High School Football Playoffs: Round 1
MADISON- The high school post-season schedule kicks off this week as three of the four local teams to Madison will suit up and bang helmets with their opposition in round one of the AHSAA Football Playoffs. In Class 7-A, both James Clemens and Sparkman will see action while the Class 4-A Madison Academy Mustangs will make their overall 26th appearance in the playoffs.
James Clemens, ranked No. 10, will host Hewitt-Trussville at Madison City Schools Stadium. The Jets (8-2, 6-1) locked down a second place finish in Region 4 while the visiting Huskies (8-2, 5-2) are a Region 3 third place representative. The two teams have played one another four times with the Huskies holding a 3-1 lead.
“They are a very talented team and well coached. We will have to play our best football in order to be in a position to win the game,” said Wade Waldrop, head coach for James Clemens of the Huskies who have posted 333 points while allowing 182 in their 10 games.
James Clemens has been stingy on defense allowing just 11.5 points per game, but its offense has some areas to improve on racking up only 23.8 points per outing. Waldrop said of his Jets, “Our guys have worked very hard and overcome tremendous amount of adversity to finish the season 8-2. I am very proud of this team.”
The Jets lost two of its first four games, but put together a string of six consecutive wins, including a thrilling 13-9 overtime victory over Sparkman.
“Right now we are playing well, but can still ride a little higher,” said Laron White head coach of the Sparkman Senators who will face second ranked Hoover at the Buccaneers’ home field in round one of the playoffs.
Sparkman (6-4, 5-2) heads into the extra play as the Region 4 third seeded squad. The cardinal and black Senators lost their first two games of the regular season schedule, but have bounced back to make the playoffs and must face the same team they lost to 21-3 in last season’s first round of the Class 7-A playoffs. Hoover (9-1, 6-1) is a second seed team from Region 3 where the only loss of the 2020 campaign was to top ranked Thompson 39-23. Hoover has placed almost 39 points per outing on their side of the scoreboard while giving up 19. Meanwhile, Sparkman put up 223 points on the scoreboard while allowing its opponents just 155 points for the 2020 campaign.
“This will be our third time playing them (Hoover) in four years so we know how good their program is and we must play our best,” said White.
Madison Academy suffered a nasty 55-14 loss to Jasper in the first round of the state playoffs a year ago and this year look to redeem their performance of a year ago against the Dora Bulldogs at Bill Washington Stadium on the MA campus. The Mustangs and Bulldogs have met twice before with Dora taking a bite out of the Mustangs winning both games with a combined score of 103-28.
“Dora is huge up front and we must be sound fundamentally and play fast to counter their size,” said Bob Godsey head coach of the Class 4-A No. 2 ranked Mustangs.
The Bulldogs (5-5, 3-3) are the fourth seed representative of Region 6 and missed the playoffs a year ago. They’ve put over 18 points on the scoreboard each game while allowing 13 a contest, but Madison Academy ( 9-0, 7-0 ) won the Region 7 title with an undefeated record and has posted nearly 300 points through the season and gave up barely over 100 to their opponents.
Godsey is in his second season as head coach at the private school and returning to the playoffs was a major goal for the 2020 squad.
“I like where our team is right now,” added Godsey. “We must continue to improve on the little things if we want to stay around for a while.”
The AHSAA playoffs will continue through the Super 7 Championships scheduled for Dec. 2-4 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.