High School Football Playoffs Get Underway This Week
MADISON- The second wave of high school football begins this week. The late-in-the-season swell is known as the post-season playoffs with participating teams geared to all having the same goal: state championship.
Three of the four local teams will see action this week in round one of the AHSAA State Playoffs. Bob Jones, James Clemens and Madison Academy all qualified for the extra play while Sparkman just missed the playoffs after losing its final five games after starting off the season 5-0.
The Jets (7-3, 6-1) are Region 4 champs and will play host to Hoover (4-6, 4-3), which is a fourth place squad out of Region 3. The two schools have met just twice with the Buccaneers holding a 2-0 lead over the Jets including the last meeting in 2019 where the Bucs edged the Jets 23-20.
James Clemens outscored their opponents during the regular season 297-215, which translates to nearly 30 points a game in scoring and just over 21 points given up. The Jets’ losses came at the hands of Mt. Brook (18-13), Muscle Shoals (42-28) and Austin in a tough Region 4 match up (28-7). The Jets had an open week on their schedule to end the regular season and should be well rested for their part in what could be a deep run into the playoffs in Class 7A.
The key Class 7A matchup will include the return to Madison City Schools Stadium of Wade Waldrop, head coach of the Buccaneers who was in the similar position at James Clemens for eight seasons. While with the Jets Waldrop’s teams posted an overall 54-35 record. Coming into this week’s clash with his former program, Waldrop has a team in transition as the squad graduated 37 seniors from last year’s roster and most of his players who took to the field in 2023 were inexperienced. The lack of experience clearly showed as Hoover lost five of its first six games on the schedule.
The Patriots are in the playoffs for the third consecutive time under head coach Kelvis White, who is in his fourth year at the helm of the program. Bob Jones (5-5, 5-2) rolls into the extra play scoring 28 points per outing, but gave up 29 points per game. The season was one of bookends as the squad lost its first three games and two of its last three.
The Patriots are the third seed team in Region 4 and will face the Huskies of Hewitt-Trussville (7-3, 5-2) the No. 2 seed from Region 3 who scored 39 points per game and allowed 23 points per outing in their three-game loss season. Bob Jones has faced Hewitt-Trussville seven times through the years winning just two from the Huskies. The two teams last met in 2021 with Bob Jones falling 42-20.
The Class 3A Mustangs are gunning for its fourth overall State Championship and do so posting a perfect record during the regular season. Madison Academy (10-0, 6-0) represent Region 7 and had an outstanding season where the horses outscored its opponents 530-87. The 2023 campaign featured the Mustangs score over 70 points in one game and three more games scoring over 60 points. Their defense posted two shutouts.
Madison Academy will face Hokes Bluff (5-5, 4-3) the fourth place team from Region 6. The Eagles lost its last three games of the regular season while scoring 28 points an outing and allowing 20 per game. The only advantage for the visiting Eagles may be the fact the program is 1-1 all-time against Madison Academy including a first- round playoff 12-10 win over Madison Academy in 2017.