October 8, 2009 10:22:00 AM
Scott Marchant has the Pickens County High School football team in contention for a region championship in his first season as head coach.
Pickens County can take a step toward winning the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A, Region 4 championship Friday night when it plays host to American Christian Academy.
Pickens County (6-0) and ACA (4-2) are tied for first in the region with 4-0 league records.
"It''s really going to set the table," said Marchant, who was promoted to head coach after being Pickens County''s defensive coordinator the past seven years. "They''re an awfully good team. They''re real sound and have good athletes all over the field. They''re 4-0 in the region for a reason. It''s going to take our best effort to be able to compete with them."
ACA''s two losses have been by a total of six points. The Patriots lost to Aliceville and Southern Choctaw 6-3.
In region games, ACA has outscored its opponents 143-46, beating Thorsby 44-8, Shades Mountain Christian 29-3, Isabella 38-14, and Hale County 32-21.
"They throw the ball real well," Marchant said. "I think they''re really going to challenge our secondary like nobody has thus far. We really haven''t played anybody who is committed to throwing the football like they are.
"These guys are likely to throw it on any down, in any situation. It''s really going to be a challenge for our cornerbacks and safeties to play well. They have a really good quarterback. He''s really mobile. They love to throw it to their backs, who can really get a lot of yards after the catch."
Pickens County has defeated Greensboro 48-24, Shades Mountain Christian 67-7, Thorsby 33-14, Hale County 34-6, Aliceville 13-0, and Isabella 52-6.
n Northside at Aliceville: The Yellow Jackets will attempt to stay in contention for a home game in the first round of the state playoffs when they play host to the Rams in a Class 3A, Region 4 game.
The top two teams in the region will play host to first-round games, and Aliceville (4-2, 3-1 region) seeks a win to stay in second place in the region.
"It''s a big region matchup," Aliceville coach Robin Tyra said. "After (losing) the Cordova game (this past Friday), we''re wanting to hold on to that No. 2 spot. We play three straight region games and we have to take these next three weeks one at a time. You can almost call it like a murderers'' row."
Aliceville won its first four games and will look to bounce back after losing to Pickens County and Cordova.
"They''re responding in the way I would like for them to from the standpoint that they''re coming to practice and being positive," Tyra said. "I think they''re hungry. They see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is getting into the playoffs."
n Pickens Academy at Meadowview Christian: The Pirates seek a win to stay in contention for a playoff berth.
Pickens Academy (3-3) is in fifth place in the Alabama Independent School Association Class 2A West standings with a 1-3 league record. The top four teams make the playoffs.
Pickens Academy will look to stay ahead of Meadowview Christian, which is 0-3 in the conference.
"It''s a region game and every one of those are important," Pickens Academy coach Sam Pearson said. "We''re preparing for every game like it''s a playoff game. Playing down there will be a big challenge for us. After we lost to Monroe a couple of weeks ago, we realize we have to look at every game like a playoff game."
n Lamar County at Addison: The Bulldogs will attempt to maintain sole possession of first place in Class 2A, Region 7 when they play at Addison.
Lamar County (6-0, 4-0 region) will try not to fall into a first-place tie with Addison (4-2, 3-1).
"They''re playing for a home game in the first round of the playoffs and we are, too," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "This is the next step. They run it right at you. It''s the best man wins type thing."
Adams challenged his players to get ready for the game with sole possession of first place on the line.
"We have to match their intensity," Adams said. "That''s what it basically comes down to. I told our guys (Monday) at the end of practice, ''If you''re not willing to sacrifice your body this week and you''re not willing to fight, you better not get on the bus and go to Addison.'' "
n South Lamar at Meek: The Stallions have been affected by the flu bug in preparing for a Class A, Region 7 game against Meek.
South Lamar had 13 players not practice Monday or Tuesday because of the flu, leaving just 17 players.
South Lamar coach Josh Harper isn''t sure if the players will be able to play against Meek.
"When it rains it pours," said Harper. "It''s a day-by-day basis. I''m hoping we''ll get the majority of them back. Most of them got sick this weekend, so it was an early bug. I''m hoping it will run its course.
"We''ve got to prepare as if this is the group we''re going to have Friday. It''s still football. We''re going to put 11 players on the field to represent us and that''s all we can do."
Among the players who are battling the flu are offensive tackle Tremaine Willingham, center Corey Jones, and fullbacks Hank Parker and Greg Posley.
The only offensive lineman who isn''t sick is Skyler Dozier.
South Lamar is 1-5 and 1-4 in the region, while Meek has yet to win a game.
n Sulligent at Falkville: The Blue Devils (3-3, 2-2 region) will be without a key player when they play Falkville (1-5, 1-3) in a Class 2A, Region 7 game.
The Blue Devils will be without offensive guard and linebacker Tony Johnson, who re-injured his ankle.
"That makes us really thin on the line on the offensive side," Sulligent coach Dwight Bowling said. "We''ve got some young ones that have to step up and get ready really quick. We''ve had to hunt an inside linebacker, too.
Sulligent will try to get back on track after suffering a 35-14 loss to Winston County this past Friday.
"We''ve got three region games left and it''s bad important we win all three of them," Bowling said. "It looks like we''re probably going to have to win all three of them to get third place (in the region) if everybody does like we think they will. We can''t afford another loss."