Here are five football games to watch in the Birmingham area this week as playoffs continue.
Class 7A is down to eight teams and playing the quarterfinal round while the other six classes still have 16 teams remaining for Round 2.
The complete playoff schedule follows.
CLASS 7A QUARTERFINAL PLAYOFFS
HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE (8-3) AT HOOVER 10-1)
Time/location: Friday, 7 p.m., Hoover Met
Last week: Hewitt-Trussville beat Florence 38-20 and Hoover downed Bob Jones 45-19.
The skinny: Hoover leads the series 21-4 and beat the Huskies 17-7 in Week 5.
It’s the second straight year the teams have met in quarterfinal action, Hoover winning 24-23 in overtime last season.
Two strong defenses point to a low-scoring contest that could be decided by mistakes and the kicking game.
The Hewitt-Trussville defense allows just 17.7 points a game (fifth-best in Class 7A) with only Vestavia Hills and Central-Phenix City managing more than two TDs against the Huskies. Hunter Osborne and Tyrell Averhart are robust on the DL while Braylon Chatman is a stopper LB. Rickey Gibson, Riggs Dunn and Michael Igbinoghene handle DB. QB Peyton Floyd, son of coach Josh, was 22-of-25 for 201 yards and 3 TDs while running for another 134 yards and 2 scores last week. WRs Kadarius Barnes and Jadon Loving each caught 3 passes last week while Brett Mosely grabbed 8 passes for 70 yards and 2 TDs. Jaqson Melton ran 20 times for 124 yards.
Hoover also relies on its defense to stymie opponents, allowing 9.2 points a game (best in Class 7A), led by an outstanding front 7. Jordan Norman, Andrew Parrish, Michael Nixon and Chaleb Powell are tough to move up front while Kaleb Jackson, Bradley Shaw and DJ Estes roam at LB. DBs include Jay Avery, Keith Christein and Devan Carlisle. QB Noah Schuback was 16 of 21 for 221 yards last week, but Brewer Smith, who was the QB starter before an injury, is also expected to return. RBs are a strength with Lamarion McCammon, Kamal Anderson and Ahamari Williams. Top receivers are KJ Law and Jordan Woolen while the OL includes Ethan Hubbard, AJ Franklin and Rashad Smith. Kicker/punter Peyton Argent can be a weapon.
VESTAVIA HILLS (7-4) AT THOMPSON (8-3)
Time/location: Friday, 7 p.m., Warrior Stadium, Alabaster
Last week: Vestavia Hills beat Austin 52-10 and Thompson downed Huntsville 34-0
The skinny: Vestavia Hills leads the series 14-13, but Thompson has won seven straight, including beating the Rebels 34-14 in Week 3 this season.
It’s a different Vestavia Hills team that lost to Thompson in Week 3, averaging 196.3 yards passing and 210.9 rushing per game this season. The Rebels feature dynamic QB John Paul Head (129-218 1,690 yards, 14 TDs passing; 149-1,051 yards, 23 TDs rushing) with RB William Tonsmeire (115-587 yards, 2 TDs) also in the backfield. WRs Keown Richardson (42-531 yards, 5 TDs), Tucker Smitha (22-296 yards, TD) and Copper Mollison (24-259 yards) are targets. The defensive front 7 includes Jordan Ross (48 tackles, 16 TFL, 2.5 sacks), Andrew Sykes (41 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks) and Lane Whisenhunt (31 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3 sacks) on the DL with John Martin Richter (46 tackles, 2 TFL, sack), Houston Owen (42 tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks) and Samuel Hanson (32 tackles, 2 TFL) at LB. Grant Downey has 7 INT and Will Cox has 1 at DB.
Thompson has relied on its defense all season, allowing 12.3 points a game with two shutouts. The DL is deep with Peter Woods (68 tackles, 19 TFL, 6 sacks), Dylan Campbell (38 tackles, 10 TFL, 2 sacks), Caleb Ballard (59 tackles, 12 TFL, 7 sacks), Jacary McCurry (29 tackles, 6 TFL, sack) and Hayden McDonald. Top LBs are Seth Hampton (76 tackles, 13 TFL, 7 sacks, INT), Jake Ivie (74 tackles, 9 TFL, 2 sacks, INT) and Kelby Taylor (61 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 INT). DBs include Tony Mitchell, who missed last week with a medical issue and is week-to-week, Anquon Fegans (55 tackles, 8 INT, 9 PBU), Jasiah Ward and Payton Lewis. Eighth-grader Trent Seaborn made his first start at QB, completing 33-of-40 passes for 342 yards and 4 TDs (10 TDs for the season). Top receivers are Korbyn Williams (47-503 yards, 7 TDs) and Deuce Oliver (38-455, 3 TDs) while AJ Green (144-942 yards, 12 TDs) is tough to stop at RB.
