Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm a ramblin man!

Well, if I was batting or pitching horse shoes it would have been a good week for ol’ bully but since I am talking about football picks from last week at only 50%, I really didn't do to well.  To review: I picked Brantley-1A, Clay County-2A, Cordova-3A, Cherokee County-4A, Russellville-5A, and Hoover-6A. I was correct with Brantley, Cherokee County, and Hoover but missed on the others. 3 out of 6 is not that great when you think you know a little something about high school athletics. The funny thing is one of the teams I got right, Cherokee County, was the one game that was most surprising in terms of the final score. I thought CC would win going away but this turned out to be a very good game. 2009 final games may have been the best set of games in regard to scores we have seen in a long time, with the largest margin of victory being only 13 points. Congrats to Brantley, Reeltown, Piedmont, Cherokee County, Demopolis, and Hoover. As a parting shot to some of the Hoover fans, you now have a championship team with a class coach and you should be glad that he represents your school. Some of you may wish for the former coach but I can guarantee you that there would be a bunch of schools wanting your current coach due to his leadership of young men and his class. Don’t think that was the case before.

A lot of local young men and women basketball players are receiving interest from various SEC schools. Over the last few weeks I have spied several SEC head and assistant coaches in various gyms’ watching some of the local talent.

6A Women’s basketball is going to be fun to watch with Hoover, Bob Jones, and Sparkman all capable of winning the state. In 3A, it should be Madison Academy’s to lose. With a couple of new players that transferred, they are better than last year‘s state runner up. They have already claimed victories over 6A Decatur and Sparkman.

On the men’s side there are 4 teams right now standing out in the Huntsville/Madison County area. Butler is the most talented and best coached team around. Sparkman/Lee/Johnson are all very athletic and capable. My guess is Sparkman will win the 6A Area 15. Bob Jones will be better as the year goes forward but it will be late January to early February before they have at least one of their injured studs back. By that time, Sparkman will most likely have locked up the right to host the area tourney. For the girls, Bob Jones took game 1 against Sparkman but which team wins the area is still TBD. Decatur may be the spoiler before it’s over. In boys 5A Area 16, who knows? Butler should win but with Johnson and Lee in the same area, these three could split victories. Look for 2 of these 3 to meet in region finals at Jacksonville State with the winner advancing on to final 4 and ultimately winning the state. You know the song, second verse, same as the first…. That is usual what happens with 5A Area 16.

Now, how about some bully travel tips for those traveling to Gatlinburg? Most folks that know me, know, I go to G-burg on a routine basis and I am often asked to refer dining spots among other things in and around G-burg.

Breakfast – I recommend The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. Huge breakfast and good food. If you’re into pancakes then you’re in luck as the G-burg area has a bunch of places you can try. To me their all about the same and I tell folks all the time if you want plain pancakes and not the weird kind (buckwheat, pecan, chocolate chip, etc) the best place to go is Crackle Barrel as theirs are crispy and cheaper. You may find that funny but it’s true. A lot of folks foam at the mouth for the Pancake Pantry in downtown G-burg but it ain’t anything special. In fact, they charge way too much for what you get, don’t take debit or credit cards, and have an ATM inside so you can get cash to pay your check while charging you $3 for this privilege. Folk’s line up to get in the place so some must like it but to me it proves that people will buy anything. If you want doughnuts, hit the Doughnut Friar in the Village Shopping Center in downtown G-Burg. Great doughnuts, especially early morning when their hot!

Lunch – Try the Farmhouse restaurant right across the street from the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. Food for everyone including the frou-frou crowd that wants quiche and fruit. They have a diverse menu including meat and soups as well. Another neat spot is a little German cheese/spice shop in the Village right next door to the doughnut Friar (see above). If you can catch them at the right time (they only open the restaurant for lunch and it’s not standard lunch times), upstairs is a small 4 table area with a good REUBEN sandwich. If you’re out by the outlet mall, you can lunch at J T’s (formally Connors). I asked the manager why the name change and he stated it is still owned by Connors but since it is much more casual than other Conner’s restaurants, they changed the name to appease the folks that think Connors ought to be fine dining.

Dinner – Where do I start? I most always eat dinner in G-Burg as I like the restaurants and most you can walk to if you staying in or close to downtown. Peddler has great steaks and salad bar but is always crowded on weekends. The Park Grill is owned by same folks that own Peddler and has a great salad bar and overall menu plus a good piano player (tip him well). Cherokee Grill has wonderful food and great crab bisque. Another good place to try is the Alamo Steak House, their steaks are good but get a cup of their steak soup to start, its good. Looking for something out of the way (not too far) and where the locals dine, the Greenbrier is good. If you want to go, you will need directions as it is not easy to find and on top of a small mountain. For a unique pizza, try the Smokey Mountain Brewery. For fine dining, hit Maxwell’s.

Lodging – There ain’t but one place to stay. Go to Baskin Creek Condominiums. You can walk to everything downtown and you will have plenty of room and covered parking. Rent unit 213 and tell them the owner referred you. I know him and he would appreciate it. If you go and like it, he might even sell it to you. Just saying…!

Fly Fishing – Call R&R Fly Fishing out of Townsend. Ian and Charity are a good team and will put you on some trout in the park. If you don’t have the equipment, they will provide.

These Smokey Mountain travel tips are free as my gift to you, my faithful readers.

I don’t go to a lot of movies (Ms Daisy does) but I did see one a few weeks back that is worth mentioning. Most have already seen The Blindside but if you haven’t you need to. It’s a good’un! Even if you’re not a football fan, it is a good (and true) story.

This will be the last post for the year. I will give you some basketball info after the first of the year. Besides, I might spend some time writing Ms Daisy a love note, you never know. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breaking news - Tebow wrecked his car and Tiger Woods played his last game or something like that. Film at 11!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Turkey Day weekend. I know I did. Always fun to mix family, food, football and basketball into a long weekend. By the way, did you know that Tebow played his last home game this past Saturday and Tiger Woods had an automobile accident early Friday morning? You would have thought ol' Tiger died with the way they were covering the story on Friday and the same thing with Tebow on Saturday. What will CBS do next year with no Tebow? Some wonder if they will cancel college football because to hear the announcers and analyst on CBS and ESPN it seems it was never played prior to Tebow coming. Just wondering!

This is the final week of the 2009 high school football season. The final pairings are set with a few surprises! I must admit Russellville in 5A is a surprise but judging by their playoff scores, this team may be peaking at the right time. Russellville destroyed McAdory last Friday night 40-7 following the previous week’s 42-14 beating of Cullman. I saw Russellville against Athens earlier in the year and thought they were good but not great. In fact, Athen’s played them tough and could have won the game. I have said this before but it’s worth repeating, anything can happen in the playoffs and a team playing with confidence is a coach’s dream.

Let see how Ol’ Bully’s picks to represent the north did last week.

Hoover made the show as they beat Gadsden City last Friday setting up a Prattville/Hoover final. How many times in the last few years have we seen these two teams in the 6A finals? I was correct in 4A as Cherokee County beat Deshler 37-20. I listened to a lot of this game on the internet and it was close until CC pulled ahead by 3 scores in the 4th. I may be wrong but I think this was actually the 4A State Championship game as I think either would have won the final game. In the 2A, Clay County won setting up a meeting this week with Reeltown. I was also correct with the 1A Hackleburg pick as they beat R.A. Hubbard in a close one, 10-7 last Friday and now take on Brantly in the finals. So, I ended up with 4 out of 6 in the finals for 67% but who is counting.

Bully’s final pick’s.

1A – Hackleburg (14-0) vs Brantly (13-1). I think this one could go either way but take Brantly due to their strength of schedule and their better football tradition.  Hackleburg was 9-2 last year but the big stage is new to them having never won a state championship in football. Brantly has had only one losing season since 1991 and won a few blue maps back in the late 90’s.

2A - Reeltown (13-1) vs Clay County (13-1). Hard not to go with tradition in this one. Clay County seems to always make it to the semi’s or finals whether it is 2A or 3A and has not had a losing season since 1982. Six state championships since the early 90’s this is high school football tradition at its finest!

3A – Piedmont (12-2) vs Cordova (13-1). A lot of folks might have thought Cordova would have missed their great running back from last year (Simon who signed with Ol’ Miss) but apparently they haven’t. Cordova’s only loss was to 5A R8 Champ, Hartselle and that was 13-22 game. Piedmont beat Leeds last week to revenge one of its two loses of the year. I know Piedmont is playing well but can’t see them beating Cordova.

4A – Cherokee County (14-0) vs Jackson (13-1). Jackson comes into this game as a runner up in 4A R1 losing to region winner UMS Wright 51-24 in week 6. The closest CC came to losing was in week 2 when they won by 11. CC should win this game, maybe big but remember; they went undefeated last year and got blown out in the finals to UMS Wright.

5A – Russellville (12-2) vs Demopolis (11-3). Demopolis finished 3rd in 5A R3 and certainly knows how to win the close games since all but one of their playoff games has been decided by 8 points or less. Russellville seems to be getting better and better. I thought there was a chance they could lose in the first round but they are on the verge of their first state championship since 1968. Hard not to get on their bandwagon now.

6A – Hoover (13-1) vs Prattville (12-2). Since 2000, these two teams have won all but one 6A state championship. Prattville comes into this game going for its 4th in a row while Hoover has won five coming in 2000, 2002 thru 2005. Prattville has beaten Hoover in two of the previous three title games so these two meeting again is really no surprise although some thought Auburn would beat Prattville last week. Safe pick is to go with Prattville but this game is an opportunity for Hoover to re-establish themselves in the post Propst era. I think Hoover will pull this one off.

Historically north teams don’t fair as well in football state championships compared to basketball so I’m going out on a limb picking a north team in four of the six games. Check me out to see how good (or bad) I am.

