PREP FOOTBALL: Local rivalries highlight week 4 slate

Cullman’s Max Dueland, Good Hope’s Tanner Malin and West Point’s Will Cochran. (Joe McElroy and Bill Piper for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – We’re approaching the halfway mark of the 2020 high school football season here in Alabama and who would’ve guessed back in the summer that we would be here. There have been some teams around the state impacted more significantly by COVID-19 than others but for the most part, high school football has been rolling along just fine and we have some local rivalries to look forward to in week four. Among this week’s matchups are Hanceville hosting the unbeaten Good Hope Raiders and Fairview traveling to West Point for this year’s edition of the Brandin’ Iron Bowl. The Vinemont Eagles were scheduled to travel to Tarrant this week, but the Wildcats have forfeited the contest.

(4-0) Cullman v. (2-2) Hazel Green

The Bearcats are 4-0 for the first time since 2013 and ranked in the Class 6A poll for the first time in school history. Cullman debuted at no. 10 in last week’s poll and climbed to no. 9 this week after shutting out Buckhorn 20-0. The win over the Bucks was Cullman’s third shutout win of the season and the ‘Cats defense will have another opportunity to show what it can do when Hazel Green arrives at Oliver Woodard Stadium Friday night. The Trojans got off to a 2-0 start this season but have dropped its last two matchups against Buckhorn and Athens to fall to .500. A win for the Bearcats this week would keep them atop the region standings with a road trip to Mars Hill coming up.

(1-3) Arab v. (3-1) Southside-Gadsden

The Knights have endured a tough three-game stretch after taking their season opener at Albertville. Arab has been held to just 19 points in its last three contests and it’ll have to find new ways to move the ball when Southside-Gadsden arrive Friday night. The Panthers got off to a 3-0 start before falling to Oxford 56-0 last week, so they’ve been licking their wounds and preparing to bounce back in a regional matchup with the Knights. There is still plenty of time to play your way into the postseason this fall and a win over Southside this week would be a great boost for Arab as we approach the halfway mark of the regular season.

(0-3) West Point v. (3-1) Fairview

The fourth annual Brandin’ Iron Bowl is upon us and the Fairview Aggies will be traveling to West Point looking to get some revenge and bring the trophy home for the first time. The Warriors have won all three editions of the game and have been holding onto the trophy since 2017. West Point edged the Aggies 14-8 in last year’s meeting, but Fairview went on to win eight of its next nine games and advanced to the second round of the 4A state playoffs. However, the Aggies are in Class 5A this season and Friday night’s matchup with the Warriors will impact region standings as well. West Point has dropped three straight competitive games against quality opponents and a victory over its county rival would be a great way to get in the win column. The Warriors’ offense has weapons all over the field and they’ll have to put points on the board this week to keep pace with Fairview in a game that now has even more than bragging rights on the line.

(1-2) Hanceville v. (4-0) Good Hope

Good Hope and Hanceville are set to clash this week at Ray Talley Stadium to renew their rivalry and this year it’ll be a regional matchup as well. The Bulldogs fell to a strong Dora team on the road last week while the 10th ranked Raiders toppled Haleyville at home in dramatic fashion to improve to 4-0. Good Hope’s defense has been solid yet again through the early portion of this season, but Hanceville has shown that it can be explosive and put points on the board in games like the 43-34 win over Fultondale. However, the Raiders’ offense, led by quarterback Tanner Malin and running back Colton Bagwell, has been racking up points too so something will have to give Friday night. The Bulldogs will have their hands full with Good Hope this week but in a rivalry game in an already unusual season, expect a competitive matchup that will now have postseason implications within the region.

(1-3) Holly Pond at (1-3) Carbon Hill

Holly Pond is desperately looking for a win when it travels to Carbon Hill this week and a matchup with the struggling Bulldogs may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Carbon Hill is coming off a 36-0 loss at Vinemont last week, so the Broncos have a chance to be the next local squad to knock off the Bulldogs. Holly Pond dropped a tough one to J.B. Pennington at home last week so the Broncos could use a solid performance Friday night to get back in the win column. If Holly Pond can come home with a win Friday night, there will be a great chance to build some momentum going into the latter half of the season with back to back home games coming up on the schedule.

(3-0) Cold Springs at (3-1) Aliceville

The Eagles enjoyed a little time off during their bye week to continue polishing things up on both sides of the ball but now they’ll have to be ready to play when they arrive in Aliceville Friday night. Both Cold Springs and Aliceville are coming off wins over Sulligent heading into this week’s matchup. The Yellow Jackets’ lone loss came on the road against Gordo earlier in the season but both Aliceville and the Eagles appear to be in the running for playoff spots as we approach the midway point of the year. Cold Springs will have its hands full on the road Friday night but if the Eagles can leave with a victory, they’ll be off to a 4-0 start and in prime position within the region.

(2-2) Addison at (3-1) Winston County

Addison bounced back in a big way last week by handling Midfield 33-8 on its home field but now the Bulldogs have a new week and a new challenge in front of them. This week, Addison will hit the road to take on county rival Winston County in a game that both teams need to win. Not only will Friday’s matchup have postseason implications down the road, there are bragging rights on the line for both teams as well. The Yellow Jackets have played in several tight games already this season so they won’t be phased if things come down to the fourth quarter but hopefully the Bulldogs can continue to build on their recent momentum with a huge win on the road this week and keep things rolling in the right direction as they get into the second half of the season.

(0-4) Meek v. (2-2) Hubbertville

The Tigers are not off to the start they imagined in 2020 but there is still plenty of time left this fall for Meek to bounce back and have a great second half to the season. The Tigers are coming off a loss to South Lamar and this week, they’ll be back on their home field to host the Hubbertville Lions. The Lions are coming off a 26-0 loss to Berry last week, so they’ll be anxious to get some points on the board Friday night. Meek on the other hand, has not been shut out yet this season but has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone, allowing over 40 points per game through the first four weeks. This week’s showdown with Hubbertville will be a great opportunity for the Tigers to find their footing and collect their first win.

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