Here are a few storylines for Friday night’s third-round games involving local teams:
The obvious test for both teams Friday night is handling a couple of road tests. Hartselle (12-0) heads to Center Point (11-1), while 2A Tanner (12-0) plays at Woodland (8-4). For Hartselle, it’s the second tough away game in as many weeks, as the Tigers rallied from an early 14-point deficit last week at Pinson Valley.
Both remaining teams win in contrasting styles. Tanner averages nearly 50 points per game, while Hartselle allows opponents fewer than 10. The Rattlers scored 39 last week in a win over Reeltown, last year’ runner-up, and have scored 30 or more points in 11 of 12 games this year. Hartselle’s defense will be tested once again Friday night, as Center Point has set a school record for points in a season.
The stakes are obvious — win and advance. A couple of wins by area teams could produce a pair of semifinal rematches. Assuming Briarwood beats Muscle Shoals, a win would pit Hartselle against Briarwood in a rematch from last year’s 5A semifinals, which Briarwood won in overtime by a field goal. If Tanner beats Woodland and Fultondale beats Lineville, the Rattlers would be paired with its Week 2 opponent. Tanner beat Region 7 foe Fultondale 24-7 in the second week of the season.