No. 9 Hartselle at West Point
Series: Hartselle leads 4-0
Last meeting: Hartselle won 44-10 in 2011
First losing streak in three years: Hartselle is in unfamiliar territory this week. After back-to-back losses to Decatur and Muscle Shoals, the Tigers are facing their first losing streak since 2009. Ironically, the lost back-to-back games with Muscle Shoals and Decatur to end the regular season. The Tigers, however, rallied to win the first rounds of the playoffs before losing to McAdory in the third round. Hartselle has a chance before the end of the season. They face 2-4 West Point this week and 3-3 East Limestone on homecoming before taking on 4-2 Russellville in the region finale.
Hartselle puts 21 on top defense: The Tigers did something that no one had been able to do all season, score three touchdowns against Muscle Shoals. Coming into last week’s game, the Trojans were allowing 1.5 points per game and had only given up nine points all season, but Hartselle single-handedly increased that average to 5 points per game with its 21-point effort.
Defense struggles against Trojans’ speed: Hartselle allowed about 300 yards rushing against Muscle Shoals, thanks in part to the perimeter speed of the Trojans. They had two backs with more than 100 yards rushing, most of which came on big plays where the running back to the edge. Expect the Hartselle coaching staff to correct that problem this week.
Region championship streak in jeopardy: Hartselle has won a region championship the last four seasons, but now, the Tigers will need some help to win their fifth in a row. Muscle Shoals has sole possession of first place in the region and has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Hartselle. To win the region again, Hartselle must win out and will need the Trojans to lose two of the next three games – East Limestone, West Point and Cullman. More importantly, however, Hartselle must win out to ensure that they will host a first-round game.