Local teams rounding out 2011 schedules

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011

After weeks of searching, Linden found its final opponent for the 2011 regular season when it agreed to hit the road to face Class 5A Gulf Shores.

“It’s gong to be a big trip for us,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said. “We’ll get some good mileage out of that trip.”

The contest, which will take place Friday, Oct. 7, fills the void on Linden’s schedule left by the closure of Coffeeville High School. Linden takes the place of Class 3A Piedmont, who satisfied a one-year contract with its Week 6 contest against Gulf Shores in 2010.

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The game will be the second of four consecutive Patriot road games which will see the team travel to McIntosh, Saint Luke’s and Marengo.

“We’re traveling an hour to an hour and a half three weeks in a row,” Williams said.

The Patriots’ other out-of-region games include Central-Tuscaloosa (5A), Greene County (4A) and Brantley (1A).

The Coffeeville closure also left open dates for Sweet Water, Marengo High School, A.L. Johnson and John Essex. The Bulldogs will fill their open Week 2 engagement by welcoming Class 3A powerhouse Gordo to the confines of Nolan Atkins Stadium. Gordo had been scheduled to play 3A region foe Sumter County, which will no longer be in existence after its merger with Livingston High.

“It sort of worked out with where Sumter County was on their schedule and were Coffeeville was on ours,” Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said. “We think, monetarily, it will be a good game for us.”

Gordo will come in the middle of what promises to be a murderer’s row for the Bulldogs, who will play 2010 Class 3A runner-up Hamilton in the Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery for its preseason Jamboree game before hosting reigning Class 4A state champion Thomasville in the first week of the regular season.

Sweet Water will then face Gordo before hosting Saint Luke’s in its region opener. The 2010 Class 1A state champs will then travel to Linden before visitin 3A perennial power Handley one week later. The Bulldogs will end their regular season against reigning Class 2A state champion Leroy.

“We’ve lost our minds,” Luker joked about his team’s 2011 schedule. “I think, more than anything, it gives us a good run of games that prepares us for what we’ll see in the playoffs.”

Marengo wasted little time replacing Coffeeville on its schedule, agreeing to travel to Class 3A Northside earlier this year. That contest is slated for Friday, Oct. 14.

John Essex has yet to finalize its plans for its Week 5 non-region game left vacant by Coffeeville’s closure. However, head coach Jerome Antone noted that he was close to a deal with Class 3A Vinemont High School, which is seeking a replacement for its Sept. 30 game against Carbon Hill.

A.L. Johnson, which loses a region game with the Coffeeville closure, has yet to announce its plans for its Oct. 21 open date.