Prep football in our area is certainly like the weather. An 0-7 record the previous week by the teams in the county school system became sunshine by going undefeated against regional opposition for week four, plus a county game that will be remembered for a very long time.
It can easily be said that teams go through a learning lesson. Despite not having the best of weather to prepare for during the week, the winners went out there and put together an effort that led the way to four schools getting the regional record even at 1-1 and taking momentum into the upcoming week.
There is plenty to look back on the third Friday of September and certainly plenty to look for on the day after fall is officially labeled for Thursday.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST:
Vinemont's defense had its back to the wall in the fourth quarter with Hanceville leading 20-14 and a chance to get an insurance score with two drives beginning deep in Eagle territory.
But the defense came through, forcing the Bulldogs to give it up on downs, taking their final possession at the Vinemont 17 with 1:40 remaining. The Eagles needed 65 seconds, a 63-yard Jack Hill completion to Teague Whatley, a couple of runs, then a 14-yard scoring pass to Dustin Moore, plus Austin Sparks' extra point and the Eagles pull it out 21-20, sending Stephen Robinson to the win column for the first time in just his third game leading his alma mater.
Vinemont's 83-yard march allowed the Eagles to finish with 111 yards offense in the final quarter. Hanceville outgained Vinemont 346 to 251, winning the run game with a 253 to 148 margin. A huge factor for the Eagles was stopping the Bulldogs five times in the game on fourth down conversions. The last one was a fourth and one from the Vinemont 18 that ended in an incomplete pass and the Eagles taking possession. They will not forget the moment from their defense and a pass play by a sophomore to a sophomore any time soon.
Good Hope had a last minute miracle just like its friend Vinemont did as well. This one was on the last play at Joe Sargeant Stadium in Hamilton. Sophomore Bailey Quick hit Matt Hancock on a 28-yard score as time expired and the Raiders won 33-28.
This was Good Hope's first taste of winning vs. Hamilton in six games. The Raiders also ended a 7-game losing streak in 4A, Region 6. Good Hope is showing signs of moving forward. The Raiders had No. 4 Fayette County down 12-7 at halftime the week prior before a Fayette County comeback kept the Raiders out of the win column. Now the Raiders have plenty of momentum in a region that goes from one showdown to the next.
West Point is getting to be known as the "Road Warriors." Their last three victories dating to 2016 have been away from West Point Stadium. West Point thumped Springville 49-7, taking a 13-0 halftime cushion and turning it into a rout in the second half. Twenty-four points in the fourth quarter showed how strong the Warriors were on a humid evening for football and plenty of momentum from offense to defense.
The Warriors have picked up first time victories at Hamilton and Springville this season. Now Don Farley is wanting to blend the success of road play into a complete effort on the home turf. West Point faces Corner this week in a huge game in 5A, Region 6 at home.
HOME IS THE PLACE TO BE:
Holly Pond has completed the first month of 2017 with a good start at 3-1. All three wins have been in front of the fans at Thomas-Michelfelder Field.
The Broncos toppled Susan Moore 36-20, defeating their Blount County for on campus for the first time since September 13, 1996.
Mike Bates has done a good job getting the Broncos into playing a winning brand on the gridiron with a 10-5 record after they lost 29 consecutive games.
The Broncos have won six of their last eight games on home ground. Now they get a bye and can continue to work hard on the practice field and take it out on Friday nights where the fun has returned in huge fashion.
IMPACT GAMES FOR THIS WEEK IN REGIONAL PLAY:
West Point and Good Hope are in a position to stay near the top with big regional games waiting for them at home this week.
West Point and Corner are tied at 1-1 in 5A, Region 6. The Yellow Jackets visit West Point Stadium for week five. Mortimer Jordan and Hayden are 2-0 in the region. Mortimer Jordan hosts Fairview with Hayden idle this week in the region schedule.
Good Hope welcomes Cordova to James Shabel Stadium in 4A, Region 6. The Raiders and Blue Devils stand at 1-1 while Fayette County is 2-0 and Winfield 1-0. Fayette County sits out of regional play this week with Winfield traveling to winless Haleyville.
Cullman was defeated by Oxford 38-14 Friday in 6A, Region 7. That dropped the Bearcats to 1-1 in the region with Oxford 2-0, Pell City and Fort Payne 1-0. Pell City edged Southside-Gadsden 28-21 with Fort Payne idle on Friday evening.
This week the Bearcats welcome Fort Payne to Oliver Woodard Stadium, Pell City heads to Brewer and Oxford visits Albertville. The Bearcats and Albertville are 1-1, with Cullman owning the tiebreaker by a 31-9 win the week before.
Fairview had a chance to study Mortimer Jordan very well during its bye week. The Aggies resume 5A, Region 6 with a trip to Jefferson County this week, playing the defending region champion on their campus. The Aggies will try to get out of the cellar of the region in facing a Jefferson County school for the second consecutive game.
Coming off the thriller over Hanceville, Vinemont must prepare for undefeated Fultondale to invade Mark Smothers Stadium for week five. Fultondale was out of the region schedule on Friday, but still dominated an opponent, routing St. James of Montgomery 45-21. The Wildcats have outscored the opposition 140-33 after three games. They are the defending regional champions.
Hanceville has to mend in a hurry. The Bulldogs have lost three in a row and are 0-2 in 3A, Region 6. This week Hanceville is in Blountsville to tangle with J.B. Pennington. Pennington is tied for the region lead with Fultondale after a 20-14 win over Locust Fork. The Bulldogs are the second team from the county to play at Sutton Memorial Stadium in the last three weeks. This is the second of three straight games on the road for Hanceville.
Cold Springs needs to win in 2A, Region 7. Having the week off, the Eagles are back at it with a visit to Falkville this week. This will be the third game for the Eagles away from Cold Springs. The Eagles are 0-1 in the region with Falkville 1-1.
Photo of Cullman @ Oxford, courtesy of Cullman High School.