Five high school football storylines to watch Friday night
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Nov 06, 2013 | 3197 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Saks head coach Jonathan Miller saw his team lose to Sylvania in the first round last year.  (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Saks head coach Jonathan Miller saw his team lose to Sylvania in the first round last year. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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Can Oxford handle being favored?

The No. 9 Yellow Jackets are ranked for the first time in 14 months, and they're in the postseason for the first time in two years.

Oxford may be the hottest team in Class 6A, although Hoover may argue. The Yellow Jackets have won eight straight games, and Oxford has looked as good as that sounds.

Now with the playoffs here, it’s do or die. While Oxford may not struggle with Tuscaloosa County, stranger things have happened. The Yellow Jackets are riding high, but still need to handle business and play their best football Friday night to advance to the second round.

Can Woodland do the unthinkable?

There are tough draws, and then there is playing the defending Class 2A state champion.

Tanner is 8-1, falling only to defending Class 3A state champion Madison Academy to start the year. Past that, Tanner has won in blowout fashion eight times in as many games.

But don’t discredit Woodland. Friday night’s game isn’t a loss just because it’s against Tanner. At the same time, Woodland coach Larry Strain has his hands full with this one.

Whatever game plan Strain and Woodland take into Friday night will have to be crafty enough to beat a team that will most likely be back in the state finals next month. A Woodland win is possible, though. There’s no denying that.

How does Saks rebound from its 2012 playoff fallout?

Saks coach Jonathan Miller said the Wildcats are a new team this year, but there’s no question that entering Friday night’s game last year’s 13-10 first-round loss to Sylvania is still in the back of his players’ minds.

Saks had a chance to kick a short game-tying field goal in the final minutes of the game last year, but Miller decided to go for the score. Saks was stuffed and lost its chance. It all happened that quick.

Now, a year later, the Wildcats are levels better than last year. Saks enters the postseason 10-0 for the first time in school history, as opposed to 8-2 a year ago.

With the Wildcats playing on as much of a high as anyone in the area, this could be a first-round blowout. It has the potential to be, at least.

Will Donoho get past the first round?

It’s no secret Donoho traditionally struggles in the first round.

In 18 playoff trips since 1978, the Falcons have made it past the first round only four times, the last time being 2011.

Donoho’s offense has thrived with Chris Carr taking over at quarterback, but all bets are off once the playoffs arrive.

Fortunately for Donoho, first-round opponent Berry seems to have struggled defensively this year. Berry is allowing 27.9 points a game this year, while the Falcons are averaging 35.7 points each contest.

Donoho has the capability of getting past Berry on Friday night, but the Falcons still will have to earn everything they get.

Does Clay Central get back to the win column?

Success goes back decades in the area before Lineville and Clay County consolidated to form Clay Central. This year, Clay Central is just looking to continue that success.

However, the Volunteers are fresh off back-to-back losses. How much of a toll with that take on Clay Central on Friday? The Volunteers will try to get back to their winning ways against Hillcrest-Evergreen in the first round.

Hillcrest-Evergreen is averaging 28.9 points a game on offense, which could give Clay Central’s defense a battle, but coach Kris Herron’s bunch has not struggled defensively all season.

Even in the Vols’ two losses this year, they’ve allowed only 14 points in each game.

Hillcrest-Evergreen brings a seven-game winning streak to town.
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