Game Notes: Week 5
Decatur at No. 1 Hartselle
Series: Decatur leads 54-20-1
Last meeting: Hartselle won 28-21 in 2011
Longest win streak continues…barely: Hartselle faced its toughest test against Cullman last week. The Tigers passed, but not without some drama. Blake Slayton scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on an option pitch from Deacon Aldridge with three seconds left to give Hartselle a 21-14. Slayton put in his best performance of the season, 26 carries for more than 200 yards. While the offense got the spotlight, it can’t be forgotten how Hartselle’s kept the Tigers in the game. That included a goal-line stand and a stop late that gave Hartselle the ball back with just over two minutes to go tied at 14. The Tigers are once again tied with No. 3 Jackson for the state’s longest winning streak at 19 games.
Tiger defense ranks among top in state: Hartselle has the No. 25 scoring defense among all classifications. The Tigers are allowing 9 points per game. No. 2 Muscle Shoals has the top scoring defense allowing just 3 points all season. However, Muscle Shoals faces a Dora team tonight that is the No. 26 scoring offense at 44.7 points per game.
Decatur always tough: Even though Hartselle has enjoyed unprecedented success under head coach Bob Godsey’s tenure, Decatur has always been a tough game, regardless of how good of a season the Tigers are having. Hartselle is just 3-6 in the previous nine meetings with Godsey at the helm. So even if Decatur is struggling this season, expect the Red Raiders to give Hartselle a tough game. Although the showdown with No. 2 Muscle Shoals is looming next week, the Tigers cannot afford to look past Decatur.
Brewer at Vinemont
Series: Tied 1-1
Last meeting: Vinemont won 14-0 in 1993
Improvements on the horizon: Brewer has been showing signs of improvement through its first four games. It hasn’t been a question of effort, but more of execution. The Patriots just couldn’t overcome seven turnovers last week, two of which were pick-sixes that made the score lopsided. Look for Brewer to cut down on those mistakes this week.
Vinemont improved from last year: The Eagles are off to a good start this season with a 3-1 record, including a seesaw battle with Danville in Week 2. They achieved their first ranking in more than a decade last week before being blown out by Hanceville.
Priceville at Danville
Series: Danville leads 5-3
Last meeting: Danville won 41-38 (OT) in 2011
Another barn burner?: Danville and Priceville have had offensive explosions the last two times they have met. Two years ago, both schools set records for combined points scored in a game in Danville’s 69-42 win. Last year, it took overtime for Danville to beat Priceville 41-38. Will we see this again?
Mismatch on both sides of the ball: Danville has been a strong running team this season while Priceville’s bread-and-butter has been the passing game. On defense, the Bulldogs have had trouble stopping the run while the Hawks have struggled against the pass. Priceville hasn’t given up less than 20 points on defense while Danville has failed to score more than 21 points. Watch for special teams to play a factor in deciding the game.
Falkville at Sumiton Christian
Series: Eagles lead 2-0
Last meeting: Sumiton won 41-14
Blue Devils can clinch playoff berth: While Falkville may already be in the playoffs with a win over Meek last week, the Blue Devils can solidify that position with win tonight. No other team in the region has played four region games. This would be the first playoff berth since 2006.
Defense shows up: Falkville has been able to outscore its opponents in its first three games, but last week was the first time the Blue Devils had to win with defense. They shut out an opponent in the second half for the second consecutive week. They will need that defense again tonight.
Road gets tougher from here: Falkville’s competition will improve over the next four weeks. They will face an undefeated Donoho team next week. Then after a bye week, they will face Addison and Ragland to round out the region schedule. If they can win tonight and win one of the last two, Falkville could be hosting a playoff game.