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……!

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