Woodville's Shane Hughes (left) and Carlos Torres (back) chase Section's Drake McCutchen during a play in last season's game. The county rivals are set for this season's meeting on Thursday.

Section head coach Chris Hammon and Woodville head coach Tyler Vann plan to ride to Montgomery together for Saturday’s AHSAA football playoff meetings.

For one coach, the ride will be more pleasant than for the other.

Before they hit the road, their teams will square off in a Jackson County rivalry matchup to close out the regular season.

“One of us is going to be in a better mood on the ride than the other,” Hammon said with a laugh.

“It’ll be a better ride if we come out on top,” joked Vann, who was on the Scottsboro coaching staff with Hammon in 2018.

The battle for bragging rights in the rivalry, and on the ride to Mongomery, kicks off Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Woodville High School’s Frazier Field.

WWIC Radio 1050 AM will broadcast the game between Section (5-4) and Woodville (4-5) on the radio and on all of its online listening platforms.  

It’s the ninth all-time meeting between the schools and the fifth straight season they’ve meet in the regular-season finale. Section leads the series 6-2, but the teams have split the last four meetings with the home team winning each time. Both teams are playoff bound — Section will visit Westbrook Christian to start the Class 2A Playoffs while Woodville will visit Pickens County in the 1A Playoffs — are both want nothing more than to enter the postseason on a high note.

“We’ve talked about keeping this momentum going into the playoffs,” said Vann, whose team has won its last two games. “We want to get to 5-5, and we’re playing an in-county rivalry type game. Our guys have been getting better, and our guys, we got some back healthy have been big. We just want to keep getting better.”

Section is looking to get back on track after losing 36-8 at Class 4A Hanceville last week. The Lions had some players missing from the lineup, including leading rusher and starting defensive back Drake McCutchen, who may or may not be ready Thursday night, Hammon said. The coach said Section needs more “guys ready to step up and fill in” if players are out of the lineup. 

Hammon said the Lions must be ready to step up defensively against Woodville, which has produced 38 and 54 points the past two weeks. Jackson Peek topped the 200-yard rushing mark again last week, while Cam Talley, Josh Thompson Carlos Torres had rushing touchdowns or two-point conversions.

“They do some really good things on offense,” Hammon said. “Coaching Vann’s done a really good job. They’ve got good size up front. The quarterback (Peek) is probably one of the best players we’ve seen all year. When you’ve got a running quarterback, it just gives you problems.”

Vann said Woodville had to match Section’s physical play on the offensive and defensive lines in order to be successful.

“They’re big and physical, definitely not afraid to hit you,” Vann said. “They’ve got some good skill guys that are physical too. They like to just pound on you. “We’ve got to match that physicality.”

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