By Gary Lloyd
First-year Center Point head coach Bennie Hall thought it was funny.
At media day in July, Hall was asked his thoughts on other Class 5A, Region 6 coaches favoring his Eagles to win the region this season. He said those coaches have a good sense of humor and futures in comedy if they leave the coaching profession.
Pinson Valley head coach Matt Glover had no sense of humor when he said, based on Center Point’s returning experience, that it should be the favorite.
Midway through the 2013 season, Glover is right. And no one is laughing.
Center Point is 5-0 for the first time since 1988, when the school was still known as Erwin, and is 3-0 in the region, tied with Walker, which is ineligible for the Class 5A playoffs due to a coaches’ brawl with Cullman earlier this season.
Pinson Valley (3-2, 2-1) travels to Bowman Field in Center Point on Friday to take on the undefeated Eagles in a game that will go a long way in determining the winner of the region. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Center Point last week beat Class 5A No. 1 McAdory 22-14 in overtime at home, a statement win for the Eagles. Pinson Valley got behind 27-3 after one quarter against Class 6A No. 2 Clay-Chalkville last week, but managed to stay tough in the final three quarters. The Indians lost 48-31.
“Y’all are good,” Clay-Chalkville head coach Jerry Hood told Glover after the game.
Pinson Valley used big plays to drill Center Point 31-6 last season. These teams look little like their 2012 squads. For the Indians, junior running back Nick Gibson is the workhorse, and senior quarterback Brooks Garrett is coming off a four-touchdown performance.
For Center Point, junior quarterback Keilan Knight is much sharper than a season ago. A lot of that has to do with multiple receivers who are 6-foot-3 or taller. Junior Sherman Starks had a big game against McAdory last week. Senior Xavier Perkins is also a weapon on the outside. When the Eagles aren’t throwing the ball, senior running back Virgil Studdard is gaining yards between the tackles and on the edge.
The Pinson Valley defense, opportunistic at times this season, will need to be Friday for a chance to upend the surprising Eagles. A turnover late in this game could be costly, as both teams are capable of putting points on the board in a hurry.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.