Athens (6-1, 4-0) at Muscle Shoals (8-0, 4-0)
The skinny: Region 7 championship game. … Muscle Shoals seeks its fifth region title under coach Scott Basden and first since 2015. Athens hasn’t won a region title since it won 11 straight from 1990-2000. … The Trojans’ closest games this year have been against Florence (19 points) and Hartselle (21), but Athens has won six games in a row since a season-opening loss to Gardendale. … Muscle Shoals has won this game each of the last four years, always by double digits, and former Athens quarterback Logan Smothers is now a Trojan. … This year he’s thrown for over 1,300 yards and run for more than 500. … Muscle Shoals is fourth in Class 6A in scoring offense and first in scoring defense. Athens is eighth and seventh, respectively. … Muscle Shoals has beaten all four common opponents by a bigger margin than Athens did.
TD pick: Muscle Shoals
Jasper (7-0, 5-0) at Russellville (6-1, 4-1)
The skinny: Russellville was held without a point in last week’s upset loss to Hamilton for the first time since 2017 and is currently in danger of having to travel for a first round playoff game. … One obvious problem is turnovers – Russellville threw three interceptions and lost three fumbles last week. … Jasper has totally dominated Region 7, outscoring Dora, Corner, Hayden, West Point and Lawrence County by a combined 250-27. … Last week, Jasper’s Kaden Shelton ran 17 times for 209 yards and J.C. Collins ran 24 times for 161 yards against Lawrence County, according to the Daily Mountain Eagle. … Russellville won’t have so many turnovers again this week, but Jasper – which won 42-13 last year – might still be too much.
TD pick: Jasper
Hamilton (6-1, 4-1) at Lawrence County (Ala.) (3-4, 2-3)
The skinny: Hamilton got its biggest win of the season last week, upsetting Russellville 17-0. … Lawrence County dropped its second game in a row, losing to the No. 1 team in Class 5A, Jasper, 42-20, but it hung tough with the Vikings before they pulled away in the second half. … Hamilton’s defense hasn’t allowed over 30 points all season and shined big in the win over the Golden Tigers with six turnovers and a blocked punt. … Hamilton won 43-28 in 2018 and leads the series 9-3.
TD pick: Hamilton
West Limestone (4-3, 2-2) at Brooks (4-3, 3-1)
The skinny: Both teams are coming off Class 4A, Region 8 losses and Brooks is trying to preserve its No. 2 seed. … Brooks had trouble slowing down Deshler’s rushing attack but was still able to make plays on offense with the arm of quarterback Carson Daniel. … Brooks will need to rely on Daniel, who entering last week had thrown for 1,269 yards and 15 touchdowns and running back Cam Beckwith (479 yards and 10 touchdowns) to keep the offense rolling. … Brooks, however, beat West Limestone 33-7 last year and leads the series 16-1.
TD pick: Brooks
Wilson (2-5, 2-3) at Central (2-5, 2-2)
The skinny: In this Class 4A, Region 8 rivalry, Wilson has to win to have any chance at the playoffs. … The Warriors beat Elkmont 42-6 last week while Central fell to Mars Hill 34-12. … Wilson’s offense is led by quarterback Chris Silva, who’s rushed 80 times for 483 yards and six touchdowns, and running back Tanner Melton, who has 498 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. … Central’s Dalton Hanback continues to be near the top among the area’s rushers with 1,243 yards and 17 touchdowns. … Central won this game 57-21 last year and narrowly leads the series 20-18. … Look for Hanback and company to get back on track Friday night.
TD pick: Central
Elkmont (1-6, 0-4) at Rogers (1-6, 1-3)
The skinny: Rogers took its name off the winless list last week with a 23-19 win at West Limestone, the last of four road games in as many weeks. … QB Jake Wallace made a nice memory when he scored the game-winning touchdown from a yard out with 29 seconds left, his second touchdown of the night. … Austin Burgess had a touchdown, Tyler Peden caught a two-point conversion and Chandler Farris had two interceptions and also caught a two-point conversion. … Elkmont will finish with a losing record for the fifth year in a row. … The Red Devils’ lone win was over Lexington (16-14), which beat Rogers 3-0. … Still, the Pirate defense is probably good enough to frustrate Elkmont’s struggling offense. … Rogers is a longshot for the playoffs but still has a chance with a win here.
