GILMORE COLUMN: At mid-season, area teams full of surprises

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2006

At the start of the high school football season most of us had an idea of what the records would be after week four for Demopolis, West Alabama Prep, John Essex, Linden, Marengo Academy, Sweet Water, Marengo High, Sunshine, and Southern Academy. It&8217;s already have gotten interesting as the season shapes up.

Would you have guest that John Essex would have gone winless thus far? Can they rebound with Linden, Sunshine, and Sweet Water still on their regional schedule? They would need to win two out of those three games to get to the post season.

Though there are six games to play, it&8217;s going to take some work to turn things around. The Hornets coach Al Shipman constantly preaches &8216;hard work&8217;, so look for John Essex to get in the win column.

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Another surprise has been the consistent play of the Sunshine High Tigers. They are a determined team. They went one and one against the two pre-season regional favorites. So keep an eye out for the Tigers of Hale County.

I&8217;ve stated before that Demopolis will continue to improve. They just can&8217;t afford to lose any more regional games. The two toughest games will come early October, when they travel to undefeated Bibb County and host Chilton County.

These will be must win games. A loss to either would dim the hopes of post-season play for the young Demopolis Tigers.

Sweet Water and Southern Academy are probably playing some of the best football in this part of Alabama. Sweet Water opened the season losing to 4A number one ranked Thomasville. They&8217;ve been bowling over teams since.

Southern has gone undefeated thus far. I don&8217;t see anyone beating them. The Cougars had its toughest challenge so far last week when they went to Camden to play Wilcox Academy. Southern escaped with a 7-0 win.

The Cougars has always been a team that plays with a lot of confidence. After week four, Southern&8217;s Matt Bouler leads the AISA in rushing yards with 670 and touchdowns with 14.

Another school that has made some noise this season is the Marengo Panthers. I have mentioned them before, but they won three straight before bowing to J.U. Blacksher last week in a 9-8 heart breaker at home.

The Panthers probably play the youngest front line in the state. Most of them are just ninth graders. Some eighth graders have been ushered in also. First year head coach Scottie Jones says they are playing with a lot of heart.

OOPS! Last week I mention that West Alabama Prep has never had a winning program. I stand corrected. I should have and meant to say, it&8217;s been a while since they&8217;ve had a winning program.

Hey, are there any cross-country teams in the area? What about swimming and diving?

NFL. How about those New Orleans Saints? Did the Atlanta Falcons get caught in the emotion of the opening of the Superdome?

The Saints came to play football, while the Falcons came to watch. Atlanta never got anything significant going the entire game. 229 total yards won&8217;t get it. Will it? Not in the NFL.

BASEBALL. Is anyone paying any attention to Major League baseball? I know we&8217;re in the middle of the football season, but out of the corner of my eye I&8217;ve noticed the Detroit Tigers, my hometown team. They&8217;ve clinched the playoffs for the first time since 1987. Ain&8217;t it great! Just in case some one else noticed.

THANK YOU. To all of you that have commented or gave an opinion on what we&8217;re trying to do here with the sports department here at The Times, I want to thank you. Whether your comments were positive or negative, they were constructive.

I&8217;ve spoken to some of you in person or by phone. Some of you I&8217;ve communicated with via e-mail. We&8217;re growing, but we still need help. We just want to provide the best coverage possible.

All of you will not be pleased regardless of what we do, but we still want to make reading the sports page an enjoyable experience. See you around the gridiron.

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