PREP FOOTBALL: Local teams fighting for playoff position in week 8

West Point’s Kelton Washington (5), Cullman’s Jamar Kay (21) and Fairview’s Parker Martin (9). (Bill Piper & Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With the 2021 AHSAA State Playoffs right around the corner, each game remaining on the schedule becomes more important with each passing week. A few teams like Cullman, Arab, Meek, Good Hope and Fairview have already secured a spot in the postseason but everyone else is still working to earn one of those spots in their region. Each team has only two or three regular season games remaining so wins in these final weeks will be critical to determining which teams go to the playoffs and where they’ll be seeded.

Cullman (6-2) v. Athens (4-4)

The Bearcats will return to Oliver Woodard Stadium Friday night after handling Columbia on the road 42-8 last week and Cullman will definitely have more to worry about when they face Athens. The Eagles are coming off a 27-24 win over Buckhorn, but they dropped back to back road games before playing the Bucks. Athens is just 1-3 on the road this season while the Bearcats are 3-1 on their home field so home field advantage could be a big factor when these two meet Friday night. The Eagles are allowing just over 30 points per game so if Cullman’s offense can stay hot, it’ll have opportunities to put points on the board. The Bearcats fell at Athens 28-0 last year, so they’ll be excited to hit the field and try to get some revenge this time around.

Fairview (6-1) v. Brewer (1-7)

The Aggies are coming off a dominant performance at Crossville last week in which they pulled away early to claim a 55-6 win and they’ll be back home Friday night. This time, Fairview will host Brewer for a non-region matchup against the Patriots. Brewer picked up its first win of the season over Mae Jemison last week so the Patriots are riding some momentum, but it may not be enough to take down the Aggies. Opponents are scoring nearly 44 points per game against Brewer this season and Fairview is coming to town averaging 41 points per game so things could be setting up for another explosive night for the Aggie offense.

West Point (5-2) at Douglas (4-3)

After narrowly defeating Sardis at home last week, the West Point Warriors will hit the road this week for a regional matchup at Douglas. A win over the Eagles would all but secure a playoff spot for the Warriors. Douglas got off to a 3-0 start this season but has now dropped three of its last four games coming into Friday night’s clash with West Point. During that stretch, the Eagles have been outscored 156-86 so they’ve been struggling on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, the Warriors are scoring just 16 points per game this season and have had their own struggles on the offensive side of the ball. One of those two units will have to step up and make the difference Friday night and if West Point can leave Douglas with a win, it’ll be in great shape to make it to the postseason.

Good Hope (6-2) v. Dora (5-2)

The Raiders hammered Fultondale 28-3 last week to punch their ticket to the postseason, but they can continue to improve their position and build momentum in their final two regular season games, starting this week with Dora. The Bulldogs topped Ashville 21-0 last week and have won three in a row coming into Friday night’s matchup. Dora’s defense has been stellar this season, allowing only 11 points per game but Good Hope’s offense has shown that it can be explosive and put pressure on good defensive teams. The Raiders have also been stingy on the defense side, allowing only 15 points per game so far this season so points will be at a premium when these teams meet Friday night.

Hanceville (2-5) v. Ashville (3-4)

Last week’s road trip to Etowah was a tough one for the Hanceville Bulldogs but they’ll have a chance to bounce back at home against Ashville this week. The Bulldogs of Ashville fell to Dora 21-0 last week and have had some problems on the offensive side of the ball this season. Ashville is scoring just 12 points per game so if the Hanceville defense can play sound football Friday night, they’ll have a chance to control the game against Ashville. Injuries have plagued the Hanceville offense the last few weeks but if the Bulldogs can get something going in the run game, they’ll have an opportunity to knock off Ashville and finish the regular seasons strong.

Vinemont (3-4) at Oakman (5-2)

After taking down Susan Moore in a thrilling, 50-42 shootout last week, Vinemont will be back on the road Friday night for another regional matchup against Oakman. The Wildcats have won three straight coming into this week’s game and are one of the top teams in Region 6. Oakman is putting up 35 points per game this season and the Eagles are allowing 35 points per game to opponents on the defensive side so Vinemont may have to win another shootout to take down the Wildcats. The Eagles have a 2-2 record on the road this season and they if they can play sound on both sides of the ball this week, they’ll have another chance to pick up another big region win.

Holly Pond (3-4) v. Susan Moore (3-4)

The Broncos fell to Winfield at home last week but they’re returning to their home field Friday night for another big region matchup against Susan Moore. The Bulldogs dropped a shootout against Vinemont last week and have lost four straight coming into this week’s meeting with Holly Pond. Susan Moore took last year’s matchup 35-6 so the Broncos will be looking for some payback when the Bulldogs arrive Friday night.

Cold Springs (0-7) v. Winston County (3-4)

This season has not gone according to plan for the Cold Springs Eagles, but they still have a chance to grab a big win Friday night. The Eagles will return home to take on Winston County this week and will have a chance to knock off a Yellow Jackets team that has lost back to back games and has been struggling to put points on the board. Winston County is scoring just 15 points per game this season and is also 1-2 on the road so if Cold Springs can execute on defense and make some plays on the offensive side, it’ll have an opportunity to take down Winston County and collect its first win of the season.

Addison (4-4) v. Hamilton (4-4)

It’s been an up and down year for the Addison Bulldogs. Injuries have been a problem for the Bulldogs and this season hasn’t gone the way many fans were hoping but Addison still has a chance to finish the regular season strong and even make it back to the postseason. This week’s clash with Hamilton is non-region game but a great performance against the Aggies could build some momentum for the Bulldogs going into their final regular season matchup against Sulligent next week.

Meek (5-2) at Pickens County (6-1)

The Tigers secure a playoff spot for the first time since 2017 with their 46-15 win at Lynn last week and they plan to continue stacking the win column before the regular season wraps up. This week, they have a long trip to Pickens County for a regional matchup against the Tornadoes, one of the toughest opponents on their schedule this season. Pickens County is holding teams to just 12 points per game this season so Meek will have to execute at a high level to put points on the board against the Tornadoes Friday night. The Tigers are scoring over 33 points per game so something will have to give when these two meet.

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