By Jonathan Deal
— GAME OF THE WEEK
West Limestone at Elkmont
7 p.m., Boss Hill Stadium
Why it’s important: It’s the midway point in the regular season and high school teams across the state will play nonregion games this week before hitting the final stretch in October. Many will play rivalry games, including this matchup between a pair of teams that have met 58 times dating back to 1952. Elkmont has won six out of the last seven.
Preview: These county rivals both found the win column last week after struggling in back-to-back weeks in region play. Elkmont played its best game of the season in a 28-14 win over West Morgan, rushing for 253 yards on the ground. West Limestone got its ground game going again as well, piling up 296 yards in a 36-27 win over East Limestone. There will be enough carries to go around in this county rivalry.
Last year: Elkmont won 27-20
Series history: West Limestone 39 –17 with one game being tied
News Courier prediction: West Limestone 25, Elkmont 24
Austin at Athens
7 p.m., Golden Eagle Stadium
Preview: The road gets no easier for Athens this week when they entertain Class 6A No. 6 Austin. The Golden Eagles have played the top two teams in 5A in consecutive weeks, dropping a close game to Hartselle before losing 38-3 to Muscle Shoals last week. Austin has won every game this year by at least two touchdowns, including a 37-24 win over a ranked Spain Park team in the opening game of the season. The Black Bears have averaged more than 40 points per game this season. The winner of this game has scored at least 42 points the past three meetings.
Last year: Austin won 42-14
Series history: Athens leads 21-11 with one game being tied
News Courier prediction: Austin 20, Athens 10
Ardmore at Clements
7 p.m., M.T. Newman stadium
Preview: Ardmore made a big push toward a playoff spot last week with a win over Randolph to improve to 3-1 on the season. The Tigers have averaged 290 yards rushing in three wins this season behind senior Tyler McCarley. Clements has faced a tough road since its four-overtime thriller against West Limestone in the opening game. Injuries took their toll against West Morgan while the Colts were just outmatched against a pair of top 10 teams in two other losses. Ardmore has won eight of the last 10 in the series, including the last two.
Last year: Ardmore won 25-14
Series history: Ardmore leads 20-18 with one game being tied.
News Courier prediction: Ardmore 34, Clements 21
James Clemens at East Limestone
7 p.m., Cavnar Field
Preview: East Limestone picked up a much-needed win last week and in emphatic fashion in a 48-6 blowout of Lawrence County. The Indians played a pair of top 10 teams to begin the season, followed by a trip to Russellville. East will hope the tough early season schedule pays off when they host first-year program James Clemens Friday. The Jets are seeking the school’s first win on the gridiron after opening the season 0-4. Outside of a 72-0 drubbing by Bob Jones, James Clemens has been within two scores in each of its other losses.
Last year: Did not play
Series history: These teams have never met
News Courier prediction: East Limestone 28, James Clemons 14
Tanner at R.A. Hubbard
7 p.m., R.A. Hubbard Stadium
Preview: Tanner head coach Laron White will return home to Courtland where he played for the Chiefs from 1988-91, winning several state championships with the Chiefs. The Chiefs are two years removed from a state championship appearance, but most of those players are gone and Hubbard is 1-2 in area play over the last three weeks. It’s a different story for Tanner as the Rattlers have looked unstoppable over the last three weeks, outscoring region opponents, 150-14.
Last year: Did not play
Series history: Hubbard (Courtland) leads 10-8
News Courier prediction: Tanner 42, R.A. Hubbard 6