Glenwood's motto: Just win
BY ROBERT SPRUCK
There are a couple of scenarios that would secure Glenwood a home game in the first round of the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA playoffs.
The simplest scenario is the one that Glenwood coach Tripp Henderson is preaching to his team -- beat Edgewood tonight and defeat Pickens next Friday. The Gators can actually lock up the second seed in Region 2 tonight with a win and a Macon-East loss to Bessemer.
"We should be the favorite in the next two games, and we are trying to win them," Henderson said. "After last week's win, we are hoping not to have a letdown. We have told them that we want to take another step. After an 8-2 season last year, the next step is 9-1. We are in a position to do that, if we finish strong."
The Gators clinched a berth in the Class AAA playoffs with their 48-20 win against Pickens on Sept. 28. Glenwood (6-1, 4-1 AAA, Region 2) hosts Edgewood tonight at 8 with the opportunity to get a little closer to a home playoff game.
The Gators hosted a first-round playoff game last season and knocked off Cottage Hill 42-16.
"This is something that is really important us," Henderson said of opening the playoffs at The Swamp. "It's a little different atmosphere in the playoffs, and everyone gets a little more excited."
Willis will play
After injuring his groin during the Jordan game on Sept. 29, Shaw defensive back Bryan Willis is expected to play against Hardaway.
Shaw will try to win its fourth straight game when it takes on Hardaway tonight at 7:30 at Kinnett Stadium.
The Raiders held Willis, who also plays running back, out of the game against Kendrick last week to give him extra time to rest, Shaw coach Scott Newman said. Newman said Willis played one series in the Raiders' 36-14 win against the Red Jackets.
"We want to make sure that he is at full strength when he comes back," Newman said.
Willis, who intercepted nine passes as a junior, is a versatile player for the Raiders. He's got an interception and 18 tackles this season. Willis has also rushed for 266 yards and four touchdowns.
Time to work
Losing its final two games in the Region 2-AAA tournament has Hardaway softball coach Bill Stohr feeling that his team needs to improve in all areas.
"We are going to work on everything," Stohr said. "We will work on hitting, pitching and defense. We have to rededicate ourselves. The good thing is that we are in the sectionals."
The Lady Hawks finished third in the Region 2-AAA tournament that ended with a 1-0 loss to Northside. Hardaway lost 8-2 to Harris County on Tuesday evening. The Hawks will open the Class AAA south sectional against the No. 2 team from Region 4.
Hardaway scored two runs and had 10 hits in its two losses. The Hawks never really threatened to score in the final few innings against Northside.
"You try to learn from every loss," Stohr said. "I don't know what we will learn from this one, but we are going to try to."
Harris County enters the sectional as one of the hottest teams in the state.
After breezing through the Region 2-AAA tournament, the Lady Tigers have won 14 straight games. Harris County enters the sectional tournament in Dublin, Ga., with a lot of momentum after outscoring its opponents 23-2 in the region tournament. The Tigers will open against the fourth seed from Region 4.
"Being a senior and it being my last year, it feels great to win," third baseman Baillie Temples said after winning the region tournament for the second straight year. "It's a good way to start the playoffs."
The only AAA team that might be hotter is Oconee County. The Warriors, who have won the AAA state title the last three years, have won 23 of their last 24 games.
Northside will take some time off before beginning preparation for its second straight trip to the sectional tournament.
The Lady Patriots will go into seeded second after entering as the fourth seed last year. They were one win away from advancing to the elite eight in 2006.
Northside returns seven players that were a part of last year's team that came up a little short.
"We know what it takes," Northside coach Chera Riles said. "They want to take it one step further this year... . They got a little taste last year."
Glenwood's football team, led in part by quarterback Branden Williams, can clinch at least second place in Region 2 for the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA playoffs with a victory tonight against Pickens. That would give the Gators a home playoff game in the first round for the second year in a row. (Ledger-Enquirer photo)
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