Victory Lions

The Victory Christian Lions will take on Talladega County Central. Photo courtesy Victory Christian

Last Weeks Scores

Pinson Valley 44 Pell City 0

Cleburne Co. 50 Ashville 20

Handley 49 Leeds 27

Center Point 44 Moody 10

Winterboro 60 Ragland 25

Mortimer Jordan 56 Springville 20

Munford 48 St. Clair County 0

Donoho 42 Victory Christian 12

2019 Football Schedule

Ashville Bulldogs @ Anniston Bulldogs

Ashville’s final region contest comes on the road this Friday as it faces off against the 4-4 Anniston Bulldogs, who have already secured a postseason berth and will take this opportunity to test their high-scoring offense against Ashville’s defense.

Anniston is averaging 30 points per game in large part because of a dynamic backfield featuring underrated quarterback Tyree Carmichael. Anniston’s backfield also features a great ground gainer in running back Tywon Spidell, another undersized skill player with a hard-nosed running style that makes him very hard to tackle.

While Anniston’s offense may be a bit underrated, its defense has underperformed this season considering how many good players are featured on that side of the ball. Anniston has a standout defensive front anchored by the 310-pound Khalil Peoples, a defensive tackle who surprises many with his solid technique and bullish strength. Behind Peoples are linebackers Micaiah Ross and Blake Heard, a pair of run stoppers and gap fillers that may be one of the best backer duos in the region. The best of Anniston’s defense is its secondary. Charrell Brown is a fantastic cornerback who has caught the attention of some of the state college programs, accompanied by Damecus Thomas, a tall, athletic senior free safety who is the leader of Anniston’s defense.

Ashville’s defense needs to key on Anniston’s running attack and slow the game down to a crawl this week. Eight in the box to force Carmichael to win with his arm may be the strategy to force the contest into the fourth quarter, which would be a great position to be in for Ashville to steal this last region game.

Leeds Green Wave @ Childersburg Tigers

Coach Hood’s team is looking to end its five-game losing streak and finish the season on a positive note. This week’s opponent, a Childersburg squad that has also struggled this year with a subpar season and a leaky defense, is well-suited to give the Green Wave a much-needed boost of confidence.

After having surrendered 269 points so far this season, Leeds needs a good defensive showing to remind the team of how to play Green Wave football. The Tigers’ offense is their weak point — they have been hit by an injury bug that has not been remedied by their rotating cast of quarterbacks and runners. Their short passing game has been effective with a superior tight end in Desmond Phillips, as well as the very good wideout Cameron Thrash. The responsibility for stopping Childersburg’s ability to exploit the intermediate passing game will fall to Leeds’ linebacking corps.

The talent of the Leeds offense remains its running backs. A two tight-end formation that shifts those guys around would be a great way to neutralize standout defensive end Andrew Chatman and expose their vulnerable edges. Three defensive seniors (free safety Terry Thomas, middle linebacker Ryan Logan and defensive tackle Kishon Reynolds) form the tough central spine of the Tigers’ defense, but they bend on the ends and can be set back on their heels with toss sweeps and off-tackle runs.

A beautiful picture of Leeds sending its pulling guards crashing into Childersburg’s defensive ends, freeing up Jakobi Hunter to fly through the five and six holes, would be a great sight to see this Friday. It would feature the Green Wave’s strengths while keeping their defense rested and on the sidelines until they will be needed to come in and make the stops they will need to make.

Moody Blue Devils @ Mortimer Jordan Blue Devils

Moody’s outside chance of securing a playoff spot last week was put on hold for one more year after its loss to Center Point. This week, Moody has the unenviable task of taking on the Mortimer Jordan Blue Devils, who are 7-2 and have been running up scores against almost all of their region foes this season.

MJHS’ biggest playmaker may be Region 5’s best offensive player — the dual-threat quarterback Kourtlan Marsh. Marsh is a true dual threat who continues the tradition of game- breaking play-callers from this program, including the Hodges brothers from a few years back. When he is not scrambling for big gains with his feet, Marsh has lots of receiver options like sure-handed Garrison McCleney, who may be the best athlete on the team other than Marsh.

When the season started, all indications pointed to a senior-laden Moody defense loaded with senior leadership and a tenacious, competitive fire capable of dominating performances. From time to time, this defense has shown itself to be just that. Other times the Moody defense has been caught off-guard and let games get away from it early. For those seniors, this will be the final time they can put on a signature performance against one of the best offenses in Class 5A football. The playoff spots are all filled up, so this week’s game is about pride and about what this group of guys can accomplish before that final whistle and final score.

Pell City Panthers vs. Shades Valley Mounties

One does not need to remind Pell City that it plays in one of the toughest, if not the toughest, regions in Class 5A football. For the past two weeks, Pell City has had to take on the best of the best and it was, as expected by the Panthers’ players and coaching staff, a very tough gauntlet to traverse. Having gotten through it, the Panthers now can reignite their team when they host Shades Valley on Friday.