I saw several high school basketball games over the week including the Sportsmed Shootout at the VBCC. I will say, right now, Butler looks to be the class of our area with Lee and Sparkman both showing potential to be very good. Butler is well coached (there's a shocker), good guards, a great player in Lacey, and team quickness. Sparkman has a lot of quickness and height and Lee has a marquee player in Langford. Butler won the Sportsmed, beating Lee by 1 in the finals. A couple of lower classification teams played well in this tourney. In 3A, keep an eye on Greene County. Good size and athleticism will make them a favorite to compete in 3A. Dora is extremely well coached. Not very tall but plays extremely well and could also make noise in 4A.

Short blog this week but that is all I can offer. Until next time……

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the Bully goes to...........!

Eight teams are left in each classification, two from north and two from the south and unfortunately no local teams. Bob Jones and Madison Academy lost last week leaving Hubbard, Deshler, and Russellville as the only true north teams remaining. I bragged last week my picks for the north were still good but after last Friday I lost one when Russellville put a whipping on Cullman. This one surprised me as I have seen Russellville this year and while their good, didn’t see them getting to the semi’s in 5A. Remember, they didn’t even win their region. McAdory, beating Hartselle at home last week, now travels to Russellville this week for the right to the super 6 (finals).

Madison Academy’s dream season came to an end in a close one last Friday, losing on a game winning field goal to the defending state champs, Leeds. I was impressed with MA's ability to keep this one close. I know Leeds is not as good as last year but figured they would shut down MA’s offense and grind out the yards wearing down the MA defense.  Ultimately they did! I didn’t think Leeds would make mistakes with turn-over’s which is something MA’s defense has capitalized on all year. A pick 6 and fumble return gave MA 14 of their 21 points. Give MA credit for using opportunities to stay in this game.  Leeds will struggle this week against Piedmont if they can’t throw the ball any better than what they have been and I am no longer confident of my Leeds pick for the 3A north now.

Bob Jones fought hard at Hoover last week even without their QB and one of their better players (most of the game) both due to injuries. A little self destruction in the 3rd quarter resulted in a pick 6 and blocked punt for a TD which became too much for the Patriots to overcome. One thing about this year's BJ team, they didn't quit. Like the Homewood game earlier this year they fought back late scoring multiple times in a hurry.  A lot of returning starters next year so they should be fun to watch.

Now that football season is over for our area, it is time for the Bully awards. These picks were based on I have seen or know this year so some teams might not have gotten a fair review. Doesn’t really matter, it’s my blog.

Bully’s Coach of the Year: I was hoping at least one would win last week to make this award an easier choice but that didn’t happen. Therefore, I give out two COY awards, one to Kevin Rose of Bob Jones and one to Eric Cohu of Madison Academy. Both first year head coaches that took their teams to new heights in regard to total wins in a season. Bob Jones played like most folks around here have been waiting on them to play over the last 5 years since we know there is a ton of talent at that school. Although MA caught lightning in a jar with the weakest 3A R8 in recent memory, they still capitalized on it by running the table which is all you really can do. In my opinion, losing their QB in week 9 made MA less likely to go far in the playoffs yet won at least one more game than I thought they would. Props to both coaches for a job well done!

Bully’s Offense: Athens can pass, Russellville can run, and Bob Jones and Hartselle can do both but I was really impressed with Florence High School when I saw them so they get my offensive team of the year.

Bully’s Defense: Although I thought Muscle Shoals had the best linebackers of any team I have seen, I give the nod to Madison Academy due to their ability to score on defense and make adjustments at half to shut so many teams down in the 2nd half.

Bully’s over achieving team: Elkmont, due to the numbers they lost last year and the fine job they did this year, getting to round 2 of the playoffs.

Bully’s underachieving team: One could say Huntsville but they did get to playoffs so I pick Buckhorn. Too much talent on that team not to make the playoffs.

Bully’s Stadium of the Year: Hard not to be impressed with the Bedford Bowl, I mean Russellville high school. If they had artificial turf, it would be perfect.

Bully’s playing surface: Hands down, Milton Frank.  A great decision by the city of Huntsville 3 years ago. I still don’t understand why they put the yellow soccer lines on it though.

Bully’s fans of year:  No question-Bob Jones. No one tailgates and packs a stadium each week like they do. 

Bully’s Band of the year: While I enjoyed the Athens band half time song selection and the BJ band is big and impressive, I still think Grissom has the best overall marching band.

Bully’s Band Player of the year: Athen’s Alex Beaver. No one blows a bugle on Led Zeppelin tunes any better.

Bully’s best fund raiser of the year: Athens band fund raiser of selling chicken stew. So good it would make a puppy pull a freight train (if I had to explain it, you wouldn’t understand).

Bully’s cheerleader of the year: Caitlin Griffith at Bob Jones. Like you expect a tough football player to play thru injury, she cheered late in the year while battling illness. A real gamer!

Bully’s best concession stand of the year: Holtville High School. Fresh food right off the grill and served with a smile.

Bully’s best PA announcer: Huntsville High’s announcer at Milton Frank. Don't know who he is but he is the best around!

Bully’s best High School football writer: Uh, Me! What, you think I’m impressed with the real media? Honorable mention goes to Brooke Milam at the Decatur Daily.

Bully’s best radio broadcasters: Although they get a little caught up with too many complaints of the officials, I think Bob Jones crew does the best job overall. Good clarity and you generally can tell what is happening.  Wish I could remember their names.

Now that we are down to just a few teams and you will have to travel at least an 1.5 hours from Huntsville to see a game, you might want to pencil in Cherokee County-Deshler this Friday.  The Bama/Auburn game should be over in time to drive down to Centre.   I have been mentioning this game for a few weeks and it most likely will be the 4A State Championship game as I can't imagine anyone from the south beating either team. Last year, Deshler lost to CC at home 39-36 in the semi’s and this year’s game could be just as exciting.

Some random ramblings.

Below is a portion of an email I received from one of the weekly readers of the bully blog and instead of summarizing, I will just cut/paste. Thank you Mr. Owens!

Basketball is in full swing. Holidays are right around the corner, which means there will be several tournaments to attend. A lot of talent in the basketball arena this year. Probably none bigger than the kid from Muscle Shoals that signed with LSU last week. It will also be interesting to see how Deshler's boys do under first year head coach Jake Miles. Jake was at Austin last year as an assistant coach.

Baseball just finished up with a week of fall/winter practice. Congrats to Stafford Booth (M.A.) for signing with Auburn and C.K. (Mars Hill) signing with Samford. Samford's program is on the way up thanks to their relatively new coach Casey Dunn. Casey is the son of former Vestavia Hills legend Sammy Dunn (9 state championships) and former All-American catcher at Auburn.

Also, if you not a Bama/Auburn fan but want to see some exciting college football, go catch UNA in Florence. They got a week 1 bye in the DII playoffs and won last week in the 2nd round. A great program under first year coach Terry Bowden that could play for the National Championship on Dec. 12. Tickets are $20 and you can’t beat that price for a college game.

You remember last week I gave you some insight to breakfast in the Huntsville area. Below is another email I received on the subject from Ms. Daisy. Don’t get any better for a professional biscuit eater.

The best breakfast in Huntsville should be easy to find, especially for a seasoned professional like you. Just get out of bed and take the first right as you leave your bedroom. Breakfast made to order and served with a kiss! Now you tell me where you’re going to find a deal like that anywhere else!

She is the best homemade biscuit maker around bar none! 

Basketball is in full steam. Got a chance to see Butler the other night and they’re good. No other way to say it. Looks like Coach Doss has a team that could 3-peat in 5A. Bob Jones is really struggling with the success of football lasting into the first few weeks of basketball and some injuries. They will begin to get better but injuries sidelining two key players till at least late January will make this season very challenging for Coach Petty. Madison Academy is another program that is struggling early. Some of this is due to the success of their football program as well, but also demonstrates what happens when you lose an all-state point guard to graduation. Never under estimate the importance of that position. Just saying!

If you want to catch some good high school basketball over the Thanksgiving weekend, check out the SportsMed shootout at the VBCC.  The only local tourney where you get quality teams from all over Alabama, and some from Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi.  Cheap admission for the whole day with two games going on at the same time and free covered parking.  I personally think it is one of the best tourney's of the year due to ease of parking, availability and comfort of the seats, and the walking around room.  It starts Thanksgiving (Thursday afternoon) and goes thru Saturday.  Here is the link to the web site if you want to check out the bracket and see who is playing when.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Step aside and let a professional take over!

Playoffs started two weeks ago with 192 teams now down to 48 as we head into week three of the high school playoff season. Congrats to Bob Jones, Russellville, Hartselle, Cullman, Madison Academy, and R. A. Hubbard. All of these teams are still alive from N. Alabama. I know there are a few basketball coaches watching this Friday with mixed emotions as basketball season heads into week 2.

Remember a few weeks ago I gave you Bully’s picks to represent the north in the super 6. To review, I picked 1A-Hackleburg, 2A-Clay County, 3A-Leeds, 4A-Cherokee County, 5A-Cullman, and 6A-Hoover. Ol’ Bully is still alive with these picks headed into the 3rd round. I subscribe to the saying, you better toot your own horn or somebody else will. I am sure I will miss some of these over the next 2 weeks though.

Last week had another large crowd at Madison City Stadium for the Bob Jones – Decatur game. I have enjoyed going over there this year because it reminds me of the crowds we use to have at Milton Frank back in the late 60’s and most of the 70’s when any city team played and the place was packed. At a B J game you can expect 10K plus fans and with a fun environment for High School football. I understand it is easy to support a winning program but props to the B J fans for the crowd they bring each week.

