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  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

2023 Games of the Week  - First Round Playoffs

Each week this season will post games of the week provided by our forum friends better known as the "Barber Shop Gurus". Welcome TheMUBM, Kodyaufan2 and Sloth Nationzz as they analyze games of their choice and even give us a prediction for each contest.

Previous Reports

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11


Week 12 Games
   Last Week:  4-0
   Season Total:  39-9

 (#6)  Vestavia Hills (9-3) at
 (#10)  Austin (8-3) 
at Austin Football Field
Vestavia Hills   Austin
9-3 (5-2)  Record 8-3 (5-2)
7A-R3  Class/Region 7A-R4
#6  ASWA Ranking #10
93.8  Power Rating 91.4
AHSFHS Power Ratings have the teams as even.

Last Meeting:   The Vestavia Hills Rebels defeated Austin by a score of 38-17 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Austin and Vestavia Hills have met 6 times on the field.... Vestavia Hills holds a 6-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Vestavia Hills comes in off the backs of a blowout win over a good Helena program, while Austin comes in rested after being off last week. There two schools of thought, some think the bye week helps you get healthy therefore a good thing, and some think it can kill momentum. I guess we will see.

    Vestavia is going to rely on dual threat QB John Paul Head, who can score with his legs and his arm and they are also going to rely on a stingy defense that had pitched 4 shutouts this year, 3 of which came in their last 3 games.

    Austin will try to control the tempo on the legs of RB Gavin Fuqua, arguably one of the best backs in North Alabama. The key is for Austin to not get down early. I don't think they are a team that is built for big comebacks.

    Fuqua will get his, but this will be the best defense he has faced all year other than Florence, IMO. In the immortal words of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, ''so you're saying there is a chance?'' Sure, but not a great one. I think Austin has the best shot of any R4 teams, but there is such a wide gulf between 3 and 4, it's going to take a near flawless effort.

Prediction:  Vestavia 38 Austin 17

 Mortimer Jordan (8-3) at
 Fort Payne (7-5) 
at Wildcat Stadium
Mortimer Jordan   Fort Payne
8-3 (4-2)  Record 7-5 (3-2)
6A-R5  Class/Region 6A-R8
NR  ASWA Ranking NR
64.4  Power Rating 70.3
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Fort Payne as a 8 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Fort Payne Wildcats defeated Mortimer Jordan by a score of 45-28 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Fort Payne and Mortimer Jordan have met 3 times on the field.... Mortimer Jordan holds a 2-1 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Mortimer Jordan comes into the playoffs off a less than impressive victory over 4-6 4A Fultondale 14-13 to end the regular season. Fort Payne closed out the season beating 4A North favorite Cherokee County 21-14.

    Mortimer Jordan looked impressive early in the season then ran into Parker and wasn't competitive. Of course, most teams aren't competitive with Parker. That being said, MJHS finished 3rd in what I think is the toughest region in 6A North. Garrett Ames runs the show at QB and can throw a good deep ball. He is also good with his legs, I have been impressed with his escapability. He has some receivers out there who can get behind the defense in Williams and Maldonado.

    Fort Payne has been a tough team to figure out. They start the season by losing to a lower classification Scottsboro team, and then somehow lose to a bad Lee Huntsville team. However, they finish the season strong with a 1 point loss to a good Athens team and then beating Cherokee County. Dax Varnadore to Skyler Cody is a dangerous combination that MJHS will have to try to stop.

    Both teams like the throw the ball around. Fort Payne is one of those teams who seem to always disappoint in the playoffs. However, I think these two teams are going in different directions and Fort Payne is the one moving in the right direction. It's going to be a good one, but I like the Wildcats.

