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Aliceville, Lamar County battle in critical region showdown


Scott Walters



When neighboring rivals Aliceville High School and Lamar County get together on the football gridiron, the contest will be well-attended and action-packed. 


Tensions should even be higher Friday night since this year's installment of the rivalry will figure heavily in the Alabama High School Activities Association's Class 2A, Region 4 race. 


Elsewhere in the area this weekend, Sulligent travels to Oakman in another Region 4-2A contest. In Region 5-1A, Pickens County plays host to Parrish and South Lamar plays host to Hubbertville. 


Also first place is on the line in Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A, Region 2 play when Pickens Academy plays host to Marengo Academy. 


All games start at 7 p.m 


Aliceville (3-2, 3-0) 


at Lamar County (3-2, 2-1) 


Aliceville can move a step closer to securing a playoff berth with a win Friday night at George Bell Stadium. 


The Yellow Jackets have opened region play with three straight wins -- Hale County (39-0), Sulligent (42-14) and Cold Springs (63-12). 


"We are doing a much better job of taking care of the football," Aliceville coach Charles Moody said. "Defensively, we have been solid the whole season. We had a lot of guys back on that side of the ball, so we thought we had a chance there." 


Aliceville stepped outside of region play last Friday night, falling to Pickens County, 35-14. 


Against the Tornadoes, Jeremy McMullen ran for a team-high 120 yards. Both McMullen and Gerald Sterling each rushed for touchdowns. 


Marqueze Marshall paced the Aliceville defense with 15 total tackles and a sack. 


"We need more consistency," Moody said. "We had three turnovers against Pickens County. You can't do that and beat a good team. 


"Against Lamar County, we will have to take advatange of our scoring opportunities." 


Lamar County also dropped a shootout last Friday night, falling to Berry 50-42 in overtime. 


"We have to do a better job of limiting the big plays," Lamar County coach Ken Adams said. "That has really hurt us the last couple of weeks." 


Against Berry, Timothy Harton scored on touchdown runs of 32 and 47 yards, while also catching a 38-yard scoring pass from Dallas Cockerham. 


Cockerham also had two rushing touchdowns. 


Inside region play, Lamar County has beaten Hatch (41-32) and (18-14), after losing its opener to Oakman (41-24). 


"When two good offenses play, it comes down to who makes the most plays," Adams said. "Hopefully, we can make some stops and build off we did on offense last week." 


Aliceville enters the contest averaging 36 points per game, while Lamar County is averaging 32 points per game. 


The teams did not meet last season. 


Sulligent (1-4, 1-2)  


at Oakman (4-1, 3-0) 


Sulligent faces a tall task Friday night when the Blue Devils travel to take on one of the region co-leaders. 


"Oakman presents quite a challence," Sulligent coach Scott Marchant said. "They are a physical team and they are a complete team. 


"We will have to play well offensively and will have to force some turnovers on defense to have a chance." 


Last Friday, Sulligent dropped its third straight, falling 41-13 to Fayette County in a non-region matchup. 


The Blue Devils have continued to struggle on offense. Sulligent has managed two touchdowns in each of its last three defeats. 


"We get a good drive going and then we make mistakes," Marchant said. "We are having a tough time overcoming a critical penalty or mental mistakes." 


Against Fayette County, Juwan Metcalf ran 11 times for 105 yards, including scoring runs of 14 and 12 yards. 


Defensively, the Blue Devils have had their moments. Sulligent is only allowing 27 points per game this season. 


Oakman has opened region play with wins over Marion (64-26), Hatch (49-26) and Northside (28-21). 


The teams did not meet last season. 


Parrish (2-3, 0-3)  


at Pickens County (5-0, 3-0) 


Pickens County can take another step toward locking down a Class 1A playoff berth with Friday night's home contest against Parrish. 


The Tornadoes have opened the season with five straight victories, including three straight region wins. The Tornadoes have allowed 52 total points on the season. 


"We have made a lot of strides on the defensive side of the ball," PIckens County coach Patrick Plott said. "When the season started, we knew we had to be a better defensive team this season. 


"The kids commited themselves to being more physical. They have really responded to the challenge." 


Pickens County flexed its muscles outside of region play last Friday night with a 35-14 win over Aliceville. 


For Pickens County, Devonte Simon passed for 158 yards and two touchdowns, while Jermarcus Brown ran for 188 yards and another score. 


Parrish has dropped region decisions to Hubbertville (31-25), Marion County (38-12) and Berry (28-14). A three-game losing streak was snapped with last Friday's 6-0 home win over Cordova. 


The teams did not meet last season. 


Hubbertville (3-2, 1-2)  


at South Lamar (0-5, 0-3) 


A pair of teams looking to stay alive in the Region 5-1A playoff race meet when Hubbertville takes on South Lamar in Millport, Ala. 


South Lamar stepped outside of region play for last Friday's 39-10 homecoming loss to Central of Coosa County. 


The Stallions received a 1-yard touchdown run by Blake Mitchell and a 27-yard field goal by Holden Fields. 


Defensively, South Lamar was led by 13 total tackles from Cannan Fleming. 


Central built a 27-3 halftime lead and cruised to the victory. 


The Stallions are looking for more consistency on offense. South Lamar has scored 31 points this year. 


Hubbertville defeated Shoals Christian 29-28 in its last contest. The Lions defeated Parrish (31-25), before falling to Berry (42-33) and Marion County (49-19) in region play. 


Hubbertville won last season's meeting, 40-33. 


Marengo Academy (4-2, 3-0)  


at Pickens Academy (6-0, 4-0) 


While Pickens Academy has opened the season with six straight victories, the Pirates face the biggest challenge of their season Friday night a home region showdown against Marengo Academy. 


After winning three games last season, the Pirates can secure a playoff berth by winning one more time. 


For the season, Pickens Academy is allowing less than 15 points per game, while Marengo Academy is allowing less than 14 points per game. 


"This will be a big challenge for our team," Pickens Academy coach John Gartman said. "Being able to hang onto the ball and sustatining drives will be huge in determining the outcome of the game." 


Pickens Academy defeated Jackson Academy 59-33 in a region contest played last Friday night. 


For the Pirates, Josh Lewis scored four touchdowns, while Joel Pratt added three scores. 


Marengo Academy snapped a two-game losing streak with last Friady's 42-25 region win over Meadowview Christian. Prior to that, the Longhorns had lost to Patrician Academy (16-6) and Wilcox Academy (20-12). 


Pickens Academy won last season's meeting, 48-12.


Scott is sports copy editor and reporter


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