CLASS 6A ROUND 2 PLAYOFFS
PIKE ROAD (7-4) AT HOMEWOOD (9-2)
Time/location: Friday, 7 p.m., Waldrop Stadium, Homewood
Last week: Pike Road downed Spanish Fort 22-21 and Homewood beat McAdory 35-30.
The skinny: The teams have never played before.
Pike Road won last year’s Class 5A championship and moved up to Class 6A this season. Homewood is making its 30th appearance in the state playoffs and has six championships, the last coming in 2005.
Pike Road relies on a strong ground game, running for almost 3,000 yards this season. Speedy RB Anthony Rogers does the bulk of the work with 161 carries for 1,491 yards and 21 of the Patriots’ 46 TDs, running behind an OL that features 4-star recruit Vysen Lang. QB Kaleb Foster (8 TDs running, 8 passing) is also a threat to run with 9 rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown against Spanish Fort. Top targets include Brennan Tormey, TK Norman and Quinton Jefferson. A stout defensive line features Jaylan Jarrett, Shermar Powell and Malik Blocton while Mac Ceman leads at LB. The back end includes Cody Markham and Jer’tarrian Hailes.
Homewood averages 200.5 passing yards a game and 131.2 on the ground. QB Woods Ray (136-of-233, 2,183 yards, 21 TDs passing, 113-555 yards, 8 TDs rushing) makes the offense go. He has good receiving targets in Jackson Parris (58-1,036 yards, 9 TDs) and Charlie Reeves (31-495 yards, 9 TDs) while Calyb Colbert (100-438, 5 TDs) leads the ground game behind an OL anchored by Jaxon Brooks. OLB Talton Thomas (93 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, INT) heads a good defensive unit that also includes LBs Trust Darnell (74 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks), Rigdon Gibbons (64 tackles, TFL, INT) and Maxy Salazar (45 tackles, 4.5 TFL) in the front 7. DBs include Parking Sansing (68 tackles, 3.6 TFL, 2 INT, 8 PBU) and Clay Burdeshaw (78 tackles, 2 INT, 4 PBU).
MUSCLE SHOALS (9-1) AT PARKER (7-4)
Time/location: Friday, 7 p.m., Major Brown Memorial Stadium, Birmingham
Last week: Muscle Shoals beat Hazel Green 58-7 while Parker stunned Clay-Chalkville 7-6.
The skinny: The teams have played only once, a 31-0 win by Muscle Shoals in the second round of Class 5A playoffs in 2013.
Muscle Shoals’s prolific offense averages 38.9 points a game (sixth-best in Class 6A). QB Cole Woods (74-112, 913 yards, 10 TDs passing; 33-352 yards, 4 TDs rushing) along with RBs Devin Townsend (136-796 yards, 8 TDs) and Jaelin Goodwin (92-513 yards, 10 TDs) provide much of the scoring. Top WRs are Jamir Goodloe (44-622 yards, 8 TDs) and Isaac Fowler (23-2932 yards, TD). Middle Tennessee commit Isaac Rue anchors the OL. Kicker Trey Stoddard has been a force since the eighth grade and has 9 FGs this season. The defense allows 16.6 points a game, led by Jyheam Ingram (33 tackles, 11 TFL, 9 sacks) and Tyler Cole (30 tackles, 7 TFL, 6 sacks) on the DL while Brayden Jones (91 tackles, 7 TFL, 6 sacks) and Zaylin Fuqua (79 tackles, 6 TFL, 3 sacks) lead at LB. Xavier Johnson (38 tackles, 6 TFL, 5 INT, 10 PBU) is strong at DB and dangerous in the return game.
Parker sprung the upset of the playoffs by downing defending champion and second-ranked Clay-Chalkville with a stellar defensive effort. The Thundering Herd allows 18.8 points a game, led by a stout DL that includes Jeremiah Beaman (39 tackles, 9 TFL, 8 sacks, 3 INT with 2 returned for TDs), Jourdin Crawford (37 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks 2 forced fumbles) and Ashton Ellison. ATH Naeem Offord (Auburn offer) is dangerous on both sides of the ball while Jeremiah Struggs and Timothy Merritt handle duties at DB. The offense is led by Khalifa Keith (137-yards, 9 TDs ), a Kentucky commit, while QB Malik Muhammad (29-62, 532 yards, 5TDs passing) returned last week after missing most of the season with injury. Carl Pitts (25-275 yards, 3 TDs) is the top receiving target.
CLASS 5A ROUND 2 PLAYOFFS
SCOTTSBORO (7-4) AT LEEDS (10-0)
Time/location: Friday, 7 p.m., Homer Shines Field, Leeds
Last week: Scottsboro beat Brewer 45-14 and Leeds downed Fairfield 34-13.
The skinny: The two have never played.
