PREP FOOBALL: Playoff picture beginning to take shape in week 8

Cold Springs running back Ayden Alexander, Fairview running back Tyler Simmons and Cullman defensive back Brodie Malcom. (Martha Needham and Joe McElroy/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – There are just three more weeks remaining in the regular season and we have several local teams that are either playing to earn home field advantage in the postseason or fighting to get into the postseason at all. Cullman, Fairview, Good Hope and Addison are all in good shape to potentially host a playoff game in a few weeks while West Point, Vinemont and Cold Springs can do a lot for their playoff position with wins this week. Good Hope was originally slated to take on Dora in a region game this week, but the Bulldogs were forced to forfeit due to COVID-19 concerns.

(6-1) Cullman at (5-2) Athens

Columbia was forced to postpone its matchup at Cullman last week to later in the season, so the Bearcats got the chance to rest up and enjoy an off week coming into this week’s regional clash at Athens. The ‘Cats knocked off Decatur 21-10 on the road in their last game, but they’ll have a bigger road test to face Friday night. The Golden Eagles have won three straight over Hueytown, Hartselle and Buckhorn to help build a 4-1 region record. Athens is sitting just behind Muscle Shoals in the standings after falling to the Trojans 31-29 in week four and a win for Cullman this week would put the Bearcats on top of the region standings at 5-0. This will be one of the better teams the ‘Cats have faced this season and they’ll have to play well in all phases to leave Athens with a win.

(2-5) West Point v. (3-4) Douglas

After starting the season 0-5, the West Point Warriors have started to turn the momentum of their season around by winning their last two games at Crossville and at Sardis. With a 2-2 record within the region, the Warriors can still play their way into the postseason with a win over Douglas at home Friday night. West Point’s offense has been putting points on the board all season and the Warriors have been playing tighter on the defensive side of the ball the past few weeks. Douglas has dropped four straight games after starting the season 3-0 and the Eagles are running into a West Point team with some momentum this week.

(6-1) Fairview at (0-8) Brewer

The Aggies held onto their 10th place position in the latest 5A state poll after blanking Crossville 35-0 last week and clinching a playoff berth in the process. They don’t have a region opponent on the schedule this week, but they do have a road trip to Brewer to take on the Patriots. Brewer is still winless this season and has allowed 43 points per game to its foes so Fairview will have a good chance to keep the momentum going into the end of the regular season if it can play sound football against the Pats.

(1-6) Hanceville at (2-5) Ashville

Hanceville has endured a tough two-game stretch at Oneonta and at home against Etowah coming into this week’s matchup but now they’ll have to prepare for another road trip to face the Ashville Bulldogs. Ashville is coming off a loss at Dora last week and will be anxious to bounce back with a win against the visiting Bulldogs Friday night so they’ll need a solid performance on both sides of the ball to return home with a win.

(4-3) Vinemont v. (5-2) Oakman

The Eagles are coming off a huge, 21-7 win over Susan Moore at home last week and now they only need to one of their next two region contests to secure their spot in the postseason. However, they have a chance to improve their position even further this week with a win over Oakman. The Wildcats have won four straight since falling to Winfield in week four and have a lot of momentum coming into Friday night’s showdown at Vinemont. The Eagles will certainly have their hands full with Oakman this week but if they can continue to show improvement and knock off the Wildcats, they’ll have a lot of momentum going into the tail end of the regular season.

(2-6) Holly Pond at (2-5) Susan Moore

The Broncos are coming off a tough road loss to the top team in the region last week, but they’ll have to regroup and get ready for another road test Friday night. Holly Pond will travel to take on Susan Moore in another regional showdown this week. Susan Moore fell at Vinemont 21-7 last week and has lost four straight coming into this week’s matchup. This season hasn’t gone as planned for the Broncos so far but with Friday night’s meeting against the Bulldogs and a pair of county rivals to round out the regular season, Holly Pond still has a chance to end the year on a high note.

(4-3) Cold Springs at (5-2) Winston County

After Midfield was forced to shut down the remainder of its season with COVID-19 concerns, the Cold Springs Eagles picked up a region win and a week of rest leading into this week’s matchup at Winston County. The Eagles are right in the middle of the Region 5 standings at 2-2 so each remaining game is critical. Winston County is coming off a region victory as well. The Yellow Jackets knocked off Sulligent 30-12 to improve to 3-1 in the region so both teams have real postseason aspirations coming into Friday night’s meeting. The Eagles need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and create some positive momentum to cap off the regular season.

(5-3) Addison at (3-5) Hamilton

The Bulldogs are currently sitting atop the Region 5 standings with a 4-1 record but this week they’ll have to prepare for a tough road test against the 4A Hamilton Aggies. After forfeiting their season opener, the Aggies won three straight to get off to a great start but have dropped their last four games coming into this week’s matchup, including a 41-0 loss at Gordo last week. Addison has been rolling the last two weeks, collecting a 50-14 win over Cold Springs and a 42-27 win over Lamar County last week. The Bulldogs are hitting their stride at the perfect time of year and they plan to keep it going with a win at Hamilton Friday night.

(1-6) Meek v. (5-2) Pickens County

Last week’s 34-32 win over Lynn was a long time coming for the Meek Tigers. It was their first win since October 2018 and they’ll definitely try to seize this momentum and use it to finish the season on the right note. They have a big test coming to town this week. Pickens County will make the long trip to Meek Friday night after dropping a close contest to Berry last week 29-28. The Tornados are 5-0 all-time against the Tigers and won last year’s meeting 44-13 so the returning players for Meek will be hungry for some revenge this time around.

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