Da'vion Johnson and Woodville travel to Florence to face top-ranked Mars Hill Bible in the Class 1A playoffs on Friday.

The Woodville football team hit the practice field Monday to start practice for its first-round playoff game.

It’s the fourth time in five seasons such a Monday practice has occurred at Woodville.

“It felt normal,” said Woodville head coach Jay Powell, whose led the Panthers to all of its four playoff appearances. “We wanted making the playoffs to be something we expect. Now we’ve got to try to advance.”

Woodville (4-6) faces a tough task Friday night, playing No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Mars Hill Bible (10-0) in the opening round of the Class 1A Playoffs. The game is Friday at 7 p.m. in Florence.

The Panthers are the No. 4-seed from Class 1A Region 7 while Mars Hill Bible is Region 8’s No. 1-seed. The Woodville-Mars Hill Bible winner plays the South Lamar-Appalachian winner in the second round. If it advances, Woodville would host No. 8 South Lamar but would travel to play Appalachian, a team it defeated 34-21 at AHS on Sept. 20.

It's the first ever meeting between Woodville and Mars Hill Bible. The game will be played on a turf field, a program first for Woodville.

“That’s going to be neat for the kids to experience that,” Powell said.

Powell said Mars Hill Bible operates offensively from a “pretty close to” traditional Wing-T offense, an offense that averages 53.6 points per game. Meanwhile, Mars Hill Bible’s defense is allowing just 13.6 points per game.

“They look like a defending state champ,” Powell said. “They’re disciplined, don’t make many mistakes. I’ve watched several films on them and I think they’ve fumbled one time.”

Powell said the Panthers know they face a big challenge, but it’s a challenge they are embracing.

“The kids know it’s a challenge, but I haven’t seen them back down from a challenge yet,” Powell said. “We know we’re underdogs, but we’re underdogs most times we go out. We’ve got to eliminate mistakes. Everybody’s focused. We’re going to give it our best shot. We’re anxious to see what our kids do.” 

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