September games make a difference
by Nick Birdsong
Star sports writer
Sep 07, 2010 | 3591 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The dimensions of the field don’t change and the goal posts are still the same height once region play begins.

But the intensity between the lines rises along with the stakes when playoff aspirations hang in the balance. Mistakes are magnified even more and opportunities must be seized.

You can’t win or lose a state or region title in Week 2, but prep football playoff positioning is being determined right now. A win or a loss in early September can determine whether or not you host a game or even qualify for the postseason come November.

It dawned on me following Oxford’s 24-12 loss to No. 5 Gadsden City on the road Friday night. Oxford coach John Grass said his team’s goal is still to entertain a team at Lamar Field in the first round of the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets can still do that by finishing either first or second in Class 6A, Region 7. However, they no longer control their own destiny. If they win it, they’ll need some help in the form of a loss from someone else.

It’s early. But it’s that serious for everyone playing.

Now, let’s get to the notes.

• THE 300-CLUB: Sports are all about numbers. We mark success in games, seasons and careers by statistical milestones. It gives us an objective standard by which to gauge the praiseworthiness of an athlete’s achievements.

For ball carriers in football, the 100-yard rushing game is the barometer to determine whether or not someone was balling.

Friday night, two Calhoun County players were three times as nice.

Jacksonville fullback Cordero Little rushed for 311 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries in the Golden Eagles’ 36-26 win against Locust Fork Friday night. He scored three touchdowns in the final 13 minutes of the game to bring Jacksonville back from being down 13.

Weaver senior running back Quinnata “Toot” Jones rushed for 314 yards in the Bearcats’ 31-29 loss to White Plains. Jones carried the load for Weaver, toting the rock 39 times on his way to a remarkable performance.

It’s the most times a back in The Star’s coverage area has carried the ball on the young season. But believe it or not, it’s far from a record. The mark for most carries in a game belongs to former Straughn standout Russell Gunter who got the ball 72 times in a game against Coffee Springs in 1986.

In case you were wondering, Parrish’s Tony Dixon rushed for 531 yards on 21 carries in a game against Hubbertville in 2003 to set a state record.

• OFFENSE GALORE: It’s only Week 2, but a couple of teams in The Star’s coverage area have already shown that their offenses have the potential for unusual potency. Wellborn, in its second season under coach Jeff Smith, opened up its 2010 campaign by scoring 67 points on Class 1A Gaston in a 51-point wrecking. The Panthers followed that up by hanging 42 points on Coosa Central.

Woodland defeated Bowdon (Ga.) 48-34 in Week 1, then downed Horseshoe Bend 57-24 this past Friday to increase its record to 2-0.

That’s two teams, combining for a total of 214 points in two games.

Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575.
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September games make a difference by Nick Birdsong
Star sports writer

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