Check out a complete rundown of Week 8 matchups involving NJN-area teams below.
Gardendale vs. Shades Valley
A win here would lock No. 8 Gardendale (6-1, 3-1 Class 6A, Region 6) into the playoffs for the second time in head coach Chad Eads’ two seasons on the job.
Coming off a bye week following their first loss of the season (a 21-0 final at home to No. 5 Pinson Valley), the Rockets look to bounce back against a Shades Valley (2-5, 1-3 Class 6A, Region 6) team currently sliding down a four-game slope. Since Sept. 20, the Mounties have sputtered off consecutive losses to Stanhope Elmore, 26-6, Vestavia Hills, 17-0, Clay-Chalkville, 31-13, and Oxford, 38-20. Gardendale quarterback Will “Goose” Crowder suffered an injury in the fourth quarter of the Pinson Valley game in Week 6, leaving his status for Friday’s game in question. If he plays, I’ve got the Rockets punching their postseason ticket.
Fultondale vs. Hanceville
The Wildcats (6-1, 5-0 Class 3A, Region 5) have already secured the No. 1-seed coming out of Region 5, but can continue building their case to the Alabama Sports Writers Association—who have kept them on the outside looking in at the Class 3A top-10 so far this season—this week against Hanceville (3-4, 1-3 Class 3A, Region 5).
Fultondale extended its winning streak to six games last week with a 21-18 victory over then-No. 9 Midfield. The Bulldogs lost a 36-12 decision to Midfield in Week 6 before taking last Friday night off.
Hanceville has lost its last three region games while averaging just 15 points per game against Holly Pond, Vinemont and Midfield. I’ve got Fultondale handing them their fourth straight defeat this week on Wildcats Field.
Tabernacle Christian at East Memorial Christian
Tabernacle Christian (4-4, 4-1 Christian Football Association) will bring an end to the regulars season this week with a trip to Prattville where East Memorial Christian Academy (0-6, 0-5 CFA) is winless on the year.
The Wildcats have struggled offensively, as they approach this contest scoring just 6 points per game. They have been held scoreless twice this season, first by Banks Academy on Aug. 30 and later by Russell Christian on Sept. 20.
This should be a good tune-up for the No. 2-seed Torches before they host in the first round next Friday.
Mortimer Jordan at Springville
Mortimer Jordan is one of four Class 5A, Region 5 teams that approach Week 8 with a league record of 4-1.
Two of those teams will meet up on Friday night when Sylacauga travels to Central-Clay County. The other, Center Point, is scheduled to visit Moody this week before traveling to Central-Clay County in Week 9.
Meanwhile, Springville enters this matchup with the No. 10 Blue Devils (6-2, 4-1 Region 5) holding a record of 3-5, including a Region 5 mark of 0-5. I don’t expect the Tigers to score their first conference victory this time around.
Corner at West Point
This game is crucial in the race for the fourth playoff slot coming out of Class 5A, Region 7.
Both Corner and West Point come into this one with a conference mark of 2-3, and both remain in play for the postseason No. 4-seed.
The Warriors (3-4, 2-3) broke a two-game skid last week with a 28-21 win at Dora where Corner (4-3, 2-3) bested the Bulldogs 28-0 the week prior. I expect the Yellow Jackets to score a big win Friday night in Cullman, keeping their playoff hopes alive for another week.
Pinson Valley at Pell City
The fifth-ranked Indians (5-2, 4-1 Class 6A, Region 6) will be a heavy favorite on the road this week at Pell City (2-5, 0-4 Class 6A, Region 6).
The Panthers have lost four of their last five games, including a 49-0 loss at Clay-Chalkville last Friday. Pinson Valley, meanwhile, has bounced back from a September loss to Oxford with back-to-back region wins over Gardendale, 21-0, and Huffman, 42-12.
I expect a physical Indians defense to handle a Pell City offense that scores an average of 16 points per game.