E.A. Sports Today

Takeaways: Week 3

Wellborn quarterback Landon Machristie hands off to Derrick Rhoden (25) in the Saks game. In the cover photo, Panthers coach Jeff Smith discusses strategy with an assistant. (Photos by Greg McWilliams)

Wellborn quarterback Landon Machristie hands off to Derrick Rhoden (25) in the Saks game. In the cover photo, Panthers coach Jeff Smith discusses strategy with an assistant. (Photos by Greg McWilliams)

Don’t count out Wellborn, don’t leave Oxford early and don’t think about scoring on Donoho

By Chad Barnett
East Alabama Sports Today

Winless start not all bad

The Wellborn Panthers may be off to an 0-2 start but don’t mistake them for a disappointment.

The Panthers admittedly came out slowly against Saks in Week One, eventually losing to the Wildcats by a large margin. But last Friday night they gave all they had and fell just short of knocking off state-ranked Glencoe on the road 27-26. In fact, they led the entire game until the 3:34 mark of the fourth quarter.

In the loss to Glencoe, Panthers head coach Jeff Smith said his team showed the most passion he’s seen out of them since last year.

It’s been a tough start no doubt. But there is a little breathing room ahead. Wellborn plays on “The Hill” for the first time in 2014 Friday night when they face Pleasant Valley for their homecoming.

The Panthers should be favored in every region game from here on with the exception of their contest with Piedmont Oct. 10.

This group can make a deep run. They’ve got a bevy of skilled players and a system that has been in place for five years. Familiarity and talent usually equal big win totals.

Don’t leave just yet

I’ve heard a few stories from last Friday that went like this: I was at the Oxford game. I left though because it was getting out of hand. Oxford was up big.

Those who left early to catch up on some late night grocery shopping or a little extra time prepping for a football Saturday missed out on an incredible comeback for the visiting Valley Rams.

Leading 21-3 in the fourth quarter Oxford watched as Valley posted 22 points en route to a 25-21 victory. It was the second week in a row the Yellow Jackets lost after taking a lead into the fourth quarter.

Oxford lost the lead with less than 90 seconds on the board. It valiantly staged a comeback, driving to the 2 before being stopped with 11 seconds to play.

With the loss Oxford drops to 1-2 and 0-1 in Class 6A Region 3 play.

I’ll give you nothing and like it

The Donoho Falcons aren’t in a giving mood this year. So far they’ve given up absolutely nothing on the scoreboard in eight quarters of play, outscoring opponents 62-0 in the process. They’re the only team in Calhoun County — and one of only three in the AHSAA with at least two games (1A Maplesville, 6A Carver-Montgomery) — yet to give up a point.

This style of beatdown isn’t entirely new for the Falcons. In 2006, they pitched eight consecutive regular-season shutouts and only gave up nine points during the 10-game stretch — six in the opener against Lyman Ward and three in the finale against Pleasant Valley. It was their first unbeaten regular season since 1978.

Donoho is 2-0 this year with Shades Mountain Christian on the slate Friday. Shades Mountain was shutout last week by Winterboro.

Not bad for an “off” night

The Saks Wildcats are even more dominating than we thought.

After seeing the Wellborn team they handled in Week One, I walked away thinking this team is surely for real. And to top it off, the Wildcats drilled Sardis 34-7 last Friday and didn’t appear to be on their game.

Chad Barnett covers high school football for the “Pigskin Roundup”. Read his impressions of the high school football week that was every week at East Alabama Sports Today.



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