An early overview of next season’s football schedules

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2019

GREATER VALLEY AREA — Local football players are getting a summer break from official team activities until next week when summer workouts begin for most programs.

In the final year of the current classifications in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), majority of the teams in the Greater Valley Area will play the same teams as last season, just in a different venue.

Beulah will open the fall against Loachapoka at home on Aug. 23. The Bobcats are now coached by Matt Johnson, the team’s former offensive coordinator after head coach Cody Flournoy accepted a job at 5A Jackson High School in Jackson. Beulah junior Caleb Abney is the projected starter at quarterback for the school as well. Abney took a majority of the team’s snaps last summer when senior Lonzie Portis was at an academic camp. Beulah’s regular season schedule is fairly balanced, spending no more than two consecutive weeks on the road or at home. The Bobcats get a chance to avenge their worst loss of the 2018 season with a trip to Saint James on Oct. 11. Beulah fell to the Trojans 49-20 last season.

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Chambers Academy still hasn’t finalized its schedule due to the fact that Evangel Christian isn’t playing football next fall. Last season, Chambers opened the year at home against Evangel.

LaFayette will open the regular season at Lanett in a rivalry game on Aug. 30. The Bulldogs lost the battle with the Panthers last season 35-7 in a matchup that was a defensive battle until Lanett broke free with a couple of big plays, including a 52-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kristian Story. LaFayette closes the regular season with four road games at Fayetteville, Alabama Christian Academy, Central Coosa and Horseshoe Bend.

Lanett opens the regular season at Ram Stadium on Aug. 23 to face crosstown-rival Valley High School. Last year, 5A Valley surprised some fans by pulling out a 28-22 thrilling victory over the 1A Panthers that came down to the final play. The season-opener was the only regular-season loss of the year for the Panthers. Lanett will spend nearly a month on the road in September at Handley, an open week, Loachapoka and Verbena.

Springwood opens the 2019 season with three-consecutive road games at Success Unlimited, Cornerstone Christian and Edgewood Academy. Last year, the Wildcats came firing out the gates under new head coach John Gartman and even received votes to be ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) AISA prep poll early in the year. Springwood’s home schedule is sandwiched in the middle of the season beginning with Autauga Academy on Sept. 20 through Lakeside School on Oct. 25.

After hosting Lanett to open the year, Valley will head on the road to face Smiths Station on Aug. 30. The week two trip presents the opportunity for the Rams to avenge the worst loss of the 2018 season, with Valley getting shut out against the 7A Panthers 27-0 last year. The Rams are not slated to play at home or on the road for longer than two weeks at a time next season.