Football for Sportspage ended on the night after Thanksgiving for the 2018 season with the Good Hope Raiders being defeated by Oneonta 29-8 at Gilbreath Stadium and the Addison Bulldogs taking it on the chin to Aliceville 38-22 at A.G. Hicks Stadium.
Both teams enjoyed a good run of getting to the quarterfinal round. The opposition prevented the Raiders and Bulldogs from further advancement.
In reviewing the quarterfinal round of other AHSAA playoff games near by, there were teams expected to win that did and teams that were not expected to lose.
Hoover out of the playoffs:
Hoover Bucs are a team that is known for deep runs into the playoffs. Playing in the largest classification in the AHSAA, the Bucs season ended in a 31-28 heartbreaking loss in the 7A semifinals at the Hoover Met to the Thompson Warriors, featuring Tua's younger brother.
Thompson put on a last minute comeback and avenged a regular season loss to the Bucs. They are on to the 7A championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium December 5 against Central Phenix City who edged Lee-Montgomery 34-27.
Addison's playoff elimination takes place at home:
In the past two seasons, the Addison Bulldogs ended the season with playoff losses on the road. This time, the Bulldogs were taken out of the playoff picture at A.G. Hicks Stadium in falling to Aliceville 38-22.
A six-game winning streak at home was ended. The other time the Bulldogs fell in front of the home crowd was in the opener August 31 in a 32-20 setback to the Piedmont Bulldogs.
Jasper's strong run cut off by Mortimer Jordan:
Jasper and Mortimer Jordan shared something in common, entering their matchup in 5A on Friday. Both started the season with a loss, then conquered 11 consecutive opponents.
Jasper's bid for a 12-game winning streak was denied with Mortimer Jordan paying a visit and going home a 41-21 victor.
The Vikings were a program that went from 3-7, getting a new coach in Bryan Moore and being the best in 5A, Region 5. The Vikings were sent out of the playoffs by the champion of Region 6.
Undefeated no longer:
Etowah had a 12-0 record going into the quarterfinals against Central Clay County. The Blue Devils were run off the field by the Volunteers in the 5A contest 35-13.
A battle of undefeated teams in 2A took place in Dekalb County. The Fyffe Red Devils went to 13-0 in a 21-13 victory over Ohatchee from Calhoun County.
Westminster Christian of Huntsville was perfect coming into the 3A quarterfinal at Piedmont. They returned to the Rocket City dejected in a 27-26 loss, with a missed extra point the difference in the contest.
Mars Hill Bible went from Florence into the town of Millport and eliminated previously undefeated South Lamar 41-27 in the 1A quarterfinals.
From the South Region in 4A, American Christian out of Tuscaloosa came up short to state champion UMS Wright in Mobile 21-19. ACA missed a field goal in the closing seconds and lost for the only time this season.
Home field not a true advantage:
The old cliche of home field advantage did not serve to full status Friday in quarterfinal play in the AHSAA playoffs.
Seven games played in the North region were won by the road team. The most notable was in 7A with Thompson getting by Hoover 31-28.
All but Class 3A had at least one road team to carry on their season to the following week.
Deshler has the worst record of a semifinalist at 8-5. The Tigers were 5-5 in the regular season, but 2nd in 4A, Region 8. Deshler stunned Hokes Bluff 20-14 in Etowah County Friday and will have the home field for the semifinal game this week vs. Oneonta.
Hoping to play at home:
Mortimer Jordan has posted three victories in the 5A playoffs, all on the road. Two were not scheduled to be that way. Poor field conditions forced the Blue Devils to move the first round game from Jimmie Trotter Field in Kimberly to Dora Stadium. The 2nd round for MJ was played at Clay-Chalkville.
Mortimer Jordan is to play Central Clay County in the semifinals as a home squad. The game is currently set to be played on the MJ campus. That could change pending on field conditions as wet weather was reported in the area on Friday evening.
AHSAA State Football Playoffs Semifinal Pairings (Nov. 30)
CLASS 1A :Maplesville (11-1) at Linden (12-0) &
Pickens County (9-4) at Mars Hill Bible (12-1)
CLASS 2A Luverne (12-1) at Highland Home (12-1) &
Aliceville (11-2) at Fyffe (13-0)
CLASS 3A Providence Christian (12-1) at Flomaton (10-3) &
Randolph County (12-1) at Piedmont (11-2)
CLASS 4A Andalusia (9-4) at UMS-Wright (12-0) &
Oneonta (10-3) at Deshler (8-5)
CLASS 5A Vigor (12-1) at Greenville (11-2) &
Central-Clay County (10-3) at Mortimer Jordan (12-1)
CLASS 6A Saraland (12-1) at Wetumpka (11-2) &
Clay-Chalkville (12-1) at Pinson Valley (11-1)
CLASS 7A (Finals, Dec. 5, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn) Central-Phenix City (13-0) vs. Thompson (12-1)
AHSAA scoreboard - 2nd round:
4A: Good Hope 27, Jacksonville 12
2A: Addison 26, Ranburne 15
1A: Pickens Co 34, Falkville 15
3A: Piedmont 41, J.B. Pennington 16
4A: Oneonta 56, DAR 20
5A: Jasper 41, Southside Gadsden 14
6A: Clay Chalkville 35, Hartselle 7
NO. 1 AND NO, 2 IN 4A FALL IN SECOND ROUND:
Good Hope took care of No. 2 ranked Jacksonville 27-12 at James Shabel Stadium. Hokes Bluff ended the season of No. 1 ranked North Jackson by the score of 33-13. The win by Good Hope was its second against a ranked 4A opponent in the last four games.
On October 26, the Raiders upset No. 4 Fayette County 27-22 with a TD pass from Bailey Quick to Matt Dixon in the final 23 seconds.
Hokes Bluff accomplished the huge upset of North Jackson on the road. The Eagles will get Deshler in the quarterfinals who eliminated Fayette County 42-21 Friday night.
ADDISON MAKES ANOTHER TRIP TO THE QUARTERFINALS:
For three consecutive years, the Addison Bulldogs are an Elite Eight team. In their 26-15 win over Ranburne with a TD in the closing moments to seal their 10th win of the season in 12 games, Addison will play on Thanksgiving weekend for the third straight season under David Smothers. The Bulldogs will face Aliceville at A.G. Hicks Stadium in the Elite Eight next Friday. In the last 3 years, the Bulldogs have gone 33-6 and among the top eight in their respective class. Addison is in 2A this year after being a 1A school for 2016 and 2017.
UNDEFEATED TEAMS NO LONGER:
While Jacksonville saw defeat for the only time this season Friday in a 27-12 setback at Good Hope, two teams from Morgan County were eliminated from the postseason.
Falkville was taken down at Burl Vest Stadium by a strong Pickens County team 34-15. Up the road in Hartselle, the Tigers were soundly defeated by Clay Chalkville 35-7. All three wrapped up 11-1 records, but have to deal with the effects of being ousted in the Round of 16 in their respective class.
SETTING THE TONE IN WINNING ON THE ROAD:
In Class 4A second round play, four teams came out victorious as road squads. In the South region, UMS Wright (defending state champion) romped over Trinity 48-7.
From the North region, Oneonta ran past DAR 56-20, Hokes Bluff stunned No. 1 North Jackson 33-13 and Deshler hammered out a 42-21 victory at Fayette County.
SEASON CONTINUES FOR THE JASPER VIKINGS:
How things have turned around for the school that used to be known as the Walker Vikings. Now called the Jasper Vikings, they have posted 11 consecutive victories for coach Bryan Moore after they lost the opener to the Cullman Bearcats 28-27 on August 23 at Oliver Woodard Stadium.
Jasper toppled Southside Gadsden 41-14 Friday evening. The Vikings were 3-7 in 2017 and had a change in the coaching staff. Moore came from Eufaula and the Vikings are now in the Elite 8 of 5A, hosting Mortimer Jordan in the quarterfinal round.
HOME VICTORY AWAY FROM HOME:
Mortimer Jordan had to play a home game on the road for the second straight week due to poor field conditions at Jimmie Trotter Field in Morris. Mortimer Jordan routed East Limestone 41-9 in playing the game at Clay Chalkville High School. The Blue Devils will officially be a road team in the quarterfinals when they head to Jasper. Jordan is like Japser, losing the season opener, then rolling off 11 straight and taking plenty of momentum into the quarterfinal round.
