October 29, 2009 8:13:00 AM
The Lamar County and Pickens County high school football teams will try to finish the regular season undefeated when they take the field this week.
Tonight, Lamar County (9-0) will play host to Isabella and Pickens County (9-0) will travel to Gordo for their in regular-season finales.
Lamar County, ranked No. 6 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A poll, is bidding for its first undefeated regular season since 1992 when the Bulldogs made it to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 3A state championship game and finished 13-1.
"When you start the year your goal is not necessarily to finish the year undefeated," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "You try to not look that far down the line. What you try to do is to continue to get better practice to practice and game to game, and I think our kids have done that. It''s given them an opportunity to do it."
In other games involving West Alabama schools tonight, South Lamar will play host to county rival Sulligent and Aliceville will travel to Linden.
On Friday, Pickens Academy will travel to Tuscaloosa Academy.
Lamar County will play an Isabella team that is 2-7 this season.
Pickens County will have a harder task against Gordo (5-4), which went 5-2 in AHSAA Class 2A, Region 4 games to clinch a state playoff berth. The Green Wave have won their past three games, all in region.
"We''re awfully excited about the opportunity of getting to play our in-county rival," said Pickens County coach Scott Marchant, who has his team ranked No. 1 in Class 2A in his first season as head coach. "It''s a huge game getting us ready for the playoffs. It''s a big game for keeping our momentum going into the playoffs. We''re just excited about it. It''s going to be a lot of fun.
"It''s a great game every year (between Pickens County and Gordo). There''s a lot of intensity, a lot of passion in this rivalry game, so we''re excited about it."
Lamar County and Pickens County are two of four undefeated teams remaining in Class 2A. The others are No. 3 Clay County and No. 5 Elba.
"I''m very proud of the kids for what they''ve been able to accomplish," Adams said.
Pickens County is bidding to finish the regular season undefeated after losing just one regular-season game last season. The Tornadoes lost their season opener to Greensboro and then reeled off 11 wins in a row before losing to Reeltown in the state quarterfinals.
"We''re awfully excited about being undefeated," Marchant said. "We understand it''s a big accomplishment to be 9-0. We''re awfully proud of our kids and all our coaches for the work they''ve put into it."
In regular season finales last year, Lamar County beat Isabella 43-19 and Pickens County edged Gordo 29-28.
Adams and Marchant are proud of their teams have accomplished, but both said the ultimate goal is to go 15-0 and to win the state championship.
n Sulligent at South Lamar: After starting the season with a county rival, the Stallions will end the season tonight against a county rival.
South Lamar (1-8) kicked off the campaign against Lamar County.
It will be the final game for South Lamar, which has a young team that suffered injuries and didn''t contend for the Class A playoffs.
South Lamar coach Josh Harper hopes playing a county rival will motivate his players.
"We''ve got to put the cards down and play them all out," Harper said. "We have to have fun and play this great game one more time."
The game will serve as a tuneup for the Class 2A state playoffs for Sulligent (6-3) The Blue Devils will seek their fourth consecutive win after beating Falkville, Addison, and Oakman.
"Any time it''s a rival game it''s important to get a win," Sulligent coach Dwight Bowling said. "We want to keep our momentum up and keep our winning streak going. It''s important to have momentum going into the playoffs next week."
Sulligent could be without tight end/defensive end Dakota Carrruth, who didn''t play against Oakman last Friday because of an ankle injury.
"It doesn''t look favorable for this week, either," Bowling said. "He tried to practice (Monday) and just couldn''t, so we probably won''t play his this week."
Sulligent won last year''s game 49-21.
n Aliceville at Linden: The Yellow Jackets (5-4) will try to hand Linden (9-0), the No. 1 in Class A in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, its first loss.
Aliceville finished as the No. 4 seed in Class 3A, Region 4 and will look for a victory tonight to build momentum entering the state playoffs.
"It''s very important because we''re playing a good team that is 9-0," Aliceville coach Robin Tyra said. "You can say they''re a Class A school, but Coach (Andro) Williams does a very good job preparing his kids. At 9-0 he''s doing something well. Anything positive we can get out of this game is going to be huge."
Aliceville lost to Linden 35-14 at home last year.
n Pickens Academy at Tuscaloosa Academy: The Pirates will attempt to extend a four-game winning streak Friday.
Pickens Academy (6-3) has beaten Alabama Independent School Association Class 2A, Region 2 rivals Meadowview Christian, Clarke Prep, and Wilcox Academy the past three weeks to earn a state playoff berth.
"It''s a great atmosphere every day," said Pickens Academy coach Sam Pearson, who had led his team to the playoffs in his first season as head coach. "Everybody shows up every day ready to learn and learn what we need to work on. It''s like night and day from when we lost three out of four games."
Pickens Academy, a Class 2A school, will step up in class Friday against Class 3A Tuscaloosa Academy. It will attempt to atone for a 48-13 loss to Tuscaloosa Academy in last year''s season finale.
"Last year, they put it on them," Pearson said. "The kids have talked about that a lot. Really before the season even started this was a game they were looking forward to. This one carries a lot for our kids. We''re looking forward to the opportunity.
"I''d rather play a tougher opponent to prepare us for what we''re going to be facing in the playoffs."
Pearson said the Pirates are looking forward to playing against quarterback Jeremiah Tullidge.
"He leads the state in touchdown passes," Pearson said. "He''s a real good athlete with a real strong arm."
2. Mixed reaction to decision to move MHSAA football title games HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Heritage Academy softball will try to take next step HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS