By Gary Lloyd
GARDENDALE — Back and forth they go.
Clay-Chalkville head football coach Jerry Hood believes Shades Valley is the favorite to win Class 6A, Region 6 and be one of the top teams in the class.
On Monday at Jefferson and Shelby County High School Football Media Day, Shades Valley head coach Bill Smith had his turn to speak. He said Clay-Chalkville is “the team to beat” in all of Class 6A, along with Florence.
Smith referenced Clay-Chalkville’s athleticism, tradition, fan support, coaching staff and defense as reasons why he believes the Cougars should be at the top of Class 6A. He joked that “they’re not fooling anybody” by casting the accolades elsewhere.
“They’ve got a load of talent and a great staff,” Smith said.
Shades Valley rising senior running back Keith Mixon said he believes the Mounties should be highly ranked after a 10-2 season in 2013.
“I think we’re going to have another good season this year,” he said.
Class 6A, Region 6 is strong. Aside from Clay-Chalkville and Shades Valley, others are Pinson Valley, Center Point, Gardendale, Huffman and Woodlawn. Smith thinks it’s the toughest region in Class 6A.
“I think top to bottom, you can make an argument for ours being the toughest,” he said. “When it’s all said and done, our goal is to win region.”
Gardendale head coach Matt Plunkett said he expects his Rockets to compete for the region title this season. He said the definition of a successful season for Gardendale is playing for a region championship at home against the Cougars on Oct. 24.
“We have a lot to prove,” he said.
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