THEY HAD A TOUGH SCHEDULE:
Cullman wound up taking on seven schools that appeared in the 2018 AHSAA playoffs. The first two opponents the Bearcats played in late August for new coach Matt Plunkett, meet each other in the quarterfinals. Jasper will play host to Mortimer Jordan. Cullman edged Jasper in the final seconds on opening night 28-27 and lost in the final seconds a week later on a field goal to Mortimer Jordan at home 18-16.
FOOTBALL OVER IN MORGAN COUNTY:
Three teams that had momentum from Morgan County going into the second round, saw their season end in defeat on Friday night. Falkville was taken down at home by Pickens County in 1A, Hartselle fell at home to Clay Chalkville and Decatur was shut out in Oxford, a week after the Red Raiders upset Jackson-Olin in Birmingham.
QUARTERFINAL GAMES ON THANKSGIVING WEEKEND:
4A: Good Hope (11-1) at Oneonta (9-3) - Raiders have never defeated the Redskins in 4 meetings all time. This will be the third time they face each other in the postseason. Oneonta has posted road wins against Brooks (43-34) and DAR (56-20) to earn a home game in the round of eight. Raiders take a 6-game winning streak to Gilbeath Stadium.
2A: Aliceville (10-2) at Addison (10-2) - First ever meeting for the Yellow Jackets and the Bulldogs will happen the day after Thanksgiving at A.G. Hicks Stadium. Aliceville has won three in a row while Addison is on a 5-game winning streak and will play in front of the home fans for the third consecutive week in the playoffs.
5A: Mortimer Jordan (11-1) at Jasper (11-1) - Vikings lead the all time series vs. Mortimer Jordan at 8-2. They have not faced one another since 2013 when Jasper, then known as Walker, won 28-21.
This will be the third straight game at Ki-Ro/Gambrill Field for Jasper, with Mortimer Jordan playing on the road for the third straight playoff game.
All games Friday will be at 7:00 p.m. Good Hope vs. Oneonta will be on WKUL-FM (92.1)
AHSAA Scoreboard - 1st round:
4A: Good Hope 62, St. John Paul 28
2A: Addison 56, Sulligent 6
3A: Geraldine 29, Holly Pond 14
1A: Falkville 35, Talladega County Central 6
2A: Red Bay 16, Winston County 14 (OT)
3A: J.B. Pennington 14, Susan Moore 7
4A: Oneonta 43, Brooks 34
5A: Jasper 34, Sylacauga 20
6A: Hartselle 35, Pelham 7
OAKMAN-PIKE COUNTY POSTPONED FOLLOWING LOCKER ROOM COLLAPSE:
BRUNDRIDGE - Oakman vs. Pike County was postponed after a collapse in the visiting locker room sent five people to an area hospital with injuries.
Oakman coach Mark Hastings reported in the Daily Mountain Eagle a retaining wall fell prior to kickoff. One player sustained a cut with four others trapped and a 9-1-1 call was made.
One of the players was transported from Troy Medical Center to Children's Hospital and a another sent to UAB Hospital. The Alabama Fire Marshal's office was called in to investigate the damage.
The players' names were not released. The game has been rescheduled for Monday at 2:00 p.m. at Pike County.
BATTLING THE COLD:
A change in the weather was the case for players and fans in the first round of the AHSAA playoffs. Sportspage covered the Good Hope-St. John Paul game at Milton Frank Stadium in Huntsville. The temperature at kickoff was 44 degrees with a wind blowing steady all night of 15 to at least 20 miles per hour.
The wind did not hamper the scoring of this game as the two combined for 13 touchdowns in Good Hope taking the contest by the final score of 62-28.
FIELD CONDITIONS EFFECTED:
Rain for three days caused field conditions to be effected throughout the state in the opening round of the playoffs. A majority of the games had sloppy turf from the persistent rain. Media reports of torn up turf surfaced through radio postgame shows and social media. Poor conditions at Mortimer Jordan's stadium forced the game with the Blue Devils and Dora to be moved to the Dora campus. Mortimer Jordan, a higher seed, posted a 17-3 victory.
