Dominik Blair and Section try to stay undefeated when they travel to Tanner for their Class 2A Region 7 opener.

The Section football team is coming off its first playoff appearance in 13 seasons and returned a number of starters entered the 2021 season with plenty of expectations.

The Lions have responded to those expectations with a pair of convincing wins over Collinsville and Valley Head, giving Section its first 2-0 start to a season since 2013.

With the Lions starting Class 2A Region 7 play this week, Section head coach Chris Hammon is hoping the Lions will be 1-0 — in region play.

“We’re where we wanted to be after two weeks — 2-0 — and everybody’s excited,” Hammon said. “We’ve got to keep that momentum. This is a really critical region game. You always want to start region play out with a win.”

Section (2-0) begins region play Friday at 7 p.m. on the road at Tanner High School in Limestone County.

A win would give the Lions their first 3-0 start in 15 years.

It’s just the third ever meeting between the teams in a series tied 1-1. Section defeated the Rattlers 34-21 at home a year ago.

“(Tanner) is going to be a challenge, and we’ve got to go there, and it’s a haul over there, so that’s to their advantage,” said Hammon, whose team is playing its third straight road game to start the season.

Tanner (0-2) has struggled thus far this season, dropping road games at Class 5A Ardmore 49-6 and 3A Lexington 53-20. But Hammon said the Rattlers have the physical ability to be a dynamic team.

“They’re big along the front — probably average 300 pounds (per lineman) — and they’ve got good speed,” he said. “They spread you out, probably throw 60-40 (percent) compared to the run. You’ve got to keep them hemmed up because they can make big plays.”

Section’s offense has made their fair share of big plays the past two weeks and has a combined 739 rushing yards through two games.

Hammon has liked what he’s seen from the Lions offense thus far but added there are some loose ends Section must to tie up to be more consistent on that side of the football.

“We’ve had some critical turnovers the last two weeks that we can’t have in the region (play),” he said. “We’ve got to finish more drives and really just keep getting better at what we do.”

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