The Scottsboro football team carried over its winning formula from the regular season into the postseason last week.
The Wildcats moved onto the second round of the Class 5A playoffs thanks to a hard-fought 17-14 win over Russellville, and now they hope that formula carries them into the state quarterfinals.
“We are who are and hopefully it just keeps being enough (to advance),” said Jacobs, whose team carries a five-game winning streak in the second round. “Our kids believe in what we’re doing.”
Scottsboro (9-2) travels to the Birmingham area to take on Center Point (8-3) in a Class 5A second-round playoff game at Center Point High School’s Bowman Field. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m.
The Scottsboro-Center Point winner plays either No. 9-ranked Mortimer Jordan or Guntersville in the state quarterfinals next week. If it advances, Scottsboro would host Guntersville but travel to play Mortimer Jordan.
A win would give Scottsboro its fourth all-time quarterfinal appearance, and second in four seasons, since the AHSAA expanded its football playoffs to five rounds in 1984.
It’s the second meeting between the teams and the first meeting since 1995, when Center Point, then known as Erwin High School, defeated Scottsboro 31-14 in a Class 5A second-round contest.
While Scottsboro, the No. 2-seed from Region 7, topped Russellville in the first round, Region 5 No. 4-seed Center Point surprised No. 5-ranked and Region 6 champion Etowah 42-13 in Round 1.
The Eagles, coached by George Bates, suffered losses this season to 7A Mountain Brook 24-6 and region foes Sylacauga 14-7 and No. 4 and defending 5A state champion Central-Clay County 19-12. Among Center Point’s wins was a 28-21 victory over No. 9-ranked and Region 5 champion Mortimer Jordan and 22-21 win over 6A Homewood.
Center Point’s roster features only 36 players and approximately 25 players see significant action. Because of that, Jacobs said, a number of Eagles play three to five positions during games in order for teammates to get some rest on the sideline.
“They’re athletic and that lets them play guys all over,” Jacobs said. “They’ve got a running back that plays nose guard. That’s not a combination you hear of often. They’ve got eight seniors on defense. They’re well-schooled, well-coached. They can do different things on offense. They run the spread, but last week they got in three-back and ran right at (Etowah).”
Center Point rushed for 293 yards in the Round 1 to go 106 passing yards. Troy Bruce rushed for 134 yards on 17 carries while Dontae Eatman ran for 90 on 17 carries and Jay Taylor ran for 65 yards on six carries. Quarterback Javon Davis was 5-of-9 passing. Do-it-all athlete Jayson Jones, who will see time at quarterback, running back and receiver for the Eagles, had two rushing touchdowns against Etowah.
Scottsboro counters Center Point’s offense with a defense that has held opponents to 14 points or less the past four games and have allowed only five first downs over the last three games. The Wildcats have been stingy against the run this season, holding eight opponents below 100 yards rushing. Scottsboro defenders have recorded 47 tackles for loss and 25 quarterback sacks.
“The defense has been playing really well,” Jacobs said. “Nobody’s got much on them and we tackle pretty well. I feel good about our defense,”
Cameron Whited leads the Wildcats in tackles with 78 (eight for a loss and three quarterback sacks) while Noah Linville (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) and A.J. Widgeon (seven sacks) have 68 tackles each. Camden Skipper has 55 tackles while Rylee Whitehead has 41, Brandon Cloud has 36 (two interceptions) and Nathan Jones has 34 (six sacks).
Offensively, Jacobs said Scottsboro must continue its ball-control, yardage-chewing ways led by the rushing tandem of junior quarterback Jacob Manning (1,487 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on 269 carries) and senior running back Cam Bass (1,393 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 235 carries) and an offensive front that has been strong all season.
“Our strength is ball control,” Jacobs said. “If we do that, we’ll be all right.”