TD pick: Rogers
Haleyville (3-4, 2-2) at Fayette County (5-2, 3-1)
The skinny: Give Haleyville credit in its first year under coach Chris Musso. The Lions have lost to region leaders Northside and Good Hope, but both games were within a touchdown. … So though Haleyville is probably an underdog this week, there’s no reason to think the Lions can’t compete. … Both Haleyville and Fayette County lost to Northside and beat Curry and Oak Grove. … Haleyville is currently in fourth place in the region standings, and the Lions can still make the playoffs with a loss here as long as they beat Cordova the next week. … Haleyville needs to find its offense, which has totaled only 26 points over the last three weeks. … The defense, however, has allowed only 23 total points over the last two games. … Haleyville’s Camden Smith ran for 109 yards last week. … These teams have played the last five years, with Haleyville winning in 2016.
TD pick: Fayette County
Lauderdale County (7-1, 5-0) at Westminster Christian (5-2, 3-1)
The skinny: A win here gives Lauderdale County a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and the outright Region 8 title. … The Tigers are one of the hottest teams around, having won seven games in a row – all by double digits. Their lone loss was the first week of the year to Class 4A Brooks. … A run-oriented program for years, Lauderdale County has found success via the pass. Slade Brown (over 1,500 passing yards) counts Blade Wisdom and Daniel Romine among his top targets. … The Tiger defense has also held four of its last five opponents to a touchdown or less. … Westminster is also hot, having run off four easy wins since a narrow loss to Colbert Heights. … The Wildcats are defending region champs and won this game 42-6 last year. The rematch should be much closer.
TD pick: Lauderdale County
Colbert Heights (5-3, 3-1) at Clements (4-3, 2-2)
The skinny: A win here keeps Colbert Heights in position for a second-place finish or a three-way tie for first in Region 8. … Colbert Heights has made it the last two years. … The Wildcats almost slipped last week, surviving an upset bid by Lexington 21-20. … Andrew Tedford made a key interception to preserve a win. Carson Shaw scored twice and Cherokee transfer Gage Pugh once. … Clements has scored more points than Colbert Heights has in region play but given up far more. … A Clements win would give the Colts five for the year, their most since getting seven in 2009. … The teams have met each of the last five years. Colbert Heights has won all five, but the last two have been by a touchdown or less.
TD pick: Colbert Heights
Colbert County (5-3, 3-2) at Sheffield (4-3, 2-2)
The skinny: These teams are looking to solidify their spots in the postseason and improve seeding. … The Indians have lost three straight after falling 20-14 to Red Bay last Friday. … Sheffield was idle last week after also falling to Red Bay the week before, 30-14. … The Indians will hope to keep the ground game rolling with running back Ethan Smith. … Sheffield will rely on quarterback Khori Bowling, who’s thrown for 1,476 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. … Colbert County won 27-6 in 2018 and leads the series 41-23-3. Look for the Indians to break the losing streak Friday.
TD pick: Colbert County
Tanner (1-6, 1-3) at Red Bay (7-0, 4-0)
The skinny: Two years ago Red Bay missed the playoffs for the first time since 1998, but the Tigers are clearly back to their winning ways. … Red Bay has won 12 consecutive regular season games and looks set to win its next couple without much trouble. … A region champ every year from 2010 through ’16, Tanner has won only five games since then. … Tanner has allowed at least 35 points in all but two games this year. … Gavin Edgman (68 tackles) and Cameron McKinney (64) lead an excellent Red Bay defense allowing 10.6 points per game – fourth-best in the state in Class 2A. … Red Bay won 50-24 last year, and another rout might be on the way.
TD pick: Red Bay
Tharptown (1-5, 0-4) at Addison (6-2, 3-1)
The skinny: Tharptown started its season with a shutout win, but the fun didn’t last long. The Wildcats have lost five in a row – all by at least 30 points. … The outlook isn’t great for this game against an Addison team fighting for to earn a first round playoff game at home. … Addison’s defense has been good all year and is allowing an average of 12.5 points per game over the current four-game win streak. … Tharptown has failed to score in double digits over its last four games.
TD pick: Addison
Waterloo (7-1, 5-0) at Mars Hill (7-0, 4-0)
The skinny: Class 1A, Region 8 championship game for the second year in a row. … These teams have proven through frequent blowouts to be the clear best in this region. … Waterloo has taken care of business since a second-week loss to Hubbertville, letting Junior Summerhill, Campbell Parker and Hayden Hester guide an offense averaging 41.6 points per game. … Waterloo is also holding teams to 12.6 points per game. … Top-ranked Mars Hill leads Class 1A in scoring behind running backs Peyton Higgins (826 yards) and Justus McDaniel (605). … Eighth-grade QB Griffin Hanson has thrown for 660 yards. … Mars Hill’s size and strength up front helped the Panthers pull away last year to a 54-20 win. … These teams will host first round playoff games regardless of the outcome.
