Game of the Week: Morgan and Tuscaloosa Academy play for top spot

Published 7:34 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The No. 6 Morgan Academy Senators (7-2) host the No. 7 Tuscaloosa Academy Knights (6-2) in the final region game of the year with the region championship on the line.

The Senators and the Knights both are 3-1 in region games, and the victor of Friday nights’ matchup gets to host the first round of the AISA state playoffs.

The Knights were ranked as high as No. 1 earlier this season, but losses to Autauga Academy and the Glenwood School knocked the team out of the top-5.

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Despite the drop in the rankings, Tuscaloosa Academy (TA) has put up strong numbers on both sides of the ball. The offense averages 32 points per game, and the defense allows 15 points per game to opponents.

The tightest games they played in this season were one-point wins against Copiah Academy Mississippi (14-13) and No. 4 Bessemer Academy (15-14).

The Senators production is only slightly better than the Knights this season. Morgan Academy averages 34.2 points per game, and the defense allows 11.3 points per game to opponents.

In games against mutual opponents, TA defeated Bessemer Academy, Kingwood Christian and Lee-Scott Academy but lost to the Glenwood School. Morgan lost to Bessemer, but defeated the rest of its region opponents.

Morgan Academy, TA and Bessemer each have a 3-1 region record. Bessemer Academy (6-3) faces Kingwood Christian (5-4) on Friday.

Southside vs. Bullock County

The Southside Panthers (0-8) hosts the Bullock County Hornets (3-4) on Friday night.

The Panthers haven’t had an eight-game losing streak since the team started 0-8 in the 2010 season.

10 years ago, the Panthers won its final two games of the season.

The way this season is going, the Panthers would love to at least get into the win column on its homecoming night.

The Panthers offense has been able to fix its scoring issues that held the team back in the first four games of the season. The team has scored at least 20 points in its last four games, but the defensive issues still remain.

Southside’s offense averages 18.3 points per game, but every team they’ve played this season has scored at least 25 points. The Panthers have allowed an average of 36 points per game this season.

Even with the scoring improvements, the Panthers offense has been unable to keep up with the pace of its opponents.

Selma vs. Wetumpka

The Selma High Saints (1-6) haven’t won a game since its season opener against Southside, and on Friday they host the No. 6 Wetumpka Indians (7-1).

The region game also serves as the Saints final home game of the year.

Selma has been able to score in each of its games this season, but not enough to match their opponents.

The Saints defense has allowed 31 points per game to opponents this season, while the offense only averages 20.6 points per game. The last time the Saints scored more than 20 points was in its first game against Southside.

Wetumpka, on the other hand, has scored at least 23 points in each of its games this season. The Indians started the season on a six-game win streak, and their only loss was on the road against region opponent Stanhope Elmore.

The Saints are 0-4 in region games, and won’t make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Keith at Francis Marion

The Keith Bears (3-4) go on the road on Friday to face the Francis Marion Rams (4-2).

The Bears have lost its last three region games, and only have two remaining on the schedule. The Bears are in sixth place in Class 1A Region 3 with a 1-4 region record. Francis Marion is 3-2 in the region tied with Holy Spirit and Isabella.

The Bears average 22.1 points per game on offense, but their defense allows opponents to average 34 points per game. The only team Keith held under 20 points was Ellwood Christian Academy.

The Rams are still playing for the playoffs. Keith and Maplesville are its last two region games on the schedule. Maplesville was ranked No. 3 in the latest rankings, and will be one of its toughest games on the season.

The Bears don’t have much to lose, but they could make Francis Marion’s path to the playoffs a difficult one.

Dallas County vs. Elmore County

The Dallas County Hornets (0-7) host the Elmore County Panthers (5-2) on Friday night in a non-region game.

The Hornets scored in back-to-back weeks for the second time this season. The offense has struggled to get points on the board and has only reached the end zone multiple times in one game this season (at Sumter Central).

The team averages only 6.3 points per game, and the defense has allowed 31.3 points per game to opponents.

Elmore County, which is in Region 4, is in third place in its region. The matchup against Dallas County doesn’t affect its playoff chances nor its position in the standings.

The Panthers average 25.4 points per game and its defense allows 22.4 points per game to opponents.

Meadowview Christian vs. Cornerstone Christian

The Meadowview Christian Trojans (0-6) return to their home field on Friday night to take on the No. 4 Chambers Academy Rebels (8-0).

The Trojans have averaged less than a touchdown per game, and the defense has allowed nearly 60 points per game to opponents.

The Rebels have been dominating each of their opponents this season. The Rebels have shutout three opponents and haven’t allowed more than 14 points in any game. The Rebels average 46 points per game on offense and 27 points was the smallest margin of victory in any game this season.

Ellwood Christian vs. Isabella

The Ellwood Christian Eagles (0-7) go on the road to face the Isabella Mustangs (4-3) in a region game on Friday night.

The Eagles scored a season-high 30 points this past week in a losing effort to A.L. Johnson. In its best offensive game of the season, the team was performing well until the game unraveled in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles losing streak goes back three seasons, and its last win was in September 2015.

The Eagles offense has been shutout twice this season, and the offense averages 8 points per game. The defense allows 51.1 points per game to opponents.

Isabella, which is in the hunt for a playoff spot, was shutout twice this season. But those games were against No. 2 Linden and No. 3 Maplesville.

The Mustangs offense averages 25.3 points per game and the defense allows just 18.6 to opponents.

The key for the Eagles is mentally staying in the game through all four quarters.