Can’t miss games this football season
The AHSAA high school football season kicks off Aug. 24. After looking at all of the schedules for the Enquirer area football teams, here are the 10 best games to be at this season, ranked in order.
1. Muscle Shoals at Hartselle, Oct. 6
Last season’s matchup might have been one of the best games in Alabama high school football. The Tigers’ Ri Fletcher scored with less than a minute remaining to give Hartselle a 29-26 win and the 2022 region championship. This match has had significant playoff implications for both teams for the last few seasons. The Tigers have won four of the previous five matchups and lead the all-time series 17-11-1.
2. Hartselle at Austin, Aug. 25
The Tigers travel to Austin to open the season for the seventh consecutive season. Both teams were region champs last season. Austin comes into the game with the more experienced team. The teams have split the previous four games in this fiercely contested rivalry. The Tigers won last season 45-17 and lead the all-time series 32-23-1.
3. Fairview at Priceville, Sept. 1
Fairview comes to Priceville looking for revenge following the Bulldogs’ 54-47 win last season. Fairview bowed out in the first round of the 5A state playoffs, while Priceville advanced to the second round. After losing the first five, the Bulldogs won the series’ last two.
4. Oxford at Hartselle, Sept. 29
Oxford travels to Hartselle in one of this season’s best non-region matchups. The Tigers dominated last season’s second half, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 38-7 in winning 69-21. Oxford plays in 6A Region 6 with perennial playoff contenders Clay-Chalkville and Pinson Valley. The Yellow Jackets lead the series 2-1.
5. Priceville at Westminster Christian, Oct. 20
Expect a battle between two well-coached teams late in the 2023 season. The Bulldogs scored 72 points in last season’s win over the Wildcats. This year’s Westminster team will have an explosive offense that will be difficult for the Bulldogs’ defense. Both teams advanced to the 4A playoffs, with Priceville advancing to the second round while Westminster lost in the opening round.
6. Falkville at Red Bay, Oct. 13
Red Bay has this game circled on their schedule after falling to Falkville last season 28-6. The game was very physical; the teams can expect the same this year. Both teams advanced to the 2A playoffs, with Falkville advancing to the second round while Red Bay lost in the opening round.
7. Cullman at Hartselle, Sept. 8
Hartselle and Cullman open region play for the fourth consecutive season. The matchup will be the 102nd in the series, which dates back to 1916. The Bearcats enter the season under new head coach Danny Stiff, who replaces Oscar Glasscock. The game will be the first time Cullman has played at JP Cain Stadium since 2020. The Tigers won 34-3 last season and lead the all-time series 50-47-4.
8. Hartselle at Decatur, Oct. 20
Hartselle travels to Ogle Stadium for the first time since 2020 for a region matchup with Decatur and new coach Aairon Savage. The Tigers have won five straight in the series, which dates back to 1917 after Hartselle won 41-14 last season. Decatur leads the all-time series 59-30.
9. Lawrence County at Brewer, Sept. 22
Lawrence County travels to Brewer for a region matchup. The Patriots have won three of the last four in the series following their 21-7 win last season. The winner of this game could be in a good position for one of the four playoff spots in the region. Brewer leads the all-time series 10-9.
10. Tanner at Falkville, Sept. 15
Falkville gets a visit from Tanner for the second week of region play. The Rattlers defeated the Blue Devils 27-20 last season. Tanner missed the playoffs last season, while Falkville advanced to the second round. The teams have split the previous four games in the series, which the Rattlers have dominated.