Brandon Miller's five storylines to watch Friday night
by Brandon Miller
Nov 13, 2013 | 2087 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wellborn's Kevin Mixon Jr. and his teammates will face Fyffe for the third time in two years Friday. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Wellborn's Kevin Mixon Jr. and his teammates will face Fyffe for the third time in two years Friday. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Can Wellborn finally top Fyffe?

It took Fyffe fewer than two hours to win at Wellborn 34-6 last season. Although this season’s contest didn’t end nearly as quickly, the result was the same -- a Wellborn loss. Fyffe took a 33-19 decision.

But for the third meeting in two years, it's a different game.

Earlier this season, it didn’t help that Wellborn faced Fultondale seven days before Fyffe. Also, the Panthers have gained confidence through six straight wins since their trip to Fyffe on Sept. 27.

The streak has included wins over Woodland, Red Bay, and Class 2A, Region 6 champion Ranburne.

To put it simply, Wellborn is playing much better than it was when it started 2-3. Will that show Friday?

Can Cleburne County keep winning?

It’s rare for Cleburne County to lose in the first round of the postseason, and this year was no different.

The Tigers have made 18 playoff appearances since 1987 and have advanced to the second round 13 times. Last week’s 17-14 win over Madison County continued what has become a tradition.

Cleburne County hosts Central-Florence this week, and it already has its opponent right where it wants it -- at home.

Since 1987, Cleburne County has a 16-5 postseason record at home. The strong play in Heflin has helped the Tigers advance to at least the state semifinals five times and the state championship game twice.

The likelihood of Cleburne County advancing to the quarterfinals again is a possibility, but the Tigers will have to play well Friday night.

Can Piedmont get revenge?

If Piedmont students were to make their own version of the “We Want Bama” signs, they might read “We Want Deshler.”

There’s no question Piedmont isn’t over last year’s 28-6 loss in the second round of the playoffs, and considering the Bulldogs finished the 2012 regular season 10-0 and ranked No. 1, they shouldn’t be over it.

Even when Piedmont won the Class 3A track and field state championship last spring, the four members of the 4x100 champion team — all four football players — were most excited about beating second-place Deshler in the relay.

Although Deshler enters the game ranked 10th and has the same 8-3 record as a season ago, a win on Friday night for Piedmont would be big no matter how up or down Deshler is.

As much as Piedmont wants to finish the season with a state championship, the Bulldogs want to take care of unfinished business against Deshler first.

Can Jacksonville do the unthinkable?

Jacksonville made its 49-22 win over DAR in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs look easy, but this week it gets a lot harder.

The Golden Eagles have to travel only a little more than an hour, but if Jacksonville is able to conquer second-ranked Oneonta, it would be an upset heard across the state.

The only meetings between the teams came from 2009-11 and Oneonta won all four by an average of 30.8 points a game. Not to mention, the Don Jacobs coached team has made the state finals each of the last two years.

Oneonta enters the game on a 10-game winning streak and averages just fewer than 50 points on offense. Defensively, the Redskins average holding teams to about 10 points a game.

Will Oxford’s offense get challenged?

Throughout October and into November, Oxford has scored at least 35 points in each contest and averages 47.0 points a game.

Bob Jones enters Friday’s game allowing 18.5 points a game, which doesn’t raise any eyebrows, but that includes not allowing more than 28 points since entering October.

The 28 points Bob Jones allowed against Austin on Oct. 25 came in the Patriots’ only loss this season, 28-22.

Oxford’s running game has dominated teams for most of the season, and the success of running back Racean Thomas has helped quarterback Ty Webber’s passing game as well.

The last time Oxford’s offense was held to fewer than 35 was Sept. 27 in a 26-20 win over Florence, which is the only common opponent between the Yellow Jackets and Bob Jones. The Patriots beat Florence 13-7.

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.
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