PREP FOOTBALL: 7 local teams preparing for 1st round of state playoffs

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Fairview’s Barrett York (19), Addison’s Brian Berry (21) and Cullman’s L.J. Turner (34). (Martha Needham & Katie Drummond/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The regular season is now officially in the books, and we have seven local teams that are now turning their attention to the postseason. Meek, Fairview, Arab and Addison earned home field advantage for the opening round of the state playoffs and Cullman, Good Hope and Vinemont will get their playoff runs started on the road.

(7-3) Cullman at (6-4) Gadsden City

The Bearcats finished up their regular season a couple weeks ago with an impressive showing at Etowah and with a little extra time to rest up and prepare, they’ll be looking for another great performance at Gadsden City. The Titans are just 2-3 on their home field this season and Cullman has put together a 4-1 record in road games so that could bode well for the Bearcats when they arrive. Gadsden City is riding a four-game winning streak coming into Friday’s playoff matchup, so it’ll be up to the Bearcats to stop the Titans’ momentum if they want to move on to round two.

(9-1) Arab v. (5-5) East Limestone

The Arabian Knights have won four straight games leading into Friday night’s playoff battle with East Limestone, but the Indians are riding a four-game win streak as well. After a 1-5, East Limestone has rallied to finish the regular season 5-5 and earn a playoff berth so they’ll have plenty of momentum behind them when they arrive at Arab. The Indians have scored at least 35 points in each of their last four games, but the Knights’ defense is set to give them one of their toughest tests of the season. Arab is holding opponents to just 11 points per game and is putting up nearly 40 on the offensive side of the ball so barring a special performance from the Indians, expect the Knights to handle business and advance to round two.

(7-3) Fairview v. (8-2) Guntersville

The last two games have been tough ones for the Fairview Aggies. Following running back Eli Frost’s injury early in the game against Russellville, Fairview has been forced to make adjustments on the offensive side of the ball. After averaging over 40 points per game through their first eight matchups, the Aggies have been held to just 28 combined points in their last two games. Guntersville will be bringing a high-powered offense and a stingy defense to Dafford Smith Stadium Friday night so Fairview will have to find a way to get back into a rhythm to get by the Wildcats.

(5-5) Good Hope at (7-3) Dora

For the fifth consecutive season, the Good Hope Raiders are headed to the state playoffs, and they’ll be on the road in round one to take on Dora. After starting the season 2-3, the Bulldogs won five straight to finish the regular season 7-3 and will have plenty of momentum on their side when the Raiders arrive Friday. However, Dora hasn’t made it out of the first round since 2017 while Good Hope has played in nine playoff games in that time. The Raiders will have much more postseason experience under their belts when the game kicks off so ignore the records expect this one to go right down to the wire Friday night.

(5-5) Vinemont at (6-4) Lauderdale County

The Eagles capped off their regular season with a 42-22 win over Holly Pond last week and now they’ll turn their attention to Friday night’s first round matchup at Lauderdale County. Vinemont will be on the road but has won three straight going into this week’s matchup and is scoring over 45 points per game in that stretch while the Tigers are coming off a loss to Brooks. So, the momentum will be on the Eagles’ sideline when the game kicks off. Lauderdale County’s defense has been holding opponents to 15 points per game this fall but with a red-hot Vinemont offense coming to town, something will have to give.

(8-2) Addison v. (5-5) Appalachian

Addison is riding the momentum of a 56-0 win at Shoals Christian into Friday night’s playoff matchup while Appalachian has lost three of its last four games. The Bulldogs are also 5-0 on their home field this season so the Eagles should have their hands full when they arrive at Addison later this week. The Bulldogs are 3-0 all-time against Appalachian and won their last matchup against the Eagles in 2013 48-0 so Addison will certainly be the favorite in this one and as long as the Dawgs can continue to play well at home, expect to see them back under the lights next week for the second round.

(10-0) Meek v. (4-6) Cedar Bluff

This season has been a historic one for Meek. The Tigers are 10-0 for the first time in school history and they want to continue tacking more wins onto this great season now that the playoffs have arrived. Meek will be an overwhelming favorite against Cedar Bluff in the opening round Friday night. Cedar Bluff slid into the postseason with a win over Donoho last week and they’ll be taking on a Tigers team that is averaging over 45 points per game while holding their opponents to just 11 points per game. Meek has been improving on both sides of the ball as the season has gone on so as long as the Tigers don’t lose their footing this week, expect them to be back in action for round two.