Slow starts have become as much of a tradition for the School of Champions as winning has been.
During Alexandria’s journey to the top of Class 4A, Region 5 in 2012, the Valley Cubs traveled to Munford with a 2-3 record, including 2-1 in the region, and fresh off back-to-back losses.
But it was that Thursday night in Talladega County when the season changed for Alexandria. After a second-half shootout, the Valley Cubs headed home with a 41-35 overtime win. They won their three following region games as well on their way to a crown.
This season, Alexandria once again is 2-3, including 2-1 in the region. A win Friday over Munford, which sits atop the region standings, would be as big as they come for the Valley Cubs.
Can Pleasant Valley keep winning?
The Raiders have a chance to win three straight games for the first time since 2011.
A third straight win won’t come easy, to say the least. Pleasant Valley welcomes Fultondale (5-0), which is ranked seventh in Class 2A, to Raider Stadium on Friday. Although Fultondale has only defeated Pleasant Valley once out of three times, it was a 46-0 lopsided contest last season.
The game also has bigger implications, mainly Pleasant Valley’s shot at making the postseason. The Raiders sit at 1-2 in 2A, Region 6, which puts them in sixth place. With Ohatchee, Woodland and Wellborn looming as the final three region games on the schedule, Pleasant Valley needs to pick up wins.
Friday night would be a huge start.
Will Oxford respond against Lee?
Oxford finally gets a break Friday night after playing one of the harder first-half seasons in the area.
After defying the odds and bouncing back from a pair of losses with three straight wins, the Yellow Jackets should have a chance to breathe this week.
Friday’s opponent, Lee-Huntsville (2-3), has won every game in which it has scored more than a touchdown, but the Generals also have been limited to just seven points three times.
Taking Oxford’s strong defense into consideration, along with an offense flourishing with running back Racean Thomas healthy for the first time this season, the Yellow Jackets should take this one easily.
Will Class 4A, Region 5 have more overtime?
Region races don’t get much tighter than in the middle of 4A, Region 5, and the battle for the four playoff spots is always an adventure. Last season, four separate groups of fans were treated to overtime games in Week 6, with Alexandria defeating Munford and Jacksonville defeating Anniston.
Now, 52 weeks later, can it happen again, as both matchups are on the schedule again and are expected to be close.
Jacksonville is 2-1 in the region, while Munford leads the race with a 3-0 mark?
While Alexandria also is 2-1 in the region, Anniston is coming off a big 41-13 win at Handley. The Bulldogs are 1-2 in the region.
Who will make a move?
As we enter the second half of the season, crunch time is nearly upon us. While several teams in the area will have a chance to compete for region championships, they’ll need to finish strong to grab a crown.
In the first half of the year, Piedmont (5-0) got off to another strong start. Saks, also 5-0, has proven it may be a contender once again for the Class 3A, Region 5 title.
The same can be said for Class 2A Ranburne, which holes a perfect record in Region 6. The Bulldogs play undefeated Fultondale in Week 9.
There are also questions of who rebounds the most. Wellborn and Woodland are two teams that could stand out in Region 6. In 3A, Region 5, Weaver, Glencoe and White Plains possibly could be part of a three-way tie for the third and fourth spots. The race continues Friday night.