The Section football closed out Class 2A Region 7play a week ago by locking up the program’s first playoff appearance since 2007.
Now the Lions are about to go through a playoff simulation, head coach Chris Hammon said, when they travel to play Class 4A Hanceville Friday night in a non-region matchup.
“I look at it like it’s kind of like simulating at playoff game,” said Hammon, whose team will play its first-round state playoff game at Class 2A Region 6 runner-up Westbrook Christian on Nov. 6. “We’ve got to travel to an hour-and-a-half and play against a 4A team with a lot of players. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”
It's the first meeting between Section (5-2) and Hanceville (1-7).
Hammon said the game came about while trying to schedule Appalachian for a Week 9 game. Appalachian coach Jon Cooper was trying to trade bye weeks around in 1A Region 7 so that his team could play Section in Week 9. When that fell through, Cooper let Hammon know that Hanceville was looking for a Week 9 game.
“He’d been in contact with Hanceville and kind of pointed me that way,” Hammon said. “It’d called about seven or eight teams with no luck before that, so we got it on there.”
Hanceville, a longtime Class 3A school, has struggled in its first season in Class 4A since 1995. The Bulldogs’ lone win came Sept. 4 over winless Fultondale 43-34, and they enter the matchup with Section having lost six straight games by an average of 23.5 points per game. The Bulldogs are averaging 17.1 points per game while allowing 38.5
Hammon said the Lions know Hanceville will present quite a challenge Friday night.
They’re a bigger school, and they’ve been about 80% pass,” he said. “They get in a lot of sets, and they love to pass it.”
Hammon said he “was proud” his team for making the playoffs, adding that the Lions are moving on to their next goal as the regular-season winds down.
“Our second goal was to have a winning record,” said Hammon, whose team plays Woodville after taking on Hanceville, “and we’ve got a chance to do that.”