Wilks

Dane Wilks and Woodville go on the road to take on Class 1A Region 7 leader Cedar Bluff on Friday.

The Woodville football team returns to region play this week with a trip to play the region leader.

The Panthers travel to Cherokee County Friday night for a matchup with Cedar Bluff. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Cedar Bluff’s L.D. Bruce Field.

It’s the 14th meeting between the schools in a series that Cedar Bluff leads 13-0. The teams have played all but two seasons — the 2018 and 2019 seasons when Cedar Bluff was in Class 2A — since Woodville started playing football in 2006.

Both team are coming off of non-region losses. Woodville (0-6, 0-3) fell to Class 1A No. 8-ranked Decatur Heritage while Cedar Bluff (2-3, 2-0) fell to North Sand Mountain.

Cedar Bluff is led by quarterback Jacob Burleson and running back Preston Burt and running back/receiver Bucky Leek. Burleson threw a touchdown pass to Lee during the Tigers’ 22-6 loss to NSM.

“They like to run the ball but will throw when you cheat up on the run,” said Woodville head coach Matt Sanders. 

Woodville had to scrap its game plan on Wednesday after losing a starter to COVID-19 close contact quarantine, and the Panthers had to shift a lineman to receiver and move a freshman lineman into the starting lineup.

It was another challenging moment in season of challenges for the Panthers. Sanders said it was another example of his players and coaches showing resiliency. 

“I commend my guys. It’s not the season any of us wanted, but they continue to show up every day trying to get better,” Sanders said. “With our low numbers, they’re playing every snap and I admire them for that. It’s tough. But they keep showing up and battling and I can’t tell you how proud I am of them. It’s going to help them in life, but I think it’s going to pay off this season.”

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