The Mounties have had a very similar season as the Panthers. When on offense, Shades Valley can move the football. Mounties quarterback Isaac Sims has been peppering defenses with short passes over the defensive line, so the Pell City linebackers will need to quickly read whether Mounties running back AJ Williams is getting the ball or Sims is attacking them with his short passing game. Even if Pell City’s defense bends, it still has a good reputation of stopping opponents in the red zone, which has been a weakness for Shades Valley.

Despite its recent struggles, the Panthers’ offense has proven capable of bursting to the surface and piling on the points as it did against Etowah three weeks ago. Shades Valley’s defense has been solid for most of the season behind the leadership of safety Monterio Smith and linebackers Dale Clear and Kameron Bass. This week’s game should boil down to what kind of start Pell City’s offense is able to deploy. If the Panthers score 10 to 14 points in the first quarter, they will own the momentum. Shades Valley has a terrible time when it gets behind early, which is why a strong start by the Panthers should carry the day.

Ragland Purple Devils @ Spring Garden Panthers

The Purple Devils run full speed into the biggest challenge and best opponent they will face this year when they travel to play fifth-ranked Spring Garden, which is undefeated in the region and has earned a first-round home playoff game come November.

How Ragland’s defense responds to the four-headed monster in Spring Garden’s backfield will set the tone for this week’s matchup. Spring Garden quarterback Ryley Kirk has run up and down the field all season, and the Panthers do not let up for a second due to their two excellent, speedy running backs Weston Kirk and Andrew Floyd, backed up by power running fullback Luke Welsh. This collection of backs has been relentless on opposing defenses all season, and it will take a Herculean effort by Ragland’s defense to tame this beast.

It has been a tough journey for Ragland this year, peppered with moments of promise when its offense got in gear and generated some effective drives. This week’s final region game will be their toughest test, but the Purple Devils have a well-earned reputation of playing every snap of every game. Being an underdog just lights up Purple Devil pride, and the boys from Ragland are not going to give up the fight no matter who they face. Expect that attitude this week.

Springville Tigers vs. St. Clair County Fighting Saints

Now that Springville and St. Clair County’s most difficult games are in their respective rear-view mirrors, these two teams can now turn toward one another and focus on a very heated county rivalry game in which family and friends face off against one another for a lifetime of stories and bragging rights.

The Saints’ youth movement may have to take a pause this week. After having quarterback Josh Struggs learn on the go, expect a few more of St. Clair’s older players to rotate in and take their shot at Springville this week. St. Clair is going to try and break through Springville’s defense with running back Martez Stallworth getting a lot of touches and orders to hammer away at the Tigers’ defensive front.

Springville will have an answer for Stallworth. They have defensive players like huge nose guard and sophomore DJ Salas and defensive end Bryce Storie, who have been through the Region 5 wars and know how to stiffen up against the run. Springville also has two true tough guys at linebacker in Braden Hughes and John Raby, who know how to smother running attacks and may force the Saints to rely on their struggling passing game.

Springville should break out against St. Clair’s young defense. The Tigers feature a very strong offensive line that should open up running lanes for Springville’s featured running back Kobye Payton. unior quarterback Pearson Baldwin has a great target in wide receiver Jace Hayes in case Payton stumbles or the Saints’ D gives Baldwin the opportunity to beat them with play-action.

As the season closes, these rivalry games take on added importance, and both sides will be keyed up and ready to fire away at one another. Going off this season’s results, Springville goes in a two-touchdown favorite, but a night game in Odenville with pride on the line may wash away that favored status.

Victory Christian Lions @ Talladega County Central

Then there was one.

Only one game left. 

Only one team remains in all of St. Clair County with a shot at the postseason.

Victory Christian’s season all comes down to a road game this Friday. Region rival Winterboro finished its season early last week and now owns a 3-3 record. Victory Christian, which is 2-3 within the region, beat Winterboro earlier this year. That means if the Lions win, they are in.

TCC enters this week with zero wins, seven losses and is a team that has put up a meager 44 points for the entire year. Its offense has been harassed all season by opposing defenses. Defensively the Tigers have been a mess, surrendering over 40 points per game. TCC relies on an athletic quarterback named Jakendirk Tuck, who started playing the game of football six months ago. Tuck has been hampered by a supporting cast that has not been able to protect him all year.

The Lions clearly outmatch Talladega County Central. The offensive punch of Victory Christian’s running attack will overwhelm the Tigers. Defensively, Victory Christian just needs to go through TCC’s porous offensive line and wrap up Tuck. The pride of the whole county now is directed to the little Christian academy in Pell City, which will represent all of the county in the postseason if and when it takes care of TCC on Friday.

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