a tough one for the Knights but they’ll have to shake it off and refocus for their region opener against Fort Payne Friday. The Wildcats have had a slow start to their season, dropping their first two games to Briarwood and Gadsden City but this week’s trip to Arab is an opportunity for them to start region play on the right foot. Arab’s defense was stellar at Albertville two weeks ago but had trouble containing Guntersville’s passing attack last Thursday. To get back in the win column against Fort Payne, the Knights will have to tighten back up defensively, limit their turnovers and get the running game going. If they do those things well, they’ll have a good chance to begin region play with a win.

(0-1) West Point v. (0-1) Lawrence County

Last week’s wet weather didn’t do the West Point offense any favors at Good Hope but hopefully with some dryer conditions on their home field, the Warriors’ passing attack can find its rhythm against Lawrence County. The Red Devils are coming off a tight loss on the road against Hazel Green and fell to West Point 42-14 a season ago so look for them to be ready and focused when they arrive Friday night. Warriors Quarterback Will Cochran and his weapons will be anxious to hit the field and bounce back from last week’s road loss with a high-scoring performance against Lawrence County.

(2-0) Fairview at (2-0) Guntersville

The Aggies are off to a fast start in 2020. They handled Falkville in a jamboree 20-0 and put away Vinemont 41-14 last week. Now, Fairview will hit the road to tackle region play. Guntersville is coming off an impressive 35-9 win at Arab last week and the Wildcats looked sharp on both sides of the ball, airing it out for big gains, creating turnovers and holding the Knights’ running game in check. However, the Aggies are bringing a potent offense with them, led by the backfield of Parker Martin and Tyler Simmons and they plan to get region play started with a big road win.

(2-0) Good Hope at (1-1) Ashville

Colton Bagwell and the Raiders put on an impressive show in their muddy victory over West Point last week. Good Hope’s running game and defense has helped the Raiders start things 2-0 but there’s a new challenge in front of them this week. Good Hope will kick off region play on the road against the Ashville Bulldogs and Friday night’s meeting will be the first ever between the two schools. The Bulldogs narrowly defeated Oak Grove in their season opener but fell in a tight matchup at Southeastern last week. They’ll have their hands full with the Raiders coming to town Friday and if Good Hope can continue to run the ball, protect the ball and play solid on the defensive end, it’ll have a good chance to start region play with a win.

(0-1) Hanceville v. (0-2) Fultondale

The Bulldogs have had a week to rest up and regroup after falling just short on the road against Vinemont in the season opener and this week’s matchup provides a great opportunity to bounce back in a big way. Fultondale is coming to town Friday night to open up region play against the Bulldogs and they too will be looking for their first win. Hanceville fell to the Wildcats on the road last season so a win Friday night would provide some real momentum for the Bulldogs going forward this season. Keep your eye on this showdown Friday night because if Bo Joles, Zach Campbell, Logan Guthery and the rest of that Hanceville can find its rhythm, the Bulldogs will have a great shot at taking out Fultondale.

(1-1) Holly Pond at (1-1) Oakman

The Broncos had a little trouble getting their offense clicking last week against the Cold Springs Eagles, but they’ll have another chance to show what they can do this week when they travel to Oakman to play the Wildcats. Oakman fell to Gordo in its season opener but bounced back with a win over Curry last week, so the Wildcats are aiming to keep that momentum going in the region opener against Holly Pond. Oakman boasted a high-scoring offense last season and put up 40 in its win over Curry so the Broncos will be put to the test on both sides of the ball this week.

(1-1) Vinemont at (1-0) J.B. Pennington

Last week’s trip to Fairview was one the Eagles would like to forget, and they’ll have to do just that before they hit the road to take on J.B. Pennington Friday. The Tigers defeated Oak Grove 34-6 last week, so they’ll be confident on both sides of the ball when Vinemont arrives. The Eagles’ last win against the Tigers came in 2009 so a road win at J.B. Pennington this week would be a great way to start region play. With a couple games under their belt now, the Eagles’ offensive weapons will be ready to put some points on the board and leave Blountsville with a big win.

(2-0) Cold Springs v. (0-2) Sulligent

Cold Springs is off to a 2-0 start this fall after collecting wins over Meek and Holly Pond but now the Eagles will have to prepare for the arrival of Sulligent and region play. The Blue Devils are coming off back to back losses to open the 2020 season, so they’ll be anxious to hit the field and get into the win column this week. Ayden Alexander and the Cold Springs offense have been filling up the stat sheet and putting points on the board so far this season and the Eagles will need more of that when they face Sulligent. Friday night’s matchup with Sulligent is the start of a difficult stretch on the schedule for Cold Springs so getting that gauntlet started with a win would be a great way to get region play started.

(1-1) Addison at (1-1) Aliceville

After dropping its season opener on the road against Haleyville, Addison bounced back in a big way last week by trouncing the Lynn Bears 50-0. Everything was clicking for the Bulldogs last week and they’ll try to keep the ball rolling this week when they travel to Aliceville. The Yellow Jackets fell at Gordo 30-12 last week, so they’ll be trying to bounce back with a region win when Addison arrives. The last time and only time these two schools have met was in the third round of the state playoffs two years ago and Aliceville defeated the Bulldogs 38-22. The younger players on that team are veterans today and they no doubt remember that postseason loss so expect both of these teams to be anxious to see one another again Friday night.

(0-2) Meek at (1-0) Brilliant

After falling just short against Cold Springs on the road in the season opener, Meek suffered a tough loss last week in its home opener against Winston County. The Yellow Jackets pulled ahead early and the Tigers were unable to recover from the early barrage. Now, Meek will head back out on the road to face Brilliant in a duel of the Tigers for the region opener. Meek leads the all-time series 16-14 and the teams have split their last two meetings. A road win over the Brilliant Tigers Friday night would be a great way for Meek to start region play and create a big wave of momentum going forward this fall.