It was a rough Friday for local teams playing against opponents from outside the Bi-City area.
Carver fell at Colquitt County, 33-0; Spencer was outgunned by Manchester, 51-16; Opelika stunned Central 37-7. In all, 12 such games were played, and the Bi-City team came out on top in just two (Pacelli and Russell County). Local teams were outscored in those 12 games 423-182.
Despite the lopsided nature of a lot of these games, however, not all are equal. It's important to look at each in context.
For example: Both Carver and Central were outmanned significantly by their opponents. The combined halftime scores in those two games was 56-0. The difference in the losses, however, is that, while Central dropped a game within its region, Carver was playing against the No. 8 team in Class AAAAAA.
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It is from a bigger classification, and it is a bigger and faster team, really. No shame for the Tigers. There are a lot of teams in the state Colquitt County will beat by a significant margin.
What the Tigers accomplished in the game, however, was seeing how they matched up against the state's best competition. They were able to see their strengths and weakness in a more glaring light in hopes that it might better prepare them for region play, which begins in two weeks against Pike County.
It isn't unlike a non-region game it played a year ago against then-Class AA foe Buford. Buford, a bigger and more talented team across the board, won the game 35-7, but Carver ran through its remaining schedule and gave the Wolves a very tough game when they returned to Columbus for the state semifinals.
Can we expect the same from Carver this year? It's too early to tell. The Tigers certainly have their issues to correct, but, if history is any indication, correct them they will. Ultimately, while the team didn't go to Moultrie, Ga., to lose to Colquitt County, coach Dell McGee knew what the team was up against when the game was scheduled. His goal, as he told me after the game on Friday, was to give his team a chance to play against the best and see how it responded.
In the case of Central, the loss means a bit more, especially when considering the Red Devils were coming off a big region win over Carver-Montgomery, one of the top teams in the state of Alabama, a week ago.
Now, coach Woodrow Lowe told me on Thursday that a loss to Opelika doesn't erase any of the good work against Carver. He knew Opelika was a tough, physical football team.
He's certainly right, of course. By topping the Wolverines two games ago, his team has kept itself out of the two-game hole it would now find itself in. That said, a great opportunity to take control in a very difficult region was missed, and Central will have to make up for it against difficult teams going forward.
I was going to include Pacelli in the previous section, discussing the fact that it managed to cruise to a victory when so many other teams around the area were firing blanks.
But I figured a 2-0 starts, when it won just one game a season ago, was worth its own writeup.
Pacelli topped Stewart County 43-14 on Friday to surpass last season's win total in just its second game of the season. And while opponents haven't necessarily been the toughest of tests for the Vikings yet, it does not take away from the progress they have clearly made.
In its first seven games a season ago, Pacelli failed to win a game and scored just 37 points combined, an average of just over five points per game. This year, in its two opening wins, Pacelli has already scored 63.
Coach Randy Grace has helped his club grow on both sides of the ball and, helped by new quarterback Wyatt Peterson, the offense is moving the ball much better.
It's far to early to say Pacelli has turned the program all the way around. There will undoubtedly be growing pains as the season goes along. But, for now, it simply deserves a tip of the cap for the clear progress it has made over the last year.
Another tip of the cap is reserved for Russell County coach Demond McCoy, who picked up his first win as a head coach when his team topped Rehobeth 24-0 on Friday night. Russell County lost its first two games of the season to Central and Carroll-Ozark. The team is now 1-2....The Shaw Raiders displayed solid resilience in a 27-6 win over Hardaway a week after coming up short in an 18-13 loss against Carver. Coach Kyle Adkins was serving a suspension for comments made about officiating after the Carver game, but his team was well-prepared and executed in an important victory. Shaw, now 2-1, has a difficult matchup with LaGrange next on the schedule.
Making the grade
Some notable performances from teams and individuals this week.
--Shaw quarterback Chandler Whittlesey may become a Weekly Wrap regular with performances like Friday's, as he tossed three touchdown passes in a win over Hardaway.
--Glenwood quarterback Brandon Daley played catchup in a 68-42 loss to Edgewood, but managed 230 yards and three touchdown passes.
--Pacelli trio of Luke Dawahare, Jay Dawahare and Wyatt Peterson. Luke, the younger of the Dawahare brothers, caught five passes, three for touchdowns and grabbed an interception on defense. Jay snagged two interceptions and recorded a touchdown reception on offense. Peterson tossed four touchdowns in the game. I'll let you three battle it out over who gets tabbed our Ledger-Enquirer Football Player of the Week award on Monday...
Think someone else belongs on this exclusive list? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports.
Here's a look at the area's power rankings. I'll list my top 5 each week. Spirited, but civil, debate is encouraged in the comments.
Central benefits from an area full of difficult games on Friday to hang on to the top spot. It didn't play like No. 1 against Opelika, but we can't just ignore what it has done in the past. It was a hiccup, no question, but I expect Central to rebound fine.
As with Central, a 33-0 loss against a Class AAAAAA opponent isn't enough to knock the Tigers down a peg. It defeated the next team on the last a week ago, and deserves to stay in the No. 2 spot for the time being. Carver has plenty of room to improve, but improve it will.
The Raiders performed well without their head coach on Friday and showed a lot of mettle for a growing team. It isn't there yet, but this certainly seems like a team that has a lot of good performances in the future.
Idle this week, the Cougars benefited from Glenwood's loss to jump up a spot in the rankings. Brookstone appears to be on a good trajectory so far this season with wins over Columbus and Mount Paran Christian. Wesleyan is next on the schedule.
It lost to Edgewood on Friday and really didn't have much of a shot from early in the game. But let's not forget that game was a battle between the Nos. 1 and 2 private schools in the state of Alabama. The Gators weren't playing against a weak opponent.
I had to add Pacelli here. Don't worry, Vikings. You're on my radar. Another win or two, and we might see you in the top 5.
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