Four Marion County schools will host home football games this Friday, Aug. 27.
Brilliant and Hackleburg will go head-to-head in an in-county rivalry.
This week all games continue to be non-regional match-ups. Region play will begin next week.
I’ve never made predictions before, but I’m happy I was able to follow these teams the first week before jumping into prognosticating.
Sulligent @ Hamilton
• The Class 4A Hamilton Aggies (1-0) are set to face the Class 2A Sulligent Blue Devils (1-0).
This will be the 87th time these two teams will face. Hamilton leads the series 61-23-2. Hamilton beat Sulligent last year 27-18 after a three-year hiatus in the series.
The Blue Devils beat the Class 3A East Lawrence Eagles at home last week, 28-7.
The Aggies are on the heels of a convincing non-region road victory over the Class 2A Red Bay Tigers, 40-24, where they set an impressive tone on offense.
Hamilton quarterback Matthew Coleman tracked 200 yards in the air and 150 more on the ground. He picked up two touchdowns. All-star wide receiver Bryant Loving snagged seven passes for 152 yards and a touchdown.
The ability to pick up these kinds of yards whether through the air or on foot could make Hamilton’s offense a serious threat this season. The Coleman-Loving connection is dangerous enough that it will pull attention away, making an opening for the Aggies’ other skill players to work.
I have the Aggies winning this game.
Northside @ Winfield
• The Class 3A Winfield Pirates (1-0) will play the Class 4A Northside Rams (1-0) at home this Friday.
This will only be the second time these two teams have met--last year being the first, where the Rams bested the Pirates by a touchdown, 21-14. It was a road game for Winfield
This past week, the Rams picked up a 37-6 win against the Berry Wildcats in non-region play.
The Pirates beat rival Fayette County at home 6-0 in a rainy, messy game riddled with turnovers.
With the home-game advantage this year, I’ll put my bets on the Pirates carrying another W away this week.
Tharptown @ Phillips
• The Class 2A Tharptown Wildcats (1-0) will meet the Phillips Bears (0-1) in Bear Creek this week.
The Wildcats picked a win on the road last Friday against Shoals Christian, 22-6. The Bears suffered a shutout loss to Class 3A Phil Campbell, 27-0.
This Friday will be the 13th time Tharptown and Phillips have been on the same field. The Wildcats beat Phillips 12-6 last year. Bear Creek leads the series 9-3.
While the opening game was likely a crucial experience for the Bear Creek team, I see this upcoming game going to Tharptown.
Marion County @ Vina
• The Marion County High School (MCHS) Red Raiders will face the Vina Red Devils for the 15th time this Friday. The Red Raiders lead the series 12-3. Vina lost to MCHS in Guin in 2020, 35-0.
The Red Raiders nearly pulled off a shutout at home last Friday against the Class 1A Waterloo Cougars. It was a by-week for the Red Devils.
Without a game under their belts and with the defensive success that the Red Raiders have displayed thus far, I think it will be a fight for the Red Devils to make it to the scoreboard.
I’m expecting the Red Raiders to pick up win number two this Friday.
• This will be the hardest game for me to predict this week.
For the 40th time, the Brilliant Tigers will play the Hackleburg Panthers. Hackleburg narrowly leads the series 34-31-4. The Tigers shut out the Panthers last season, 21-0.
The Panthers are building on the rising talent within their team and just bested Hubbertville 28-20 during their fall jamboree game last week. They’ll play at home again this Friday. However, Brilliant is on the other side of a successful playoff season but did not play last week.
This will be a closer game than it was last year, but I think Brilliant will pull off a win on the road.
See complete story in the Journal Record.