Prediction:  Fort Payne 28 Mortimer Jordan 24

 Arab (8-3) at
 (#5)  Leeds (9-3) 
at Homer Smiles Field
Arab   Leeds
8-3 (4-1)  Record 9-3 (5-1)
5A-R7  Class/Region 5A-R6
NR  ASWA Ranking #5
69.4  Power Rating 70.3
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Leeds as a 3 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Leeds Greenwave defeated Arab by a score of 33-7 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Leeds and Arab have met one time on the field.... Leeds holds a 1-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Arab comes in off a bye week, but on a 4 game win streak. Early in the season they seemed to be just going through the motions, barely getting by then losing two big ones to Scottsoboro and Ft Payne. However, they then upset Guntersville that forced a three way tie for the region title, but by virtue of the tie-breaks they got third. Leeds comes in riding a 4 game win streak themselves, which included a big win against Moody and a shutout win over Center Point.

    Arab is lead by QB Drew Puccio. In their last outing against Hazel Green, he threw for two tds and ran for another. It should be interesting to see how the Arabian Knights are able to move the ball against a solid Leeds defense that is allowing just 14.7 points per game.

    Leeds has a strong ground attack and puts together sustained drives. The defense has been opportunistic, getting 4 turnovers last week against Center Point while also holding the Eagles to just 66 yards of offense. However, Leeds did make plenty of mistakes, missing two xp's and having drives killed by penalties. They'll need to be a bit more disciplined this week.

    I like Leeds ability to move the ball methodically on the ground. I also like their secondary, which will have to be on it's game against Puccio. Ultimately, I think the Green Wave is more battle tested and has a much stronger resume than Arab.

Prediction:  Leeds 35 Arab 14

 Meek (6-5) at
 South Lamar (8-4) 
at J.C. McAdams Field
Meek   South Lamar
6-5 (5-2)  Record 8-4 (6-1)
1A-R8  Class/Region 1A-R5
NR  ASWA Ranking NR
30.5  Power Rating 37.4
AHSFHS Power Ratings have South Lamar as a 9 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The South Lamar Stallions defeated Meek by a score of 32-14 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   South Lamar and Meek have met 13 times on the field.... South Lamar holds a 11-2 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Meek comes in having ended the regular season by stepping up a couple of classes and taking it on the chin from a pretty solid Oakman team. South Lamar comes in having defeated Brilliant in convincing fashion.

    Benson and Deaver provide solid pop from the running back position for Meek. Both guys really get the ball up field, running north and south, turning it up quick. They run between the tackles well.

    South Lamar has a lot of speed. Their defense seems to stay in the backfield all night, which could be problematic for Meek. #16 (sorry, can't find names), may not be the biggest back in AHSAA, but he sure runs like it.

    Meek will have to find some way to move the ball effectively and keep South Lamar's offense off the field. At the end of the day, I think South Lamar just has too much speed for Meek.

Prediction:  South Lamar 31 Meek 16


Week 12 Games
   Last Week:  3-1
   Season Total:  30-12

 (#9)  Goshen (9-3) at
 G.W. Long (7-4) 
at Rebel Stadium
Goshen   G.W. Long
9-3 (5-2)  Record 7-4 (6-1)
2A-R3  Class/Region 2A-R2
#9  ASWA Ranking NR
52.0  Power Rating 34.3
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Goshen as a 16 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Goshen Eagles defeated G.W. Long by a score of 61-40 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Thu., Nov. 9 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   G.W. Long and Goshen have met 16 times on the field.... Goshen holds a 10-6 edge in the games played.

Comments:    This is an interesting matchup because the teams are trending in different directions. Halfway through the season, most people would have probably considered G.W. Long to be the better team, but they sputtered down the stretch, finishing 2-2 in their last four games, while Goshen comes in riding a 6-game winning streak.

    G.W. Long entered the season with high expectations and what was expected to be a high-scoring offense, but they've only hit the 40 point mark once this season and average under 30 points per game. The brightest star on both sides of the ball has been WR/DB Brayden Whitehead. While Whitehead is more at home on the defensive side, he did have a 54 yard TD reception a couple weeks ago against Wicksburg.

    While Goshen is a solid team all the way around, everything on offense runs through RB Jamauri McClure and his offensive line. When you watch their tape, you see that they get a lot of chunk plays by snapping the ball directly to McClure and letting those big guys up front go to work. Not many teams in 2A will be physical enough to handle them.

    Despite being the lower seed, Goshen should probably be considered the favorite in this one. They're legitimately one of the top ten or so best teams in 2A, and in just about any other region they'd have been hosting a 1st round game.

Prediction:  Goshen 42, G.W. Long 19

 Hokes Bluff (5-6) at
 (#2)  Madison Academy (14-0) 
at Bill Washington Stadium
Hokes Bluff   Madison Academy
5-6 (4-3)  Record 14-0 (6-0)
3A-R6  Class/Region 3A-R7
NR  ASWA Ranking #2
47.9  Power Rating 78.5
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Madison Academy as a 33 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Madison Academy Mustangs defeated Hokes Bluff by a score of 57-20 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Madison Academy and Hokes Bluff have met 3 times on the field.... Madison Academy holds a 2-1 edge in the games played.

Comments:    This is a game that has been given a massive points spread by our power ratings, and when you look at the records of each team it seems well-deserved. But this is a better matchup than it might seem on paper.

    It's hard to tell which side of the ball is scarier for Madison Academy. They average over 50 points per game on offense while giving up less than 10 a game on defense. Reese Baker is the foundation of a dominant offensive line that leads a potent rushing attack, while QB Jake Poldiak can take his pick from a plethora of targets in the passing game. LB AJ Rice is just flat-out scary on defense. The Junior is already at the ideal size for a linebacker and will without a doubt be playing at the next level someday.

    Hokes Bluff has a real weapon in QB Bryce Whitaker. He has a really good arm that teams have to respect, but he's a more-than-capable runner as well. This offense as a whole is really adaptable. They have a couple of receivers with speed that can really test a defense down the field, but they're also just as willing to grind it out on the ground with a full backfield. The wear and tear of playing in Region 6 is a downside of playing in the toughest region in the state, but any team that makes it out of that gauntlet is guaranteed to be battle tested.

    Although Hokes Bluff enters having lost 3 straight, two of those were one score losses to region champs Sylvania and a red-hot Piedmont team in OT. The other was a blowout loss to Sardis in which the Eagles opted to rest several key players. Madison Academy hasn't faced a true test this season, and you could make a solid case Hokes Bluff will be the best team they've seen so far. In the words of Lee Corso, this will be ''closer than the experts think.''

Prediction:  Madison Academy 35, Hokes Bluff 20

 Bayside Academy (8-3) at
 (#8)  Jacksonville (10-3) 
at Golden Eagle Stadium
Bayside Academy   Jacksonville
8-3 (5-2)  Record 10-3 (5-1)
4A-R1  Class/Region 4A-R4
NR  ASWA Ranking #8
59.3  Power Rating 75.5
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Jacksonville as a 18 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Jacksonville Golden Eagles defeated Bayside Academy by a score of 35-7 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Jacksonville and Bayside Academy have met one time on the field.... Jacksonville holds a 1-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    This may be my favorite matchup of the opening round just for the QB play. First-year coach Barrett Trotter has done a great job with this Bayside team that has improved throughout the year, but they've yet to face an offense like Jacksonville.

    The Jacksonville Golden Eagles have one of the most potent offensives in the state regardless of class. If you discount their 7 point outing last week against 6A giant Oxford, this team has averaged 50 points per game. The only other game they failed to score at least 43 points in was their 32-24 loss at Handley. The connection between QB Jim Ogle and WR Ky'Dric Fisher has given defenses nightmares all year. Their defense isn't necessarily elite, but it's a solid group that compliments the offense well and has gotten better every game.

    Bayside Academy plays a style that is indicative of a bit of a change in the way the best teams from the bay counties attack offensively. For years, we saw that region dominated by teams that played four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust football. But recently, many of the better teams in that area have used more wide open spread concepts, and Bayside is certainly one of those. They'll use all of the field on every play. Sophomore QB Sammy Dunn is going to rise up recruiting boards very soon. He has a pocket presence rarely seen at the high school level and the ball seems to explode out of his hand. 3 star OT Graham Uter anchors a stellar offensive line.

