E.A. Sports Today

Setting the Pace

One man’s insights on the week’s Calhoun County football games – without the pomposity, provincialism and pithy platitudes of other pick-‘em pieces in town

By Jay Pace
East Alabama Sports Today

Well, well, well, while we’re not quite to the midway point of the season, some of us have already hit our stride.


After showing steady improvement from week one to week two, I had a breakout performance last week going 10-1; the lone blemish came courtesy of Hokes Bluff, which knocked off Cherokee County. (Editor’s Note: Don’t separate your shoulder patting yourself on the back, Jay, there’s still a lot of work to do.)

Not saying I’ll go undefeated this week but, like always, that’s the goal. I am extremely pleased with 10-1. But I won’t be satisfied until I’m 11-0.

Boaz (1-1) at No. 3 ALEXANDRIA (3-0)
After claiming a decisive 39-27 win over J.B. Pennington to start the season, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Boaz faithful as they continue to mourn the loss of their former coach, Eric Whaley, who passed away last month after a long battle with cancer. On the field, the Pirates contend with a top-heavy region schedule featuring some of the best squads in all of Class 5A. The Pirates will play inspired football for their former coach but it won’t be enough to stop a powerful Alexandria ground game that has produced 14 touchdowns and averages nearly 360 yards per game.

Keenan Woodruff is the Cubs’ leading rusher with 518 yards and seven touchdowns on 51 carries. Grayson Chaffin has 216 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. Romeo Dye, Nate McCallum and Sam Shaw are all averaging more than 7.9 yards per carry.

ANNISTON (1-1) at Cherokee Co. (0-3)
When things can’t seem to get any worse for Cherokee County, for some reason they still do. On the brink of a fourth state championship game appearance under Tripp Curry last season, the Warriors can’t seem to win a game this year. The schedule has been tough, no question, but the Warriors real problem is they don’t have any weapons to supplement quarterback Tyren Dupree, one of the area’s best. This may be the best game of the week in terms of competitiveness.

Donoho (0-2) at WINTERBORO (1-1)
Winterboro has won eight of nine meetings all-time between the schools, including each of the last two. The Bulldogs make it three in a row Friday night in Alpine and keep the Falcons searching for their first win under Mark Sanders.

No. 6 HOKES BLUFF (2-0) at Jacksonville (0-3)
Don’t look now but Hokes Bluff has a chance to go 3-0 for the first time in a decade, and when Mike Robertson’s bunch starts rolling they are one tough train to stop. Don’t let the records fool you. Jacksonville is very capable of upending the Eagles and may very well do just that, having taken Saks to overtime last week, but there seems to be a swagger about Hokes Bluff these days that we’ve not seen in quite some time.

No. 9 OHATCHEE (2-1) at Pleasant Valley (1-2)
After a fantastic start to the season, Ohatchee came crashing back to reality last week, dropping a 42-6 decision to Randolph County that turns this one into a huge game for the Indians and the region race. The Indians better get all the wins they can now because the schedule is fixing to get a lot more daunting.

Cullman (1-2) at No. 4 OXFORD (3-0)
Oxford destroyed the Bearcats last season, claiming a 52-28 win in a game that wasn’t nearly that close. I don’t know what the scoreboard will read when the clock strikes 0:00 Friday night at Lamar Field but I’m certain Oxford will have more points than will Cullman. The Yellow Jackets are just too strong in every phase of the game.

No. 2 PIEDMONT (2-1) at No. 4 Randolph County (2-0)
RCHS is one of the better teams in all of Class 3A this year. Expect Pat Prestridge & Company to make some real noise come November. The problem is the road to a Blue Map goes right through Piedmont and for all the Bulldogs supposedly lost from their back-to back state championship teams in 2015 and 2016, they continue to annihilate the competition.

Quite simply, the Bulldogs are the class of 3A and until they’re beaten and eliminated they must remain the favorites. They have too many weapons and too much speed, and the region returns to the status quo.

Piedmont by the numbers – Leading rushers: Lee Stanley 41-366, 1 TD; Cardavion Myers 39-316, 5 TDs; Braylon Cole 16-184, 3 TDs. Leading passer: Cardavion Myers 19-29-1, 499 yards, 7 TDs. Leading receivers: Darien Bossie 4-146, 2 TDs; T.J. Fairs 7-196, 3 TDs. Leading tacklers: Gavin Kircus 23, Carl Myers 22, Logan Smith 22 (7 TFL), Logan Beadles 19. Interceptions: Carl Myers 3, Jakari Foster 2.

SAKS (3-0) at White Plains (0-2)
Hard not to feel bad for the kids at White Plains. The Wildcats have lost 17 in a row, but they went toe-to-toe with Oneonta last week and were without question the better team. The Wildcats lost a 33-19 second-half lead – and a 12-point lead with seven minutes left — because of some untimely turnovers. White Plains is better. White Plains is improved. White Plains is more competitive than it’s been in recent years. This team is going to end the winless streak very soon; you can see it coming, just not this week.

Wellborn (1-2) at No. 6 WEAVER (2-0)
Wellborn picked up its first win in a big way last week, blowing through Pleasant Valley 38-0. This is a young football team that starts as many as seven freshmen. The Panthers best years are in front of them. For Weaver, which was open last week, the time is now.

Last week 10-1 (.909), bonus picks 2-1 (.667)
Overall: 22-9 (.710), bonus picks 5-1 (.833)

On the cover: Action from last week’s Randolph County-Ohatchee game. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham/TigerDen Media)

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