Eagles get home date with Eufaula for opener
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
After countless calls and inquiries by coach/athletic director Shane Smothers, the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles football team finally has a week one opponent.
W.S. Neal will host the Eufaula Tigers in a non-region game on August 27 at 7:30 p.m. The deal is a two-year contract. The Blue Eagles will travel to Eufaula in 2005.
Eufaula, a Class 5A school, posted an 11-1 record in 2003. The Tigers won Region 2 in that class with a perfect 7-0 record. Eufaula beat Benjamin Russell in the opening round of the playoffs before it suffered its only loss of the season in the second round to Briarwood.
For a while, W.S. Neal was leaning towards a matchup with another Class 5A school, Stanhope Elmore, before it switched to Eufaula.
"Both are outstanding programs, but Eufaula agreed to give us a little more money to come to their place next year plus Eufaula tends to travel better (more fans) than Stanhope Elmore does. That was another key factor in our decision," Smothers said. "We felt we needed to find an opponent that travels fairly well. A lot of our region schools usually don't."
The addition of Eufaula completes a rugged 2004 slate for the Blue Eagles. Seven of W.S. Neal's opponents made the playoffs a year ago, which includes Class 4A state champ Trinity Presbyterian and Class 3A state champ Pike County.
The addition of Eufaula gives the Blue Eagles an even balance of home and away games. W.S. Neal will host Eufaula on August 27, Headland on September 17, Trinity Presbyterian on September 24, Dale County on October 1 and Straughn October 15.
Road dates will be at Pike County on September 3, at Slocomb on September 10, at Abbeville on October 8, at T.R. Miller on October 22 and at Southern Choctaw on October 29.
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Class 3A Region 1 (T.R. Miller, W.S. Neal, Abbeville, Pike County, Headland, Slocomb, Dale County and Straughn) will be paired against Region 3 in the opening round of football playoff competition this season.
Region 3 contains Aliceville, Hayneville-Central, Clarke County, Francis Marion, Midfield, Northside, Sumter County and West Blocton.
Many of those schools should be familiar to T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal followers.
Clarke County and Hayneville-Central were in Class 3A Region 1 the last two years before realignment. T.R. Miller drew a first-round matchup against Midfield in last year's
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playoffs, while W.S. Neal faced Aliceville.
Region 2 was paired against Region 4. Region 2 contains Alabama Christian, Barbour County, Calhoun, Montgomery Catholic, Montgomery Academy, Dadeville, Holtville and Lafayette. Region 4 contains Ashville, Fultondale, Leeds, Locust Fork, Oneonta, J.B. Pennington, Springville and Sumiton Christian.
Region 5 will hook up with Region 7. Region 5 contains Glencoe, Hokes Bluff, Lincoln, Litchfield, Munford, Ohatchee, Piedmont and Weaver. Region 7 contains Carbon Hill, Danville, Good Hope, Hanceville, Sulligent, Vinemont, Winfield and Winston County.
Region 6 will play Region 8. Region 6 contains Cherokee County, Crossville, Susan Moore, New Hope, North Sand Mountain, Pisgah, Plainview and Sardis. Region 8 contains Colbert County, Elkmont, Lauderdale County, Madison Academy, Rogers, Sheffield, West Limestone and West Morgan.
The ad deadline for the T.R. Miller football program has been extended to Thursday.
Ad information and pictures should be taken to the Vance Kilgore office at 311 Sowell Street or contact Roger Chapman at 867-5412 or at 867-7758.
Brewton Youth Football will continue registration through Monday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at O'Bannon Park.
The league is for players age five to 12. Registration fee is $22 per player. The first practice will be Monday. The season starts August 21.