    Bayside Academy is a good team, but they might still be a year away from making a championship run. For Jacksonville, the time is now with an elite senior QB.

Prediction:  Jacksonville 49, Bayside Academy 24

 (#6)  Moody (10-3) at
 Scottsboro (8-3) 
at Pat Trammell Stadium
Moody   Scottsboro
10-3 (5-1)  Record 8-3 (4-1)
5A-R6  Class/Region 5A-R7
#6  ASWA Ranking NR
73.7  Power Rating 71.7
AHSFHS Power Ratings have the teams as even.

Last Meeting:   The Moody Blue Devils defeated Scottsboro by a score of 28-10 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Scottsboro and Moody have met one time on the field.... Moody holds a 1-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    All you really need to know to get excited for this one is that the point spread is 0. And although both teams have multiple losses, every loss was close.

    Scottsboro is going to run the ball and then run it some more. And then they'll likely keep running it until the game is over. But when they do throw it, it's usually a big play. The only team with any real success stopping them so far has been Guntersville, but Moody's defense is likely just as good. They have the perfect QB for their system in Jake Jones, who is lightning quick with a big arm.

    The question for Moody has to be, ''Will A'Mon Lane play again this season?'' The 4 star WR/DB is a star on both sides of the ball but has been out since mid-September. He was initially given a 6 week timetable to return. But while they'd obviously love to have him, this is still a really good team when he's not on the field. They do a great job at scheming guys open, and QB Charlie Johnston has a cannon arm to get the ball to them no matter where they are on the field. They play physically in the front 7 on defense, making it nearly impossible to run the ball for most teams, and safeties Sidney Walton and Chase Jackson will blanket any attempts to throw downfield.

    Although the power ratings have this as a pick'em game, I don't like this matchup for Scottsboro. Moody is most talented in their defensive secondary, so they want to take the run away and force teams to throw, and they usually succeed in that plan.

Prediction:  Moody 28, Scottsboro 14

   Sloth Nationzz

Week 12 Games
   Last Week:  3-1
   Season Total:  36-7

 Southside Selma (7-4) at
 Straughn (10-2) 
at Straughn Tiger Stadium
Southside Selma   Straughn
7-4 (3-3)  Record 10-2 (8-0)
3A-R3  Class/Region 3A-R2
NR  ASWA Ranking NR
45.4  Power Rating 54.1
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Straughn as a 11 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Straughn Tigers defeated Southside Selma by a score of 45-14 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Straughn and Southside Selma have met 3 times on the field.... Straughn holds a 3-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Straughn was able to get their first region championship since 2009. Their reward for this is playing against the 7-3 Southside Selma Panthers. The Panthers are not your usual four seed who barely made it into the playoffs.

    They lost to Saint James by one point, they held strong against Trinity as well. They played well against the top two teams in the region. My main concern for the Tigers is, have they played a team as offensively talented as Southside Selma? They have five star junior Derick Smith at wide receiver, but he can play anywhere.

    Their defense hasn't been great, but their offense has been. Straughn seems to be getting better by the week. These two last played in 2013 with the Tigers getting the victory. Can Southside Selma be one of the four seeds to upset a one seed?

    I think Southside Selma will win this game. I think their offense is just too good to stop. I think Straughn will put up points, but not enough.

Prediction:  Southside Selma 48 Straughn 42

 B.T. Washington (9-5) at
 American Christian (8-3) 
at Freedom Field
B.T. Washington   American Christian
9-5 (5-2)  Record 8-3 (6-1)
4A-R2  Class/Region 4A-R3
NR  ASWA Ranking NR
61.3  Power Rating 64.9
AHSFHS Power Ratings have American Christian as a 6 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The B.T. Washington Golden Eagles defeated American Christian by a score of 22-12 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   American Christian and B.T. Washington have met one time on the field.... B.T. Washington holds a 1-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Another good first round matchup. You have a surging program in BTW, versus a program who has been there, done that, in American Christian. It is crazy to see the improvement with the Golden Eagles in the last few years.

