Friday Night Preview: Sept. 27

DHS vs Selma-0960All seven of Marengo County’s high school football squads will compete in non-region action tonight as week five of the 2013 season rolls in, marking the halfway point of this campaign.

While none of the games that take place tonight will have any direct impact on the playoff picture for the AHSAA or AISA, each team is looking to establish or continue momentum and, as coaches say, “just get a little better.”

Demopolis (3-1) vs. Thomasville (2-2)

What is there to be said about this one? Anyone familiar with Demopolis or Thomasville is familiar with the nature of this rivalry. “Kinfolk” is what Demopolis head coach Tom Causey calls it. And nobody likes to lose to kinfolk. For Demopolis, it is about continuing on the momentum it started to forge with a win over Selma last week. The Tigers have some of their toughest region games ahead of them in Greenville and Jackson. So Demopolis has to get itself right in preparation for those contests. Conversely, Thomasville has its toughest region tests behind it. The visiting Tigers have dropped consecutive contests to UMS-Wright and Andalusia by a total of four points. Make no mistake, THS is going to come in hungry. This one should be a competitive contest either way.

Linden (3-1) @ Bibb County (4-0)

Bibb County sets up as a very nice test for Linden at the midway point of the season. The Class 4A Choctaws come in unbeaten with wins over Greensboro, Carbon Hill, Oak Grove and Jemison. BCHS has also hung more than 40 points on two of those opponents. So this, being the first time these schools have met since 1965, is the perfect time for Linden to play like it has nothing to lose. Because the truth is, Linden truly does have nothing to lose. The Patriots have rolled their last three opponents after an opening-week loss to Leroy, so the Patriots should enjoy having to play in what figures to be a close one this week.

Xavier McIntosh scores a late first half TD.

Xavier McIntosh scores a late first half TD.

Sweet Water (3-1) @ Maplesville (4-0)

Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker does not believe in off weeks. That is evidenced by the way he chooses to spend weeks one, five and 10. Week one was Thomasville. Week 10 will be T.R. Miller. Week five is a Maplesville team that has outscored opponents 244-18. This one turned into a 17-14, grind-it-out battle last season that saw Sweet Water survive on its own home turf. This year figures to be little different as two stout defenses should keep the scoring to a minimum. The Bulldogs’ best bet will be to impose their will and drain clock with a few of their trademark drives that shorten the game and put up points. We’re sticking with the Dawgs here, but it won’t be for the faint of heart.

 

A.L. Johnson (3-1) vs. Ellwood Christian (2-2)

ALJ has won two in a row and has every intention of making it three straight heading into their region rivalry with Linden next week. If Mose Jones and company can put up some points early and get some of their key guys a much-needed rest, it could go a long way to helping them down the line. But Ellwood is not to be taken too lightly. The Warriors have a blowout win over Holy Spirit and a victory over Keith under their belts. For reference sake, A.L. Johnson won the only two meeting of the schools with a 14-13 triumph last season.

IMG_7834Marengo Academy (4-0) vs. Wilcox Academy (3-1)

Who is going to slow down the Orange and White stampede? So far the Longhorns have outscored opponents 186-34 while blowing through every contest on the schedule. The most recent affair saw MA hold powerhouse Patrician to less than 30 yards of offense. Next up is a Class AA Wilcox Academy team that has proven a great rivalry for MA over the years. The Wildcats are 11-13 all-time against Marengo and won last year’s meeting 20-12. But as good as Chris Burford’s bunch is, the smart money says the Longhorn stampede keeps moving down hill with bad intentions this week.

Marengo (3-1) @ Akron (2-2)

What losing streak? The Panthers have won three straight since snapping that nasty 17-game losing streak that once hung over the program. And Marengo has done it in emphatic fashion, outscoring foes 190-52 in that stretch. Friday should prove an ample test for MHS as it travels to Akron for a matchup with a Ram team that has outlasted 3A Greene County and blown out Holy Spirit for its two victories. For Marengo’s purposes, momentum is key. The Panthers are staring headlong into back-to-back clashes with St. Luke’s and Linden that will go a long way in determining playoff berths and positioning.

John Essex (0-4) vs. Autaugaville (3-1)

The Hornets enter winless, having been outscored 193-40 and face an Autaugaville team that has not put up a lot of points (79 all season), but has won three straight. This one is less about wins and losses for Essex and more about finding something positive. The Hornets have a skeleton crew that is determined to finish the season. That job gets easier if they can make this one interesting and remind themselves that they can be in games.