Week 3 Game NotesPublished 12:18pm Friday, September 13, 2013
No. 11 Athens (2-0) at No. 5 Hartselle (2-0)
Series: Tied 29-29-2
Last meeting: Hartselle won 23-7 in 2012
Tiger offense rolls against Lawrence County: After struggling against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in Class 6A, Hartselle was sharp out of the gate on offense. The Tigers scored on each of its first two plays and built a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. From there, they cruised to a victory and were able to get ample playing time for a lot of team members.
Points likely at a premium: Tonight’s matchup will feature two of the best defenses in the state, statistically. Athens has only allowed one touchdown and is tied for 13th place in scoring defense among all AHSAA teams. Hartselle’s starting defense has yet to allow a touchdown. The backups gave up a touchdown last week after the Tigers took a 38-0 lead in the third quarter. Hartselle allowed just 93 yards in week one and 87 yards in week 2. The Tiger defense will need to be strong once again to help the Tigers against a much-improved Athens team.
Special teams issues: Of the 31 points that Hartselle has given up, 21 of them are the result of special teams miscues. The Tigers had a punt blocked returned for a touchdown against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. Hartselle also allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown and another punt block returned for a touchdown against Lawrence County. In addition to that, Hartselle has had two field goals blocked this season. The Tigers must sew up the loose ends in the kicking game to prevent Athens from getting any cheap points.
Etowah (2-0) at Brewer (1-1)
Series: Etowah leads 1-0
Last meeting: Etowah won 48-8 in 2012
Regi0n-opening win: Brewer did something last week that it has never done. The Patriots won a region opener for the first since regions were introduced in 2000. In fact, it’s the first time they’ve been 1-0 in area or region play since 1992. This will be a new position for the Patriots. Can they build on their success last week or will they look complacent after getting its first win in the month of September in nearly three years?
Sophomore leads comeback: After some off-the-field issues, Brewer had no choice but to turn to Hunter Swafford. The sophomore quarterback didn’t disappoint. His first career touchdown wound up being the game-winner against the Pirates. That win was a major confidence boost for Brewer. Will his teammate be able to rally around him again this week?
Etowah improving: Under first-year head coach Drew Noles, Etowah is 2-0 for only the second time since the Blue Devils won a state championship in 1999. They knocked off traditional 4A powerhouse Alexandria and last year’s Region 7 champion Fort Payne. The Patriots cannot allow Etowah to intimidate them coming into tonight’s game.
Brooks (2-0) at Priceville (2-0)
Series: Brooks leads 3-0
Last meeting: Brooks won 55-28 in 2012
Bulldogs 2-0: For the first time since 2003, Priceville is 2-0 to start the season and it’s also the first time that Priceville has started the region 1-0. The Bulldogs have a potent offense, but it might be the defense where the Bulldogs have improved the most. While they’re still allowing 27.5 points per game, the Bulldogs have shown that they can get off the field on defense. That defense will have to step up again if the Bulldogs can hope to compete with Brooks.
Meat of the schedule: Priceville is now entering the part of its schedule that it had trouble with last year. Priceville allowed at least 40 points in their final six region games last year. Much of that was due to injuries and not having as much depth as needed against 4A competition. This year, the Bulldogs are much deeper and stronger. This is where we will see what kind of progress Priceville made in its offseason workouts.
Barker leading the way: After Priceville fell behind 20-14 against Rogers, quarterback Kaleb Barker put the team on his back on the next drive and helped the Bulldogs take back a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Barker accounted for all 73 yards on that drive as Priceville went up 21-20 and then led a drive to give Priceville an insurance touchdown. They will need that kind of leadership against a formidable team in Brooks.
Appalachian (1-1) at No. 11 Falkville (2-0)
Series: Falkville leads 1-0
Last meeting: Falkville won 42-24 in 2012
Back-to-back shutouts: Falkville is one of six football teams in the state of Alabama that has not allowed a point so far this season. In addition to the dominant defense, Falkville has scored the second-most points by any team in all classifications, averaging 59 points. The only team with more points per game is Calera with 62.5. Falkville ranks No. 1 in scoring average followed by Maplesville, who is averaging a 50.5 point differential.
Record-setting performance: Falkville set a school record last week by scoring 69 points against Shades Mountain Christian in Hoover. It is also the widest margin of victory the Blue Devils have ever had. Will more records fall this season?
Schedule gets tougher: The Blue Devils opened their season against its easiest two opponents. From here out, the games will get tougher starting tonight. Although Appalachian lost to Sumiton Christian last week, expect Appalachian to bounce back and perform better this week.
Danville (0-2) at Winfield (2-0)
Series: Winfield leads 6-1
Last meeting: Danville won 19-18 in 2012
Hawks run out of gas: Danville fought hard against the Vinemont Eagles last week, but ultimately ran out of steam in the second half. Hawk head coach Scott Curd made an emphasis to make the team play more physical and it showed for two and half quarters. Vinemont turned a close 12-7 game into a 32-7 rout.
Road warriors: Danville continues its weary road stretch where it will play six of its first seven games on the road. After this week’s game at Winfield, the Hawks will finally play its home opener against Winston County next week.