J.J. HICKS: First week of playoffs bring hope to teams
Wed. November 07, 2012 at 11:04 p.m. | By J.J. Hicks Staff Writer
Etowah's Paul Ruiz runs the ball against Glencoe last week. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times)
The first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association football playoffs begin Friday, and for the teams involved hope springs eternal.
That hope will vanish quickly for half of the teams playing, though.
Class 5A Etowah is the lone Etowah County team playing at home in the first round Friday night when the Blue Devils (7-3) will host Russellville.
Etowah suffered a disappointing 19-6 loss to 3A Glencoe last week — not exactly how the Blue Devils wanted to enter the postseason.
The Golden Tigers are not an average three seed. They lost to only 5A’s No. 1 team, Muscle Shoals, and Cullman this year, who just happened to be the two teams ahead of them in the Region 8 race.
Etowah is better than it played last week, as its record and playoff standing indicate. However, the Blue Devils never have beaten Russellville in football, and the Golden Tigers have been hardened by a brutal region slate that has them prepared for this time of year. Etowah falls at home 24-16.
Speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they hope to carry the momentum of that big win over the Blue Devils into the first round of the 3A postseason on the road against Geraldine.
Glencoe (5-5) has been one of the more up-and-down teams in the area in 2012. The Yellow Jackets began the regular season with a 12-7 loss to 2A Westbrook and closed it with the win over Etowah. Glencoe is young, but solid in all phases of the game.
However, the Yellow Jackets play a Bulldog team that is ranked No. 8. Geraldine played 2A, No. 2 Fyffe closer than any other team this year (a 14-10 loss in Week 1), and has been playing outstanding football over the last half of the season. Glencoe will be game, but the Bulldogs get the win 31-17.
Class 1A, No. 5 Cedar Bluff puts its 9-0 record on the line at home against Phillips Bear Creek (5-5).
The Tigers have one of the most productive offenses in the area (47.9 points per game) led by quarterback Levi Mintz. The Bears are capable of presenting. In the end, though, Cedar Bluff just has too many weapons to contain. The Tigers are victorious 52-21.
In other Etowah County games: Gadsden City 24, Bob Jones 21; Red Bay 28, Westbrook 25; and Sardis 45, Lincoln 34. In other games: Muscle Shoals 40, Boaz 16; Collinsville 34, R.A. Hubbard 30; Fort Payne 27, Hartselle 17; Shoals Christian 38, Spring Garden 35; Plainview 42, Susan Moore 10; Fyffe 35, Lexington 13; Sylvania 17, Saks 13; Tanner 46, Sand Rock 13; and Piedmont 52, J.B. Pennington 0.
Times Sports Writer J.J. Hicks can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GT_JJHicks.