PREP FOOTBALL: Several region finales on tap for week 9

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West Point’s Will Cochran (10), Vinemont’s Colby Miller (1) and Good Hope’s Tanner Malin (11). (Bill Piper & Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The regular season is winding down and local teams are almost done hammering out the playoff picture for this year. Several teams are already locked into a postseason position and working to improve their standing within the region this week with their final regional matchups. Holly Pond’s rivalry matchup with Vinemont and Good Hope’s regional showdown with Oneonta have been moved to Thursday.

(6-2) Cullman v. (6-2) Muscle Shoals

The ‘Cats were dealt their first region loss of the season on the road at Athens last week but they can still secure a home game in the opening round of the playoffs with a win over Muscle Shoals Friday night. The Trojans blew out Buckhorn 42-0 last week to improve to 5-1 within region 8. Cullman is currently tied for second place in the region with Muscle Shoals so there will be home field advantage on the line when the two meet at Oliver Woodard Stadium this week. The Bearcats are the only local team that won’t wrap up region play this week. Their matchup with Columbia was postponed until next week so there will be another region game to prepare for after Friday but the showdown with the Trojans will be the biggest of the season so far for the ‘Cats.

(4-4) Arab at (3-5) Springville

The Knights took a tough loss at Oxford two weeks ago in their most recent contest, but they’ve had an off week to refocus and prepare for this week’s trip to Springville. With a win over the Tigers, Arab can punch its ticket to the postseason. Springville has dropped three straight games, including a 63-6 loss at Oxford last week so they’ll be anxious to put that one behind them and close the season with a win over the Knights. Arab’s running game has been clicking in the second half of the season and if they can continue moving the ball on the ground, they can roll into the postseason with some momentum.

(3-5) West Point at (8-0) Guntersville

The West Point Warriors have managed to shift the momentum of their season and have played their way into a postseason berth after winning three straight region games against Crossville, Sardis and Douglas. However, they’ll have their hands full this week when they travel to Guntersville to take on the top team in the region. The Wildcats are undefeated, have outscored their opponents 347-52 this season and are winning by an average of 42 points each week. The Warriors have earned their place in the playoffs regardless of this week’s outcome but a win over Guntersville would generate a lot of momentum for West Point going forward.

(8-1) Good Hope v. (6-3) Oneonta

Last week was an opportunity for the Raiders to rest up and prepare for this week’s game after Dora was forced to forfeit but now, they’ll have Oneonta coming to town Thursday night. The last time Good Hope was on the field, it was at Fultondale collecting a 31-17 win over the Wildcats. The Redskins’ last opponent was also Fultondale and they downed the Wildcats 49-21. Good Hope and Oneonta are tied for second place in region 6 so there will be home field advantage up for grabs when the two teams meet Thursday night.

(1-7) Hanceville v. (5-3) Section

Hanceville is returning home this week after falling to Ashville on the road last Friday and they have a non-region matchup against Section awaiting them. The Lions have won back to back games over Whitesburg Christian and Pisgah coming into Friday night’s contest. The Bulldogs have fallen out of playoff contention this season but with two more games left on the schedule, they still have an opportunity to finish the year strong and build some momentum going into next season.

(2-7) Holly Pond v. (5-3) Vinemont

The Broncos and Eagles are set to clash in Holly Pond this week and renew their county rivalry. Holly Pond is returning home after suffering a loss at Susan Moore last week while Vinemont is coming off a playoff-clinching, overtime win against Oakman. The Eagles will be playing in the postseason in a couple weeks, but they would love to collect a pair of wins over county rivals to wrap up the regular season. The Broncos defeated Vinemont 36-29 last season so with some momentum behind them, the Eagles will be looking for revenge when they hit the field Thursday night.

(4-4) Cold Springs v. (3-5) Lamar County

Despite falling to Winston County on the road last week, the Cold Springs Eagles still have the chance to play for a postseason berth this week when they face Lamar County. A victory over the Bulldogs Friday night would secure the fourth spot in region 5 and another trip to the playoffs for Cold Springs. Lamar County has dropped back to back games to Addison and Sulligent coming into this week’s matchup, so they’ll be aiming to spoil the Eagles’ postseason hopes when they meet Friday night.

(5-4) Addison at (2-6) Sulligent

The Bulldogs can secure a home game for the opening round of the playoffs with a win over Sulligent this week after defeating Winston County earlier this season. Addison fell to Hamilton in a non-region contest on the road last week, but they can wrap up the regular season strong with another region win over the Blue Devils Friday night. The Bulldogs have been beaten up all season but after this week’s matchup, they’ll have a week off to rest up and prepare for the postseason.

(1-7) Meek at (7-1) Berry

Meek will be back on the road Friday night after falling to Pickens County at home last week and this week’s matchup may be the toughest yet for the Tigers. After falling to Northside in the season opener, Berry has won its last seven games to climb to the top of the region 6 standings. The postseason may be out of reach for Meek but a win over the Wildcats would be a massive victory for the Tigers late in the season after falling to Berry by just six points a season ago.

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