Four teams still have playoff hopes
It’s hard to believe that there are just three weeks left in the 2015 AHSAA high school football season, and so far it has been a successful season for several of the teams in Covington County.
Straughn (3-4, 3-2) entered the season with new players in key positions and a new head coach, when Chris Wilson took over in the offseason. After not starting like they hoped, the Tigers have really turned it up a notch in the past two weeks.
Coming into the Oct. 2 match up with Montgomery Catholic 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the region, they needed a win against MC to stay in the playoff picture, and they got just that, when the Tigers’ offense lit up the scoreboard to and their defense pitched a shutout.
Last week, the Tigers were in another crucial Class 4A, Region 2 contest, when they hosted the Ashford Yellow Jackets for homecoming. Both teams came into the contest with identical 2-2 region records, and the winner would greatly improve their chances of making the playoffs.
Homecoming is always a tough week, if for no other reason than the ample distractions that come along with it, and the Tigers doubled that stress with a solid region opponent on the docket. The Tigers, however, didn’t let it faze them, as they rolled out their second straight shutout in a 27-0 win over the Yellow Jackets.
This week the Tigers will host Bullock County, and can secure a playoff spot with a win.
Also in Class 4A, Region 2, the No. 5-ranked Andalusia Bulldogs (7-1, 5-0) began the season with new additions at key positions and a new head coach, when Trent Taylor took over at the helm in January. The Bulldogs opened up the season with a shutout over T.R. Miller. Week two saw the Bulldogs square off with 4A perennial powerhouse UMS-Wright, and Andalusia came up on the short end of a 35-14 finish.
The Bulldogs didn’t let the lose loom over them, and have ripped off six-straight wins and secured a playoff spot last week.
The Bulldogs have been powered by a tenacious rushing attack led by senior offensive lineman Chandler Jones, Colton and Ashton Elmore, and juniors Mathew Fleming and Allen Butler. The big guys up front have helped junior running back Jamal Hourel rush for more than 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.
Andalusia will travel to Montgomery this Friday night to take on Montgomery Catholic in a region contest. With a win, the Bulldogs can secure the No.1 seed, and home-field advantage for Region 2 heading into the playoffs.
The Opp Bobcats (5-2, 3-1) are another local team with a strong bid for the 2015 playoffs.
Opp came screaming out of the gates to start the season, as they rolled up four-straight wins, including an interclassification rivalry win over 4A Straughn.
Opp then went through a treacherous two-week span against 4A No. 5-ranked Andalusia, and then 3A No. 4-ranked T.R. Miller. The Bobcats played both teams extremely close, but ultimately lost both games by a combined four points.
This week Opp will host Bayside Academy for homecoming, and each team enters the game with a 3-1 record in Class 3A, Region 1 play. It’s very possible that the winner of Friday’s contest will secure the No. 2 seed for Region 1.
Opp had to completely revamp the offensive line coming into the season, but has shown success. Junior quarterback Orlando Lacey has been an instrumental part in the Bobcats’ success. Lacey has passed for 835 yards this season with seven touchdowns. He has also rushed for 675 yards and an additional six touchdowns.
The last team with playoff chances in the county is Class 1A, Region 2’s Red Level Tigers (3-4, 2-2).
Like Straughn and Andalusia, Red Level entered the 2015 season with a new coach at the helm, when James Wise took over in the offseason.
In the first two weeks, Wise’s Tigers put together strong games, but came up just short to start the season 0-2.
Red Level bounced back with a strong 2-1 effort over the next three weeks. The first win came over county and region rival Florala, with the Tigers picking up a 41-8 victory.
The next week, the Tigers hosted perennial 1A top dog Brantley. The Tigers held a lead late in the contest, but a last-second touchdown from Brantley gave the Bulldogs a 19-14 win.
Last week, the Tigers went to Pleasant Home and held off the Eagles for a 28-20 win, and put the Tigers in position to control their own playoff destiny.
On Friday night, the Tigers will travel to Kinston for one of the biggest games in recent Red Level history. With a win over Kinston, the Tigers would lock up the No. 4 seed for Region 2.
All games will kickoff at 7 p.m., on Friday.