Jaguars 0-3, looking for win

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2007

The schedule is making the home turn for the &8216;privates&8217; (Alabama Independent School Association) and nearing the end of the first half of the conference games for the Alabama High School Athletic Association (public schools). Next week the &8216;publix&8217; go out of conference for regional rivalry games.

The polls are unchanged from last week as to the leaders in the six classifications other than 5A where Briarwood Christian moved to No. 1 after J.O. Johnson fell last Thursday. The other significant change in our part of the world is that Tuscaloosa Central jumped Alexandria and landed as the No. 2 ranked team in 4A land.

If the playoffs were to begin tonight the playoff spots for 5A Region 3 would look something like this: McAdory in the lead with a 2-0 regional record; Bibb County following also with a 2-0 record; Demopolis in the third spot in a tie with Chilton County but slightly ahead by way of strength of teams played; Dallas County and Brookwood are also knotted at 1-1 with Demop and Chilco, but the latter two will more than likely fade as the season moves along.

McAdory has already defeated Demopolis and Chilco. The Yellow Jackets will play Bibb in Week 9.

Bibb has perhaps the toughest road to travel as they must play Demopolis, Chilton and McAdory in the final half of the regular season.

Demopolis can control their destiny by having Bibb and Chilton back to back in Weeks 6 and 7.

Let&8217;s jump right into our games for tonight shall we:

Wilcox Central (0-3, 0-2) at Demopolis (2-1, 1-1)

OK, before you proceed to chalking this kitty tussle up as a &8216;W&8217; for the home standing Bengals several points should be considered.

Yes, the Wilco Jaguars are still looking for their first win, but consider who they have fallen to. Charles Henderson of Troy is unbeaten thus far and Bibb County is still perfect after three games. Granted the Jaguars fell to Dallas County in Week 2, and Dallas County, unless they were the beneficiaries of a major talent infusion by way of transfers, is egregiously anemic (and I am being charitable in my clinical diagnosis).

Demopolis showed some chutzpa last week against Shelby County.

As they have in three games this season they played better in the second half than the first. The Tigers showed offense and a little gambler style as they punted but twice in the game (all in the first half) and went for the first on fourth down. Unfortunately, they were a little short on five tries but they gave opposing teams down the road something to think about. Those five turnovers on downs gave the ball up at the Shelby 30, 31, 25, 11 and 40. Had they been successful on but half of these attempts and kept driving we&8217;re talking a least 40 points on the board for River City.

DHS also got a little jiggy with the &8216;big play&8217; as three of their four TD&8217;s were from outside the twenty. A sobering point is that from the &8216;D&8217; side of the coin they gave up a couple of biggies to Shelby.

Demopolis will win this game if the &8216;O&8217; line continues to play with some fire in their belly, the defense sticks to their assignments and use their speed to harass the Jaguars and finally, as always, don&8217;t beat themselves with turnovers and penalties.

A.L. Johnson (1-1, 0-1) at John Essex (0-3, 0-1)

The Eagles of A.L. Johnson and the John Essex Hornets have both experienced defeat at the hands of the South Lamar Stallions.

Last week it was Johnson getting their nose bloodied 53-6 while the week before it was the Hornets getting waxed 37-0.

It&8217;s a game of East (Marengo) versus West. It&8217;s a game between two of Luke Hallmark&8217;s Marengo County system schools. It&8217;s a region game of two winless teams gunning for their first regional win.

This 1A battle in Saltwell will boil down to resiliency and resolve or in jock speak &8220;who wants it the most&8221;.

Linden (3-0, 2-0) at Sweet Water (3-0, 2-0)

Does it get any bigger than this in 1A football?

Two undefeateds going at it for a regional ding. Compound it by the fact they are geographically separated by maybe 20 miles in the same county. Mix in a little human interest story in that Linden&8217;s coach, Andro Williams, played and coached at Sweet Water and you&8217;ve got yourself one gall darn fine football game (Side bar note: Read that last sentence and use your best Chicago / Midwest accent, it&8217; s a be-yute).

The Patriots of LHS are perhaps more physical and just maybe have a tad more pure athletic ability, but &8216;Da Dawgs&8217; play so well as a team. Sweet Water has and will play a tougher schedule than their cousins from the county seat. They&8217;ve had to step it up before and have come away with double thumbs up. However, if there&8217;s a chance of SWHS getting put down, this could be it.

Wilcox Academy (1-3) at Southern (3-0)

It&8217;s pretty much a given that Southern will bring more talent and experience to the stadium tonight. Southern will also remember that Wilcox played them tough last year down at their place and put a scare in the Cougars.

The Spotlight question: How many points will SA hang on Wilcox while holding them to zilch?

Escambia Academy (0-3) at Marengo (1-2)

The Longhorns get a different breed of Cougar this week. Last week&8217;s variety from over in Hale County was mean and nasty. That group left scratch marks all over the Bovines in a 42 -0 smack down.

The group this week from beyond the horizon to the south is a nice, soft, cuddly, playful group of kittens who will be transformed into &8216;sailcats&8217; after being in the corral for 48 minutes with a group of steers seeking redemption from last week.

Notables from last week

Giant Killer of the week: Decatur 30, No. 1 5A J.O. Johnson 20

Pancake of the week: Pickens County 74, Shades Mountain Christian 6

Left the Defense on the Bus: Gaston 74, Collinsville 20

Low Ball of the week: (Tie) Clements 6, Sheffield 0; Susan Moore 6, West End 0

If we only had a kicker: (Tie) Hamilton 14, Wilson 13; Lanett 14, Luverne 13; Selma 14, Sidney Lanier 13

Longest game of the week: Winfield 19, Gordo 13 (2OT)

Remember, Demopolis at home tonight in Tiger Stadium. Come to the game and do some tailgating and, of course, wear blue.

Until next time, play hard; play for fun; play to win.

Grayson is contributing columnist to the Times.