Check out a complete rundown of Week 1 matchups involving NJN-area teams below.
Mortimer Jordan vs. Cullman
Both teams will be looking for win No. 1 this Friday when No. 10 Mortimer Jordan plays its first game on the new synthetic turf field in Jimmie Trotter Stadium.
Mortimer Jordan (0-1) opened its season with a 32-25 loss at Pleasant Grove last Friday while Cullman (0-1) took a 21-19 loss at Class 5A No. 3 Jasper last Thursday.
According to The Cullman Times, Cullman quarterback Max Dueland completed 10 of his 20 passes last week for 148 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His favorite target was Isaiah Jones, who pulled down five receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown.
For the Blue Devils, senior quarterback Kourtlan Marsh led the charge with three touchdowns, including two on the ground and another through the air. Marsh ran the ball 10 times against Pleasant Grove for 104 yards, and added another 189 yards passing on 16 completions.
I expect another close game between these two on Friday, and like last season, I expect Mortimer Jordan to win.
Corner vs. Oak Grove
Corner won this matchup by a 43-point margin last August.
The Yellow Jackets (1-0) led off with a 20-12 win at Northside last week and another win this Friday would lift Corner to its first 2-0 start since 2016.
Oak Grove (0-1) lost at home to Walter Wellborn, 39-7, in its season opener last Friday. That defeat is the latest in a line of 19 straight losses, dating back to 2017.
I expect Corner to extend the streak and improve to 2-0.
Gardendale at Athens
The Athens Golden Eagles will make their season debut on Friday night when Gardendale (1-0) comes to Golden Eagle Stadium for a non-region bout.
The Rockets kicked off their season at home last week with a 35-14 win over Mae Jemison thanks in part to a five-touchdown performance from sophomore running back LT Sanders, who left his coming-out party with 130 yards rushing on 16 calls.
He and the Rockets will look to avenge last year’s 29-22 loss to Athens and if their defense plays like it did last week when it forced two turnovers, it should be mission accomplished.
Tabernacle at Lighthouse
The Torches (0-2) are still looking for their first win of the 2019 season and their next opportunity comes this Friday night in Oneonta. Their opponent—Lighthouse Homeschool (2-1)—averages 35 points per game, which is more than twice as much as Tabernacle has averaged through the first two games of the year.
Tabernacle has leaned heavily on running back Josiah Davis throughout the first two weeks of the season with fellow senior Tony Galbraith sidelined with an injury and assuming Galbraith is out of the lineup again this week, the Torches might be closer to a third straight loss than a first win.
Pinson Valley at Ramsay
The Indians (0-1) will took to rebound from a Week 0 loss at Class 7A No. 5 Hewitt-Trussville this Friday with a trip to Class 5A No. 2 Ramsay (1-0).
The Rams edged Minor last week by a score of 21-18, behind a 123-yard effort from running back Jeffery Rowser. Ramsay called on two different quarterbacks to score the comeback. Kameron Ivory got the start and took the first-half snaps before Jaih Andrews checked in to lead the comeback.
Second-ranked Pinson Valley won this matchup last season, 28-6, and I expect the Class 6A Indians to make it back-to-back wins over this 5A opponent.