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West Alabama teams will try to solidify playoff positions




Two Lamar County and two Pickens County football teams will have a chance Friday night to solidify their positions for a state playoff berth. 


Lamar County, Sulligent, Pickens County, and Aliceville can improve to 3-0 in region play with victories. 


Lamar County will play host to Red Bay and Sulligent will travel to Colbert Heights in Class 2A, Region 8 games, Pickens County will entertain John Essex in a Class A, Region 4 contest, and Aliceville will go to Sumter County in a Class 3A, Region 4 tilt. 


In other games Friday involving West Alabama schools, South Lamar will play at Brilliant in a Class A, Region 5 game and Pickens Academy will play a non-conference game at Tuscaloosa Academy. 


n Red Bay (1-2, 0-2 region) at Lamar County (2-1, 2-0 region): The Bulldogs can put themselves in a good position for their third-consecutive region championship with a victory. 


Lamar County coach Ken Adams said a 3-0 start in the region would be good because "that way you don''t have to battle the second half of the season. We''re in a battle each day to make sure we continue to get better." 


Lamar County has beaten Cherokee and Phil Campbell this season to run its streak to 13 region wins in a row. 


Red Bay has lost region games to Lexington 26-21 and Colbert Heights 20-14. 


Adams said the Bulldogs have to improve to win another region championship. 


"It''s the same thing we do every week," Adams said. "We''re more concerned with what we do and how we do it than anything. If we''re able to get better this week it doesn''t really matter what the other team does. 


"We''ve got to play better than what we''ve been playing. That''s all it comes down to. We want to play really well in region games, but we''ve got to continue to get better from day to day." 


n Sulligent (2-1, 2-0 region) at Colbert Heights (3-0, 2-0 region): The Blue Devils will attempt to stay at the top of the region standings when they play Colbert Heights in a battle of undefeated region teams. 


"This will be important to get a leg up in the region standings, for sure," Sulligent coach Dwight Bowling said. "Whoever gets to 3-0 will be sitting in good shape. I think (a 3-0 start) would be real good because it seems like we''ve played the stronger half of the region first." 


Sulligent has beaten Hatton 10-7 and Lexington 28-21 in region games, while Colbert Heights has beaten Phil Campbell 34-27 and Red Bay 20-14. 


Sulligent outside linebacker Coco Metcalfe is doubtful for the game. He injured his knee at practice a week ago Wednesday. He didn''t play against Lexington on Friday. 


n John Essex (2-1, 1-1 region) at Pickens County (3-0, 2-0 region): The Tornadoes can take a step toward finishing unbeaten in region play for the third-straight season. 


Pickens County has beaten Shades Mountain Christian 48-7 and Keith 51-28 in the region, while John Essex lost 47-0 to Autaugaville and beat Sunshine 24-8. 


"It''s paramount you win your region games," Pickens County coach Scott Marchant said. "We want to keep our momentum going that we created. We want to make sure everything we''re doing in practice is going toward Friday night. We''re excited about being 3-0 and trying to go 3-0 in the region. We understand your seeding in the playoffs is important to how far you can go in the playoffs." 


Marchant was unable to get game film on John Essex, which has made it tough preparing for the game. 


"I don''t really know a whole lot about them," Marchant said. "I''ve called a lot of people. We did not swap film. They didn''t have a film available. It''s a little nerve racking. I think this is the first ballgame I''ve ever went into without having any film on somebody. We''ll have to coach on the run and make our adjustments on the run, which means we''ll have to be more prepared for more things." 


Marchant said the Tornadoes will be without wide receiver and cornerback Warren Betts, who twisted his ankle against Keith. 


n Aliceville (2-1, 2-0 region) at Sumter County (1-2, 0-2 region): The Yellow Jackets will travel to York, Ala., in an attempt to stay at the top of the region standings in Eddie Hill''s first season as the coach. 


Aliceville is undefeated in the region after defeating Sipsey Valley 28-7 and Montevallo 22-14. 


"It feels good," Hill said. "It would be good if we could go 3-0. I''m real pleased with the boys. I''m real pleased with my staff. We''ve made some adjustments and we''re playing much better. 


"If we win this game Friday night I think it will indicative of our kids working hard and getting better each week. We tell them to try to get better and better every week. That''s what they''ve tried to do." 


Hill doesn''t have much to go on in preparing his team to play Sumter County. 


"I called the coach to trade film and he didn''t call back, so I guess he didn''t want to trade film with us," Hill said. "I''ve heard about what they run. We''re just going to try our best to prepare for them." 


Aliceville might be without fullback and defensive tackle Tyshon Windham, who tore his medial collateral ligament. Hill said there is a chance Windham will play. 


Offensive tackle Alexander Hood is expected to play after missing the Montevallo game with a bruised shoulder. 


n South Lamar (1-2, 0-2 region) at Brilliant (1-2, 0-2 region): The Stallions will try to earn their first region win of the season. 


South Lamar beat Brilliant 39-14 for its only victory last season. 


First-year coach Scott Curd has installed new looks at Brilliant. 


"They''ve got a formation for every letter in the Chinese alphabet," South Lamar coach Josh Harper said. "If we get caught up in that it could give us some problems. But I think for the most part I''m feeling good about our chances. 


"(Curd) brought a zone option to the mix. I feel they''re more of a finesse team than they are a line-up-and-come-right-at-you type, which bodes well for us." 


South Lamar might be without linebacker Daniel Atkinson, who has a bruised knee. 




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