While speaking of Bob Jones, they survived a scare last week but Decatur has a good football team and B J has only beaten them three times since they established a football program (1973) and two of these victories came this year. Beating Decatur twice in one season is a great accomplishment for Coach Rose and his team. Now, for first time this playoff season, B J has to go on the road and play the mighty Hoover Bucs or as they say down there, “Hoovah”. For the record, B J has never advanced this far in the playoffs in football and this will be more than a playoff game it will be a statement game. A win Friday will finally get the monkey off the N. Alabama 6A as not being as strong as the Birmingham teams. Nothing makes a statement more than killing the king and a win Friday night, will go a long way in establishing respect for N. Alabama 6A football. I will be surprised (not shocked) if they can pull it off but remember B J has speed and at times, a tough defense so anything can happen. R. Rageland twisted an ankle Friday night and they will need him at or near 100% to have a chance.

In the bet you didn’t know category, do you know who has the longest winning streak in the state in any classification? If you guess Madison Academy, you would be correct. MA didn’t make the playoffs last year but won their last game of the season against Columbia. Add that to this year’s 12-0 mark and MA is riding a 13 game winning streak as they travel to Leeds to take on the 3A defending state champions this Friday night. Like Bob Jones, MA has had the advantage of playing at home the first two rounds and now must travel. Some of the players on the team have a ring either in basketball or baseball and know what playing on a big stage is all about. MA has been opportunistic of late and I don’t see Leeds being very charitable this Friday. MA will have to play the best they possibly can and I don’t know if that would be good enough.

Cullman survived a scare last week from Fairfield 22-19. Fairfield came into the game with a 8-3 overall record with two of those loses being to Jess Lanier (6A R6 playoff team that lost to Hoover last Friday) and McAdory which won their 5A R5 and host Hartselle this week. I knew Fairfield would be a good team but surprised Cullman struggled and won late in this game. I know they lost their starting running back with a fractured jaw in week 9 and did not realize the impact that may have had on this team. Still, if Cullman can survive their trip to Russellville and Hartselle survive the trip this week to McAdory, Thanksgiving Friday would be a much anticipated show down between the two schools that will share a region starting next year.

Speaking of a dream match-up, Deshler and Cherokee County are on a collision course to meet if both win this Friday. Both of these teams are marching thru the playoffs like Sherman marched thru Georgia and I don’t see either losing this week, even though both are on the road. If they survive and play November 27, this will be a game to watch for any High School football fan.

I watched the North Jackson – Guntersville game last week and even though it was an entertaining game, with NJ winning 16-14, I can’t see North Jackson beating Cherokee County this week. My first trip to see a game at Guntersville and enjoyed the environment, the game, and TOTR was as good as usual. Best turnip greens around!

A couple of coaching vacancies have already popped up with Hazel Green and Scottsboro looking for a new head Football coach. Hazel Green is looking again for the 3rd time in 5 years and it has been 2004 since they have had a winning season. Hard to figure why it is so hard to win at H G and attracting a “name” coach may be hard. Safe bet is to try and get an assistant from one of the successful programs and give him a shot at being a head coach. If he is successful, might not keep him long but it would start to rebuild football at H G and make hiring a “name” coach a little easier down the road. Otherwise, H G better open the check book if they want an already established, successful coach. Considering a local middle school coach has claimed to have won 100 games in like, 6 years, maybe he should apply. Especially considering he only played, at most, a 7 game schedule each year. If he can get 100 wins out of at most 42 games (and that would assume he was undefeated each year and his teams were not) then he certainly could work miracles at H G. If he were to be the new H G coach and started winning, he could print shirts up and throw himself a party, uh wait a minute, he already did that. Just saying….!

Scottsboro is another school and they may have an easier time landing a top coach than some think. They have had a couple of winning seasons since 2004 and were 10-2 that year. Although I am not plugged into the goings on at Scottsboro, it would seem to be an area hungry for good football. Could it be possible that a current successful high school coach in Limestone County be called to go “home” to take over that program? This hire could be interesting!

I won’t be surprised if a few more opening didn’t pop up over the next few months. I’m hearing rumors that there could be a one and done situation at a high school in a neighboring county, will see.

Basketball is now into week two. Some teams will begin their season this week with several interesting games. Decatur boys should be much improved this year as will Lee-Huntsville will the addition of Langford transferring from Johnson. Bob Jones opened last Thursday with a close win over Grissom. This B J team is currently missing 3 starters, 1 with an ACL tear and the other 2 due to success of the football team. Hard to get a handle on B J with one game under their belt and they travel to Butler this Saturday evening and that’s a tough chore at full strength and brutal without the whole team.

Now, to close, some of you may not know that I’m a professional biscuit eater. I was listening the other day to Don McLean’s hit song “American Pie” and got to thinking about the phrase in the song “the day the music died”. For the record he was referring to the 1959 plane crash killing Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, and Richie Valens. Do you know the day the breakfast died in Huntsville? The answer is when Miss Eunice Merrill passed away and the doors to her little restaurant closed and at about the same timeframe that “The Little Farm Grill” changed ownership. That was the day Huntsville lost their outstanding breakfast spots. I went to Edith Ann’s the other day, voted the best breakfast in Huntsville by the readers of the Huntsville Times. It’s not bad but nothing special. For the record, Little Farm still has best gravy but they don’t take their biscuit making very seriously and opting instead to use the ones that come frozen plus they charge too much for what you get. Gibson’s has good biscuits but they take no pride in their gravy. No one does country ham and red-eye like it should be. For the overall best breakfast value, best you can do in Huntsville is still Mullins. If you want pancakes, Cracker Barrel is your best bet unless you want some with nuts or buckwheat, etc. then IHOP will have to do. You want hash browns, go to the place that smothers, covers, and chunks them – Waffle House. Rolo’s is not bad and Another Broken Egg is cute. None stand out like Eunices and The Little Farm Grill did back in the day. I know you didn’t ask but thought you might want to know what a professional thinks. If you know somewhere I need to try or a comment, email me at

If you’re not interested in traveling to a football game this week, go catch some basketball as there several good games slated.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The line forms right here

Woo Nelly, what a crowd! Don’t know who was more surprised at Madison city stadium last Friday, the crowd or the workers of the ticket booth. I have been told the workers at the ticket gate were not aware of the playoff price increase from $5 to $7 bucks to get in and did not have enough $1 bills to make change. Wow! Fortunately for us, we got there 40 minutes prior to kickoff and actually got inside the stadium with about 10 minutes to spare. Folks were still lined up trying to buy tickets at the end of the first quarter. Come on BJ, you have the largest school in the state, great team, great city, you draw a great home crowd for every game, you have first class facilities. Is it too much to ask for you to plan ahead for a large playoff crowd? Here is a hint, expect another large crowd (12K plus) this Friday. It ain’t rocket science and you can thank me later, lets move on.

Very few surprises during round one of the playoffs last week with the exception of Minor, a fourth seed, beating Vestavia Hills a one seed in the 6A region 5 and 6 matchup. Not only beat them but apparently soundly, 21-0.

Can you say déjà vu all over for 5A Region 8? Substitute Muscle Shoals for Johnson and it looks like 2006 all over again. In 2006 Russellville won the region with Hartselle second, Athens third, and Johnson fourth. By the time the 3rd round occurred, these were the only 4 teams left in the north for 5A. Johnson went to Russellville and Athens to Hartselle. Both road teams won and the Athens beat Johnson and ultimately won the State Championship beating Eufaula in the finals. Last Friday, Hartselle, Russellville, MS, and Athens all took care of business. This week, they all meet again with Athens going to Hartselle and MS going to Russellville. Not going to say the road teams will win but stranger things have happened.

Is there any doubt that Football is alive and well in N. Alabama in 6A? Three of the four teams from Region 8 won Friday night and Huntsville, the fourth seed, put up a good fight early before losing to Gadsden City. This week Bob Jones will host Decatur and Florence will travel to Gadsden City. Unless Bob Jones plays better than they did last Friday, at least the first half, it will be tough to beat Decatur again. On the road and beating a good Oxford team last week says a lot as to how good Decatur is playing. This is good news for N. Alabama football since R8 usually gets no respect in the state dominated by Hoover and Prattville last several years.

In the “teams I wouldn’t want to play right now” category:

Florence (6A) – Currently 9-2 with an early season loss to Bob Jones and a late season loss (7-6) to Minor. Yes the team that whipped Vestavia Hills last Friday in round 1. Florence beat Clay Chalkville last Friday handily. This is the same Clay Chalkville that smoked Athens (43-14) in week 1. I saw Florence against Huntsville earlier in the year and they have a good football team.

Muscle Shoals (5A) – 9-2 with loses to Athens and Russellville, this team has not lost since week 5. You remember earlier in the year I wrote they have the best defense in the best 5A Region only allowing 10.4 pts per game. A good defense will keep a team in any game so look for MS to compete with anyone. Russellville, you better be ready.

Deshler (4A) – With an exception of a season opening loss to Russellville, this team is playing lights out. They are averaging almost 40 pts per game and smoked Fairview last week, 56-23. They are good and could win the blue map in 4A!

Elkmont (3A) – Been on their bandwagon all year because I knew what they lost from last year R8 Championship team. Currently 8-3 and went into playoffs as second seed playing R7 third seed Vinemont last Friday and won 56-7. You have a team that plays together as a team, with confidence, and one of the best coaches around and you have a tiger by the tail when you play them. Don’t know if that is enough to beat Hamiliton on the road this Friday but if it is, I could see them playing Leeds in the semi’s.

Some intriguing match-ups this week will be Guntersville hosting North Jackson, Hartselle hosting Athens, Russellville hosting Muscle Shoals, Bob Jones hosting Decatur. These are all re-matches from regular season games. Other games that are not re-matches but are interesting will be Winfield at MA, Florence at Gadsden City, Tanner at Lamar County, and Elkmont at Hamilton. Don’t know where I will go but leaning to the Guntersville/North Jackson game. Not that anyone asked but turnip greens and cornbread from Top of the River may be a player in the decision. Just saying!

