Here are the 7 most interesting matchups from the first round of the AHSAA playoffs
Scribblin on sports in high school….
There are some interesting first round playoff games this week.
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Looking at the pairs, here are the seven most intriguing matches of the AHSAA Round 1:
Class 2A: canton of Geneva (5-5) to Lanett (8-2)
Lanett is clearly the favorite here and also one of the favorites to win the State Class 2A title. This game pits Geneva County running back and Alabama committing Emmanuel Henderson against defensive lineman Lanett and Auburn committing Caden Story.
Class 6A: Baldwin County (7-3) to Helena (9-1)
Scott Rials and the Tigers are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and are dangerous. Southern Miss commit Ty Mims is one of the state’s most underrated prospects for Baldwin County quarterback. The Huskies have just suffered their first loss of the year – 31-0 to Class 5A UMS-Wright last week.
Class 6A: Calera (7-3) at the Spanish fort (9-1)
The Toros have played the last two games for the Class 6A title and are one of the most successful playoff teams of any category for the past decade. They will face the commitment of Alabama WR Kobe Prentice (58 receptions, 1,086 yards, 18 TDs) in it.
Class 7A: Business (7-3) to Fairhope (9-1)
This should be the best 1-4 game. Enterprise lost three close Region 2 games to Central-Phenix City, Prattville and Auburn and gave Theodore a close game last year in the first round. At Fairhope, Tim Carter did one of his best coaching jobs, leading his team to nine straight wins with a single, intense attacking offense.
Class 6A: Gardendale (8-2) at Hartselle (10-0)
What a job Bryan Moore did at Hartselle. In only his second season, Moore led the Tigers to 17 wins in 21 games, including a 10-0 record this year. Hartselle beat his opponents 424-152 in 2021. Gardendale poses a serious threat, however. The Rockets’ only losses came to defending 6A champion Pinson Valley and current No.1 Clay-Chalkville in back-to-back weeks in September.
Class 6A: Pinson Valley (7-3) to Muscle Shoals (9-1)
The defending champions have won back-to-back games at the start of the playoffs and Georgia Tech is once again signing Zach Pyron as quarterback. Sam Shade’s team is still dangerous. Muscle Shoals had an exceptional season with only one loss against the undefeated Hartselle (52-35).
Class 7A: Florence (5-5) to Thompson (9-1)
Two things interest me here. First of all, the health of Thompson QB and North Carolina engages Conner Harrell. The senior left the Warriors’ loss to Hoover two weeks ago in the first half, leaving his status for that game and the rest of the playoffs in question. Second, Florence star Jahlil Hurley – one of the state’s top prospects in 2023 – has the chance to shine against electric wide receiver Ryan Peppins and the rest of Thompson’s offense.
Some other notes on the playoffs:
All seven defending champions have advanced to the playoffs, with six of the seven appearing at home games in the first round. Pinson Valley is the only defending champion who will play on the road. Thompson, St. Paul’s, Handley, Fyffe, Mars Hill, and Linden are all home.
Class 4A, Region 1 champion Vigor will play their home playoff games – at least it’s the first round home game against West Blocton – at rival Blount High School. Mobile County Public School officials opted out of using Ladd-Peebles Stadium after a shootout during the Vigor-Williamson game on October 15. They had initially announced that Vigor would play this week at Citronelle before moving the game to Blount this weekend.
There are only two AHSAA playoff games scheduled for Thursday this week. BB Comer will welcome GW Long in class 2A, while James Clemens will welcome Oak Mountain in class 7A.