Friday Night Preview: Sept. 20

Six of Marengo County’s high school football teams will be in action Friday night with three teams playing host while a trio of others hit the road for week four action in the AHSAA.

Demopolis (2-1) vs. Selma (2-1)

A Class 5A, Region 3 contest, this game looks virtually nothing like it has in years past. Where Selma has often been a gimme game in the minds of many Demopolis fans, the Saints present themselves a formidable foe this time around under forth-year head man Leroy Miles. Selma combines its typically talented collection of skill players with a mountainous offensive line highlighted by 6-4, 340-pound right tackle Mark Garrett. Factor in a defense that shut out Citronelle a week ago and a team hungry for a playoff berth and Selma is no one to be trifled with.

On the other hand, Demopolis is coming off a difficult loss to Saraland in which it was pushed around and outplayed for the better part of the night. The Tigers clearly need a win against Selma, but also have to build some sort of momentum moving forward as the schedule the rest of the way gets no less treacherous.

Marengo (2-1) @ Fruitdale (1-2)

The Panthers have put that 17-game losing streak firmly behind them as they have mustered two blowout victories in a row. Now the Dixon’s Mills faithful are talking playoffs. MHS would go a long way toward reaching that goal if it can knock off Fruitdale and snag a 3-0 region start. It is a Class 1A, Region 1 contest that Marengo has not won since 2010, but the Pirates come in limping off a 24-16 loss to A.L. Johnson last week. Look for the Panthers to roll in this one.

Linden (2-1) vs. McIntosh (1-2)

Linden has outscored McIntosh 154-8 over the team’s last three meetings. And the Demons have shown little reason to think this year’s result will be any different. McIntosh does have speed and did manage to put up 34 points against Class 5A Citronelle, but surrendering 132 points through three games is not a good sign when you have Linden looming.

A.L. Johnson (2-1) @ J.U. Blacksher (0-3)

A.L. Johnson is off to a 2-1 start despite flying injured over the season’s first few weeks. The Eagles have suffered key personnel losses and have turned all the way to the third string spot on the depth chart to keep the running game going. If ALJ can keep the mojo working long enough to get healthy, it could be very dangerous the rest of the way. That makes Friday an ideal game for the Eagles as the Blacksher Bulldogs enter having been outdone 144-38 in three games. If Johnson plays mistake free, it should impose its will early and often and separate itself as one of the premiere teams in Class 1A, Region 1.

Sweet Water (2-1) vs. Southern Choctaw (1-2)

Southern Choctaw received no favors from the AHSAA as it drew Washington County, Mobile Christian and Sweet Water in its first three weeks of region play. And while the Indians’ record is not where they would like it to be, Sweet Water coach Stacy Luker still has not recovered the two years he lost off his life a season ago when his Bulldogs held on to grind out a 14-8 win over SCHS. The Indians have a reputation of being big, physical and mean. This year will be no different. Sweet Water will have to minimize mistakes and maximize opportunities for stay unbeaten in region play.

John Essex (0-3) vs. St. Luke’s (1-2)

Do not be fooled by the record or by last week’s score, this is a solid St. Luke’s football team. And that is not good news for John Essex as it is fresh off an 86-14 loss to Marengo it would like to soon forget. The Hornets should be motivated after last week’s result, so a better performance may be in the offing. Conversely, St. Luke’s was routed at home by Linden in a game the Wildcats knew they had to have in order to give themselves a shot at winning Class 1A, Region 1. If the Wildcats get in a position to show mercy, it is unlikely they’ll find any within themselves.