WSN, Monroe County need win to stay in postseason hunt

Published 2:46 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2006

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
While the Alabama High School Athletic Association state football playoffs may not start until next month, they unofficially get started this week for the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles and Monroe County Tigers.
The loser of Friday's 7 p.m. Class 4A Region 1 clash at Monroeville will most likely fall out of contention for a playoff berth, while the winner will cling to postseason hopes for at least another week.
Both teams stand 1-2 in region play. W.S. Neal climbed above the .500 mark at 3-2 this past Friday when it smashed Opp 60-14, while Monroe County dipped below the break-even mark at 2-3 with a 49-6 loss to Greenville.
This week will be the Blue Eagles' third opportunity to win back-to-back games. W.S. Neal has failed in that mission its two previous chances. The Blue Eagles lost to Escambia County after an opening-week win against Daleville. They later lost to Thomasville after a victory the previous week against Southside-Selma.
Monroe County won two of its first three games, but has since been pounded 48-12 by T.R. Miller two weeks ago and 49-6 by Greenville last week. Both games followed similar patterns. The Tigers scored on their first offensive series in each game, but then gave up 41 straight points to T.R. Miller and 49 straight against Greenville. Monroe County's lone score against Greenville came when Greenville held out seven defensive starters for disciplinary reasons. Greenville gave up just 18 yards the rest of the game after its starting unit entered the contest.
Despite those problems, Hathcock said Monroe County poses some big concerns.
W.S. Neal took advantage of a huge size advantage in its win against Opp. The Blue Eagles will have a similar advantage this week against a Monroe County team that has only seven players over 200 pounds and just one over 230 pounds.
Stopping Monroe County wide receiver Dedrick Hawthorne (6-0, 170 lb. sr.), running back Stephen Andrews (5-11, 205 lb. sr.) and quarterback Byron Rivers (6-0, 175 lb. sr.) are also keys Friday.

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