Teams dive back into region play this week and playoff spots will start to be secured. There are some huge match-ups across the state this weekend, and it all kicks off with Spain Park going to the Hoover Met to take on the Bucs. After that, some huge games for programs that had big wins last week, and some teams had some tough losses that they need to bounce back from.
Come back Friday for the WJOX Opening Drive podcast.
The brackets wouldn’t have changed over last weekend since there were no region games, so I will be back with bracketology next week, and also note which teams have locked up playoff spots.
Central Alabama Games to Watch
Spain Park (4-1, 3-0) at Hoover (5-0, 3-0) – 7A Region 3 (Thursday)
This could very well be the year that Spain Park takes down Hoover. The Bucs are undefeated against Spain Park, and are undefeated this season. However, Hoover has struggled against teams they should’t have struggled against, including Oak Mountain and Mountain Brook, two teams at the bottom of the region standings. The only similar opponent is Thompson, who Spain Park beat 15-14, and Hoover beat 31-14. All signs point to Hoover still coming out on top of this game, but Spain Park has looked pretty good this season and this will be Hoovers first real test in-state.
Jon’s Pick: Hoover
Opelika (5-0, 3-0) at Chelsea (4-0, 2-0) – 6A Region 3
With Hoover/Spain Park being on Thursday, this game is easily the best game on Friday. Chelsea has been on fire this season, but they are about to face a team that is nothing like anything they have seen so far. Opelika had a monumental win over Central-Phenix City last week, which catapulted them up to being looked at as one of the best overall teams in the state along with Hoover and Clay-Chalkville. Opelika is in a prime position now to challenge for the state title, but they have to get through Chelsea first.
This is going to be for the region championship most likely, and the winner at least clinches a spot in the playoffs. I like Opelika here by about 10 points, but Chelsea can definitely compete and challenge for a win which would be one of the biggest of the year so far.
Jon’s Pick: Opelika
Vestavia Hills (3-1, 2-1) at Thompson (3-2, 1-2) – 7A Region 3
Back to 7A Region 3, these two teams desperately need this win. Vestavia is trying to prove they belong in the playoff discussion before they turn around and play Spain Park and Hoover back to back. Thompson is trying to stay in the playoff picture since they have already lost to Spain Park and Hoover. Thompson has Hewitt next week, so they must win one of the next two. This game being in Alabaster is the best chance they have to get one of those important wins, but I’m not sure they can get it.
Jon’s Pick: Vestavia Hills
Carver-Birmingham (2-2, 2-1) at Wenonah (5-0, 3-0) – 5A Region 5
There are two important games in the Birmingham region of 5A this week. The first of which could determine how the region championship plays out. Carver has already dropped to Pleasant Grove, but could stay in the hunt with a victory over Wenonah. Wenonah has been the surprise team this year, much like Ramsay and Parker were last season (more on them in a bit).
Both of these teams are not typical playoff teams, but are in prime position to make it at this point. This game will be a great one, but Wenonah looks a little strong at this point for anyone other than perhaps Pleasant Grove to take them down.
Jon’s Pick: Wenonah
Parker (2-2, 1-2) at Ramsay (2-2, 1-2) – 5A Region 5 (Thursday)
The loser here isn’t necessarily out of the playoffs, but they both still have Carver on their schedule. They did get the other two top teams out of the way with Pleasant Grove and Wenonah, but both of those were losses for each of them. This game last year was amazing with it coming down to the final play, and I don’t expect anything different this year.
Jon’s Pick: Parker
Other games to watch:
Gardendale (4-1, 3-0) at Shades Valley (2-2, 2-0) – 6A Region 6
Homewood (4-1, 3-0) at Minor (2-3, 2-1) – 6A Region 5
Bessemer City (4-1, 2-1) at McAdory (4-1, 2-0) – 6A Region 4
Northridge (5-1, 2-1) at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (4-2, 2-0) – 6A Region 4
Leeds (4-2, 1-1) at Handley (5-0, 3-0) – 4A Region 3
Statewide Games to Watch
Baldwin County (4-1, 3-0) at Spanish Fort (5-0, 3-0) – 6A Region 1
Baldwin County dropped it’s first game of the season last week to Mary Montgomery, and Spanish Fort got to rest with a bye week. Baldwin County has definitely been a surprise so far this season, but it will be tough to get a win on the road against the Toros.
Jon’s Pick: Spanish Fort
Prattville (4-1, 1-1) at Jeff Davis (5-1, 2-1) – 7A Region 2
This will be the battle for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs as Central is still the favorite to win the region. Jeff Davis got off to an amazing start before dropping their first game to Lee Montgomery out of nowhere a couple of weeks ago. The puts Prattville in a prime position to try and take the second seed away from them.
Jon’s Pick: Prattville
Buckhorn (4-1, 2-1) at Bob Jones (5-0, 3-0) – 7A Region 4
This is a game that could decide the region in 7A Region 4. Buckhorn’s only loss is to James Clemens, and if they can beat Bob Jones, it could cause mass chaos in the Huntsville region. Right now, there are four teams tied at 2-1 right behind Bob Jones. If the Patriots win, they secure a playoff spot and stay out in front for the region title with all of the hard obstacles out of the way. If Buckhorn wins…look out, it could get ugly in Region 4.
Jon’s Pick: Bob Jones
Vigor (3-1, 2-0) at Jackson (5-0, 3-0) – 5A Region 1
Vigor still has St. Paul’s left on their schedule, but they can take a temporary lead in the region with an upset of top ranked Jackson. Vigor’s only loss is to McGill-Toolen, but have looked strong since that loss on week one, including a win over 7A Murphy. Jackson is #1 for a reason though, and it’s going to be hard to go into Jackson and win a game, it doesn’t matter who you are.
Jon’s Pick: Jackson