We've seen the joy of football season in some great performances and the anguish the game can be with season ending injuries. For all of these high school seniors, this year is their last chance to grab that coveted state championship, and with nine of Alabama's 19 commitments taking the field tonight in playoff action, one must think at least one of them will capture that sweet feeling of being the best in the state.
Cooper Bateman and O.J. Howard are the only two commitments to take part in any post-season game so far. Bateman and the Cottonwood Colts fell to Bingham 52-13 as Bateman ran in the Colts only touchdown in the loss.
Howard had a different result in his production, and he came out with a win in large part due to Howard who caught eight passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns. He also recorded nine tackles, two sacks, and a pass deflection on defense.
TideSports.com will take a look into the playoff match-ups each week and update stats and scores during the weekend.
Stone Bridge (10-0) v. Edison (5-5): Virginia Class 3A Playoffs
Jonathan Allen and the Bulldogs come in as the only undefeated team of the respective 18 teams with Crimson Tide commitments on them. Allen has led a defense that has given up just 8.2 points a game while causing over 2.5 turnovers a game. Stone Bridge is built on defense and their ability to run the football, so look for the Bulldogs to take the hard-nosed, physical approach to the game late into the playoffs.
Handley (6-4) @ Calera (8-2): Alabama Class 4A Playoffs
When Bradley Bozeman went down with a torn ACL in the fourth game of the season, Handley was off to a good start at 3-1. After winning two more games, they extended their record to 5-1 with a very strong rushing attack, but losing a player like Bozeman will effect play on the line. Handley lost three of their last four games entering the playoffs and will take on a Calera team that has outscored their opponents this season by 260 points.
Carver (6-3) v. South Plaquemines (7-2): Louisiana Class 2A Playoffs
Despite having the worst record between the two, Raheem Falkins and the Carver High School Rams will get to start the playoff run at home. It was just two weeks ago when South Plaquemines knocked off Carver in a 36-34 game. Falkins caught five balls for 102 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting this season.
Huntsville (6-4) @ Florence (7-4): Alabama Class 6A Playoffs
Huntsville tacked on some key wins down the stretch of their season as the Panthers knocked off Clay-Chalkville and Gadsden City in back-to-back weeks to secure a playoff spot. With both of those key wins coming on the road, Huntsville finds themselves in a familiar position, a must win game on the road. Deonte Moore will lead the charge in a stout Huntsville rushing attack with Grant Hill paving the way.
Autauga Academy (10-1) @ Clarke Prep (10-1): Class 2A of the AISA Playoffs
O.J. Howard is back and healthy as the Autauga Academy Generals headed into the playoffs last weekend. Catching five touchdowns in the last two games, Howard is a threat to make any play into a big play. The Generals will need that tonight as they take on their stiffest competition yet this season.
Evangelical Christian (4-6) @ Fayette Academy (9-2): Tennessee Class 2A Playoffs
This will mark the second meeting between these two teams this season; Fayette Academy won the first by a score of 21-20. Walker Jones will continue to see reps on both sides of the ball as he is used as a running back in short yardage situations and will continue to man the linebacker corp. Jones touched the ball twice on offense totaling 18 yards and racked up six tackles, five solo and two assisted, in the first meeting.
Liberty (6-4) v. Buchanan (4-6):
Another playoff meeting that is the second meeting between the respective teams. Liberty won the first meeting 42-21.
Foley (7-3) v. Baker (7-3): Alabama Class 6A Playoffs
Darius Paige and the Foley Lions enter the post-season after going 4-1 in the second half of the season. Paige, who injured his ankle early in the season, is healthy and playing a crucial role on Foley's defensive line. Coming out of a tough region, Foley has played some of the best competition in the state all season, preparing them for what they hope is a deep playoff run.
Fultondale (8-2) @ Lanett (8-1): Alabama Class 2A Playoffs
Fultondale star ArDarius Stewart has been considered one of the favorites to take home the Mr. Football award in the state this season. He starts his run to try and win a state championship tonight as Fultondale drew Lanett in the first round. Stewart will face a stingy defense tonight as Lanett has only given up just 10 points a game all season.
Other games played tonight. Note, these are not playoff games.
Yulee (6-3) @ Hamilton County (2-7):
This is Derrick Henry's last game of the regular season before Yulee suits up to take on Taylor County next week to start the playoffs.
Walton (7-2) @ Roswell (2-7):
In the Raiders last game of the regular season, it appears that Tyren Jones nor Parker McLeod will play. McLeod has been out with a high ankle sprain for weeks, and Jones injured his knee in Walton's game last week. Both are expected to return for Walton's first round playoff game next week.
Fort Bend Dulles (5-4) v. Fort Bend Travis (6-3):
Maurice Smith is looking to help keep Dulles High's playoff hopes alive in a must win game tonight.
Sandalwood (6-3) v. White (5-4):
DeMarcus Walker and Sandalwood look for a win tonight to continue their season.
Anthony Averett and Woodbury High School have a Bye week and will finish their regular season vs Gateway Regional on 11/22.
Altee Tenpenny and North Little Rock High School will have a Bye week this week and play their first playoff game next Friday. Their opponent is not yet decided.