Anyone surprised by the release, last week, of new classification and alignments starting next school year. Some things I found interesting: I expected Butler to fall but thought they would end up in 3A instead of landing in 4A. Somewhat surprised that West Limestone was growing enough to go from 3A to 4A. Not surprised that Columbia moved to 5A since part of their growth is at the expense of Butler. West Point back to 5A doesn’t help them in regard to football. Interesting that Hartselle will go back to 5A Region 6 with Cullman, which will add excitement to that region. Also, congrats to Sparkman, now the 2nd largest school in the state behind Bob Jones. Now, work on your football program!

In the why me department, wonder what Austin High School did to make the AHSAA mad enough to get punished like they did on these new alignments. When you look at a map of the 6A regions, all teams are congregated in and around the bigger cities making it easier to group teams into regions. That is why for the last several years, R8 has had 9 teams all located in metro Huntsville/Decatur along with Florence High School. Someone at the AHSAA has a bad sense of humor or was punch drunk when they took Austin and moved them to Region 7, which is the Gadsden/Anniston and NE Birmingham region. Why Austin? Especially when you look at where R7 is located, they’re not even the closest team to R7. Why not leave that region alone instead of making Austin travel that far for half their region games next year. Talk about expensive traveling!

Private school enrollments numbers were not surprising. Westminster is now further below the top of the 2A line than the previous classification in 2007. Back then they were the largest 2A school in 2A. MA fell further down the 3A chain and closer to 2A for this classification. I guess you could argue that private school enrollments are down due to the economy but then why would Catholic-Huntsville grow enough to go to 4A? This school has a new campus currently beginning construction and right now resides in a office building in research park. No real school building and no sports facility yet grew to 4A, staying in 3A for only 2 years. Safe bet is once they get their new building done, they will go 5A if not 6A.

If you’re a 3A football fan you might be interested a couple of these nuggets that may go unnoticed. Oneonta is now the smallest 4A school and Deshler is around 20 kids above that. Can you imagine 3A football if Oneonta and Deshler fall to 3A the next classification in 2011? Talk about brutal. Same with Russellville, they are close to falling to 4A.

Let me close by reminding you the basketball season starts this week and if you’re a Bob Jones fan, their opening game scheduled against Grissom has been moved from Friday night to Thursday night at BJ due to the football playoffs. This will be watered down version of the Patriot Basketball team with 3 players still playing football. A lot going on and some fun high school athletic events to catch so get out there and support your team. Also, if you want to add, correct, comment, suggest, or ask a question email me at See you at the games.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hey Buddy, your broadcasting.....!

Well, the boogers and haunts (pronounced haints) have all gone home and the Halloween décor has been stored, hope eveyone had an enjoyable all hallow's eve.  I had a few surprises myself last Saturday. 

Now the real fun begins. Hard to believe that the 10 week high school football season is over and now starts the 2nd season, the playoffs. There is no tomorrow as you lose, you’re done. This is the season that separates those that can from those that can’t. The beauty for those teams that are still alive is they control their own destiny and need no help from any other games or teams to achieve their goals. As a reminder for those of you that are parents, you play a huge role in the success or demise of a team with your attitudes. Get on board, be positive, be supportive and shut up! That is my soapbox for the week.

The first round pairings are all done so we know who is playing who this Friday. A look at what teams are hot, warm, and cool heading into post season play.

HOT Teams

1) Cullman – Probably the most consistent team all year and enters the playoffs undefeated and ranked #1 in 5A. After escaping with a 1 point win over Pleasant Grove in week 3 this team has played very well including regular season ending victories over Mountain Brook and Austin, both 6A schools. This is the second time since 2000 that Coach Mark Britton has had his Bearcat squad undefeated in the regular season (10-0 in 2007) so they are not in uncharted waters here. I can see them getting to the finals but will most likely have to go thru an 8-1 McAdory and then most likely Hartselle/Russellville.

2) Madison Academy – A team that which has been to playoffs 6 out of the last 7 years and has not had a losing season since 2002 has run the table in the regular season for the first time in school history. MA won 10 games in 2005 but that included victories in the playoffs. Depth is always a factor at MA so losing a starter or two over the last few weeks could be a huge impact in the playoffs. This team success is the defense, only allowing 9.2 pts per game. First round game against Danville could be a dangerous draw for a top seed. Danville coming in 7-3 and at one time was 5-0. I can see MA getting to round 2 but a re-match with CC or Winfield may be too tough to overcome with the injury situation.

3) Bob Jones – You have to go way back to 1983 to find the last time BJ won 9 games in the regular season. Although BJ may not be use to this kind of success, they sure have played like they belong with the elite teams. This team has a salty defense that has pitched 5 shut outs in 10 games. In fact, ever since that head scratching loss to Homewood in week 6, the Patriots have not allowed any opponent to score. The bad news is they get an 8-2 Hewitt-Trussville for the first round that is also very hot. I can see them winning this game but it will be tough to get to round 4 to see how they match up with the Hoover/Vestavia Hill bunch. To get there will mean going thru 3 rounds of Hewitt Trussville, Gadsden City, Clay Chalkville or a rematch with Decatur. If they navigate this, watch out!

4) Deshler – After opening the season with a close loss to 5A Russellville, the Tigers have been rolling. Being region champs is nothing new as they have won the region the last 7 out of 9 years. Two years ago they lost in the finals. Last year they made it to the semi’s where they lost to Cherokee county. If they can again get to the semis, they most likely will get a chance to revenge last year’s 39-36 loss to CC. This potential matchup has the making for the game of all games this year.

5) Lexington – 9-1 season and have been impressive. Like Bob Jones, hard to figure how they lost to a weaker Lauderdale County but headed to the playoffs a very hot team. Could go all the way to the finals in 2A.

Other hot teams to watch are Hewitt Trussville, Muscle Shoals, and Walker

WARM Teams

1) Elkmont – Coming in as a 2 seed from 3A R8, no team has accomplished more with less and could advance to 2nd round.

2) Guntersville – after back-to-back losses in week 5 and 6, the wildcats have been on a role. Starting with the second round, it will be tough to get thru either Brooks or North Jackson (again) and then most likely a Deshler in round 3.

3) Russellville – been playing better since back-to-back losses in week 4 and 5. I could see them getting to the third round.

4) Hartselle – at one time I thought they could challenge Cullman for the north but that was before losing the last 2 games of the regular season. Motivation may have been a factor since they had already locked up the region when they lost to Muscle Shoals and I am not surprised they lost to a good 6A Decatur squad. If they can survive to semis, they should get Cullman and that one would be a game to watch.

Other warm teams are Decatur, Florence, Brooks, and Susan Moore

COOL Teams

1) Colbert County – you have to go all the way back to 1992 to find a CC team entering the playoffs with a 4-6 overall record. That year they made it to the 3 round before losing 6-2 (yes 2). Like this year, the 1992 squad also lost the last 2 regular season games. It is not hard to imagine this CC team doing what the 1992 squad did since this team is still in search of an identity.

2) Athens – have played well at times this year but has shown signs of struggling to protect the QB late in the year. Rivers got a little banged up against Hazel Green last week and if he is not 100% that could be a factor in the 1st round against Boaz. This may be one of the most interesting 1st round games.

3) Huntsville – earned their way into the playoffs late in the year with help. This team is young in places but with their offensive line as a strength, has under achieved all year and don’t see them getting past round 1.

Other teams cooled off late in the year but are in the playoffs are Danville, Fairview and Plainview.

Now for the Bully prior to playoffs picks to represent the north in the super 6 (finals):

1A – tempted to take R.A. Hubbard but will go with Hackleburg
2A – watch Lexington, Lamar County, and Ider but I will go with Clay County
3A – watch out for Hamilton but it is hard to put a value on knowing how to dance on the big stage. I will go with Leeds
4A – Deshler knows how to get there but Cherokee County seems to be too good this year. I will go with CC.
5A – Hartselle and McAdory could make things interesting but I will go with Cullman
6A – Vestavia Hills could be the safe pick but I will go with Hoover

Some blue maps came back to the Huntsville metro area from the volleyball finals in Pelham. Congrats to Huntsville, Guntersville, and Athens Bible on your state championships.

In the “hey buddy your broadcasting” category: If you ever get the opportunity to catch a Pelham Panther football broadcast out of Birmingham, you will certainly not forget it.  You will not hear the score given out a whole lot and poor old  “papa” will get woken up a few times to add comments to what he sees.  If papa don't see it, he will tell you.  Very entertaining. While we are on the topic of radio broadcast, let me send out a note to certain NA radio broadcast crew. Take it from someone who has been on that side of the microphone on Friday nights; if your upset with the the lack of press your team is receiving in your local paper, blasting that paper on the air waves is not a way to fix it. You want more press, ask your coaches and AD why they are not marketing their programs better.  As someone who has been plugged into HS athletics, I know you can do a lot in that department. Crying on the radio, your disdain for the lack of coverage is not the answer. You might get press in the short term but could pay for it later and it’s just not very smart. Just saying….!

Basketball season is just around the corner but until then, get out and catch a football playoff game. You won’t be sorry you did!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Night at the Museum

Everyone has a bucket list. Those things you would like to do or see before you die. My bucket list ain’t too exotic. I have no desire to jump out of an airplane, swim with sharks, meet the Pope, you get my drift. My list is much less complicated and much easier to accomplish. I had a chance to check off one of those bucket list items last Friday night. Over the years I have had folks tell me you have to see a football game at Russellville. I had heard a lot about the facilities and was anxious to see the place. I can you that this place I call the Bedford bowl, is nice. I have been to a lot of places to see high school football, including South Georgia, but I have ever seen a high school stadium with jumbotron, instant replay, and up to date player’s pictures and stats after a play. Also there’s the mansion in the end zone that serves as a field house. I understand the baseball facility is a site to see as well. I would suggest, however, to the good folks in Russellville to take the next batch of pork sent from your guy in Montgomery (Roger Bedford) and get a playing surface like Milton Frank as your field was beat up a little last Friday. Of course any natural turf field is showing wear this time of year anyway. As for the game, Russellville played well and pulled away from Athens in the 2nd half. I can’t see either team beating Cullman or even Hartselle in the playoffs. In fact, if the golden eagles don’t find a way to do a better job of protecting Rivers, Boaz might take them out first round. Now on my bucket list is to see a high school game in Texas. Anybody up for a road trip?

