By Stan J. Griffin: November 11, 2015

For 14 high school football teams in the Tuscaloosa/West Alabama area, it will be time to buckle their chinstraps again Friday night as they will be participating in the second round of the state playoffs.
One of those teams is Mike Smith's 9-2 Northridge High School Jaguars, who advanced with a particularly impressive 48-23 road victory against Dothan last Friday.
Three Jaguar running backs rushed for over 100 yards in that win.
The challenge increases significantly, however, for Smith's team this Friday as the Jaguars play host to Spanish Fort.
Spanish Fort, who comes to Northridge High with a perfect 11-0 record, was the champion of Class 6A Region 1.  It advanced to the second round by topping Pell City last week to the tune of 24-10.

Other playoff action this week involving Tuscaloosa/West Alabama schools includes:

By Stan J. Griffin: November 9, 2015

The opening round of the state high school football playoffs proved very fruitful for a host of Tuscaloosa/West Alabama schools this past week as they took a successful first step toward a hopeful journey to the Super Seven championship games in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

One of those schools was Sam Adams' Hillcrest Patriots, who began postseason play in fine form as they romped past Northview 36-15 last Thursday night before a loud and frenzied home crowd that included the famed "Adams Army" student support section.

Quarterback Cole Frederick was the star of the night for Adams' team as he threw for a pair of touchdowns while running for two more.

Hillcrest (8-3) rolled to a 21-6 lead early before the visitors trimmed the lead to 21-12 by the intermission.

Northview kicked a field goal for the only points of the third quarter, and heading into the final quarter it was a precarious 21-15 lead for the home team.

Hillcrest, however, blew the game open with a 15-0 surge in the fourth quarter and moved on to a second-round game on the road against Class 6A Region 3 champion Opelika.

Standout running back Brian Robinson, who is being recruited by a host of schools including Alabama, also had another huge effort with 169 yards rushing and a score.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: November 8, 2015

Although Saturday's much-hyped Southeastern Conference showdown between No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Alabama was competitive for a half in terms of the scoreboard, there was never any doubt about which team was the dominating force for this evening.

The Crimson Tide used a methodical offensive attack led by junior tailback Derrick Henry to dominate time of possession, pile up yardage and eventually break the game open against a weary Tiger defense. Alabama also rode a smothering defensive effort that held the Tigers' talented sophomore tailback Leonard Fournette to 31 yards while generally stifling the LSU offensive effort overall.

The result was a convincing 30-16 win for the Crimson Tide in front of a capacity crowd of 101,821 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The win, Alabama's sixth in a row since a home loss to Ole Miss, and fifth in a row over LSU, improved the Crimson Tide to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in SEC play. LSU, with its first defeat of the season, fell to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.

Most importantly, the big win allowed the Crimson Tide to regain control of its destiny in the SEC West thanks to the 53-52 victory by Arkansas at Ole Miss Saturday.

By Stan J. Griffin: November 5, 2015

Due to uncertainty regarding the weather conditions for Friday night, several Tuscaloosa/West Alabama schools have moved their first-round high school football games to tonight.
One of those local schools is Chris Smelley's No. 7 American Christian Academy Patriots.
The 9-1 Patriots, who finished as runner up to undefeated Gordo in Class 3A Region 4, begin postseason play as they host a Slocumb team that went 7-3 during the regular season.
Slocumb also finished a solid 4-2 in Class 3A Region 2, placing third in the region behind only Daleville and Pike County.
ACA had no trouble romping past Sumter Central last Friday behind the three touchdowns of Caleb Squires, and the Patriots are hoping to remain hot, especially offensively, as they begin a hopeful road to Tuscaloosa and the Super Seven state title games.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin

With ESPN's College GameDay returning to Tuscaloosa this week to feature yet another University of Alabama football game (which is seemingly almost becoming a weekly ritual for the popular show), and CBS also coming to Bryant-Denny Stadium for a prime time national broadcast, it is basically impossible to downplay the magnitude of Saturday's pivotal Southeastern Conference showdown between No. 2 LSU (as ranked in the initial College Football Playoff poll) and No. 4 Alabama Saturday.

Les Miles' Tigers (7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play) and Nick Saban's Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1) are set to renew what has become one of the nation's most intense rivalries Saturday in a game that kicks off just after 7 p.m.

While the game has become particularly spicy over the past seven or eight years due to Saban's previous coaching experience in Baton Rouge and many of the games being very close, hard-fought and physical battles, this year's contest is simply huge due to all of the potential SEC and playoff ramifications that accompany it.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin

Although the No. 7 University of Alabama football team was off this past week in terms of an actual game, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said the week was a productive one, nevertheless, for his team.

"We have been working on a lot of things, and a lot of repetitions for a lot of players, to improve," he said Monday. "But now it's time to sort of refocus on the task at hand. The players had a few days off, and I think the goal is is for us to play our best football of the year. To do that, each individual on the team needs to play their best, and that obviously starts with preparation, and we're going to start our preparation (for Saturday's game against No. 4 LSU) today."

Saban noted the magnitude of the Alabama/LSU rivalry, and how it has grown during the past several years. It will no doubt be a formidable challenge for his Crimson Tide squad once again when Les Miles' Tigers (7-0 overall and 4-0 in SEC play) comes to Tuscaloosa Saturday to battle his Alabama team (7-1, 4-1).

Courtesy of DCM Fan Zone

It's one of those annual clashes that needs no juiced-up pregame pep talk from the head coaches.

It's Florida. It's Georgia. And it's often for SEC East midseason supremacy. 
This year is one of those typical Florida-Georgia matchups. Sure, Missouri is the two-time defending SEC East champ, but it looks like it's gonna be one of the traditional SEC East powers -- either Florida or Georgia -- is gonna be representing the East in the Georgia Dome this year come December.

Courtesy of DCMFanZone

By Erik Stinnett

Arkansas seems to have a thing for these overtime instant classics.

The latest installment came last Saturday in Fayetteville when, in a battle of 2015 disappointments, Arkansas outlasted Auburn 54-46 in not one, not two, not three, but four overtimes. Brandon Allen's 25-yard TD pass to Drew Morgan on the first play of the fourth overtime and the ensuing successful two-point conversion proved to be the difference for the host Hogs.

By Stan J. Griffin: October 26, 2015

Lance Tucker's No. 8 Fayette County Tigers have a secure spot waiting for them in the Class 4A state playoffs, which begin in a couple of weeks.
But the Tigers came up just short Friday in their quest to capture the Region 5 title.
The No. 2 Cordova Blue Devils proved to be just a little too much for Tucker's host team as the visitors claimed the region crown with a hard-fought 20-18 victory.
Fayette County fell to 6-3 on the season and 5-1 in region play while Cordova, meanwhile, kept its perfect season going by improving to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in region play.

Courtesy of Crimson Magazine

By Stan J. Griffin: October 24, 2015

Nick Saban's No. 8 University of Alabama football team struggled offensively and defensively throughout the course of Saturday's contest against rival Tennessee at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and it appeared late in the contest that a physically-spent Crimson Tide team was in dire jeopardy of having its Southeastern Conference and national title hopes squashed by Butch Jones' Volunteer team.

But in a game mainly defined by the sluggishness of the Tide and the stubborn resolve of the visitors from Knoxville, a resilient and gritty Alabama team used big plays by Jake Coker, Derrick Henry, ArDarius Stewart, Ryan Anderson and A'Shawn Robinson among others in the last five minutes or so to avoid the huge home upset, while also keeping its win streak alive against the Volunteers.

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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