PREP FOOTBALL: Local teams hitting midseason stretch in week 5

Good Hope’s Colton Bagwell (24), Cullman’s Jaylen Hughey (6) and Cold Springs’ Ayden Alexander (5). (Maddie McKenney, Joe McElroy and Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – We’re about to run into the midway point of the 2020 regular season and we have several local teams preparing for non-regional bouts this week. Good Hope and Cullman are still unbeaten and rose to eighth and ninth in their respective state polls this week, but both have tricky road games in front of them Friday night. Arab is coming off a big win over Southside and will be on the road to face Brewer this week while West Point stays home to take on Hayden and try to find its first win. Cold Springs and Hanceville will both be on their home fields as well challenging Falkville and Locust Fork respectively.

(5-0) Cullman at (3-1) Mars Hill

The Bearcats are coming off a convincing, 48-6 win over Hazel Green and are undefeated halfway through the regular season but they’ll have to maintain their level of play this week when they make the trip to Mars Hill. The 2A powerhouse has won its last three games by a combined 76 points after falling to Jasper by 10 in the season opener. The Panthers were 14-1 in Class 1A in 2019, with their only loss coming to Lanett in the state championship game. Three All-State players are returning from that squad so Cullman will have to show up on the road this week if it wants to remain unbeaten. The ‘Cats’ defense has been stellar all season and they’ve been moving the ball effectively on the ground but in their most recent win over Hazel Green, they really showed they could attack teams through the air as well. Cullman will be the favorite going into this matchup but expect Mars Hill to come ready to play and looking to spoil the Bearcats’ perfect record.

(2-3) Arab at (0-5) Brewer

Things were in danger of going south quickly for Arab this season, but the Knights bounced back in a big way last week with their 28-27 win over Southside-Gadsden. The offense put together its best performance of the season so far, led by running back Matthew Turnage who scored all four of Arab’s touchdowns on the ground in the win. Now, they Knights will try to build momentum when they travel to Brewer Friday night. The Patriots are still winless this season and have taken some beatings in their last three games against Ardmore, Russellville and East Limestone. Brewer will be hungry for a win when Arab shows up this week so the Knights will need to recapture the offensive potency they showed last week to collect another win and get up to .500 midway through the regular season.

(0-4) West Point v. (2-2) Hayden

It’s already been a wild season for the West Point Warriors. After tying Priceville in a jamboree game in week zero, the Warriors have dropped four competitive games, including a thriller against county rival Fairview last week, to remain winless. They’ll have a chance to reverse the trend for the second half of the season this week when the Hayden Wildcats arrive. Hayden was smothered last week in a 19-3 loss to Leeds so the Wildcats will be anxious to get on the scoreboard in West Point Friday night. The Warriors took a tight one over Hayden 21-20 last season so that will no doubt be on the Wildcats’ minds as well. West Point has a veteran team with playmakers all over the field so its only a matter of time before they break through and get in the win column. This week’s game against Hayden will be a great opportunity.

(5-0) Good Hope at (3-2) Addison

Good Hope in 5-0 and has already knocked off county rivals Hanceville and West Point this season and the Raiders will have a chance to take down another local squad Friday night. The Addison Bulldogs will host the Raiders at A.G. Hicks Stadium in a 2A vs. 4A showdown. The Bulldogs are coming off a huge, 22-6 win over Winston County and an upset over Good Hope this week would be a huge boost going into the latter half of the regular season. The Raiders are bringing a stout defense, powerful running game and an experienced quarterback to Addison Friday night so the talented Bulldogs’ defense will have its hands full. Good Hope will be faced with young playmakers on the Addison offense as well so look forward to a fun, physical matchup in A.G. Hicks Stadium.

(3-1) Cold Springs v. (4-0) Falkville

The Eagles were dealt their first loss of the season last week when they traveled to Aliceville and now, they’ll be aiming to get back in the win column when they host Falkville Friday night. The Blue Devils are off to a 4-0 start to the season and have won their last three games in dominant fashion. Falkville has three all-state players on its roster returning from last season so Cold Springs will have to perform on both sides of the ball to secure a win this week. One advantage the Eagles may have is experience in tight games. If Friday night’s matchup comes down the fourth quarter, Cold Springs has shown it can hold on in close games while the Blue Devils have yet to play a competitive game.

(1-4) Holly Pond v. (3-2) Sylvania

Holly Pond was originally slated to be off this week, but we’ve grown used to unusual circumstances this season. Due to Tarrant’s continuing issues with COVID-19, the Broncos’ game with the Wildcats scheduled for next week is obviously in question so they have picked up Sylvania for a game at home this week. The Rams are coming off a 35-0 win at Collinsville, so they have some momentum coming into Friday night’s meeting with the Broncos. Outside of a forfeit from Brindlee Mountain in week zero, Holly Pond is still winless this season. However, there is still plenty of time left for the Broncos to turn things around and a win over Sylvania at home this week would be a great boost going into the second half of the regular season.

(1-3) Hanceville v. (1-3) Locust Fork

The Bulldogs fell to county rival Good Hope at home 34-13 last week but they have a chance to stay home and bounce back with a win this week against Locust Fork. The Hornets have dealt with COVID-19 quarantines through the early part of the season and have been forced to forfeit a pair of games. They defeated Appalachian 49-22 in the season opener and fell at Westbrook Christian 50-14 last week. The last time these two teams met was in Ray Talley Stadium last fall and they put up a combined 101 points in an epic shootout. The Bulldogs came out on the wrong end of the shootout, falling 55-46 so they’ll be ready to light the scoreboard up once again and get some payback for last year. A win over Locust Fork would be a great way for Hanceville to kick off the second half of the season.

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