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!