    This is the first time ever making back to back playoffs, in one of the toughest regions in 4A. Their senior class began their career in 2020, when they went 1-8. Now they are back in the state playoffs after last season when they made some noise. American Christian has flown underneath people's radar.

    They had their long region win streak come to an end to Bibb County. Now they will have the toughest path to a state title. But the Patriots have come close many times. The last time American Christian did not win their first round playoff was in 2016. Can the Patriots stop the Golden Eagles? BTW has a talented senior in Joe Phillips, who plays both ways.

    It won't be easy, but I feel I will take the experience in American Christian to beat BTW. The Patriots will get the close victory and move on to the second round.

Prediction:  American Christian 35 BTW Tuskegee 29

 Luverne (7-4) at
 (#7)  Cottonwood (10-2) 
at Hicks Stadium
Luverne   Cottonwood
7-4 (4-3)  Record 10-2 (7-0)
2A-R3  Class/Region 2A-R2
NR  ASWA Ranking #7
41.3  Power Rating 49.3
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Cottonwood as a 10 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Cottonwood Bears defeated Luverne by a score of 26-8 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Cottonwood and Luverne have met 6 times on the field.... Cottonwood holds a 4-2 edge in the games played.

Comments:    Here we have a similar situation from the last game. Cottonwood came out of nowhere this season. They have really turned it on late in the season. They lost their final game to 5A Headland, and they were tied in that game in the fourth quarter.

    Luverne started the year off hot, before running into some of the best teams in 2A, who just so happened to be in their region. Funny enough the last time these two met was in the first round of the playoffs. That was the last time Cottonwood got a first round playoff victory back in 2014.

    Luverne practically lives in the playoffs. This is another example of do you go with experience, which would favor Luverne, or do you go with the hot hand, which is Cottonwood. Either way I think it will be a great game.

    : It will be a close game. I think Luverne has been battle tested this season, but the loss to Headland impressed me by Cottonwood. Give me Cottonwood to get the first round victory over the same team they got their last first round victory over.

Prediction:  Cottonwood 26 Luverne 20

 (#5)  Dothan High (8-3) at
 (#3)  Mary Montgomery (12-1) 
at Grider Field
Dothan High   Mary Montgomery
8-3 (6-2)  Record 12-1 (6-0)
7A-R2  Class/Region 7A-R1
#5  ASWA Ranking #3
88.2  Power Rating 90.1
AHSFHS Power Ratings have Mary Montgomery as a 4 point favorite.

Last Meeting:   The Mary Montgomery Vikings defeated Dothan High by a score of 21-13 in the first round of the playoffs on the road  on Fri., Nov. 10 during the 2023 football season.

Series:   Mary Montgomery and Dothan High have met one time on the field.... Mary Montgomery holds a 1-0 edge in the games played.

Comments:    It is no secret that 7A Region 1 has struggled against the powerhouse region that is 7A Region 2. There have even been proposals to adjust the 7A playoff bracket to help make it more balanced. I think that this is Region 1's best chance to get a victory over the region who has beaten them over the past few years. Mary Montgomery has had an amazing season.

    Their reward for such a great season? the 8-2 Dothan Wolves. One of those losses came in double overtime to Auburn. The Vikings have shown they have a high powered offense, and in the second half of the season many of their games they defeated their opponent with little resistance.

    Can the Vikings continue their best season since 1965? Or will Dothan continue to prove that Region 2 is much better than Region 1? The Wolves like to run the single wing offense, something you do not see everyday in 7A. If Dothan can hold the ball away from the powerful Viking offense, then the Wolves have a good chance of winning this game.

    I think Dothan is very good, and will be able to slow down the Viking offense. A great season comes to an end. The Wolves will prevail, and will most likely see a region foe in the next round.

Prediction:  Dothan 24 Mary Montgomery 20

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Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

Parrish scored a record 77 points in a playoff game against Cedar Bluff in 2001. The Tornados were shutout the following week 19-0 by Courtland.