James Jones column: Dallas County’s playoff chances

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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We’re at the halfway point of the high school football season and the playoff picture is shaping up. Through six weeks of regular season play, it looks like we’re headed to our worst postseason performance in a long time.

Southside and Keith will reach the state playoffs unless their teams fall to injuries over the next six weeks. We have other candidates for the playoffs, which start the second week of November.

That’s a far drop from last year when Southside and Keith were joined by Morgan Academy, Selma, and Meadowview Christian School at the postseason party.

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Based on what I’ve seen this season, Southside and Keith are the best prep football teams in Dallas County.

A 22-0 loss to Southside should not discourage the Bears. I feel that a shutout to the Panthers will only toughen Keith’s rear end. I admire Keith head coach Anthony Lumpkin for always facing the bigger schools. Southside and Keith always host a spirited rivalry contest. The score rarely indicates their hard-fought battles.

Keith (3-2, 2-1) needs to beat Sweet Water for a shot at winning the Region 3, Class 1A title on Oct. 13 or finishing second. A second seed would give the Bears a home first-round playoff game next month and Lumpkin loves playing in Orrville.

If Keith finishes third, I believe the Bears will be a dangerous first-round opponent for a higher seed to eliminate.

During the summer, I said Southside was the best team in Dallas County. The Panthers have done nothing to change my mind.

I always enjoy watching the Panthers matriculate the ball downfield with receivers Derick Smith and Erick Smith catch passes from quarterback MJ Reese.

Southside coach Charles Moody Jr. said Friday night’s contest against Prattville Christian Academy will determine if the Panthers (3-2, 1-2)  make the playoffs. Win or lose, I believe the Panthers will reach the Class 3A state playoffs.

If I were the coach that draws a third or fourth-seed Southside team, I would  be losing sleep thinking about ways to stop the Smith twins. The record may not indicate it, but the Panthers are that dangerous.

Morgan Academy has a shot to make the playoffs, but the Senators must win three of their final four games against Glenwood, Autauga Academy, and Monroe Academy. 

Selma can make the 5A state playoffs with wins over Marbury, Shelby County, and Jemison. Two of those wins would earn the Saints a three or four-seed.

Until proven otherwise, my bet’s on Southside and Keith as the local teams making the state playoffs.