Football Previews: Morgan looks to build on upset win against Autauga

Published 2:42 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Morgan Academy’s JR Wood tackles a Tuscaloosa Academy defender during Friday night’s comeback victory over the Knights, who were ranked No. 4 in the state. Wood and the Senators will host Autauga Friday night in a key class AAA, region 1 contest. --Alaina Denean Deshazo

Morgan Academy’s JR Wood tackles a Tuscaloosa Academy defender during Friday night’s comeback victory over the Knights, who were ranked No. 4 in the state. Wood and the Senators will host Autauga Friday night in a key class AAA, region 1 contest. –Alaina Denean Deshazo

Last week’s victory over Tuscaloosa Academy was the program-building win Morgan Academy has been chasing for years.

The Senators trailed the No. 4 Knights by 15 at halftime, but rallied for three second half touchdowns and pulled off one of the biggest upsets around the state Friday.

“We had the mindset that we are going to find a way to win instead of find a way to lose the game,” said Morgan Academy head coach Jake Wingo. “They made their mind up that they were going to win the ball game and there was no other option.”

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Wingo said the win gave his team confidence and he’s hoping it can slingshot the Senators through the rest of the season.

The new challenge for the Senators is to do it again. Morgan (2-3) will host Autauga Academy (3-2) Friday night in a key Class AAA, region 1 showdown.

After a 3-0 start, the Generals have lost their last two games, but both defeats came to ranked teams.

No. 7 Lee-Scott defeated Autauga 42-16 and No. 3 Monroe beat the Generals 34-7.

Both teams sit right in the middle of a crowded region 1. Morgan is 1-1 in region play, while Autauga is 3-1 and looking for a win to solidify its playoff position.

“Our next four games are region games and if we win this one, we’ve got a chance to host a playoff game at home,” Wingo said. “This would be a huge win as far as the playoff picture is concerned.”

Morgan will be facing an Autauga team with a run-heavy attack Friday evening. Wingo said for the Senators to have a chance Friday night they’ll have to stop the run.

“They are big and physical and they have a big running back,” Wingo said. “He’s a big, physical guy. We’ve got to slow the running game down. They aren’t a very prolific passing team by any means, but they can run the ball and they are good up front.”

Autauga won last year’s meeting with Morgan 45-14, but the Senators have won every other meeting in the series, according to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society.

Selma (2-3) at Brookwood (1-4)

Selma finds itself in a precarious position entering Friday night’s region battle with Brookwood. If the Saints lose, they’ll find themselves out of the playoff race in early October for the first time since 2013.

The Saints enter 0-3 in region play after losses to Paul Bryant, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa and McAdory and will likely need to win their remaining region games against Brookwood, Bessemer City and Northridge to have a chance at the postseason.

In order for that to happen, Selma will need to get its offense going.

The Saints scored over 30 points in a game 11 times during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, but Selma hasn’t scored more than 26 points in a game this season. Brookwood finds itself in similar shape offensively.

The Panthers (1-4) have scored only 44 points all year and 21 of those came in a season opening win over Sipsey Valley.


Dallas County (3-2) at Central Tuscaloosa (3-2)

Dallas County’s wins over Jemison and Sumter Central have put the Hornets in position to make a run at the playoffs in class 5A, region 4. A win over Bibb County last week gives the Hornets momentum and a winning record going into the second half of the year.

Last year the Hornets probably felt like they let a win slip away in a 45-40 loss to Central Tuscaloosa.

This year the game means even more to each team’s playoff hopes.

After scoring only 47 points in its first three games, the Hornets’ offense has come alive with 47 in the last two games. Central’s three wins have come against teams with a combined 2-13 record.


Ellwood Christian (3-2) vs. Linden (2-2)

It’s been a rough two weeks for Linden and Ellwood Christian.

The Patriots, ranked No. 5 in class 1A, have lost back-to-back games to No. 2 Maplesville (1A) and No. 2 St. Paul’s (5A) to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Ellwood Christian has also lost its last two games after starting the season 3-0. The Eagles fell to Keith 58-6 and Verbena 48-0.

Linden defeated Ellwood Christian 61-6 last season.


Keith (1-4) vs. A.L. Johnson (0-4)

It won’t be official, but the Keith Bears can basically wrap up a playoff spot Friday night with a win against region foe A.L. Johnson.

It’s not often that can be said about a one-win team, but there isn’t another region in the state like class 1A’s region 4, which features only five teams after Sunshine and Akron High Schools closed their doors last year.

A.L. Johnson has lost one score games to Isabella, Marengo and R. C. Hatch and has only played one home game all season.


Meadowview Christian (4-1)  vs. Brooklane Baptist (0-4)

Meadowview Christian has won four straight games and is on the verge of locking up a playoff spot going into Friday night’s game against Brooklane Baptist.

Brooklane enters looking for its first win of the year.

The Trojans will be celebrating homecoming Friday.