ScoutSouth.com: Alabama 6A Region 5

Tuscaloosa County's Robert Higginbotham

Three undefeated teams in class 6A Region 5 will line up Friday night along with a fourth undefeated region team. Only two will survive with a perfect 3-0 region record. Second-ranked Tuscaloosa County will host Hillcrest Tuscaloosa, and Minor will travel south to Hueytown where it should be a sea of purple.



Region 5 Standings



Tuscaloosa County 3-0 (2-0) Power Rating 127.1
Hillcrest Tuscaloosa 3-0 (2-0) Power Rating 118.9
Minor 3-0 (2-0) Power Rating 114.9
Hueytown 2-1 (2-0)Power Rating 111.3
Jess Lanier 1-2 (0-2) Power Rating 106.3
Northridge 1-2 (0-2) Power Rating 93.5
Jackson-Olin 0-3 (0-2) Power Rating 92.4
Paul Bryant 0-3 (0-2)Power Rating 75.0

(Power Ratings provided courtesy of Yratings.com)

Big games ahead:
9/19 Hillcrest Tuscaloosa at Tuscaloosa County
9/19 Minor at Hueytown
10/10 Hillcrest Tuscaloosa at Minor
10/10 Hueytown at Tuscaloosa County
10/17 Hillcrest Tuscaloosa at Hueytown
10/24 Tuscaloosa County at Minor


Hillcrest Tuscaloosa at Tuscaloosa County

Coach Johnny Wright took the head Patriot job after six years at Dora High School. In those six seasons, he posted four 10+ win seasons. When he took the Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa job last year, the Patriots started the season with a promising 3-0 record. Fast forward to the 2008 season, and here we are again with a 3-0 record. Tuscaloosa County once again stands at the doorstep for Hillcrest, and they must put up the goods.

Last year, the Patriots lost 44-13 to the Wildcats and won only twice more during the season and first round of the playoffs. Tuscaloosa County's MVP, senior quarterback Brett Booth, is still at the helm of this powerful offense that has scored 84 points in their last two games. But there are reasons to think the Patriots might be able to narrow that margin this season.

Junior quarterback Jared Pratt and senior running back Ellis Hill have been impressive this year. Pratt passed for 238 yards last week against Jess Lanier. Hill has three 100-yard rushing games this season.

Now for the bad news, Hillcrest Tuscaloosa is allowing opponents an average of about 21 points. Tuscaloosa County has allowed just over nine points including an opening season contest against 12th-ranked Gadsden City where they shut the Titans down 24-6.

The Patriots gave up two huge touchdown passes last week of 76 and 69 yards to Jess Lanier's star receiver, Brandon Heavens, who has verbally committed to play at Auburn University. Hillcrest will have to put successful pressure on the quarterback. If they let Booth start slipping away from tackles and scrambling it will be a long night, because that appears when he is at his best.

Yratings.com shows the power rating difference between the two resulting in an 8-point favorite role for Tuscaloosa County.

Coach Robert Higginbotham's Wildcats have done nothing wrong. Hillcrest will have to put forth a huge game and Tuscaloosa County will have to make some mistakes for the Patriots to win this game.

The Wildcats are solid and experienced on offense with Booth and his favorite receivers who are 6-2, 6-4 and 6-6. They are big on the defensive and offensive front. This team appears the team to beat in this region if not the entire North region.

Minor at Hueytown

Coach Randy Cook probably wondered what he had bitten off last year when the Tenacious Tigers finished 2-8 in his first year replacing head coach Tony Lunceford after his retirement. He probably breathed a sigh of relief when the Tigers were moved from the tough Region 6.

Their former region is normally a battle from top to bottom, but this region has a very strong top half. A couple of historically strong teams sit at the bottom, but they have the capability of pulling off a big performance and taking one of these games from Minor.

Minor's junior quarterback, Ken Marbury, passed for almost 2,000 yards in 2007 and has his team at 3-0. Marbury threw three interceptions in their win over Northridge last week, one of them an ugly short ball to a receiver in double coverage. Decisions like that will have to get better because it won't take many of those to lose games to Hueytown, Tuscaloosa County and Hillcrest Tuscaloosa.

Running back Dezmon Ivory is having a very good season taking over for last year's Coree Clark. He rushed for 129 yards last week. They will need him this week to run the ball to keep it out of Hueytown's hands.

The Golden Gopher faithful were probably unsure about this season's team after losing 23 seniors including 10 defensive starters. They are also starting a 6-4 freshman quarterback in Jameis Winston. Their fears were not put aside when they opened the season with a loss to a Shades Valley team who won only two games last year, one by forfeit.

Coach Jeff Smith, the Bob Finley Coach of the Year for 2007, rallied the troops. They squeaked out a five-point win over Jess Lanier in their region opener and seemingly put it all together against Paul Bryant in a 55-7 win. However, it is difficult to get a read from that win since the Stampede has not won a game since September 2006.

If the Tigers repeat the uneven offensive performance from last week against the youth of Hueytown's defensive unit, that seems to be a draw. The real key is Hueytown's stable of running backs (Leonard Stephens, Chuck Barnes and Calvin Young) and Minor's strong defensive front. This looks like the match up that will decide the game. If Hueytown's ‘big uglies' can make some holes and the runners show good mobility and strength, this could win the game for them.

Jackson-Olin visits Jess Lanier and Paul Bryant will host Northridge in other region 5 contests this week.

Class 6A schedules and scores [click here].

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