TD pick: Mars Hill
Vina (2-5, 2-2) at Shoals Christian (1-7, 1-3)
The skinny: Shoals Christian got its first win of the season last week when it beat Cherokee 34-20. Vina, on the other hand, had a tough 48-0 loss to Waterloo. … The Red Devils are currently slotted or a playoff bid, and a win here would help solidify a spot. … The Flame, meanwhile, can build confidence for the future with a second consecutive win late in the year. … Shoals Christian won 34-12 last season and leads the series 14-3 … However, look for Vina to win Friday.
TD pick: Vina
Cherokee (0-7, 0-4) at Hackleburg (2-5, 2-2)
The skinny: Hackleburg enters this game off a 38-22 win over Phillips that keeps the Panthers in line for a possible No. 3 seed in the playoffs. … Hackleburg freshman Caden Jones has formed a strong connection with veteran Ethan Heggy and thrown for over 1,400 yards. … Jeitt Traywick is the leading tackler for Hackleburg, which looks to return to the playoffs after missing out last year to snap a 10-year streak. … Cherokee lost 34-20 last week to Shoals Christian and will miss the playoffs. The Indians qualified three straight years after a 13-year absence. … These teams are starting numerous eighth- and ninth-graders, so there’s a chance for them to trend up in the next couple years.
TD pick: Hackleburg
Valley Head (5-2, 3-1) at R.A. Hubbard (4-4, 2-3)
The skinny: Important game for the Chiefs, who are in trouble with a loss but have a solid shot at qualifying for the playoffs with a win. … This is the final Class 1A, Region 7 game of the year for the Chiefs. … R.A. Hubbard missed an opportunity to improve its playoff outlook with last week’s 30-28 loss to Woodville. … Todd Perkins leads R.A. Hubbard with 570 rushing yards, and Derrick Wiggins has passed for 502. … Valley Head had won four straight games before a non-region loss last week to Ragland. … R.A. Hubbard won 31-0 this year, but Valley Head has fared better against several common opponents.
TD pick: Valley Head
Hatton (3-4) at Lexington (1-6)
The skinny: The Hatton offense, quiet in the month of September, has roared in October. The Hornets scored 46 and 51 the last two games. … That’s certainly a reflection of the competition Hatton has played, but it’s also an encouraging sign as the Hornets finish the season. … Four teams in this region have either two or three region wins – including Hatton – so a Hornet win here could help in a tiebreaker situation. … Jaxson Mitchell has run for 481 yards and seven touchdowns. … Lexington has competed better lately and nearly upset Colbert Heights last week before falling 21-20. … Lexington leads the series 16-8-1, but Hatton rolled 46-13 a year ago.
TD pick: Hatton
Lawrence County (3-4, 0-3) at Tullahoma (4-3, 1-2)
The skinny: Lawrence County can move within a win of clinching a playoff berth by beating Tullahoma in Class 4A, Region 4. A win over Tullahoma would leave the Wildcats needing only a win vs. winless Spring Hill of qualifying for the playoffs. … Lawrence County had last week off and is trying to snap a three game losing streak after opening the season 3-1. … Tullahoma beat Lawrence County 31-6 last season. … Wildcats have been in an offensive slump last three games, totaling only 10 points in the losses. … Tullahoma had a three-game winning streak snapped last week by Nolensville, 13-7.
TD pick: Tullahoma
Loretto (3-4, 1-2) at Lewis County (5-1, 2-1)
The skinny: Loretto travels to second place Lewis County in the Class AA, Region 5 standing needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt. … Loretto played Mt. Pleasant tough last week before the Tigers scored 16 points in the fourth quarter. … Lewis County’s only loss this season was against Summertown, a 21-14 setback. The Panthers have won two in a row since then. Summertown edged Loretto 31-30 in double overtime. … Lewis County won 49-19 a year ago.
TD pick: Lewis County
McEwen (4-3, 3-1) at Wayne County (1-6, 1-2)
The skinny: Wayne County is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 19 years. The Wildcats have lost four in a row and their only win was against Middleton. … Offense has been an issue in the losing streak. The Wildcats have scored only 38 points during the losing streak and have scored more than two touchdowns in a game twice this season. … Wayne County beat McEwen 36-14 a year ago. … McEwen has won three straight and 4 of 5 to surge into playoff contention. … The Warriors have allowed 32 points during their three game winning streak.
TD pick: McEwen
Last week: 15-4 (78.9%)
Season record: 130-32 (80.2%)