November 14, 2012 11:34:41 PM
With the preliminaries now out of the way, the Alabama High School Athletic Association football playoffs heat up Friday night with second-round play.
In North State Class 2A action, Lamar County faces a huge challenge at Long, while Aliceville will also have a big battle on its hands when Sweet Water comes to Memorial Stadium.
In Class 1A, Pickens County travels to undefeated Cedar Bluff for another second-round matchup.
All three games start at 7 p.m.
In the Alabama Independent School Association, it is now state championship weekend.
in the Class A championship game, Pickens Academy takes on Restoration Academy in a 3:30 p.m. start Friday at Troy University.
Lamar County (8-3)
at Long (10-1)
Lamar County coach Ken Adams feels like his club got the nervousness out of way in last week's 39-24 first-round win over New Brockton.
Now, the stakes get considerably higher as Lamar County takes on Region 2 champion Long.
"We will have our hands full," Adams said. "They are a complete team. When you see them on film, you don't really see any weaknesses.
"They like to move the football, so the important thing will be getting some stops and making sure we cash in our opportunities."
Long is averaging 39.6 points per game. The Rebels have won six straight since a 55-48 non-region home loss to Daleville.
Long opened postseason play with a 27-0 win over Southern Choctaw.
"They have a lot of speed on defense," Adams said. "They have given up some big plays, so hopefully we can get some of those."
In the Lamar County first-round win, Dallas Cockerham ran for two touchdowns and passed for another.
Cockerham completed 10-of-15 passes for 159 yards, with a touchdown. On the ground, he added 74 rushing yards and two scores.
Alex Wheeler ran for 141 yards on 16 rush attempts.
The Lamar County-Long winner faces the Sweet Water-Aliceville winner in the third round.
Sweet Water (9-2)
at Aliceville (7-4)
Aliceville returns home for a second-round contest with Sweet Water.
In their playoff opener, the Yellow Jackets knocked off Elba, 45-25.
"We came out with a really good focus and started strong," Aliceville coach Charles Moody said. "When you play on the road, it is even more important to get off to a good start."
Jeremy McMullen paced Aliceville with 327 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the victory. Aliceville finished with 506 yards of total offense, including 420 yards rushing.
Region 1 champion Sweet Water opened postseason play with a 62-14 home win over Samson.
The Bulldogs have won nine of their last 10 games, including a perfect run through region play.
"Offensively, they have an explosive team," Moody said. "We will have to have some long drives offensively, allowing our defense a chance to rest."
Pickens County (9-2)
at Cedar Bluff (10-0)
Pickens County hits the road for a heavyweight battle with Cedar Bluff in Class 1A.
"This will be a big challenge," Pickens County coach Patrick Plott said. "In the playoffs, you expect to play really good teams. That is what we have for an opponent."
The Tornadoes opened postseason play with a 63-0 win over Falkville. Jermarcus Brown led the way with 186 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
This game will be broadcast locally on WEIS-FM (100.5) and WEIS-AM (990). It will also be streamed at www.weis990am.com.
The Pickens County-Cedar Bluff winner will next face Hackleburg or Berry.
Restoration Academy (12-1)
vs. Pickens Academy (10-2)
Pickens Academy squares off with Restoration Academy for the AISA Class A title at Troy University.
The Pirates advanced with a 46-33 win over Ashford Academy. Restoration has won seven straight games, including playoff wins over Sparta Academy (49-14) and Marengo Academy (32-13).
"The kids are excited," Pickens Academy coach John Gartman said. "All of the hard work comes down to this one game. The kids are excited and so is the community. We look forward to playing for a championship."
In the win over Ashford Academy, Josh Lewis scored three touchdowns, while both Joel Pratt and Garrett Estes each added two touchdowns apiece.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter