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.

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