The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

October 10, 2013

FEARLESS PREDICTIONS: Week 7

Last week: 5-1; overall: 26-12

— Friday, Oct. 11

All games at 7 p.m.

GAME OF THE WEEK

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

Golden Eagle Stadium, Athens

Why it’s important: A loss could mean no playoffs for Russellville, which would snap a 13-year playoff streak dating back to 1999. The last time Russellville didn’t make the playoffs, the players suiting up Friday weren’t old enough for kindergarten.

Currently, Athens is in a three-way tie for third in the region with Russellville and Hartselle. With only four spots remaining, the winner would have the inside track to making the playoffs with two region games remaining.

Adding another dimension to this game is the fact that Russellville has won 14 straight in the series dating back to 2001, including two playoff victories. Could this be the year Athens snaps the streak?

Preview: Athens snapped a streak last week when they beat rival East Limestone 34-13. Outside its loss to Muscle Shoals, Athens’ defense has been lights-out all season, limiting teams to an average 11 points per game. That reliable defense along with the improved play of quarterback Stevie Farmer is the reason Athens is in playoffs contention.

Playing into Athens’ hands is that Russellville has struggled to score against good defenses this season. Outside a 35-0 win against West Point, Russellville has averaged 12 points per game.

Last year: Russellville won 23-7.

Series history: Russellville leads 19-7.

News Courier Prediction: Athens 17, Russellville 14

Ardmore (5-1, 3-1) at John Paul II (1-4, 1-3)

Discovery Middle School, Madison

Preview: Ardmore will try to rebound from its first loss of the season when it travels to Pope John Paul II for another region tilt Friday. The Tigers proved no match for region favorites J.O. Johnson, but should find it much easier to move the ball against a Falcons defense allowing 35 points per game this season.

Ardmore’s lopsided loss last week was the only blip on an otherwise stellar season on the state line. A win would all but seal a playoff spot for Ardmore with two region games to go.

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