Well it’s the 10th and final week of the regular season. This is the week where it is hard to figure out who’s playing well and who is not. With rare exception, using a tie breaker down the list (about letter G), this week’s games mean nothing. If you’re Madison Academy or Cullman it means trying to finish with a perfect record. If you’re Hartselle, it means trying to get back in the W column before playoffs start. This is an extremely tough week for head coach. Example: I once had a volleyball Dad who was also an assistant football coach mad because the head coach would not cancel or change his week 10 game so his players could go to Pelham to watch volleyball finals. The quote from this dad was “this game don’t mean anything since we’re not in the playoffs” even though that particular team was still playing to finish 6-4 and a winning record. Even more unbelievable is that this dad is still coaching football. My point to all of this is how a coach prepares for this week. If your team is not headed to post season, how do you motivate, especially when the mommas and papas are not motivated? Do you preach the “last game” motivation speech? What if you are good, wrapped up a post season spot, and playing a team that is not a rival? Do you rest some kids that might be a little banged up at the expense of losing? Then what about those games that may be a rivalry like say, Decatur vs. Hartselle. Both of these teams are locked into playoff sports and both play in different “A” classifications. On paper, this game should be a good’un but, will it be? How will the coaches play it?

Interesting games this week should be Decatur at Hartselle, Cullman at Austin, Albertville at Guntersville, Vinemont at Sardis, and Tanner at Elkmont. Don’t know if any of these will be barn burners but they have the potential to be good. If your thinking of attending, be sure to check the schedule as there are a bunch of Thursday games this week. Coaches like to play Thursday so they can scout 1st round playoff opponents on Friday.

Talk about a messed up region, what about 3A Region 6 and 4A Region 7. Three way tie at the top between Pisgah, Sardis, and Susan Moore in 3A Region 6 and three way tie for 2-3-4 in 4A Region 7 between Fairview, North Jackson, and Plainview. The tie breaker using total victories of defeated opponents in class and above may make week 10 an important week. If Sardis could beat Vinemont, they might get the number 1 seed in 3A Region 6. That won’t be easy though as Vinemont has already locked a 3 seed in Region 7 and has a pretty good football team. NJ may be in the best shape to get the 2nd spot in 4A R7 since they play in class on all of their out of region opponents while the other 2 teams have played down in classification on weeks 1,5 and 10.

I had Hartselle and Madison Academy on upset alert last week. Defense keeps you in every game and MS has a good one so I was not surprised when MS actually did beat Hartselle. MA won a tough game over Colbert County but may pay a big price with some key injuries which is something they have been able to avoid this year. I still think Hartselle has a chance to go deep in playoffs but after seeing what Cullman did to Mountain Brook, it’s hard to figure that anyone in 5A north will beat them. Hard to say how far MA can go. I just can’t get a good read on how good any of the 3A regions in the north are this year. I do know R8 was down but don’t know if R7 is much better. MA will play Danville first round and I do think they will win that game as the wheels fell off Danville mid-year. The hottest team in 3A north right now may very well be Elkmont.

I have unintentionally ignored Sparkman all year. Thinking about it, how can you be that big a school and not have a competitive football team. Sparkman, in the last reclassification, was the 4th largest school in the state behind Bob Jones, Hoover, and Murphy. How long has it been since Sparkman was a threat in football. I mentioned Hazel Green last week but really think Sparkman situation is harder to figure. I mean Sparkman girls have it figured out. Look at their basketball and softball programs. How hard would it be to find some good players out of a student body of over 1,600?

This week the volleyball champions will be crowned in Pelham. Grissom and Huntsville in 6A and Catholic in 3A qualified from the Huntsville area. Volleyball is alive and well in this area. Thanks to the club programs, should remain strong for years to come.

Want some good Barbecue? Try Mary’s in Maysville. By far the best I have eaten in this area. Pulled pork is the real deal. If you go though, don’t plan on eating inside. They do have a few picnic tables outside or you could just use the tailgate of a truck like we did.

Take a raincoat if you’re going to a game this Friday evening. Thursday you should be okay but Friday looks wet. To quote Shakespeare from The Tempest: “What impossible matter will he make easy next?” All I can tell you is to wait until next time to find out. Just saying……!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Miss Daisy says, goes!

I got a comment from Ms. Daisy last week that said my blog was too long. What Ms. Daisy says goes! So, I will try to cut down the length! The problem I have is that I have so much to cover and people that know me, a lot to say. Well, to use an old entertainment adage, "always leave’em wanting more"! Besides, Ms. Daisy is a whole lot better cook than I am a writer and I like to eat.

Some regions winners have already been determined with still a week left in region play. Congrats to R.A Hubbard for 1A Region 8, Lexington (had did you lose to LCHS anyway) for 2A Region 8, MA for 3A Region 8, Pisgah for 3A Region 6, Cullman for 5A Region 6, Hartselle for 5A Region 8, and Bob Jones for 6A Region 8. Some of these could lose this week but will not matter due to head to head over the 2nd place teams in the region.

Games to watch this week that will affect who wins their region are; Vinemont at Hamilton for 3A Region 7, North Jackson at Fairview for 4A Region 7, Brooks at Deshler for 4A Region 8, Clay-Chalkville at Gadsden City for 6A Region 7, and Sardis at Pisgah for 3A Region 6. These games will either decide the region winners or help to decide. If Sardis can beat Pisgah, this will force a 3-way tie for the region winner.

I have told you what we know, now to what we don’t know. Who’s going to win this 4A Region 7? Talk about topsey-turvey! I wrote a few weeks back that this region could look different in a few weeks and does it ever. Guntersville woke up after 2 straight loses and is now tied with Fairview for the lead. Meanwhile, North Jackson has lost 3 out the last 4. The problem for Fairview is they host North Jackson this week. NJ could be a very dangerous team that, if they play like their capable, can beat anyone. A lose by Fairview and a probable win by Guntersville over Priceville will result in a 3-way tie for 2nd thru 4th in this region between Plainview, Fairview, and NJ. Out of region play will determine the tie breaker. Fairview may be in good shape here but their season opening win over Vinemont may not be counted because Vinemont is 3A.

Talk about having your post season chances hanging on one week. Both Buckhorn and Lauderdale County went from being in the playoffs this time last week to most likely being left out. Buckhorn would have been in great shape had they not gotten upset by Huntsville last week. Now, Huntsville should get the 4th spot in 6A Region 8 with a win this Friday over Hazel Green. A great turn of the season for the Panthers who have left a few scratching their head this season. The Buckhorn-Austin game should be a good one but will not matter with a Huntsville win since they have head-to-head over both. Lauderdale County is another team that is just too hard to figure out. They were alone in 3rd place a week ago and went to Colbert County last Friday and played poorly in the 2nd half which all but eliminated them from post-season play. It is not hard to understand how you lose to CC at CT Manley, but the earlier loss to Colbert Heights and MA at home have really put a huge dent in LCHS post season plans. Will be interesting to see how they perform this Friday as they host Elkmont, one of the hottest teams in N. Alabama. They have to win and hope Sheffield beats Colbert Heights which is not likely since Sheffield is 0-6 in region play.

Let me mention a top coach in N. Alabama. How can you not be impressed with Coach Jacobs at Elkmont? He graduated a great bunch of seniors last year and really only had a few returning starters from last year’s Region 8 championship season. Yet, his Red Devils are sitting at 6-2 and will earn 2nd in the region and home field advantage. Jacobs has proven over the last 3 years to be one of the most consistent coaches in North Alabama. Remember, at places like Elkmont, you generally don’t have a lot of “move ins” so you basically have to play the hand your dealt each year and grow your talent from within the community. A lot of times, coaches don’t get enough credit for this. Some of the best coaching jobs year in and year out are in rural community schools.

Talking about coaches! Hey Colbert County, still ready to run Coach Gross off over there? If so, I know a bunch of schools that would love to have him. Here is a coach that has brought much needed discipline to one of the most tradition rich programs in the state. Lost some to graduation, ran a few off and his team has taken their lumps this year. But, look out now as they’re 4-2 in the region with a game against MA game this Friday. Don’t know if CC can win and this may be one of those rare opportunities MA would have to get a win at CT Manley, but it looks like they are starting to play a lot better over in Leighton. Baring injuries, CC will be battle tested for the playoffs due to their out of region schedule. No one plays a tougher one.

What about Hoover losing to Vestavia Hills last week? Looks like the Bucs will now finish 2nd in 6A Region 6. For those that count, that is the first region loss for Hoover in over 6 years, not counting forfeits that occurred in Rush’s last year.

Congrats to Hazel Green for snapping the state’s longest losing streak (26 games) by beating Chelsea last week. HG is one of those communities that is hard to figure. As good of athletes that live in north Madison County, and due to their proximity to Huntsville they have “move ins” each year, why can’t they field a decent football team?

Welcome to the party! How about Catholic of Huntsville announcing they will establish a football program at the new High School that is going to be built by Indian Creek. Following the same plan of Decatur Heritage by bringing in the sport to coincide with the building of a new school just adds more excitement to N. Alabama High School Football. With this announcement and Westminster getting serious about football, exciting times ahead for private schools athletics in the Huntsville/Decatur area. Competition of those athletes wanting to attend private schools may heat up.

Key Games to watch this week: Clay-Chalkville at Gadsden City, Athens at Russellville, Etowah at Boaz, Mountain Brook at Cullman, Brooks at Deshler, North Jackson at Fairview, Vinemont at Hamiliton, Sardis at Pisgah, and Lamar County at Winston County.

