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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers at the halfway point

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
It’s hard to believe, but we’re already halfway through the regular season. Already a few trends have emerged when it comes to the 2006 Hartselle Tigers.
1. The rejuvenation of the Hartselle passing game — In 2005, the Tigers had four passing touchdowns all season. This year, Hartselle already has eight touchdowns through the air. Quarterback Wes Chenault is healthy, and senior wide receivers Quinn Dunlap and Tyler Young and junior Tony Weaver have been sure-handed all year long to help this team add a solid passing attack to its already potent run game (averaging over 4 yards a carry).
2. The Tigers are disciplined — One key to Hartselle’s success this season has been the Tigers’ discipline. Hartselle averages five penalties per game compared to seven per game for its opponents. Also, the Tigers have turned the ball over eight times during their first five games while forcing 15 turnovers. Five of those eight Tiger mistakes came in the Russellville game, which also happens to be the only game Hartselle has lost so far this season.
3. That schedule isn’t getting any easier — At the start of the season, it looked as if Hartselle’s schedule was front-loaded with games against Decatur and Russellville. But the Tigers still have to face No. 2 Athens and perhaps the biggest surprise in Class 5A in 4-1 J.O. Johnson. Top that off with a final game against Class 6A Huntsville, and the Tigers don’t get too many breathers the rest of the way. Hartselle’s first five opponents currently have a combined record of 12-13. Its last five? 14-11.
Here’s the picks as teams start the second part of their region schedules:
Hartselle Tigers (4-1, 2-1) at Brewer Patriots (2-3, 1-2): Both teams enter this game on a roll, with Brewer winning two straight and Hartselle on a two-game winning streak of its own. Brewer has enough talent to stay competitive for a while, but the Tigers’ depth will be too much for the Patriots to overcome…Tigers 35, Patriots 10.
Falkville Blue Devils (3-2, 2-1) at J.B. Pennington Tigers (2-3, 2-1): The Blue Devils might still be stinging from a 33-6 loss to Vinemont last weekend. If they can put that defeat behind them, they should be able to get back to a good start as region play picks up again…Blue Devils 24, Tigers 17.
Priceville Bulldogs (3-2, 1-2) at DAR Patriots (1-4, 0-3): The Bulldogs have a good shot at the playoffs, but only if they take care of business against teams like DAR. The Patriots are competing in their first varsity season, although they are coming off a win against Douglas. Still, the Bulldogs should roll in this one…Bulldogs 38, Patriots 13.
Danville Hawks (0-5, 0-3) at Madison Academy Mustangs (3-2, 2-1): The Hawks have dug a hole for themselves that is going to be very hard to climb out of. The Mustangs made the playoffs last season and have visions of returning to the postseason this year. Danville competes, but falls short on the road…Mustangs 28, Hawks 20.
Duke Blue Devils (0-4) at Alabama Crimson Tide (3-2): Is there any way we could get these teams to play basketball, instead?…Crimson Tide 48, Blue Devils 7.
Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1, 2-0 in SEC) at Auburn Tigers (5-0, 3-0): This game is a potential trap for Auburn if the Tigers are looking ahead to Florida next weekend. Arkansas is coming off a bye and has a very good running back, but true freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain is going to go through some growing pains in his first major road SEC start (No, Vanderbilt doesn’t count.)…Tigers 35, Razorbacks 17.
Stanford Cardinal (0-5) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-1): My Irish have a bye week following this game. Looking at their schedule for October, it might as well be a bye month…Fighting Irish 56, Cardinal 13.