The Woodville football team enters the state playoffs on a three-game winning streak.
If the Panthers extend that streak, they will make program history with its first playoff victory.
Woodville, the No. 3-seed from Class 1A Region 7, travels to play 1A Region 6 No. 2-seeded and No. 10-ranked Pickens County in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Pickens County High School’s G.S. Spruill Stadium in Reform. Because of COVID-19 precautions, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has limited attendance to 33 percent of stadium capacity and all tickets must be purchased online on the Go Fan app.
Woodville (5-5) is making its fifth playoff appearance all-time and the fifth in the past six seasons.
The Woodville-Pickens County winner plays the Decatur Heritage-Wadley winner in the second round. If Woodville advances, it would host a second-round game regardless of the opponent.
“The confidence is there,” said first-year Woodville head coach Tyler Vann. “We’re excited. Our seniors are excited. We’re going all-in.”
Pickens County (7-3), coached by former Alabama tight end Michael Williams, were the 1A Region 6 runner-up. The Tornadoes have posted wins this season over Hubbertville 28-20, Marion County 450-8, Lynn 34-12, Aliceville 8-6, Brilliant 26-13, Meek 38-14 and South Lamar 26-6 while their losses were to 1A No. 2-ranked Linden 36-0, 1A No. 8 Berry 29-28 and 4A No. 3 Gordo 40-8.
Pickens County has been a perennial Class 1A state-title contender over the past 12 seasons, having won a state title in 2013, been the state runner-up in 2016 and 2017 and having reached the state semifinals seven times, including the past four seasons. The 2020 Tornadoes are averaging 24.6 points per game while allowing 18.4. Pickens County isn’t a region champion for only the third time since 2013.
“They’re a good football team. They lean on their athletes and make a lot of big plays,” Vann said. “Defensively we need to keep everything in front of us and make them snap it again, make them be perfect for 10 to 12 plays. Offensively, we need some of those 10 to 12 play drives that end in scores. A good offense is a great defense. Keep it away from them and make our (possessions) count.”
Woodville’s offense has been piling up yardage and over the last three weeks, going over the 400-yard mark during wins over Gaylesville 38-20, Appalachian 54-20 and Section 34-28.
“We’ve moved the ball on just about everybody we’ve played this year. We haven’t always finished (drives),” Vann said. “We need to punch it in when we have the chance. We’ve been playing well, peaking at the right time.”