PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: 7 local teams preparing to kick off round 1

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Vinemont, Fairview and West Point are each preparing to face Sylvania, John Carroll and Ramsay in the opening round of the state playoffs this week. (Howard Cole, Martha Needham & Bill Piper/The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. — The 2023 AHSAA State football playoffs are here, and we have seven local teams preparing to compete in round one.

Addison vs. Pickens County (Class 1A)

The Addison Bulldogs split their first four games of the regular season, but then racked up six straight wins to finish the regular season with an 8-2 record. They finished second in Class 1A, Region 8 with a 6-1 record and will face off against Pickens County, the no. 3 seed from Region 5, at home on Friday night. The Bulldogs scored 34 points per game during the regular season and allowed just 10 a game on defense, while the Tornadoes scored 30 points per game and allowed just 15 defensively. Addison went 4-1 at home in the regular season, and Pickens County went 4-1 on the road. The Bulldogs are 0-5 all-time against Pickens County, but Addison will look to break that streak on Friday night and move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Meek at South Lamar (Class 1A)

The Meek Tigers started the season 3-3 but won three of their final four contests to finish with a 6-4 record and clinch a spot in the postseason under first-year head coach Daniel Evans. Meek finished third in Class 1A, Region 8 with a 5-2 record, and they will travel to take on the no. 2 seed, South Lamar, on Friday night. The Tigers scored 31 points a game on offense, while allowing 20 a game on defense. The Stallions put up 30 points a game, while allowing just 16 on defense. Meek had a 3-2 record on the road in the regular season, while South Lamar finished with a 4-1 record at home. Something has to give in what’s sure to be a great contest, as the Tigers will look to move on to the next round of the playoffs Friday night.

Vinemont at Sylvania (Class 3A)

The Vinemont Eagles went 1-4 to start out the season, but the second half of the season was a different story. The Eagles 3-2 in their final five games, including a pair of huge wins over Ashville and Ashbury, to finish with a 4-6 record and clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Eagles’ 3-3 record in Class 3A, Region 7 got them the no. 4 spot and they will take on the no. 1 seed from Region 6, Sylvania, on the road Friday night. Vinemont scored 25 points a game, while allowing 27. The Rams scored 37 points a game, while allowing 19. The Eagles finished 2-3 on the road in the regular season, while Sylvania went 3-2 at home. Vinemont will look to pull off an upset on the road this Friday night and move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Arab at Leeds (Class 5A)

Arab got off to another strong start to the season, winning their first four games. They quickly shrugged off a two-game losing streak by winning their final four to finish with an 8-2 record. They finished with a 4-1 record in Class 5A, Region 7 and will go into the playoffs as the no.3 seed. The Knights will travel to take on the no. 2 seed from Region 6, Leeds, on Friday night. The Knights scored 28 points per game offensively and allowed 19 points per game defensively during the regular season. The Green Wave put up 30 points a game during the regular season and allowed 15 points per game on defense. Arab went 3-2 on the road in the regular season, and Leeds finished with a 5-1 record at home. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, and the Knights will look to move on to the second round with a win Friday night.

Fairview vs. John Carroll (Class 5A)

The Fairview Aggies picked up right where they left off last season, leaning on a strong running game, and a tough defense to finish with a 9-1 record in the regular season. Their 5-1 record in Class 5A, Region 8 allowed them to clinch the no.2 seed, and they will be hosting the no. 3 seed from Region 5, John Carroll, on Friday night. The Aggies are putingt up 35 points per game on offense while allowing just 10 per game on defense. The Cavaliers lit up the scoreboard for 35 points a game as well and allowed 21 points per game defensively. Fairview went 5-0 at home in the regular season, while John Carroll finished with a 3-1 record on the road. This will be the first-ever meeting between both teams, and Fairview will look to continue to do what they’ve been doing all season as they look to clinch a spot in the second round of the playoffs.

West Point at Ramsay (Class 5A)

The West Point Warriors started out the season 2-3, but they split their next four games to give themselves a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs against Brewer in the final week of the regular season. The Warriors defeated the Patriots 27-13 to clinch the fourth seed in the region and earn a spot in the playoffs. They now have a date with the top seed from Region 5, Ramsay, on the road Thursday night. West Point scored 22 points per game on offense, and allowed 29 points per game on defense, while the Rams put up 37 points a game and allowed just 11 per game on defense. West Point finished with a 3-2 record on the road in the regular season, while Ramsay collected a 3-2 record at home. The Warriors will look to pull off a huge upset on the road Thursday night and move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Cullman at Clay-Chalkville (Class 6A)

The Cullman Bearcats, under first-year head coach Danny Stiff, started out the season 3-2, which included a big region win over Decatur. The Bearcats finished the season 5-5 and 2-3 in Class 6A, Region 7. Cullman will be the no. 4 seed heading into a huge game against the no. 1 seed from Region 6, Clay-Chalkville. The Bearcats are scoring 25 points per game offensively and allowing 23 per game defensively. The Cougars put up 41 points a game on offense and allowed just 8 points per game on defense. Cullman finished 3-2 on the road in the regular season, and Clay-Chalkville finished 3-0 at home. The Bearcats will look to pull off the big upset Friday night and move on to the second round of the playoffs.

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