PREP FOOTBALL: Raiders, Aggies, Tigers ready for round 2 matchups

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Good Hope’s Tanner Malin (11) and Fairview’s Parker Martin (9). (Maddie McKenney & Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With one round of the state playoffs in the books, only three local teams remain in the postseason hunt, and they all have big challenges to face Friday night. The Fairview Aggies will be on the road to take on Russellville, Good Hope travels to play Northside and the Meek Tigers will return home to host Woodland and play in their first second round game in 18 years.

Fairview (10-1) at Russellville (9-2)

The Aggies were at home to take on Fairfield in last week’s opening round, led the Tigers 23-14 at one point in the fourth quarter and withstood a late run from Fairfield to win 30-28 and advance to round two. Now, Fairview will be on the road to take on a Russellville team that dominated Lincoln 41-14 last week and is ranked No. 9 in the final Class 5A poll. The Golden Tigers are 7-0 on their home field and have scored 40 or more points in all but one of their home games this fall. At the same time, the Aggies are 5-0 on the road this season and have been putting up 44 points per game so we could be in for a shootout in Russellville Friday night. Both Russellville and Fairview’s defense are holding opponents to fewer than 20 points per game this year so it could come down to which of those units steps up and makes the most stops. This will be the first ever meeting between the Aggies and Golden Tigers and they’ll clash with a spot in the third round on the line this week.

Good Hope (8-3) at Northside (10-1)

They needed every minute on the clock to make it happen, but the Good Hope Raiders knocked off a strong Central Florence team 27-24 last week to advance to round two for the third time in four seasons. Now Good Hope will head to No. 4 Northside for round two. The Rams and Raiders last met in the regular season in 2019 and Northside came out on top 41-16 so Good Hope will be looking for some payback when it arrives Friday night. After dropping their second game of the season at Winfield, the Rams have won nine straight coming into this week’s game and have been stingy on the defensive side of the ball, holding opponents to 13 points per game. The Raiders have limited opponents to just 17 points per game this season so points will be at a premium when these teams meet. Good Hope hasn’t been as consistent on the offensive side as it would like this fall but the Raiders always seem to find a way to score when they have to have it so things will almost certainly come down to the wire once again Friday night.

Meek (8-3) v. Woodland (4-7)

For the first time since 2003, the Meek Tigers are preparing for the second round of the state playoffs, and they’ll be facing off against Woodland on their home field. The Bobcats dropped their final two regular season games to finish with a record of 3-7 but knocked off Cedar Bluff on the road 28-20 in round one to punch their ticket to the second round. The Tigers handled R.A. Hubbard on the road 52-20 to advance to Friday night’s game and they’ll try to keep riding this momentum when they run into Woodland. Opponents are scoring more than 24 points per game against the Bobcats this season and Meek’s running game has been red-hot for the last few weeks so if the Tigers can continue to hit their stride and improve week by week, they’ll have a good chance to extend their special season to round three.

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