Springwood vs Cornerstone highlights a full slate of matchups
Published 11:00 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023
The Wildcats have been completely dominant to this point in the season. Springwood is currently 4-0, but its toughest matchup is this Friday against Cornerstone Christian.
Springwood hosts Cornerstone this Friday in a battle of two unbeaten teams. Cornerstone comes into the matchup with a 3-0 record, but this is their first region game.
Last season, Springwood and Cornerstone faced off twice — with Cornerstone beating the Wildcats by two in the regular season and Springwood beating the Chargers by 42 in the playoffs.
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“They may be the best team we’ve played all year,” Head Coach Joey Burch said. “They’re coming in undefeated, scoring 50 points a game.”
Cornerstone has won each of their first three matchups by more than 30 points, but their three opponents have a combined record of 0-9. Still, the offense is dynamic and the Wildcats will have their hands full.
“They’ve got a very talented quarterback and receiver combination that’s going to be hard to defend against,” Burch said. “We’ve got plans to slow it down, but I think that’s the best you could hope for. They’re going to score some points. It’s going to be a shootout.”
The Chargers are led by junior Zeke Adams at quarterback. Adams does his best work extending plays.
Adams gets out of the pocket and can make plays running the ball, or he can throw on the run. In 8-man football, those abilities can cause a lot of problems for a defense.
“He’s just a very good athlete with his legs and his arms,” Burch said. “He makes it very difficult to defend because he buys a lot of time with his legs. In 8-man football, you play a lot of man. You’re asking a guy to cover a guy for over 4-6 seconds.”
On the defensive side, Burch and the coaching staff are focusing on keeping Adams in the pocket and making him make decisions quicker than he would like to.
It’s still early in the season, but this matchup could be the game that defines the region. Springwood only has one more region game after this Friday. With a win, the Wildcats will take a commanding hold on the region.
“They’ve got a lot of games to play,” Burch said about Cornerstone. “I think Southern Prep is a very good football team. It might come down to them being in the mix as well as Evangel. As far as we’re concerned, if we win this one and take care of our business, that definitely puts us in the first or second seed.”
Getting the first or second seed will give Springwood a bye in the playoffs, and it would leave the Wildcats with only two games to win to secure a state championship.
Springwood’s offense is going to rely on several different players. CJ Johnson has proved to be a dynamic running back — eclipsing double digits in touchdowns already this season. Luke Hudson, Dylan Reeves, Greg Johnson, Eli Johnson and Colt Pearson are other names to watch in the matchup.
“Just taking care of your business and doing what you’re coached to do,” Burch said about the team’s emphasis this week in practice.
All season the goal for Springwood has been a return to the state championship game, a win this Friday puts the Wildcats in a perfect position to accomplish that goal.
Beulah Bobcats (2-1) at Walter Wellborn (0-2)
At 2-1, Beulah is off to its best start since 2019 — the last time the Bobcats made the playoffs. With its 38-24 win over Saks, Beulah is 1-0 in the region with a chance to move to 2-0 this week.
Walter Wellborn has had an abysmal start to the season. The Panthers have lost each of their first two games by double digits.
Beulah has faced Wellborn three times, and the Bobcats are winless in those matchups. Last season, the Panthers beat Beulah 62-7.
As most will know, this is a very different Beulah team. A large part of that is Beulah’s wideouts. MJ Walton, LJ Fitzpatrick, Ethyn Prestridge and Wes Grant have all made Beulah’s offense more explosive than it has been in recent years.
“I said it at the beginning of the year, we’ve got some guys that can go,” Head Coach Matt Johnson said. “We’ve just got to give them a chance.”
Chambers Academy (3-1) at Banks Academy (3-0)
The Rebels have been rolling ever since their season-opening loss to Lee-Scott Academy. Chambers Academy has won each of their last three matchups by more than 20 points.
The matchup this Friday against Banks Academy is expected to be the Rebels’ biggest test to this point in the season.
Both teams are currently ranked in the top ten in the AISA. Banks has not been as dominant as Chambers Academy, but they do have a signature win over Patrician in week two. Patrician was widely expected to be one of the top teams in the AISA this season.
“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t get behind the chains,” Head Coach Jason Allen said after the team’s last game. “They’ll be by far the most athletic team we’ve played this year. It’s going to be a top-ten showdown.”
The Rebels are going to rely on their dynamic duo of running backs Luke Tarver and Jacob Norgard. Chambers Academy has become more balanced this season, and the connection between Kole Baker and Koreen Henry is going to be pivotal.
LaFayette Bulldogs (0-3) vs. Barbour County (1-1)
It’s homecoming week in LaFayette as the Bulldogs host Barbour County for a region matchup.
This has traditionally been a matchup that LaFayette has dominated. The two teams have faced off five times, and the Bulldogs won each of the matchups.
Last season, LaFayette beat Barbour County 72-6. Barbour County has improved this season as the Jaguars recently got their first on-the-field win in 10 years.
With the loss to Reeltown last week, LaFayette is off to a 0-1 start in region play. Highland Home, Goshen and Lanett are going to be tough matchups for the Bulldogs. This Friday is a must-win game.
Lanett Panthers (2-1) at Highland Home (3-0)
The Panthers have one of the biggest matchups of the season this Friday. Highland Home won 12 games last season and finished second in the region.
Last season, Highland Home beat Lanett 28-18. The two teams have faced off six times overall, and each team has won three games.
The Panthers began region play with a dominant win over Horseshoe Bend last week, and Lanett can take a spot near the top of the region with a win this Friday.
Valley Rams (2-1) vs. Sylacauga Aggies (0-3)
Valley got one of its biggest wins in Adam Hunter’s tenure as head coach last Friday. The Rams came away with 21-14 over a top-ten Beauregard team.
“I think it shows our kids that we’re here to fight in this region,” Hunter said after the game. “You take a team that won 10 games last year, and to beat them in overtime at their place, that’s big.”
Valley beat Sylacauga 46-14 last season. Overall, the two teams have faced off 14 times with the Rams winning 11 of the matchups.
Valley is looking to build off of the win last week. Beauregard has routinely been near the top of the region. After beating the Hornets, Valley is in a good position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019.