By Erik Harris, sports editor
The race for the blue map is underway, and four local squads are still in play for a bid to Tuscaloosa.
Five Tribune-area teams took part in the opening round of the state football playoffs Friday night, resulting in four victories.
In Class 5A, Leeds (9-2) continued its epic turnaround in Year 2 under head coach Jerry Hood, as the Green Wave rolled to a 41-14 home win over Boaz (5-6). Leeds clamped down on a 7-0 advantage barely more than a minute into the game and never looked back to secure a place in the second round next week.
Leeds will travel up to Russellville (9-2), who beat Fairfield 14-7 in Round 1, next Friday. The winner of that game will draw the winner of No. 1 Ramsay (10-0) vs. Fairview (10-1).
Class 6A No. 3 Pinson Valley (8-2) knocked off Arab (5-6) on Friday night, 45-0. The Indians were propelled by four Ga’Quincy McKinstry touchdowns and shutout defense to earn a second trip to Shades Valley (4-7) next Friday in the second round.
The Tribe won its first game of the season over the Mounties on Aug. 28 by a final of 31-21. If Pinson Valley can grab a second win in Irondale next week, it would draw the winner of No. 1 Oxford (9-1) vs. Briarwood Christian (8-3).
On the bottom side of the Class 6A North bracket, No. 6 Clay-Chalkville (10-1) took a 63-0 win over Southside-Gadsden (7-4) Friday night. The decisive victory pairs the Cougars with Homewood (7-4) next week in the round of 16. That game will be at Homewood and connects with No. 2 Mountain Brook (10-1) vs. Gardendale (9-2).
Class 7A No. 3 Hewitt-Trussville (9-2) hit the road on Friday night and came home with a 55-12 win over No. 10 James Clemens (8-3). The lopsided victory gives the Huskies a rematch with top-ranked Thompson (11-0) next week in the quarterfinals.
If Hewitt-Trussville can pull the road upset, it would draw the winner of No. 2 Hoover (10-1) vs. Oak Mountain (7-4) in the North semifinals.