E.A. Sports Today

Setting the pace

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

By Jay Pace
For East Alabama Sports Today

Let the good times roll.


After a slow start to the season, yours truly has clearly re-established his rightful place in the pecking order of pickers after a second straight week of success.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve gone 18-3 and the losses were oh-so-close. The only thing standing between the Pacesetter and perfection in Week 4 was Anniston’s overtime loss to Cherokee County and an epic defensive stand that produced Jacksonville’s first win of the season.

Perfection is the pursuit. And perfection will be mine.

ALEXANDRIA (4-0) at Etowah (3-1)

This one should be a dandy as the Valley Cubs travel to Jim Glover Field with revenge on their mind after dropping a 24-16 decision last year. Both teams are undefeated in region play at 2-0 and tied with Crossville (3-0, 2-0) for the top spot in Class 5A Region 7. With a healthy Keenan Woodruff and an offense averaging 405 yards and nearly 43 points a game, the Valley Cubs get revenge in a big way and solidify their spot atop of the region standings.

Alexandria by the numbers – Leading rushers: Keenan Woodruff 58-760-10, Grayson Chaffin 35-331-5. Leading passer: Jacob Wells 5-11-0, 91 yards, 2 TDs. Team rushing: 169-1526-19. Rushing defense: 119-460-2. Passing defense: 43-111-5, 501 yards, 3 TDs.

JACKSONVILLE (1-3) at Anniston (1-2)

The Golden Eagles picked up their first win last week in memorable fashion when they denied a potential go-ahead two-point conversion and grabbed an interception in the final minute. Anniston was also involved in a close game, but that one went the other way as the Bulldogs lost on to an overtime field goal. All season long, we’ve been telling you the Eagles are not as bad as the record indicates. They are very much alive for the postseason and a win at Friday night puts them one step closer.

WEAVER (3-0) at Ohatchee (3-1)

In yet another critical Class 3A Region 5 showdown with postseason implications, Ohatchee welcomes rival Weaver to The Creekbank. This has turned into a heavyweight fight the last two seasons with each school jockeying for home field advantage in the playoffs. Last year, it went the way of the Indians who claimed a 41-21 decision to remain unbeaten. This time, its Weaver’s turn to come out on top and remain unbeaten as a showdown with Piedmont looms in two weeks.

OXFORD (4-0) at Albertville (3-1)

The Aggies have had a nice run over the first half of the season, placing themselves in the thick of the Class 6A Region 7 race; Oxford is a buzz kill. The last two weeks the Yellow Jackets have faced a pair of teams riding a wave of momentum into the game (Brewer and Cullman), but four quarters later they departed the field with double-digit blowout losses. Jackets continue their winning ways while Albertville returns to the harsh reality that is big-boy football in 6A.

Pleasant Valley (1-3) at PIEDMONT (3-1)

The Bulldogs survived the biggest test to their region supremacy last week, scoring 41 points in the second half to beat Randolph County. Like just about every other team Steve Smith has faced at Piedmont — and Cedar Bluff, for that matter — the Bulldogs have absolutely dominated this series. Under Smith the Bulldogs are 5-0 with a 31-point average margin of victory. The Raiders are making strides – they have allowed just seven points in the second half of their last two games – but the Bulldogs have too much firepower and should breeze past PV as they look ahead to next week’s non-region battle with Leeds.

Piedmont by the numbers – Leading rushers: Lee Stanley 57-568-3, Cardavion Myers 64-492-9. Leading passer: Cardavion Myers 24-35-2, 579 yards, 7 TDs. Leading receivers: T.J. Fairs 9-211-3, Darien Bossie 6-204-2, Lee Stanley 5-78-0. Leading tacklers: Logan Smith 30 (7 TFL), Gavin Kircus 29, Logan Beadles 26.

COOSA CHRISTIAN (2-2) at Donoho (0-3)

This is a game the Falcons found after losing JCA from their schedule; it just so happened Coosa was looking to fill the same opening and the dates fit. Coming off a humiliating 42-point loss last week to Ragland, the Conquerors look to right the ship this week against a Donoho team looking for its first win of the Mark Sanders era. Be patient, Falcons faithful; let Sanders do his thing. In time, you will be pleased with this guy. For now, the Falcons have to go at least one more week before picking up their first win for the new coach.

Ashville (2-1) at SAKS (3-0)

Ashville has set itself up nicely as we get into the meat of region play with its 21-14 win over Oneonta last week. Problem is, Saks is much stronger. These boys are big, strong, athletic and fast – real fast.

White Plains (0-3) at HOKES BLUFF (3-1)

Hokes Bluff was oh-so-close to staying undefeated last week, but overthrew the receiver on the potential go-ahead two-point conversion. The Eagles rebound nicely this week, picking up an easy win, while the Wildcats must wait another week to end their losing streak (now at 18).


Grissom (2-2) at GADSDEN CITY (1-3)

The Titans picked up their first win of the Bart Sessions era with a huge one over the Jets of James Clemens behind 320 yards passing from Ryan Sparks. Last year, the Titans lost their first four games before finding their way in the second half of the regular season, winning five of their last six to squeak into the playoffs, where they eventually lost to Hoover in Round 3. The Titans are 5-0 all time against Grissom with an average margin of victory of 35.4; they have won the last two meetings by a combined score of 111-26. The Titans are heating up. They make two in a row for the season and six straight over Grissom.

CENTRAL CLAY (2-2) at Cleburne County (0-3)

At one time, Cleburne County was a lock for the postseason and could be counted on to compete for a state championship; in short, the place was a football factory built on speed and blue-chip athletes. That seems like a distant memory as the Tigers have dropped 10 straight and won only two of their last 13 since being put in Class 5A on the last classification reshuffle. The Tigers have seen better days for sure. Meanwhile, Central Clay — the football blue-blood formerly known as Clay County and Lineville High Schools — continues to do what it does best: win football games. After a narrow loss to Eufaula last week, the Vols get back in the win column at L.E. Bell Field and the Tigers open a season 0-4 for the first time since 1987.

Last week: 7-2 (.778), bonus picks 0-0
Overall: 29-11 (.729), bonus picks 5-1 (.833)

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