Taking success to next levelPublished 9:05am Thursday, November 18, 2010
Hartselle’s football program doesn’t want to hang its helmet on being a solid quarterfinal team each and every year.
After four appearances in the quarterfinals in the last five years, Hartselle is intent on showing it’s a program ready to play with the big boys.
The Tigers will get that chance this week when they host Russellville in a Class 5A quarterfinal playoff game at J.P. Cain Stadium.
There are plenty of good football teams in the northern half of the state. And then there are the perennial powers, teams like Colbert County, Deshler, R.A. Hubbard and Hoover that hold a certain mystique over opponents because of their long traditions in high school football.
Russellville is one of those teams. The Golden Tigers have played for state championships five times since the start of the 2000 season.
Three times during that same span the Golden Tigers came within a game of reaching the state championship game.
Friday, Russellville will be playing its 44th playoff game since 2000. That’s an average of four playoff games a year.
Hartselle will be playing its 21st playoff game since 2000, a tremendous run for any high school program. But now is the time to show that Hartselle is indeed an elite team worthy of being ranked No. 1 at the end of the regular season twice in the last three years.
It almost seems fitting that Hartselle will square off with Russellville this week with a trip to the semifinals on the line. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
Hartselle has had plenty of respect around the state, especially when it comes time for sportswriters to cast their poll votes. Top-ranked teams are expected to get to the finals. Or at least the semifinals.
This week’s game matches No. 1 Hartselle versus No. 4 Russellville, a game worthy of the semifinals. And it’s a game that will garner plenty of attention from football fans around the state.
The Tigers don’t want to be known as a quarterfinal team anymore. And a win over Russellville this week will show the rest of the state.
It’s time for a new king.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or at email@example.com