ROAD WINS TAKE SHAPE IN THE PLAYOFFS:
Home field advantage was not fully secured throughout the state in week one of the playoffs. Half of dozen results in Class 4A had the road team victorious, including Good Hope in a 62-28 win over St. John Paul in Huntsville.
Upsets in the class included Oneonta's 43-34 stunner at Brooks, DAR going to Tuscaloosa County and upsetting Northside 38-30. Home field could not prevent Susan Moore from falling to Blount County rival J.B. Pennington 14-7 in 3A and Decatur pulling off a 35-32 victory in Birmingham over previously undefeated Jackson-Olin in 6A.
GOOD RETURN BY A GOOD HOPE RAIDER:
Good Hope RB Matt Dixon had not been healthy in the stretch run of the season. Dixon sustained a shoulder injury during the Raiders' 23-7 win on October 12 against Haleyville. Dixon's time running the ball the next two games in 4A, Region 5 was limited. He was kept on the sidelines in the finale, a 49-18 romp of Hanceville.
But on a chilly Friday evening in Huntsville, Dixon was ready. He ran 25 times for 252 yards and scored four touchdowns to pace the Raiders in a 62-28 win. Good Hope accounted for 546 yards total offense, all rushing yards, 24 first downs and eight TDs. Isaiah Green and Colton Bagwell added a pair of scores in the Raiders' first ever victory in the playoffs as a 4A participant.
An undefeated regular season continued for a pair of Morgan County schools, plus the next opponent in the playoffs for the Good Hope Raiders.
In Class 1A, Falkville drubbed Talladega County Central 35-6 to go 11-0, Hartselle improved to 11-0 by romping over Pelham in the 6A opener 35-7.
Jacksonville High School earned a 38-21 victory against Rodgers and will come to Good Hope for the second round with an 11-0 record.
LOOKING AHEAD TO SECOND ROUND GAMES:
Good Hope will get to enjoy the atmosphere of James Shabel Stadium in the 2nd round of the AHSAA 4A playoffs with a matchup against the Jacksonville Golden Eagles. The Raiders bring a 5-game winning streak into the encounter and are undefeated on the home field this season.
This is Jacksonville's first ever visit to Cullman County in school history.
Class 1A: Pickens Co (7-4) at Falkville (11-0). At Burl Vest Stadium, the Blue Devils have a stout challenge against a team that is well known for long runs in the postseason in the smallest class in the state.
Class 2A: Ranburne (9-2) at Addison (9-2) - Addison is on a roll after a loss in early October at Colbert County. The Bulldogs have a 4-game winning streak that will be put to the test vs. a Ranburne unit that outscored North Sand Mountain 32-24 in the opener. These two meet for the first time since 2007.
Class 3A: Piedmont (9-2) at J.B. Pennington (6-5) - In eliminating county rival Susan Moore 14-7, Pennington will have home field for round two with Piedmont. This is a rematch from the 2nd round of the 2017 postseason. Piedmont is recognized as a superior program in 3A and will invade Blountsville with five consecutive wins and a 41-0 shutout over Clements in the first round.
Class 4A: Oneonta (8-3) at DAR (8-3) - Two teams that posted upsets in the first round gather in DAR's first ever home playoff game. The Redskins were the 4th seed from Region 6 with DAR the 3rd seed out of Region 7. This will be Oneonta's second straight playoff game on the road after the Redskins won a shootout over Brooks in the Killen area 43-34.
Class 5A: Southside Gadsden (7-4) at Jasper (10-1) - How things have turned for Jasper in dropping from 6A to 5A and winning 10 in a row after a 28-27 loss in the opener August 23 to the Cullman Bearcats in the closing seconds. The Vikings fought off pesky Sylacauga 34-20 and hope the home field will serve notice against the visitors from Gadsden. Southside turned back the Brewer Patriots 15-9 Friday night.
Class 6A: Clay Chalkville (10-1) at Hartselle (11-0) - Hartselle deals with a well known 6A contender in round two. The Cougars crushed Mae Jemison 45-6 in setting up a first ever in J.P. Cain Stadium with the undefeated Tigers. Clay has won seven straight after a 28-21 loss to Pinson Valley September 14. Hartselle has outscored its opposition 146-22 in its last four home games.
