By Erik Harris, sports editor
A busy fifth week of high school football approaches with all seven Tribune-area teams in play this Friday night.
Each contest carries region implications this week, as playoff position begins to take shape across the state. Let’s take a look at our local menu, starting with a nationally televised game between the very best in Class 7A.
No. 1 Thompson at No. 2 Hewitt-Trussville
ESPNU will be on campus tomorrow night for a talent-packed showdown between the two top-ranked teams in Class 7A. No. 1 Thompson (4-0, 2-0) makes the trip from Alabaster to take on No. 2 Hewitt-Trussville (4-0, 2-0) in a game that will impact the Region 3 standings.
Another key Region 3 contest will take place in Hoover, as the third-ranked Bucs (4-0, 2-0) welcome No. 9 Oak Mountain (4-0, 2-0) Friday.
With ESPNU airing the action live from Trussville, kickoff has been pushed back from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Wether tuning in from the Hewitt-Trussville Stadium bleachers or a living room sofa, fans can expect to see two talented rosters.
Thompson is led by junior quarterback Conner Harrel, who moves the Warriors at a rate of 48 points per game. His right arm is responsible for 1,180 yards and 16 touchdowns through four games.
The Huskies, who have forced 11 turnovers in three outings this year, will challenge the first-year QB. Harrel has been picked off only once in 102 attempts, as Thompson wins by an average margin of 27 points.
In three on-field games, Hewitt-Trussville has posted an average margin of victory of nearly 30 points. I’ve got that average coming down following a hard-fought victory tomorrow night.
No. 4 Pinson Valley vs. Jackson-Olin
The Indians (3-1, 2-0) are coming off a 33-28 road win over Region 6 foe Minor and will look to remain untouched in league play Friday when Jackson-Olin (2-1, 1-0) travels in.
Although they suffered a Week 1 forfeit loss, the Mustangs are 2-0 on the field in 2020 after last week’s 42-14 thumping of Mortimer Jordan.
I’ve got Pinson Valley winning its fourth straight game tomorrow.
No. 5 Clay-Chalkville at Minor
Clay-Chalkville (4-0, 2-0) faces, perhaps, its toughest test to date on the road in Adamsville tomorrow night.
Minor (3-1, 1-1) put up nearly 500 yards of offense last week in a 33-28 loss to Pinson Valley. The Tigers will need another big offensive outing to keep this one close, with Clay-Chalkville scoring at a clip of 38 points per game under junior quarterback Khalib Johnson.
I’ve got Johnson and Co. improving to 5-0.
Moody at Center Point
Center Point (2-2, 1-1) tweaked its offensive personnel last week, resulting in the team’s biggest scoring total of the season with 44 in a win over Lincoln.
Eagles sophomore Troy Bruce shifted from quarterback to running back and ate well with 213 yards and five touchdowns on the road. Quarterback Jabari Collier delivered with 224 yards passing and a score.
Moody (0-2, 0-1) came back from a two-week coronavirus hiatus last Friday with a 55-20 loss to rival Leeds.
I’ve got Center Point securing a key Region 6 home win.
Leeds at Hayden
Coming off a 2-8 2019 season, Leeds (3-1, 2-0) can put itself in great playoff position with a Region 6 win tomorrow night.
The Green Wave are currently tied with Alexandria for the top spot in the league standings, and will likely need a road win over Hayden (2-1, 1-0) to keep pace.
The Wildcats opened up league play with a 27-20 win over Corner last week, but Corner didn’t have Joshua Ruff running routes all night.
I think speed gives Ruff and Leeds the advantage here.
Springville vs. Scottsboro
Springville (1-2, 0-1) finally gets a home game, as Region 7 opponent Scottsboro (1-2, 1-1) visits Tiger Stadium Friday night.
The Tigers have lost their last two (38-14 at Fort Payne and 56-41 at Cherokee County) and will need to rebound in order to avoid an 0-2 start to league play.
I’ve got Scottsboro in this one.