2008 Season Preview
As all the years preceding it the 2008 season promises to be another great autumn of football in the state of Alabama. Many changes will create an atmosphere of worry in some of the recent title contenders camps as fans at Hoover, Prattville, Spain Park and Oxford hope to continue their climb to the top with new head coaches in class 6A. With an unusual number of head coaching changes, especially among the key teams in 6A, it may take a little time before the better teams emerge from the pack. Every quarterback club seems to be looking for the next Bill Clark or Todd Watson that can instantly turn a program around. Fans usually learn the hard way that for every success story there are ten that just don't quite pan out the way they expected.
Prattville comes into the season sporting a 30 game winning streak and a 56
games regular season winning streak. Both will be on the line in week one when
the lions travel to Ohio to meet St. Xavier. If Prattville can win that game the
streaks should continue until the late rounds of the playoffs. They still have a
long way to go to match the 55 game streak put up by the Clay County teams on
the mid 1990s. The 56 game streak is already at the top of the lists for most
consecutive wins during the regular season.
Another interesting streak that could be in jeopardy is the amazing 268 games that the Tigers of T.R. Miller have amassed during the past 20 years of having scored in every game. With coach Jamie Riggs still at the helm we should see that streak continue for some time to come. Today's high-powered offenses make shutting out an opponent almost as obsolete as the leather helmet. 2007 was a down season for the Tigers as they lost more games than they won for the first time since 1981 by finishing the season at 5-6. Dropping a classification to 3A will not harm the Tigers chances of winning a few more games this season either.
Hazlewood and Colbert County should have no problem continuing their streaks of 27 straight season making the playoffs. Both teams are in the midst of their annual reloading and will be in the hunt for a state championship come playoff time. Clay County's 25 year winning record streak may be the safest bet of all. Coach Danny Horn's Panthers have appeared in the last three state championship games and there is little chance they will lose more than a handful of games after moving down in classification to 2A this season.
Brantley and Prattville have both won their last 42 region games in a row. That is not good news for region opponents of either team. The Lions have lost only once in region play this century. If both teams manage to go undefeated Brantley will emerge the winner as they play one more region game than Prattville this season. Neither team can catch the UMS-Wright Bulldogs this season who won 56 consecutive region games between 1995-2006.
Colbert County and T.R. Miller enter the season tied for the most wins all time in the state with 583. One method of breaking the tie would be to have the two teams meet in Birmingham in December. It is possible as both teams now reside in class 3A and will be bidding for the same state championship come playoff time.
The record least likely to ever be broken..... Well, any team will be hard pressed to duplicate the efforts of Clay County in 1996. In this age of explosive offenses the Panthers' defense somehow managed to pitch 11 shutouts! Somehow that record seems secure for the foreseeable future. Along those lines, what about Hamilton's 1928-30 record of 14 consecutive shutouts? It is hard enough just to win 14 straight. Or what about the seven documented teams that allowed no points for an entire season?
Who has the best chance to repeat as state champions? All the championship teams lost a lot of talent this season. Central Tuscaloosa moves up to class 5A after winning it all last season. They will find the going a little tougher this year. Sweet Water will reload and be gunning again for Birmingham. Prattville will have a lot to prove early if they wish to maintain possession of the Blue Map. Cordova and Leroy could be the best bets to repeat. Leroy has grown accustomed to being in the mix and 2008 will be no exception. The St. Paul's Saints lost almost the entire team to graduation but with the #1 quarterback prospect in the state coming back for his senior season they will be difficult to keep out of Legion field come December. The best bet to repeat in my opinion will be Leroy. They return enough starters on both sides of the football to compete. Willl they win the Class 2A championship? Well, let's just say I won't bet my house on anything that happens on a Friday night in a football stadium.
I almost forgot. The record most likely to be broken..... That would have to be the 108,000 games documented by AHSFHS.org. Now there is one bet you can take to the bank.
The Tuscaloosa Black Bears were considered one of the best programs in the nation from 1925-1931. Their record over that span was an amazing 61-0-3.