Upset alert games: Hartselle at Muscle Shoals and Madison Academy at Colbert County. MS has the best linebackers in 5A Region 8 and a good defense can keep you in games. MA has to play at CT Manley and have never won there.

A little hardwood news. As official practices begins for the upcoming season, word out of Bob Jones is they have lost one of their returning starters from last year’s state runner up team, for the upcoming season or at least until post season with a torn ACL. Expect BJ to potentially struggle early with this key loss and due to some players still participating in football by the time basketball tips off.

Food: I had a sweet young lady tell me I left off a good pizza joint in my “bully’s best of” last week. I agree that Sam and Greg’s, downtown on north side of the courthouse does have a good pie and I will put them in with a tie with Big Eds as number 3 on my bully best pizza around list. By the way, looking for a good sandwich for lunch, go to Redstone Arsenal Golf Course grill and get the prime rib sandwich. It is the special for the month of October so hurry and get one before the month is over. It’s a good’un!

Get out and catch some football Friday night. Weather should clear by kick off time. Best value for your dollar is High School athletics. Just Saying…..!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm a gonna write a letter, gonna a mail it today.

Dear Coach Jackson and the Buckhorn Bucks, on behalf of the city of Madison and the Bob Jones football team and fans we want to congratulate you on your team’s victory last Friday night over Oak Mountain. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for restoring the respect to our region that we lost the previous week. We know we dropped the ball (literally) the previous week and people all over the state, and especially in Birmingham, were again proclaiming that football at the 6A level in North Alabama was just not relevant to the overall 6A picture. I understand that with playoffs, rankings don’t really matter but we really thought we might be something special until we out punted our coverage (again literally) last week. I haven’t quite figured out what happened but have a sneaky suspicion that we got to reading and hearing too much about how great we were. While we tried to steal the game late in 4th qtr, only to have it stolen back from us on the last play of the game against a Region 6 opponent that is average at best and will not make the playoffs, your team beat a team from the same region that could get the 4th seed out of that region. Because of you, we now can look our self in the mirror and once again think about what we can accomplish this year. We may be headed for uncharted waters with this much football success in Madison so we will have to keep the players, students, mommas and papas (California Dreaming anyone?), and fans from getting the big head. That will be something our coaches will have to watch for over the next several weeks to keep us from doing the unimaginable, lose again in the regular season. In fact, if we win out that will help ya’ll and we always want to do the right thing (wink,wink)! Anyway, Coach Jackson, we sure do appreciate your team’s effort last Friday night. We love ya’ll, at least for now anyway! Sincerely Coach Kevin Rose!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me! This Aretha Franklin tune could have been sung in 6A Region 8 after BJ loss to Homewood. We did find out what it meant to BJ, a loss! I can’t decide what was a bigger shock; BJ losing to Homewood or Buckhorn beating Oak Mountain. I will give BJ some love though; they did bounce back nicely by trouncing Huntsville. Now BJ can thank Buckhorn even more by beating Austin this week and, if Buckhorn beat Huntsville and they should, Buckhorn can move into the 4th and final playoff spot. BJ, unless a complete collapse, should win out the remainder of the year giving them the region title. This week’s game with Florence and Decatur should determine who gets the 2nd spot. Both 1 and 2 are important spot to finish since it allows you home field and 3-4th from another region in the first round.

The 3A Region 8 winner is all but decided. Unless MA has a major melt down, they will win Region 8. Congrats go to Coach Cohu and his staff at MA. Keep it up coach and you may win the coveted Bully Coach of the Year award at the conclusion of the season. Who knows, he may be getting his 100th win soon. Especially if they use some of the math MA is prone to use when calculating victory totals for some of their coaches (see middle school). Just saying! Elkmont appears to be a lock for the 2 spot. The question in this region is 3rd and 4th. Lauderdale County is currently 3rd with Colbert County sitting in the 4 spot. CC and LCHS play this Friday and CC has MA in week 9. Lose these 2 and Colbert Heights or West Limestone could get that 4th slot. It has been a tough year for CC and not making the playoffs for the first time since Noah and his family went sailing in a boat, will not sit well for folks in Leighton.

The top 4 in 5A region 8 is pretty much set. The seating (1 thru 4) may change but Hartselle, Russellville, Athens and Muscle Shoals have locked the top 4. MS will most likely lose to Hartselle but the only threat of East Limestone creeping into the playoff picture would be for them to win out which includes beating Russellville this week and MS losing the next 2. Could happen but not likely. Hartselle would have to lose the next 2 games not to get the 1 spot in the region. That ain’t likely! Next week’s Athens-Russellville game could be for the 2nd spot and home field advantage in the 1st round. This game should be a dandy!

I wrote last week about 4A Region 7 and I think this may be the most exciting region in North Alabama. Fairview got past Plainview last week and remain underfeated so they do control their own destiny. But here is the mountain Fairview has to climb. This week they play Guntersville and then North Jackson the following week. Guntersville, after losing a couple of games, bounced back nicely last week and defeated NJ (hey I called this back a few weeks ago). The top 4, Fairview, Guntersville, NJ, and Plainview are all pretty much locked. What order they finish is not. The only sure thing is Fairview does not need help if they win out but that will be a tough chore. This will be the region to watch over the next few weeks.

The weather played havoc with last week’s games and perhaps played a factor in a couple of upsets and certainly made a few games closer than they should have been (see Johnson-Russellville). Some teams moved their games to Thursday, some played earlier (6 pm) than normal on Friday some played Saturday night and at least one played Monday night. Let’s hope this wacky weather doesn’t return for a repeat performance anytime soon.

Now on to food! Most folks that know me know that I know good food and good places to dine. The Huntsville Times has started a best of section in their Tuesday papers that list the best of various types of food. You don’t have to worry with that as I plan to give you Bully’s Best Of. Today, I will give you the best Pizza in the Huntsville area.

1. Terry’s – hands down the best pizza in Huntsville. It was dark and dreary times in the Huntsville when Terry’s closed their doors several years ago. Thank goodness for Star Market. Now I must caution you, the Star Market in Madison is much more consistent on their Pizza than the one in 5-points. Sometime you might get an over cooked crust or too much sauce at the 5-point location. Haven’t gotten one from Merdianville yet.
2. Mellow Mushroom – great pizza and they have a nice/new dining facility. I’m a big fan of the MM chain and have enjoyed the one in Huntsville several times.
3. Big Eds – Another great pizza tradition in the Huntsville area. Located just south of the University/Parkway intersection. Good pizza, just not at the level of MM or Terry’s.

Honorable mention goes to Donatos and Marcos Pizza. You can’t go wrong with either if you want pizza’s for a crowd. For pizza buffet try Pizza Inn in Madison. Decent pizza’s and they have soft serve ice cream. You always will score Bully points when you have soft serve ice cream.

It has been a while since I wrote about volleyball and feel compelled to mention since the area tourney’s are going on this week. Keep an eye on several Huntsville and surrounding area teams as there could be a few blue maps headed back from Pelham around Halloween time. If you like volleyball, below are some teams to watch.
1A – Athens Bible
2A - Westminister
3A – Catholic, Madison Academy, New Hope
4A – Guntersville
5A – Madison County, Arab, Hartselle
6A – Huntsville, Bob Jones, Grissom, and Hazel Green

By the time you read this, some of these teams could be eliminated. One thing is for certain, North Alabama rules when it comes to volleyball. There are some schools throughout the state that play good volleyball and could win Blue/Red maps but overall, the best volleyball is right here in NA.

It want be long now until we turn our attention to the hardwood. I hope to see several games but will be able to give a perspective on several quality teams as I will be keeping the game books for the BJ varsity boys this season. I look forward to getting back involved with High School basketball and I can’t think of anyone I would rather work with than Coach Petty. One of the best coaches in the state and is responsible for building the powerhouse program at MA. That being the case, Coach Petty will not be spared if his team starts to play poorly. BJ is one of the favorites to returning to Birmingham at the end of the season and I am looking forward to it.

One last thing, some have told me they can’t post comments to the blog without a google account. Didn’t realize this when I set this up. You can always email me with comments, stories, rumors, and of course disagreements to Won’t be able to catch a game this Friday due to a wedding but will keep abreast of the results and goings on. Hope to catch Terry Bowden and his UNA Lions this Thursday night though! Until next week, get me out of here Percy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh the perils of fall break!

Having been around football coaches over the last several years, I can tell you this is the week they dread more than any other. The week of fall break! Why this week is any worse than other weeks during the season? Mental distraction more so than anything physical. By this point in the season, the athlete and coaches have an established routine that is gets totally hosed this week. Their established routine is in total disruption. Coaches don't have control of their kids compared to when school is in session and distractions abound. Players will sleep in (unless the team schedules practice early in morning) and then drag in to practice after lounging or goofing off all day and, coaches will tell you, the focus for the upcoming game is just not there. I know some coaches who try to schedule things on Friday so they at least of some control over that day and keep the focus on where it should be. Of course the solution to all of this would be to move the start of the football season up a week early, and give coaches 11 weeks to play 10 games. This would give each team a much needed week off and I bet that schools that have the fall break week (block systems generally don't have the whole week) would choose this week for their off week. Coaches do have the option to punt one of their out or region games and only play a 9 game regular season but that could be dangerous strategy if the “out of region opponents” tie-breaker is used. This is always the case in a 3-way tie where each team beat the other then the defeated out of region games generally decide the regions finish. Seems to me a simple fix but what do I know! Let’s get off the soapbox and move on.

