MR. SPORTS – Get ready for great high school football and cross country state playoff action

By Bob Labbe

While the sports of basketball and wrestling are just now entering its season of play in the 2012-2013 high school year, both football and cross country programs are now gearing up for post-season action.

At Bob Jones (7-3), the Patriots’ football team goes into the playoffs as Region 8 Champions and will host a first-round game against Gadsden City (6-4) at Madison City Schools Stadium this Friday with kickoff at 7 p.m. My guess is you should get to the stadium early as the stadium will be a-rockin’ with the home team fans flocking to the stadium to see the Patriots venture into the playoffs again this season.

This will be the first meeting of the two schools as the Titans are Region 7 runner-up while the Pats are Region 8 champs for the fourth consecutive year. Bob Jones is unbeaten at home this season and is ranked among the top 15 teams in the state in Class 6A.

“Gadsden City comes into this game as the most athletic team we’ll face this season as they are similar to Austin High as being fast and athletic,” said Kevin Rose, head coach of Bob Jones. “Don’t be fooled by their record as they lost three of their games by a total of seven points.”

Rose feels as though his team has had a couple key players banged up, but they should be good to go this Friday. The Patriots already lost Jonathan Rice to a shoulder injury in the Muscle Shoals game.

“We hope we have a tremendous crowd come out to the game this Friday as our kids have responded to the home crowd by winning all five home games this year,” added Rose. “We’ve been very good at home and very bad on the road. I encourage all of those who want to see a good Bob Jones team to come out this Friday.”

Should the Patriots win, the red, while and blue will host with the winner of Mt. Brook-Hillcrest in round two.

Meanwhile, just a mile east of the Madison stadium, Madison Academy (8-2) will host Winston County (5-5) in Class 3A action. The Mustangs, playing in its home school stadium on Slaughter Road, are Region 7 champs and have outscored its opponents 378-86 this season. A victory this week will put the horses into round two against the winner of Plainview vs. Susan Moore.

This is the 29th year since the six-classification format was introduced in 1984. The playoffs lead up to the Super 6 state finals on Dec. 6-7 at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

State Cross Country

The Cross Country State Meet is scheduled for Saturday in Moulton. Jim Presnell, head coach of the Bob Jones cross country program, said, “We hope to crack the top 10 and to finish the season with our fastest times of the year so we can build momentum for next year.”

The Patriots took third place in the Sectionals in both boys and girls divisions. Seniors David Hergenroeder and Allie Smith will lead a handful of runners who have a legitimate shot at earning all-state honors at the State Meet. Underclassmen Peyton Tyler and Vanessa Caldwell have also posted strong times during the season, which could place them among the elite group should they perform well at the season ending event.

Additional runners for the Patriots include David Gunther, Nick Simmons, Stuart Slayton, Brett Bowers, Lindsey Martin, Courtney Moffett, Aspen Robinson and Lillie Robinson.

College Football

The heart-stopping battle last week between Alabama and LSU was certainly a game to remember. The Tide’s last minute 72-yard drive comeback was as gutsy as any I’ve seen in years. The victory keeps Alabama on top of the standings and continues its quest to defend its title as National Champions. CBS Sports indicated the TV broadcast of the game was the highest rated college football game of the season.

Up next for the No. 1 Crimson Tide is Texas A&M a team I believe could spell real trouble for Alabama as the Aggies’ offense is fifth overall in college football and is fourth in scoring putting up 44-points per game. A&M’s sensational freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, has become a one-player wrecking crew with 383-yards per game putting him No.2 in the country in total offense.

Of course, the Aggies’ offense has not faced a defense such as Alabama’s, which is tops in scoring defense allowing just over 9-points per game and is second in total defense. This will be battle between the best against the best.

This week, the SEC highlights the college schedule with some good match ups on tap. Arkansas-South Carolina (11 a.m.-Channel 19), Missouri-Tennessee (11:20 a.m.-Channel 54), Georgia-Auburn (6 p.m.-ESPN2), Vanderbilt- Ole Miss (6 p.m.-ESPNU), Mississippi State-LSU (6 p.m.-ESPN) and Texas A&M-Alabama (2:30 p.m.-Channel 19).

Bits And Pieces

The race to hoist the Sprint Cup in NASCAR is just a two driver race and it’s looking more and more like a repeat of last year’s incredible finish when Jimmie Johnson edged Brad Keselowski on the season’s final race to win his fifth NASCAR Points Championship.

Last week, Johnson and Keselowski finished one-two in the Sunday race and now head into the final two races of the 2012 season with Johnson holding a seven point lead. Johnson won both the pole and race in Texas in his Chevy. This weekend, they head to Phoenix and complete the season next weekend in Homestead-Miami.

The Chase, as it’s known in NASCAR, is certainly living up to its billing again this year.

The long-awaited annual appearance of Sonny Smith and Wimp Sanderson is set for Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Huntsville Quarterback Club. The two former SEC basketball coaches and radio show hosts are always the highlight of the season schedule as the two strong and humorous personalities make for an entertaining evening for everyone.

The Huntsville Quarterback Club meets at The Ledges in Huntsville. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 7 p.m. followed by guest speakers. More details available at

The Huntsville Havoc is set for its home opener this Saturday at the VBC. Matter of fact, the Havoc will host two games this weekend. Saturday’s match starts at 7:30 p.m. with the puck falling at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The weekend event is Veterans Weekend with special auctions and other events surrounding the two hockey matches.

A quick congratulations goes out to Kevin Rose at Bob Jones. His daughter, Kaylee Rose, is not only a cheerleader and softball player for the Patriots, but she was also named part of the Sophomore Homecoming Court.

Let’s get into the predictions for college football. Last week I was PERFECT at 6-0 and will stay within the Southeastern Conference for this week’s predictions. I see South Carolina edging Arkansas, Tennessee squeaking by Missouri, Georgia nailing Auburn, LSU out-muscling Miss State and Alabama holding off a good Texas A&M team.