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The road to AHSAA region titles continues throughout the state in all seven classes. This week, we will focus on some crucial games in the three classes with the smallest enrollments.
*Familiar foes Fayette County and Gordo get together on Friday night. It's the 76th meeting between the schools, which are 32 miles apart, and, as usual, a lot is on the line. First place in Class 5A Region 5 is at stake when No. 2 Gordo (6-1 overall, 4-0 region) plays host to No. 9 Fayette County (6-0, 3-0).
Gordo, led by 6-foot-4 quarterback Brax Garrison and receiver Kohl Summerville, has won three games in a row against Fayette County and 6 of the past 8 in the series. Fayette County hasn't scored on Gordo since 2019, when the Tigers dropped a 34-6 decision. Jared Porter is in his first year as the head coach at Fayette County, replacing the legendary Waldon Tucker, who retired for the second time following last season.
*Top-ranked Mars Hill (6-1, 4-0) searches for a seventh successive win after dropping a heartbreaker to Class 6A Cullman in the season opener. Mars Hill plays host to a Phil Campbell team scrambling to stay alive in the playoff race in Class 3A Region 8.
Offensive lineman Koby Keenum, a Kentucky commit, and junior safety Damian Thompson, who has SEC offers, lead the way for Mars Hill. The Panthers won Class 2A state championships in 2018 and 2020, was Class 2A state runner-ups in 2019, and lost in the Class 3A semifinals last season. Phil Campbell (4-2, 1-2) leads the series, 3-1, against Mars Hills, but the teams haven't played since 2017.
*B.B. Comer, the No. 7 team in the state, can clinch its first region title since 1995 with a win at Thorsby (5-1, 3-1 Class 2A Region 4). B.B. Comer (5-2, 4-0) is the lone team with an unbeaten region record. Thorsby is one of three teams with a 3-1 mark in region play. The other two, Vincent and Isabella, already have losses to B.B. Comer. A Thorsby win over B.B. Comer would put the Rebels in position to at least tie for the first title in region history.
B.B. Comer's extended region title drought is a bit misleading. The Tigers were one of the top teams in Class 2A over the past two seasons, building a 19-5 record. The only region loss in each of those two seasons was to region champion Lanett. Last season, B.B. Comer advanced to the Class 2A third round before dropping a 14-7 decision to eventual champion Clarke County.
*One of the better stories in Class 2A is Southeastern, even though the Mustangs are just outside the top 10. Southeastern (6-0, 4-0) is sitting on top of the Class 2A Region 6 standings. The Mustangs are in their 11th season of football and had just three winning seasons. Those three winning seasons happen to be the three most recent seasons, all under Kevin Byrd, who has turned it into a solid program. Last season, the Mustangs finished 10-3 on the field, they forfeited two early season wins, and advanced to the Class 2A third round.
Locust Fork (5-2, 2-1) is on pace for one of its better seasons since 2003. The Hornets have won more than six games just twice since 2003. Locust Fork is one of three teams in the region with a 2-1 region record.
*Elba, the top-ranked team in Class 1A, looks to keep pace on top of the Region 2 standings. Elba (6-0, 4-0) is the lone unbeaten team in the region heading into Thursday's game at Georgiana (6-1, 4-1). Talk about dominating, Elba has outscored six opponents, 233-68, and the lone close game was a 42-35 region win over Brantley. Georgiana is tied with Brantley in the standings at 4-1, and Florala is 3-1. Brantley has a win over Georgiana, and Georgiana has already knocked off Florala. A Georgiana win over Elba would turn the standings into a mess.
*A bruising running game has helped Valley Head win six consecutive games and claim a share of the lead with Appalachian on top of Class 1A Region 7 standings. On Thursday, the region title could be on the line as No. 5 ranked Valley Head travels to play at Appalachian.
Appalachian was a combined 2-15 the past two seasons and has been to the playoffs only once since 2014. But a young Eagle team has used the running game and defense to challenge for a region title.
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