Last Week’s Picks: 4-2
This Season’s Picks: 19-5

This week, many of the Tuscaloosa-area schools are looking at off weeks, but many other schools in West Alabama are taking on cross-division and even cross-class showdowns. These may not affect playoff races, but they can definitely halt some of the valuable momentum that teams have been storing as they progress through the season.

Northridge Jaguars (5-0, 3-0) @ Gordo Green Wave (5-0, 3-0) [Thursday at Pickens County HS]-

In a battle of unbeatens, Northridge is looking at a Gordo squad that, like most years, looks very strong. The Jaguars have been on a roll recently with two big wins against Bessemer City and Brookwood. Next week, Northridge is eyeing a huge matchup against a Hillcrest team that was upset by Hueytown. If the Jags aren’t careful, Gordo could very well be a trap game.

Gordo has a very powerful offense. In their first five games, the Green Wave has 231 total points scored. Of these games, four have been 30+ point games. While the Jags’ defensive line has been powerful, this could be a very tough game.

Bryant’s Pick: Northridge has a powerful squad this year. With that being said, Gordo has made a statement in 2020 by playing all of their home games on Thursdays at Pickens County High School. While the Green Wave has struggled at home- their lowest-scoring games have occurred at home- Northridge will likely have a down game by wrongfully looking past this game and towards Hillcrest. Gordo will win in a close one.

Courtesy of Tuscaloosa City Schools

Aliceville Yellow Jackets (4-1, 3-0) @ Pickens County Tornadoes (4-1, 4-0)

While Northridge-Gordo will undoubtedly be the game of the week, the matchup will be the best game to be played on Friday. Both Pickens County and Aliceville are often overlooked in West Alabama, but these teams have both been forces to reckon with in recent years. The Tornadoes, a ‘1A’ program, and the Yellow Jackets, a ‘2A’ program have both made deep playoffs runs the past two years, and 2020 looks to continue the trend.

Pickens County is coming off a big home win against Lynn High School, so the Tornadoes will surely be looking to continuing their three-game winning streak.

Bryant’s Pick: While both programs are very strong, the Tornadoes have shown that their defense is strong enough to hold the Yellow Jackets. Pickens County will win this game handily.

Paul Bryant Stampede (1-4, 0-2) @ Central Falcons (2-2, 1-1)-

For many Tuscaloosa-area residents, this matchup is always exciting. Bryant used to be a part of Central, so bad blood between the teams can run deep.
The Bryant Stampede got their first win of the season last week against a struggling Holt team. While they struggled all season offensively, all of a sudden, they found a groove against the Ironmen, scoring over 30 points.

Unfortunately for the Stampede, Central seems to have regrouped after a much-need bye week. The Falcons got a valuable region win against Marbury with a huge rushing game led by running back Markelious Furr. Central has shown their strong potential nearly every game this season, and it finally seems to be working in their favor.

Bryant’s Pick: While Bryant had a big showing last week, Central has finally found their footing. If they can stay clean with few penalties, the Falcons will be walking away on Friday night with a big win.

Courtesy of Bryant Horn, TIDE 100.9

Escambia Academy Cougars (3-1, 2-0) @ Tuscaloosa Academy Knights (2-3, 2-1)-

With a big win against Valiant Cross Academy in Week 3 and Bessemer Academy in Week 4, the Knights sit at two wins. Their defense has struggled thus far, allowing 106 points this season. While TA has shown potential, it seems that they are struggling to find consistency.

The Cougars of Escambia Academy have also struggled defensively, but they have managed to match their opponents by keeping their only loss within one score. Last year’s Knights-Cougars game was a close 20-19 Escambia Academy victory.

Bryant’s Pick: While last year, TA walked away with a victory, this year’s competition won’t be as close. Expect a high-scoring game by both teams, but Escambia Academy will win big.

Sulligent Blue Devils (1-4, 1-2) @ Hale County Wildcats (4-1, 2-1)-

Hale County has surely been the surprise team this year for West Alabama. After going 1-9 last year, the Wildcats seem to have fully turned around. Even in their sole loss to Montgomery Academy, the Wildcats still managed to score 14 points.

Sulligent, on the other hand, has only won one game this year- a forfeit win against Midfield. Only one of their losses has been close, and it doesn’t seem like the Blue Devils can hang with the Wildcats.

Bryant’s Pick: This game might get ugly fast. Hale County will continue their incredible “Cinderella season” with a big win over the Blue Devils Friday night.

Sipsey Valley Bears (0-5, 0-3) @ Brookwood Panthers (0-5, 0-3)-

2020 has not been kind to Brookwood so far this year. The Panthers had several players and even their head coach sit out a game due to COVD-19, and in return, the team has struggled. In fact, they have had a whopping 222 points scored on them. Still, the Panthers have a huge opportunity this week.

Sipsey Valley has struggled even more, only scoring 27 points this year. This is a drop off from last season, where the Bears won four of their 10 games, going 2-4 in region play. It doesn’t get any easier for the Bears either. Their remaining teams are a combined 11-7, not including the Panthers this week.

Bryant’s Pick: While it has been a rough season so far for Brookwood, Panthers fans might be delighted to see that their team will be getting a checkmark in the “win column” this week. Brookwood will finally be getting their first win.

Photo Courtesy of J.R. Moore

Hillcrest, Tuscaloosa County, Northside, American Christian Academy, and Holt will get some much-needed rest.

In two weeks though, these teams will be looking at some marquee matchups. Hillcrest will be traveling to Northridge for a battle for the top spot in Region 4 of “6A.” Tuscaloosa County is traveling to Gadsden City, Northside will be traveling to Fayette County, and ACA and Holt will be facing off.

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