Oxford shook things up in Class 6A with a big win over No. 5 Auburn. Cleburne County upset 10th-ranked Cherokee County. Lineville didn’t just beat but blew out Clay County in the Clay Bowl, and Alexandria picked up its second win of the season by going on the road and beating 5A Boaz.
Week 5 is always a tough week to pick. With atypical non-region matchups being played, it’s difficult to gain any sort of a grip on how the games might turn out.
It was that kind of week all over the state; Case in point — six of the top 10 teams in 5A lost.
I think I’ll play it conservative with my picks this week. Let’s hope conventional wisdom holds true.
Let’s pick ’em …
ALEXANDRIA (2-3, 1-2) AT CLEBURNE COUNTY (3-2, 1-2): Now, this is a rivalry. This game pits two of Northeast Alabama’s most tradition rich programs against each other with the fan bases of fervent followers to boot. It’s also a near must-win if either of these teams plan on being a 4A, Region 6 playoff squad. Alexandria has gotten its groove back with back-to-back wins, but I think Cleburne County’s run defense gives it a slight edge … Cleburne County 21, Alexandria 15.
DONOHO (4-1, 2-1) AT APPALACHIAN (5-0): Donoho has been one of the pleasant surprises thus far. After a nine-game losing streak to start ’09, how can it not be? However, a road trip to undefeated Appalachian is a difficult task for anyone in Class 1A. … Appalachian 33, Donoho 18.
PARKWAY CHRISTIAN (3-2, 1-2) AT JACKSONVILLE CHRISTIAN (3-2, 1-2): Jacksonville Christian has proven it can win the close ones (Vina, 7-6) as well as the not-so-close ones. Parkway Christian will present matchup problems on the edges for the Thunder, but the home field advantage will help keep the game in contention…Parkway Christian 31, Jacksonville Christian 21.
PELL CITY (3-2, 1-2) AT OXFORD (3-2, 2-1): Everyone knew how tough Oxford’s schedule was during the first five games of the season with games against, Carrollton (Ga.) and 2009 state semifinalist Gadsden City, Clay-Chalkville and Auburn, another ’09 state semifinalist. They emerged from that slate with a 3-2 mark and capped it off with a signature 35-12 win against Auburn. There likely isn’t a more confident team in the state this week…Oxford 42, Pell City 21.
NO. 3 PIEDMONT (5-0) AT WEAVER (2-3, 1-2): After a solid 2-1 start, things have gone south for the Bearcats with lopsided losses to Glencoe and Wellborn. And it appears things might get worse before they get better for the Bearcats as they’re set to entertain the defending 3A state champions in a 3A, Region 6 bout. I’m certain Piedmont coach Steve Smith will have his team particularly focused after a near slip last week…Piedmont 40, Weaver 20.
SAKS (4-1, 4-1) AT NO. 8 GLENCOE (4-1, 4-1): Both teams need this game, because it’s likely the winner head-to-head could determine which of those teams host in the first round of the playoffs, presuming they’re in the hunt for the Class 3A, Region 6 crown along with Piedmont. This is an extremely tough one to call but I said Saks was my sleeper team in the preseason. Thus, I feel obliged to ride with the Wildcats in this one…Saks 24, Glencoe 20.
NO. 3 NORTH JACKSON (5-0) AT CHEROKEE COUNTY (3-2, 1-2): Cherokee County has been holding strong this season, having just slipped out of the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A poll for the first time following a 28-20 loss at home to Cleburne County. I think North Jackson will hold its spot in the top 10 down…North Jackson 30, Cherokee County 16.
NO. 7 DADEVILLE (5-0) AT LINCOLN (0-5): Lincoln could be the most talented winless team in the state. It’s unfortunate for the Golden Bears they’ve got to play a team that seems to be rolling in Dadeville to begin the last half of their season…Dadeville 20, Lincoln 7.
WOODLAND (4-1, 2-1) AT NO. 7 LINEVILLE (4-1, 2-1): This should be interesting. Having seen Lineville twice, I must say I’m impressed — especially after its 41-6 victory against Clay County. Woodland’s only loss came on the road against defending state champion Reeltown. However, speed kills, and Lineville’s got a boatload of it…Lineville 34, Woodland 26.
ST. JUDE (4-1, 3-0) AT WADLEY (3-2, 3-0): The Bulldogs will be looking to get back on track after Woodland served them last week. This will be a main event of sort between a pair of Class 1A, Region 3 unbeatens. I’ll side with St. Jude though I won’t be surprised if I’m completely wrong on this one… St. Jude 42, Wadley 35.
As for the rest of them: Springville 31, Jacksonville 17; Anniston 37, Locust Fork 6; Pleasant Valley 23, Ohatchee 14; Wellborn 46, Beulah 13; Clay County 41, B.B. Comer 6; Handley 55, Marbury 0; Beauregard 33, Munford 19; Ranburne 17, Randolph County 7; Hokes Bluff 23, White Plains 21; Collinsville 23, Cedar Bluff 20.