Grider McCrary

Landon Grider (left), Gavin McCrary and Scottsboro travel to play Class 6A Region 7 foe Fort Payne Friday night in the annual TopCat Rivalry.

The Scottsboro football team got some needed “team time” during its bye week. 

Following a last-second 24-21 loss to Springville that did see the Wildcats put together their best all-around performance of the season, Scottsboro spent its off week working on Scottsboro.

“We focused on us and doing the things we need to do to get better on both sides of the football and on special teams,” said Bell, whose team practiced twice on UT-Chattanooga’s turf practice field last week because of wet field conditions at the Trammell Stadium practice field. 

“We’re making progress, but at some point we’ve got to make it show up in the win column. We played a good second half against Springville, but we’ve got to have more consistency. That was a major point of emphasis. We needed the off week to work on us and to get healthy. I think (the bye) was good for us.”

Scottsboro returns to action with a Class 6A Region 7 contest that doubles as a rivalry game.

The Wildcats travel Fort Payne Friday at 7 p.m. for the teams’ annual battle for the TopCat Trophy, which is sponsored by The Jackson County Sentinel and The (Fort Payne) Times-Journal.

It’s the 87th all-time meeting between the schools. Fort Payne leads the series 52-31-3 and has won the last two meetings, including a 34-31 win a year ago thanks to a goal-line stand as time expired.

Scottsboro (1-4, 0-3) is looking for its first win at Fort Payne since 2013.

Bell is familiar with Fort Payne head coach Chris Elmore, whose Chelsea teams played Bell’s Oak Mountain teams during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The coaches split their two meetings with one another.

“Chris is just a really good football coach and his kids are well-coached and sound in what they do,” Bell said. “What they do offensively is challenging, and defensively, they’re guys are always where they’re supposed to be. And the kicker (Auburn commit Alex McPherson), if they get it to midfield he’s a threat to get them three points.”

Fort Payne (2-3, 1-1) opened its season with losses to Athens, Gadsden City and Arab before bouncing back with wins at Springville 27-14 and at Etowah 33-27. 

The Wildcats from DeKalb County are led offensively by quarterback Jake Barnes, who was 8-of-19 passing for 196 yards and three scores last week against Etowah. His top targets are tight end Sawyer Burt and wide receivers Connor Cash and Marcus Ledford. Alex Akin and Darrell Prater have carried Fort Payne’s run game while senior starter Kaden Dubose has been sidelined since Week 2. Bell said Dubose could be back from injury this week in time to face his Scottsboro team.

Refreshed from the off week, Bell said the Wildcats are geared up for the TopCat Rivalry.

“I expect our kids to come out and have a high energy level, high enthusiasm level, and play at a high level,” he said. 

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