Don’t let last week’s score fool you. Florence coach Jamey DuBose still considers Huntsville a dangerous team.
Today at 7 p.m., the Falcons (7-3) begin the Class 6A playoffs hosting the Panthers (6-4), who head into Braly Stadium coming off a 24-3 loss to Hazel Green.
In its previous two games, Huntsville had knocked off playoff teams on the road, handing Clay-Chalkville its only loss before beating a Gadsden City team that edged Florence in Week 1.
“They’ve got a big football team,” said DuBose, whose Falcons have won five straight. “Up front, they’re big and physical. We’re going to have to win in the trenches. It was the same way last week against Vestavia Hills.
“What Huntsville has done the last few weeks on the road against some athletic teams has been impressive. I wouldn’t look too much into that Week 10 score at all.”
In all, there are 19 playoff games involving area teams tonight — two in Tennessee and 17 in Alabama as the AHSAA postseason begins.
Including Florence’s opener, 11 area schools host playoff games tonight. The others are:
n Boaz (7-3) at Muscle Shoals (10-0)
n DAR (5-5) at Brooks (9-1)
n North Jackson (6-4) at Central (7-3)
n Colbert County (6-4) at Hamilton (10-0)
n Vinemont (8-2) at Lauderdale County (9-1)
n Westbrook Christian (7-3) at Red Bay (7-3)
n Spring Garden (8-2) at Shoals Christian (6-4)
n Donoho (5-4) at Hackleburg (9-1), at Vina
n Jo Byrns (5-6) at Collinwood (8-2)
n White House-Heritage (6-5) at Loretto (7-3)
In Muscle Shoals, the top-ranked Trojans head into their 5A playoff opener after completing the first undefeated regular season in program history.
Boaz, has lost two of its last three games but is 5-0 on the road this season.
Coach Scott Basden said he doesn’t expect his team to underestimate its opponent with many players still remembering an 8-7 upset loss to Arab, another Region 7 team, in the first round of the 2010 playoffs that spoiled an 8-2 regular season.
“Two years ago, we were beating the world, too, but came in and got beat at home,” Basden said after last week’s win against Bob Jones. “I think a lot of players still think about that, so, hopefully, we’ll come out ready to play.”
Of the eight playoff games on the road, Russellville (8-2) at Etowah (7-3) is one of the higher profile openers.
The Golden Tigers finished tied for second in Class 5A, Region 8 but had to settle for the No. 3 seed based on tiebreaker. They have won four straight including back-to-back against then-ranked teams.
Etowah has lost two of its last three.
As for Florence, a 21-14 Week 7 win against a Hazel Green team that just beat Huntsville might give the Falcons some added confidence. However, as DuBose stressed, the Panthers didn’t take any chances in their loss last week, quickly pulling some nicked-up starters.
That included 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman Grant Hill, an Alabama verbal commitment who tweaked an ankle but is expected to play tonight.
The Panthers have another Southeastern Conference talent in linebacker Cameron Toney, an Auburn commit.
“They’re big and they have a lot of talent,” Florence junior quarterback Kendrick Doss said. “They like to run the ball on offense and they bring Toney on a lot of different blitzes on defense.
“They are a dangerous team, but I think we will be ready. This is the first playoff game I’ll have played in, and I know it’s the same way for a lot of other guys, so we will be excited.”
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or email@example.com. Follow @bappster on Twitter.