All games will be Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Jacksonville at Good Hope will be carried live on WKUL-FM (92.1)
Photo of locker room collapse at Pike County HS that sent 5 Oakman players to the hospital with injuries. Photo courtesy of the Daily Mountain Eagle.
WEEK 11 SCOREBOARD:
Vinemont 34, Cold Springs 6 (Thursday)
Good Hope 49, Hanceville 18
Fairview 21, Holly Pond 20
West Point 55, Cordova 14
Cullman - Idle
Addison - Idle
FINAL REGULAR SEASON RECORDS:
Cold Springs 4-6
Good Hope 9-1
Holly Pond 6-4
West Point 3-7
PERFECT AT HOME:
Good Hope's 49-18 victory over Hanceville gives the Raiders a 5-0 record in games this season at James Shabel Stadium. The Raiders played the entire month of September at home, beating Cordova, Tanner and Oak Grove along the way.
ENDING THE REGULAR SEASON IN GOOD FASHION:
Vinemont, Fairview and West Point put the 2018 season to memory in a positive way by winning. Vinemont's 34-6 triumph against Cold Springs snapped a 5-game losing streak, West Point stopped a 7-game slide by routing Cordova 55-14.
Fairview won its final two games to go .500 on the season in upsetting playoff-bound Holly Pond 21-20.
PLENTY OF WORK TO BE DONE:
Losing streaks were embedded by the Cullman Bearcats, Cold Springs Eagles and Hanceville Bulldogs, with a lot of work in order to turn it around for 2019.
Cullman lost its last five games, ending the season last week in a 37-22 loss in Fort Payne. The Cold Springs loss to Vinemont November 1 marked six straight setbacks after the Eagles opened the season 4-0 against inferior competition.
Hanceville went through a second consecutive season of opening with a win, then losing nine straight. This time it took place under the command of first-year coach Cody McCain.
FROM WORST TO FIRST:
Back in 2016, the Good Hope Raiders were the worst team in Cullman County at 0-10. Two years later, the Raiders hail above everyone else with the best record of nine wins and one loss. This is the first time the Raiders have gone 9-1 since 2006.
Good Hope goes into the playoffs with a four-game winning streak. A version of "Amen Corner" was accomplished by the Raiders when they defeated 4A, Region 5 opponents Haleyville, Curry and Fayette County in consecutive Fridays to finish in a 3-way tie for the region lead.
No one will forget the end of the first half of the Cold Springs-Vinemont game on November 1. Cold Springs was in the red zone when the Eagles put 17-year student athlete Chris Myers into the game. Myers has down syndrome. But that didn't stop him from getting his chance to turn a dream into reality. Myers scored on a 25-yard run with a team escort that got the visiting Eagles on the scoreboard. Myers will accomplish a second huge task in his life when he graduates with his Cold Springs classmates in May, 2019.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON REGULAR SEASON:
County football went through a process of dealing with setbacks as two teams had winning seasons with one going on a late run to reach the .500 mark.
The number of wins for Cold Springs, Fairview and Vinemont improved from 2017 to this year. Cold Springs went from 1 to 4, Fairview from 2 to 5 and Vinemont from 2 to 3.
Cullman had its worst season since 1996 at 3-7, West Point's three wins were the least by the Warriors since 2009 and Hanceville experienced a second straight 1-9 year.
A senior laden unit carried Good Hope to a 9-1 record, removing the memories of an 0-10 slate two seasons ago. Holly Pond has gone through three consecutive winning regular seasons, getting 19 victories in this stretch, after having one win in 30 games between 2013 to 2015.
Personnel at each school will have to be replaced from graduation. Positive endings for Fairview, Vinemont and West Point will be something to work on and carry it into spring practice and on to the fall for 2019.
Analyzing the situation will be what Cullman, Cold Springs and Hanceville look at in the upcoming weeks, then getting returning players to work in the offseason on conditioning.
The schedules for 2019 will remain the same, with the exception in the location from week to week.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE ROUND ONE:
4A: Good Hope at St. John Paul 7:00 (WKUL-FM)
3A: Holly Pond at Geraldine 7:00
2A: Sulligent at Addison 7:00
Image courtesy of West Point High School.