The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 10, 2012

Fearless predictions: Week 7

For The News Courier

— Game of the week

Muscle Shoals (6-0, 4-0) at East Limestone (3-3, 2-2)

7 p.m., Cavnar Field

Why it’s important: East Limestone’s victory over Athens was not just about beating their biggest rival. It was a must-win game if the Indians are going to make the playoffs this season. Muscle Shoals looks to have the 5A Region 8 all but wrapped up while the Indians will have to fight in their final three games to have a shot.

Preview:  East Limestone has played some good teams this year. Muscle Shoals is a great team. The No. 1-ranked Trojans are giving up less than a touchdown per game this season on average. Their offense is no slouch either, averaging  39 points a contest. Despite those numbers, East Limestone feels they have a real shot in this one, carrying a three-game winning streak into the game and a home atmosphere that makes it difficult for visiting teams.

Series history: Muscle Shoals leads 5-2.

Last year: Muscle Shoals won 42-6.

News Courier Prediction: Muscle Shoals 28, East Limestone 17

Elkmont (1-5, 1-3) at Clements (0-6, 0-4)

7 p.m., M.T. Newman Stadium

Preview:  Something has to give between a pair of teams that bring one combined win into this 3A Region 8 contest. Clements’ closest games this season have been against West Limestone and Ardmore and this intra-county game should be no different. After throwing five touchdown passes in the opening game, Colts’ quarterback Marcus McNaughton has gotten back on track, throwing touchdown passes in back-to-back games. Elkmont travels across the county trying to rebound from a 62-0 loss to Madison Academy. Elkmont has won 13 of the last 15 in the series.

Series history: Clements leads 26-22.

Last year: Elkmont won 45-14.

News Courier Prediction: Clements 27, Elkmont 20

Athens (1-5, 1-3) at Russellville (4-2, 2-2)

7 p.m., Tigers Stadium

Preview: Another week,  another tough region game for Athens. This week the Golden Eagles travel to a Russellville team that lost in overtime to 5A No. 10 Cullman last week. Russellville’s only losses have come against ranked teams this season. The Golden Tigers have won 13 straight games in the series.

Series history: Russellville leads 18-7.

Last year: Russellville won 17-14.

News Courier Prediction: Russellville 24, Athens 13

Tanner (6-0, 4-0) at Sheffield (3-3, 3-1)

7 p.m., Walton R. Wright Stadium

Preview: Sheffield looks to be Tanner’s next victim on a schedule already filled with lopsided victories. The Rattlers are allowing less than a touchdown per game. Tanner’s closest region game was a 34-0 win against Red Bay in the second week of the season. Sheffield lost to Red Bay 21-14 last week.  Tanner can clinch a playoff spot with a win. This is Sheffield’s first season play in Class 2A.

Series history: These teams have never met.

News Courier Prediction: Tanner 48, Sheffield 7

Rogers (3-3, 2-2) at West Limestone (3-3, 1-3)

7 p.m., James Kennemer Stadium

Preview: West Limestone returns home after two weeks on the road for a must-win region game against Rogers. The Pirates have turned things around since starting the season 1-3. Rogers went on the road to beat Central last week 30-13 and complicate things in Class 4A Region 8. West Limestone will most likely need to win its remaining three region games in order to make the playoffs. Rogers has won seven of the last eight in the series.

Series history: Rogers leads 16-5 with one tie.

Last year: Did not play

News Courier Prediction: Rogers 35, West Limestone 13

Ardmore (4-2, 2-2) at Pope John Paul II (1-4, 1-3)

7 p.m., Huntsville

Preview: The Tigers have averaged more than 300 yards on the ground in their four wins. In their two losses? Less than 100 yards rushing. Running the ball successfully will be the key once again against a Catholic team that gave up more than 300 on the ground to Madison County’s Jordan Chunn last week. Catholic is giving up 37.4 points per game this season.

Series history: These teams have never met.

News Courier Prediction: Ardmore 34, Pope John Paul II 7