Brandon Miller's five storylines to watch
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Oct 16, 2013 | 2488 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford junior Tredarian Gamble has helped his team win five straight. (Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Oxford junior Tredarian Gamble has helped his team win five straight. (Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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What will we see from Oxford as crunch time approaches?

The scores have been proof of just how good Oxford has gotten this season.

After sitting at 0-2 to start the season, the Yellow Jackets have strung together five straight wins, three in blowout fashion.

As Oxford travels to Albertville this week, it gives the Yellow Jackets another chance to flex their muscles before playing host to rival Pell City next week. At the same time, Friday is going to show where Oxford is in its own right.

Oxford went on a four-game winning streak last year, but was unable to win games when crunch time came around. Clay-Chalkville, Huntsville and Oxford each are sitting at 4-1 in Class 6A, Region 7, and Gadsden City and Pell City each are 3-2. Friday is another week closer to clinching a spot in the postseason.

Who gets the advantage in Class 4A, Region 5?

Munford is the only team in Region 5 that has clinched a state playoff spot.

While the Lions are 5-0 in the region and looking to nail down first place Friday, there are four teams tied for the second position with a 3-2 record — Alexandria, Cleburne County, Jacksonville and Lincoln. Only the top four in each region advance to the playoffs. Alexandria plays Lincoln tonight, and Cleburne County plays Jacksonville on Friday.

Anniston isn’t completely out of the picture either, sitting at 2-3 in the region. If the Bulldogs are able to win out against Hokes Bluff and Munford, they have a shot to make the playoffs as well.

Will Piedmont’s reign continue?

Piedmont has won its last 30 regular-season games heading into Friday’s matchup against Saks, and if the Bulldogs can get No. 31, they’ll have their fourth straight region championship, too.

Last year, Piedmont scored a lopsided 41-7 win, but this year has a different feel. The second-ranked Bulldogs still enter as a favorite, but seventh-ranked Saks should make it a great game.

Both teams have a ton of athletes on both sides of the ball and explosive offenses, but both pride themselves on defense. With the way both teams have scored at will this year, the game may come down to which defense steps up the most.

Can Ranburne keep its historic season going?

Ranburne has survived several big tests this season, including a one-point win over Pleasant Valley and a double-overtime victory over Woodland, but this is where the season kicks into high gear.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs have a chance to win Class 2A, Region 6, but they’ll have to defeat Wellborn and Fultondale to do it. Thankfully for Ranburne, both games are at home.

This week’s opponent, Wellborn, is coming off a big win against Woodland and sits at 4-1 in the region. Fultondale and Ranburne are 5-0 in the region.

If Wellborn wins out and Ranburne defeats Fultondale, then there will be a three-way tie for the region champion.

But if the Ranburne Bulldogs can win out then they’re the region champion.

Will there be any separation in Class 3A, Region 5?

Piedmont and Saks are playing for the Class 3A, Region 5 title, but there’s a storm brewing between Weaver, Cleveland, White Plains and Glencoe for the remaining two playoff spots. Weaver is 3-2 in the region, while Cleveland, White Plains and Glencoe each are 2-3.

Weaver has to play Piedmont next week. White Plains and Glencoe have two winnable games, with the Wildcats playing Cleveland and Susan Moore and the Jackets playing Susan Moore and Ashville. Cleveland faces White Plains and Saks.

As for tiebreaker advantages, Weaver has beaten Cleveland and Glencoe, while White Plains has beaten Weaver, and Glencoe has beaten Cleveland and White Plains. In other words, it’s a big mess if more than two teams tie for a spot.
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