Corner defense 2019

Corner defenders wrap up Oak Grove senior Kameron Baker (2) during a 45-0 road win on Aug. 30, 2019. 

Check out a complete rundown of Week 2 matchups involving NJN-area teams below.

Mortimer Jordan at Center Point

Locally, many know him for his explosive running style at Fultondale, but quarterback Jayson Jones is now breaking the huddle for head coach George Bates at Center Point (1-1).

Now a senior, Jones opened the season with a 26-20 victory over Philadelphia (Miss.) and followed up with a 24-6 loss at Class 7A No. 7 Mountain Brook last Thursday. Mortimer Jordan also enters Class 5A, Region 5 play with a record of 1-1 after last week’s 20-17 home win over Cullman. 

In this top-10 battle (No. 9 Center Point), I give a very slim edge to No. 10 Mortimer Jordan. 

Gardendale at Huffman

Gardendale opened up Class 6A, Region 6 play with a 31-21 win over Huffman last season, and the Rockets are hoping for a similar result this Friday night at Vikings Stadium.

The Rockets (2-0), who have won five consecutive over Huffman since 2012, started the season with a 35-14 win over Mae Jemison and went on the road for a 21-14 win over Athens last Friday. Huffman (1-1) went on the road for a 26-7 loss to Bessemer City on Week 0 and rebounded with a 34-26 win at Parker on Week 1. 

Gardendale gets off to region play on the right foot this week. 

Tabernacle Christian vs. Banks Academy

The Torches (0-3) are off to their worst start since before they began posting results to maxpreps.com in 2004 but they can turn things around this week at Moncrief Park when conference opponent Banks Academy comes to town.  

The Jets, in their first season since 1988, have jumped out to a 2-0 start thanks to a 42-26 win over New Life Christian and a 60-0 victory over East Memorial Christian. 

Banks has outscored the Torches by 38 points in one less game this season and I expect that margin to grow this Friday night. 

Corner at Russellville

Following a blowout win over Oak Gove last week, the Yellow Jackets (2-0) will look to carry that momentum into a Week 2 game against seventh-ranked Russellville (1-0) this Friday night. 

The Golden Tigers began their season with a 27-21 overtime win over Deshler last week. 

Like last year when Russellville beat Corner 24-13 in the series’ first-ever meeting, the upcoming game will count in Class 5A, Region 7 play. I’ve got Corner pulling the upset on Friday night and improving to 3-0 for the first time in three years. 

Pinson Valley vs. Shades Valley

Second-ranked Pinson Valley has a tough out coming to Willie Adams Stadium this week.

The Indians (1-1) host Shades Valley (1-0) who opened its season with a 38-12 win over No. 9 Jackson-Olin last Friday. Mounties quarterback Isaac Sims accounted for three touchdowns, including a pair of scores on the ground, during the decisive season-opening victory. Sims also tossed a 78-yard touchdown to Alfonso Weather. 

Pinson Valley thumped the Mounties 49-7 last September in their Class 6A, Region 6 opener, but if last week’s outcome is any indication, Shades Valley is much improved from the team that finished 2-8 in 2018.

I, however, don’t expect the Mounties to pull off this road upset. 

Fultondale at Locust Fork

The Wildcats (0-1) will attempt to extend a region winning streak that dates back to 2016 (18 games) on the road this Friday night at Locust Fork (1-1). 

Fultondale has won four straight in this series by a combined score of 148-23. The Wildcats won last year’s contest by a count of 35-6, but the Hornets have a new head coach on the sideline this fall and he might be a familiar sight for many people in northern Jefferson County.

Matt Plunkett, who led Gardendale from 2013 to 2017 before coaching Cullman to a 3-7 finish last year, has now taken the reigns at Locust Fork. Plunkett is off to a 1-1 start in Blount County thanks to a 46-28 loss to St. John Paul on Aug. 23 and a 39-37 win over Cleveland last Friday. 

I expect Fultondale to pocket its first win of the season and bump the region streak to 19 games.

Erik Harris is the sports editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at sports@njeffersonnews.com

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