West Alabama High School Football: Week 2 Preview
Not only did high school football start in Alabama last week, but the entire state featured several massive upsets. In the south, both No. 1 St. Paul’s, the reigning 5A champion, lost 21-7 to a local, region foe McAdory and Mobile powerhouse McGill-Toolen lost 76-51 in a barnburner with Pike Road.
Locally, American Christian Academy, in their first game with former-defensive coordinator Cody Martin as coach, lost 28-27 in Birmingham to Parker on a failed two-point conversion. High-powered Hillcrest lost in the “Battle of the Patriots” 37-34 in coach Jamie Mitchell’s debut.
Week 2 still doesn’t feature any region matchups, but several hyper-local showdowns will determine bragging rights for the rest of the season.
Last Week’s Record: 3-2
Overall Record: 3-2
Hillcrest Patriots (0-1, 0-0) @ Tuscaloosa County Wildcats (1-0, 0-0):
As previously mentioned, the “Battle of the Patriots” lived up to the hype but didn’t end well for Hillcrest. Still, the game was close throughout, quarterback Ethan Crawford looked good, and the game doesn’t count towards divisional play.
On the other hand, the Wildcats, in coach Adam Winegarden’s first game, looked powerful against the Stampede. Sure, the defense allowed 34 points, but the offense scored early and often. 59 points in a high school football game should be plenty to win, and this Wildcats’ team looks like they are more than capable to do it again.
Bryant’s Pick: Much like both teams’ week one games, this battle of longtime cross-city rivals will surely be an offensive firework show. Hillcrest is riding a seven-game win-streak over the Wildcats, and that will extend to eight this year. The Patriots will be victorious again.
Northridge Jaguars (1-0, 0-0) @ Central-Tuscaloosa Falcons (1-0, 0-0):
Northridge and Central both had big victories, but one of the two looked dominant. The Rodney Bivens-led Falcons went to Holt and absolutely crushed the Ironmen. Between hanging 58 on them and finishing with a clean sheet on defense, Central High might have something cooking on 15th Street.
In 2020, the Jags looked dominant against Sipsey Valley. While Northridge did defeat the Bears this year 28-6, the Jaguars’ offense started a little slow. Regardless, the defense looked impressive by only allowing six points.
Bryant’s Pick: This game will truly be a test for both teams. For Central, we’ll know if the Falcons’ offense can consistently score points or if last week’s results were due to a bad Holt defense. This applies to the defense, as well. Will Central hold Northridge to minimal points like they did to the Ironmen?
Northridge has a lot to prove on both sides of the ball, but the defense will take priority. Holding Central to less than 24 points should be pretty inductive to whether the defense’s first test was an outlier or not. Still, I’m taking Northridge in a tight one.
Greensboro Raiders (0-1, 0-0) @ American Christian Patriots (0-1, 0-0):
While it definitely wasn’t expected to be talking about an ACA loss to Parker, there is still hope for the Patriots, yet. From 2017-2020, ACA went 29-1 in regular season play, so it’s safe to say that an undefeated regular season isn’t exactly on the radar. Now, the Pats’ main focus will be on rebounding from a tough loss to the Thundering Herd and continuing to build chemistry with their new coach. This aspect is already in the process, though. American Christian only lost because of a failed two-point conversion - they almost took down Parker.
Luckily for ACA, they will be taking on a Greensboro team that is licking their wounds after falling 27-0 to Bibb County. Overall, the Pats are 5-2 against the Raiders and defeated them 33-12 last year. Greensboro has yet to score a point in 2021, but that will probably change, due to a Patriot defense that doesn’t look as sharp as last year’s squad.
Bryant’s Pick: The Patriots’ loss in week one was one of the biggest surprises in the state. Fortunately, ACA should rebound and defeat Greensboro this week. It should be a nice tune-up game before they open region play next week against Montevallo.
Sidney Lanier Poets (1-0, 0-0) @ Paul Bryant Stampede (1-0, 0-0):
Paul Bryant hasn’t looked like a playoff team the past few years, but last week showed an entirely different side of the Stampede. One game isn’t enough to make conclusions about County High or Bryant, but since the Stampede put up such a good fight, this team could be a sleeper playoff team in 2021. While the defense didn’t look great, the offense still managed to score 34 points on a Wildcat defense that is expected to be pretty good.
Sidney Lanier out of Montgomery are coming off a 26-12 victory against Jeff Davis, which could spell problems for the Stampede. If Paul Bryant can score though, they will continue to give fans in Cottondale hope that they make waves this year.
Bryant’s Pick: Momentum is everything in high school football, and while Paul Bryant lost last week, the train is still rolling. A victory here will be great for morale going into a region opener against Northridge. I’m high on the Stampede this year, so I’m taking Paul Bryant in a slight upset.
Gordo Green Wave (1-0, 0-0) @ Aliceville Yellow Jackets (1-0, 0-0):
Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and the Green Wave looking extremely impressive, especially in inter-class games. Many thought that Oregon-commit Tanner Bailey would be the most impressive part of the Oakman victory, but the defensive line stole the show. Gordo’s “D” only allowed a single touchdown, and they changed the momentum of the game by snagging a few turnovers and recording even more sacks.
Aliceville has yet to play a game this season- they were awarded a victory by forfeiture due to COVID-19 complications with Greene County, reminding us that forfeitures are still possible in 2021. Last season though, the Yellow Jackets made a solid playoff run, which should be the case this season. Aliceville averaged around three touchdowns a game last year, so it’ll be exciting to see if Gordo’s defense can have another big performance.
Bryant’s Pick: Oakman wasn’t expected to be too much of a challenge, but Aliceville is much better. This matchup will be a nice step-up in difficulty. I’m taking Gordo this week, but the game will only be as close as the Green Wave’s defensive line play allows it to be.
- Linden @ Pickens County
- Sipsey Valley @ Hale County
- Holt @ Dora
- Northside @ Winfield
- Brookwood @ Gulf Shores