I remember a few years ago I got the chance to see Randall Cobb play in the Tennessee state championship game when he played for Alcoa High School. I thought he was as good as it gets when it comes to an athletic QB who could run and throw. I figured he was at least a 4-star and could name the school he wanted to attend. What do I know! When I got home and researched, he was listed as a 3-star, not highly recruited and committed to Kentucky. I understand Tennessee got into recruiting him late but he stuck with Kentucky. I write this because sometimes something seems so obvious is not necessarily the reality. Why the Vols would let this good a player leave their own back yard (Alcoa High school is in the Knoxville metro area) to sign with another SEC school is something I can’t figure out, especially when you look at the lack of talent on the current Vol roster. This brings me to Stephen Rivers at Athens. Although a junior, you have to expect he is being looked at by a bunch of schools, especially in the SEC. Could he be headed west, say to UCLA? That is where his brother’s college OC, Norm Chow, is now running the offense. Following the pattern established when Philip graduated Athens, his dad would move to a location near the university that Stephen ends up playing for. Although the west coast is a long way from North Alabama, it makes sense as his dad could watch his youngest son play on Saturdays and his oldest son play on Sundays. This could be interesting to watch it all unfold next year as I suspect there are at least a few SEC schools will recruit Mr. Stephen Rivers. Having watched him once last year and twice this year, I think he is good, but again, what do I know! Oh by the way, Hartselle has a good looking football team. The best game I have seen this year was last week’s Athens/Hartselle game. A 10 point game but was decided late in the 4th quarter. Also enjoyed visiting with John Hannah (you Bama and Pro Football fans will remember him) and conversing with him about football.

The water is starting to be really clear for 3A, Region 8. With Elkmont’s win last week over Colbert County and MA's win last week of Colbert Heights, if both of these teams hold serve the rest of the year, MA will win region with Elkmont finishing 2nd. Elkmont still has a tough contest on the road this week as they travel to Colbert Heights and you can't go ahead and chalk up a victory for MA when they travel to C T Manly later but both can now control their own destinies. Even if MA loses one and Elkmont wins out, MA still will get 1st seed by virtue of their victory over Elkmont in week 2.

Cullman’s last hurdle for a region 6 championship could be this week's trip to Springville. I don't expect Springville to pull the upset but stranger things have happened. I haven't seen Cullman this year but I'm anticipating an exciting matchup in the playoffs if Cullman and Hartselle can both stay alive till they meet. This would be a "must see" game. Cullman plays in a 9 team region so they play their last 2 regular season games out region. Both of these games will be interesting. Week 9 they host Mountain Brook and week 10 go to Austin. If they finish their regular season 10-0, watch out! Hartselle still has Muscle Shoals left in the region and MS may have the best defense in Region 8 so they don’t need to over look that game. Hartselle will then end the regular season with Decatur and although that is out of region, still should be a good one!

Bob Jones had an opportunity for a "statement game" last week but blew it. Listening to the last several minutes on the radio as I was driving home from the Athens-Hartselle game, I couldn't believe BJ came from 2 scores down to take the lead with less than a minute to play only to blow it at the end. I ain't ready to jump off the BJ band wagon but was disappointed they fumbled (literally) the opportunity to tell the Birmingham area that BJ can play with that region. Although Homewood came in the game 1-4, they had lost to Hoover, Spain Park, Oak Mountain, and Vestavia Hills which are all good teams and playing in the best region in the state. With the exception of the Vestavia game, most of Homewood’s loses have been close games. This was an opportunity for BJ to tell the world that they were for real. Doesn't really matter since we have playoffs and if BJ is for real, and they can be, they will get the opportunity to prove it. I was just disappointed that this opportunity for folks in Madison to strut a little was lost. I think BJ is good and possibly a player, or two, away from being one of the best in the state. That is a good thing for N. Alabama which has the reputation, especially in 6A, as having weaker teams than the rest of the state. BJ can rebound with a win this week against Huntsville.

The most interesting games this week and the next are in 4A Region 7. Earlier in the year I had Guntersville/North Jackson as a potential must see game. Luster has fell off of Guntersville with their recent 2 game losing streak but this game still has the making to be interesting. The focus in this region has turned to Fairview which is undefeated and hosting Plainview this Friday night. Both Fairview and NJ are tied in first place with Plainview and Guntersville tied with 1 loss in the region. Plainview but beat Guntersville last week, scoring 25 points on perhaps, the best defense in that region. The next few weeks will be interesting. Next week Fairview goes to Guntersville and then ends region play hosting a game with NJ. If Fairview survives this week and next, the NJ game will most likely be for Region Championship. But, as has happened in the past, in 3 weeks, this region could look entirely different if Guntersville beats NJ and Plainview and/or Guntersville beats Fairview. I may head to Fairview this Friday to get a look at them!

Deviating from Football and to discuss my other favorite hobby, eating! I told you I would write when I eat somewhere that was good or bad. I had an opportunity to eat at Santa Fe Grill this past week in Hampton Cove. I had heard mixed reviews from folks that had dined there so decided to see for myself. For my visit, the food was not very good. Steak was tough and overcooked and soup/stew was terrible.

One last comment for the gear heads, go Mark Martin. Just saying……!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bully's mid terms!!

Now that the season is half over, it is time to pass out some Bully midterm grades based on what I have seen, read or heard now that we have completed the half-way point of the season. I expect some of these teams may move on the bully scale by end of the year but the below listed grades are based on performance to date.

Excellent - A's

Bob Jones - Is there any doubt that BJ would be in this category. People have always wondered why a school this large would not put a winning product on the field year after year. They may now have the right coaches/system in place for that to happen. Marque wins over a tough Decatur team and on the road at Florence have been impressive to date.

Madison Academy - Everyone knew they had talent at skill position going in but there were some unknowns especially at the QB position. Impressive wins over Elkmont and Lauderdale County have propelled this team to a 5-0 record. Tough 2nd half of the season coming up with some physical football teams, including this week’s game against Colbert Heights, but impressive so far.

Hartselle - Was supposed to be a rebuilding year but apparently not so. Tough game this week with Athens but they have already slayed one dragon in Russellville. I should get my first look at Hartselle this week and if they can weather this areal storm from Rivers, watch out!

Cullman - Currently ranked number 1 in 5a Region 6. Huge game this week against Erwin in the region will decide how legit they really are. This is a revenge game from one of 2 regular season loses from last year. Coach Britton has this team playing extremely well over the last several years. This year could be the year. This region is competitive so if you go unbeaten thru week 5, your good!

Good - B's

Arab - After years of 2 to 4 win seasons, this Arab team maybe ready to start a new tradition. Currently sitting at 3-2 with 2 close loses to Oneonta and Fort Payne. Tough upcoming region game with Boaz will go a long way in determine how successful this year will be.

Guntersville - Was on my "must see" list until last week's loss to Arab. That was out of region and I still think this team will be a factor in winning their region. My bucket list has a visit to Guntersville to see a game so hopefully before the year is over, I can see first hand.

Boaz - Probably should be on the A list but with a season opening loss to Guntersville, I'll keep them here. Coach Noles has this program getting better in the last few years and this year's team, may be special. Fort Payne this week and Arab in a few weeks will determine how special.

Athens - 2007-08 were tough years for a town that loves its High School football. With the addition of Rivers at QB, this team has that one player that can change a game. Can't figure out what happened for the season opener against Clay Chalkville but the rumor is that a change in who is calling the plays has occurred after that loss. Whatever it is, it is working! Tough game this week against Hartselle and later on at Russellville.

Colbert Heights - Big physical football team. Seem to always struggle with team that have speed. This year's team is playing well except for the loss to Colbert County. A win this week and help from someone like MA to beat Colbert County will get them the region.

Decatur - Coach Adcock always has a tough team and they play hard. Last week's loss to BJ was tough but Decatur had their chances to win. Even though they may not have a lot of play makers on offense, they do have a good defense and a tough little QB. Still have to go to Florence and end the year out of the region against Hartselle but with their defense, will be in any game.

Lexington - Would be an "A" listed team if not for last week's hard to imagine loss to Lauderdale County. Not downing LCHS but how do you beat Tanner then lose to a team that might not make the playoffs. Schedule is favorable the rest of the way and will not be surprised to see them end the year at 9-1.

West Limestone - No coach in our area has a better coaching pedigree than WL's Coach Arnsparger. After a couple of tough years, this may be the year that folks are smiling again in Salem. No surprise that they loss to Tanner and Elkmont (well maybe surprised at how bad Elkmont beat them) but the early season win over Colbert County is a "hat hanger".

Tanner – A “B” list candidate by virtue of their loss at Lexington. That being the case, this is probably the most over looked program in North Alabama. Tanner has not had but 1 season with less than double digit wins since 2004. Now at 4-1, I expect they will finish the regular season at 9-1.

Average - C's

Elkmont - Probably could be listed in the "B" category sitting 3-2 after all the players they graduated from last years team. Loss last Friday to Clements keeps them on the "C" list. Tough 2nd half of the schedule still to play but Don Jacobs has brought new life to the little community in Northeast Limestone County.

Colbert County - No one plays a tougher out of region schedule than CC. So, no one is shocked with the 2 losses to Muscle Shoals and Deshler. The loss to West Limestone, however, is what makes this team "C" worthy. Rumor has it they have gone back to what they know on offense so the 2nd half of the season may be a different CC team. Will not be surprised if they win the next 4 and win the region. Game 10 is with Russellville though!

Grissom - This school hasn't had a winning season since 2002. I don't expect them to have one this year but 5-5 is realistic. I give Grissom a "C" based on the victory over Huntsville. They should win this week over Hazel Green to even their record to 3-3.

Buckhorn - Sitting at 3-2 give this team a "C". But, the hardest part of their schedule is still ahead. Wouldn't surprise me, based on the way they have played for Buckhorn not to win another game this year. Things haven't been the same in New Market since that magical season back in 2005.

East Limestone – Coming off a disappointing 2008 season of 4 wins, the Indians may be headed back in the right direction. With two losses that were not unexpected, this team could finish 6-4.

Westminister – A young football program that is a diamond in the rough when you look at their new facilities and their potential. Now at 2-3 with a brutal last 5 ball games may not yield another win this year. But, they have all the pieces in place to build a great program including their Head Coach.

