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LIONS EYE PLAYOFF WITH ANOTHER TRIP TO SHELBY COUNTY
October 14, 2012By Jimmy White of Prattville High School
LIONS TO BATTLE OAK MOUNTAIN FRIDAY NIGHT WITH HUGE PLAYOFFS IMPLICATIONS
Prattville’s post season plans inched a tad closer to reality Friday night in Shelby County as the Lions pounded the Pelham Panthers, 31-14. With the convincing win followers of the successful Prattville football program feel the Lions have taken a giant step toward the continuation of post season play.
Prattville has not missed the playoffs since 1999. That’s twelve consecutive years of post season play. During those 12-years, the Lions have accumulated 38 post season victories against eight defeats.
Prattville won state championships in 2006, 2007, 2008 and again last year. The Lions advanced to the finals on two other trips in 2004 and 2009 losing both time to Hoover in the championship game.
Prattville has only lost once in the first round game that defeat came on their first trip in 2001. The Lions fell to Murphy with quarterback Roman Harper sitting on the bench with an ankle injury. Prattville lost three times in the semifinal rounds, once in the second round, and once in the semifinals.
The Lions now face another tough challenge Friday night October 19. Again Prattville will face a Shelby County foe, the Oak Mountain Eagles. Prattville has never met the Eagles on the gridiron. The Lions have played Oak Mountain in baseball, as well as the boys and girls’ basketball team has played the Eagles on the hardwood floor.
It will be a tough challenge. Oak Mountain ain’t bad. Under first year coach Cris Bell Oak Mountain has rolled to a 5-2 record. It is their best record in three years.
Bell replaced Jeff Harris, who guided the Eagles for three years posting an 8-22 record.
With the five wins Bell is nearing the best record of Jerry Hood whose Eagles team in 2007 posted a 6-4 record.
Bell came to Oak Mountain from Marietta, Georgia where he was linebacker coach and special team’s coordinator for the Blue Devils.
His record as a head high school coach is 26-28-1. Bell’s best record was at James River High in Midlothian, Virginia, where he was 15-6 in two seasons and won the 2000 Dominion District championship.
Oak Mountain has wins over Shades Valley, 8-7, Wetumpka, 36-14, Pell City, 23-21, Chelsea, 31-21, and Stanhope Elmore, 10-7. The two defeats were to Pelham, 35-15, and last week, the Eagles fell to Spain Park, 34-13.
Oak Mountain returned 13 starters, six each offensive and defense players as well as kickoff and punter, Michael Cole. Bell told the Birmingham News in a pre season article that the team did not have a lot of depth at any position.
Senior quarterback Jake Adams (6-3, 220) returns along with senior fullback Scott Hester (6-2-225), and senior flanker Jake Kelley (6-2, 190).
Sophomore halfback Josh Gaines (5-10, 175) also earned sufficient playing time last fall before being sidelined with a knee injury. Another sophomore Harold Shader (5-10-160) has played well this fall in the backfield.
Oak Mountain runs a triple option flexbone offense.
A veteran defensive line returns. Bell likes the 4-3 pressure type defense. Outside linebacker Lloyd Time (sr.-6-2-245) is the lone linebacker returning. Brandon Gaines (sr.-6-2-215) handles one defensive end slot, while Tommy McGowan (sr.-6-2-215) and Austin Moro (sr-.6-5-280) are the two tackles.
The offensive line has veterans Brandon Esleck (sr.-6—3-255), Billy Dasher (sr.-6-5-265), Harmon Guruya (sr.-6-0-255) and Chris Richmond (sr.-6-0-210).
Oak Mountain, Prattville, and Pelham are currently tied for third place in the Region Four standings, each with a 3-2 record.