Both Scottsboro’s Cris Bell (10-11 in 2 seasons with the Wildcats) and Leeds’ Jerry Hood (31-13 in four seasons with the Green Wave) were head coaches at Oak Mountain. Hood spent five seasons with the Eagles (28-26, 2004-2008) with one playoff appearance while Bell coached nine years (47-49, 2012-2020) with four trips to the playoffs
Scottsboro is a run-heavy team, averaging 253.6 yards a game on the ground and 116 yards passing. RB Keelan Alvarez (182-1,159 yards, 16 TDs) is the bell cow while QB Jake Jones (111-836 yards, 12 TDs) is more than capable along with slot back Thomas Rackler (45-199 yards, 2 TDs rushing; 6-61 yards receiving). The offensive line is anchored by Nate Warren and Taygan Harris. The defense is led by LB Druw Smith (59 tackles, 11 TFL, sack, INT) along with DL Landon Wright (32 tackles, 7 TFL) and Austin Burger (23 tackles, 11 TFL, 9 sacks) in the front 7. Luke Terrell (55 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 INT) leads at DB.
Leeds also likes to run the ball with QB Jarod Latta — he’s also a proficient pass — triggering the offense. ATH Conner Nelson gets touches in a variety of ways and even played QB when Latta was injured earlier in the season. RBs are deep with Jeremiah Hunter, who had 18 carries for 153 yards and 4 TDs last week and has averaged 100-plus yards per game, along with Miles Jones. The defense ranks second-best best in scoring in Class 5A, allowing only 9.9 points a game and no team has scored more than 13 points against the Green Wave. An outstanding line leads the defense with Kavion Henderson (committed to Arkansas on Sunday), Chris Burge and Joseph Stone. That group allows CJ Douglas to thrive in coverage and against the run.
COMPLETE PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
(all games Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted)
CLASS 7A QUARTERFINALS
Dothan (8-3) at Auburn (10-1)
Enterprise (8-3) at Central-Phenix City (9-2)
Hewitt-Trussville (8-3) at Hoover (10-1)
Vestavia Hills (7-4) at Thompson (8-3)
Saraland (10-1) at Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (11-0)
Pike Road (7-4) at Homewood (9-2)
Pelham (6-5) at St. Paul’s (6-5)
Hueytown (8-3) at Theodore (11-0)
Mountain Brook (9-2) at Gadsden City (7-4)
Center Point (9-1) at Hartselle (11-0)
Muscle Shoals (9-1) at Parker (7-4)
Gardendale (8-3) at Decatur (9-2)
Gulf Shores (10-1) at Central-Clay County (9-2)
Demopolis (10-1) at Faith Academy (9-2)
Charles Henderson (9-1) at Tallassee (7-4)
Beauregard (10-1) at UMS-Wright (11-0)
Pleasant Grove (9-1) at Russellville (7-4)
Moody (10-1) at Arab (10-1)
Scottsboro (7-4) at Leeds (10-0)
Ramsay (9-2) at Guntersville (9-2), Thursday
Anniston (10-0) at BTW-Tuskegee (6-5)
Andalusia (10-1) at American Christian (9-2)
Montgomery Catholic (11-0) at Jacksonville (8-3)
Handley (10-1) at T.R. Miller (10-1)
Priceville (11-0) at Oneonta (9-1)
Etowah (8-3) at Deshler (11-0)
West Morgan (10-1) at Cherokee County (9-2)
Randolph (9-2) at Dora (8-3)
Thomasville (8-3) at Dadeville (10-0)
St. James (9-2) at W.S. Neal (7-4)
Trinity (9-2) at Mobile Christian (4-7)
Pike County (7-3) at Alabama Christian (8-3), Thursday at Faulkner
Mars Hill Bible (10-1) at Geraldine (8-3)
Sylvania (8-3) at Madison Academy (9-2)
Piedmont (9-2) at Colbert County (7-4)
Lauderdale County (7-4) at Gordo (10-1)
B.B. Comer (9-2) at Wicksburg (6-5)
G.W. Long (8-3) at Reeltown (9-1)
Highland Home (10-1) at Ariton (10-1)
Vincent (10-1) at Clarke County (6-5)
Tuscaloosa Academy (9-2) at Lexington (9-2)
Fyffe (11-0) at Winston County (7-4)
Pisgah (9-2) at Southeastern (9-1)
Falkville (7-4) at Aliceville (10-1)
Leroy (9-1) at Maplesville (8-3)
Brantley (9-2) at Linden (9-1)
Sweet Water (7-2) at Elba (11-0)
Loachapoka (9-1) at Millry (10-1), Thursday
Pickens County (8-3) at Meek (11-0)
Valley Head (10-1) at Marion County (8-3)
Coosa Christian (7-4) at Spring Garden (10-1)
Addison (9-2) at Lynn (10-1)
Valiant Cross (4-6) at Lee-Scott (10-0), Thursday
Morgan Academy (7-4) at Glenwood (7-3)
Clarke Prep (8-3) at Chambers Academy (8-3)
Edgewood (6-5) at Patrician (11-0), Thursday
Southern Academy (5-5) at Lowndes Academy (9-2)
Crenshaw Christian (8-3) at Jackson Academy (11-0)