DAR – Just like Westminister above, this is a young football program sitting at 2-3 for the year. DAR has come a long way in 4a since their first season in 2006. In fact, they had a winning season last year. Don’t think they will get above .500 for the year but you have to respect what they have done in a short amount of time. If they ever get this football thing figured out consistently on the mountain, watch out. Those Grant folks love their Patriots!

Below average (D's and F's)

Lauderdale County - Showed signs of live but is giving up way too many points. Sitting 2-3 with some tough teams left, leads me to believe that this team may win 1 or 2 more at the most.

Russellville - Each year this team just re-loads. But, losing 2 straight ain't sitting well for the golden tiger fans. They should win at least 4 of the last 5 with Athens being the only toss up right now. This team went to the finals last year but if they don't figure out why they're not scoring the last few weeks, may not go to deep this year.

Huntsville - Coming off 9 and 10 win seasons the last few years has folks scratching their heads on this year’s team. After winning the first week, they have lost the last 4. Too good an offensive line and defense makes you wonder what has happened. Based on performance to date, may only win 2 more games.

Sparkman – Coming off of back-to-back 3 win seasons and now sitting half way with only 1 win makes you wonder how a school this large, can’t find football players. Looking down the road, they may only get 1 more win for the year.

Ardmore – Sitting 0-5 under first year coach Shannon Brown. 2005 was the last winning season so it’s not like they have a recent winning tradition. That being the case, you figure that they could find a way to win at least a few games. Sparkman and Ardmore, could be the curse of Hwy 53.

Madison County – Following 10 and 11 win seasons the last few years, the Tigers have returned to earth. Sitting at 2-3, this team is not the same MC team of the last few year. New Coach so things could change but you got to figure folks in eastern Madison County are missing Coach Poole.

New Hope – 2006 was the last year for a winning season. This year doesn’t look good. Thru mid season, they only have 1 win and that was over Brindley Mountain. Possibly 2 more wins in the last 5 will probably be as good as it gets down on the Paint Rock.

Headed to Athens/Hartselle game this week, should be a good'un! The day I truly understand any of this stuff, I will be an expert! Bully out!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My My, what a difference a year makes!

It is interesting how a team can have a great year one year and then the next year have a bad year. Usually you can chalk it up to graduation, injuries, coaching turmoil, etc. What is hard to understand is how a team can go from being one of the most talented in the state one year, to perhaps not even winning a game the next year. West Morgan appears to be such a team this year and it is hard to figure! This is a school that has put some talented teams on the field over the last several years and, last year, had one of the most talented in the state. The current head coach has never had a losing season at West Morgan. Since his first season in 2002 he has had 3 seasons of 10+ wins, including last year. I know WM graduated some studs from last year, but everyone? To date they have scored 37 total points while giving up 109 in compiling a 0-4 record. The first loss to East Limestone is understandable but the other 3, playing in an average at best region, is not. What in the world is going on in Trinity?

Had a chance to see an undefeated Holtville put their record on the line last Friday and get beat by Alabama Christian. First look at the "Spin" offense. Holtville has some decent players but can't win when you turn the ball over 5 times. Interesting place, Deatsville Alabama, and fun trip even though we had to battle the rain and thunder storms that delayed the start. Good concessions stand though!!

What about Hartselle. I wrote last week that the game of the week was Hartselle vs. Russellville. Now, if the tigers can take care of Athens, then the region will be theirs, but remember, Athens can pose problems for any team. If Athens beats Hartselle and loses to Russellville then there could be a 3-way time. Then the 3 out of regions opponents come into play. This could be trouble for Russellville since you count the number of wins of your defeated opponents, in class or above. Russellville has played down in classification for their 2 out of region opponents in 4a Deshler and 3a Colbert County. No matter how good these teams do, they can't count their wins in a tie breaker. So, don't lose sight of this week's, out of region games, as they could play a role on who gets 1st in the region.

Now, on to this week! Several interesting games: St. Paul at Russellville, Athens traveling to Brooks and Decatur at Bob Jones seem to be the 3 most intriguing match ups. I think I am headed to Decatur/ BJ game since it is the battle of 2 undefeated and is a region game. As impressed as I have been with BJ, Decatur could be a stumbling block if BJ is not ready. Since this region has 8 teams, this game is a region game for BJ and Decatur. Both teams are undefeated and showing stout defenses but BJ's offensive production has been more impressive to date. Could this be an upset?  I say it will be an upset if Decatur wins but I'm not ready to believe that will happen.

Catch a game this week and send me your thoughts!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Could be a tough week for some teams that are undefeated!

I watched a very entertaining ball game last night between Huntsville and Florence.  24-21 Florence kicked a field goal to win with less than 10 sec. left in the game.  Both defenses struggled at times but I was impressed with Florence's QB.  Big, strong and could run and throw.  Both teams have good running backs but different styles.  Huntsville's strength is their offensive line.  Best game I have seen this year to date.

Interesting match ups tonight but none more interesting than Russellville traveling to Hartselle for the 5A Region 8 battle of teams with 3-0 records.  This Region is intriquing as there are 3 teams, Russellville, Hartselle, and Athens that seem to be clicking.  Hartselle has some youth at certain skill positions so that may pose a problem Friday night.  I most likely will travel to Russellville for Week 9 to see the game against Athens.  If not for any other reason, I want to see a game at Russellville to see what our state tax dollars has bought.  From what I hear, they have a real nice facility.  Thank you state of Alabama!

Grissom suffered their first loss last week but how long has it been since they were 2-1 and folks were excited. I mean as good as Bob Jones has been this year, you got to figure they will not take Grissom lightly.  This is a complete turn around, at least in the "respect from your opponent category", over the past few years.  Rumor has it that Grissom is bringing students and fans by the bus load and a capacity crowd is expected at the Madison stadium.  That is a good thing!  I remember back in the 70's when you had to get to games early at at Milton Frank to find a seat.  No matter what city team was playing.  That is how high school football should be.

Congrats to Westminster getting their first win last week over Cherokee.  Westminster takes on Hatton this week and this looks like a winnable game.  When you talk 2A, what about Lexington??  Obviously a marquee win over Tanner last week.  Can they go far?  Time will tell and I am going to put them on my list as a team that I want to watch play.  Probably playing the best football in Lauderdale County right now.

Madison Academy has started strong but now the schedule will get tougher.  Lauderdale County looks to be one of teams that could earn one of the playoff spots from this region.  This will be MA's first road game so that could be a factor as well.  Playing on the road is not as much of an issue as it is in College but there are some differences, such as the change with a game day itinerary.  Some coaches like road games as they can get control of their players earlier on Friday.  Colbert County got thier first win last week over West Morgan.  It will be interesting to see if they start to turn it around.  Rumor has it they have gone back to what they use to do well, smash mouth!  Right now, looks like week 6, Colbert Heights at MA may be for Region title but a lot could change between now and then. 

HS Football fans should circle week 7 when one of  the most interesting match up of the season may take place.  Guntersville travels to North Jackson in what most likely will be, for the region.  Hadn't been to the N. Jackson stadium in years but that this may be a "must see".  No doubt that Guntersville will be well coach.  But, do they have the talent to stay with North Jackson.  We also know that NJ has a habit of losing a game they shouldn't and getting elliminated in the playoff's much earlier than anticipated.  This is usually a close game.

Some things never change.  Volleyball in N. Alabama is the best in the state.  It is amazing to see Huntsville, Bob Jones, and Grissom just re-load year after year.  Looks like one of these teams have a chance to win it all again in 6a although you have to figure it will be a Huntsville/Bob Jones final unless the tourney pairings prevent this.  Hazel Green and Madison County both are playing well this year and could make Pelham.  Madison Academy, usually "the team" in 3a from N. Alabama may have some competition this year from within their own Area.  Catholic of Huntsville is the current leader and could win Area 15.  If so, how long has it been since MA was not the Area winner and what about the thought of last year's runner up in the state final not even getting past area tourney? Not predicting that, but stranger things have happened.

Get out and go see a High School volleyball match or football game.  You will enjoy it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What we know after week 2 of High School Football

I am constantly asked how good is Bob Jones. I have seen them play twice and in my opionion, as good as they want to be. They have speed, a great running back, and a very salty defense. Watching Bob Jones play North Gwinnett and then seeing Prattville play the same Georgia team, tells me that Bob Jones can play with anyone. Time will tell and this week's game against Florence, on the road, will go along way in confirming how good they are. Not saying they can win state championship, but if they ever think they can, get that certain swagger, watch out!

Rivers the QB at Athens has the potential to be very good. At least he looked good against Muscle Shoals. He does a good job of seeing the field and picked Muscle Shoals apart last week.  Muscle Shoals has a pretty good defense. Makes me wonder how Clay Chalkville shut them out in week 1.

No one can accuse the new head man at Westminister, Coach Hooks, of shying away from anyone. His first game, against St. Bernard is canceled (late in the week) so he calls R.A. Hubbard (Courland). Hubbard can only be stronger since they combined with Hazelwood.  Wow! Westminister did get blowed out but can't fault them from playing tough competition.

Has the complexion of any region changed more in 3 years than 3A Region 8. A couple of years ago this region was considered the toughest region in the state.  Now, you could argue thru week 2, as being one of the weakest. Depending on how good Colbert Heights is, will go a long way in deciding. When was the last time Colbert County was 0-2 and, went to West Limestone and lost. Not dogging WL but what is going on with Colbert County?

Surprise team to date, hands down the Grissom Tigers.  Beating Huntsville last week was the upset of the week.
Will not catch any game this week (week 3) as headed out of town. Unless I sneak a trip to see an East Tennessee high school game. Week 4, headed to mid-Alabama to check on 4a action Holtville (2-0) versus ACA (1-1). Until later!!!!!!!