SCHEDULE PREVIEW: Tharptown braces for tough season
Moving up to Class 2A has not been easy for the Tharptown Wildcats. As a matter of fact, it has been brutal. The Wildcats are in arguably the best region in the state in Class 2A, with teams like Colbert County, Red Bay, Sheffield and Mars Hill. Red Bay and Mars Hill both went undefeated in the regular season last year, with the Tigers losing in the third round of the playoffs and the Panthers in the finals.
This will be a challenging year again for Tharptown. There are, however, teams on the schedule the Wildcats can beat with the right mindset.
HOST SHOALS CHRISTIAN
Tharptown will open the season hosting the Shoals Christian Flame. The Wildcats picked up one of their two wins last season against Shoals Christian in a 17-0 shutout. The Flame’s only win last year was a 34-20 victory over Cherokee.
Tharptown has a three–game winning streak against the Flame.
Tharptown last beat Phillips in 2013. The Bears have won four in a row since.
The two teams have met 11 times, with Tharptown winning two of those matchups. Phillips went 2-8 last year, with the Bears’ only two wins coming against Shoals Christian and Cherokee.
AT COLBERT COUNTY
Tharptown opens up region play against perennial football power Colbert County. The Wildcats lost 55-0 last year.
The two teams have met only twice, and Tharptown has yet to get in the endzone against the Indians. Colbert County went 6-5 last year with a first–round playoff loss to Collinsville.
Tharptown and Lexington have never met on the gridiron.
Lexington won just one game last year. The team beat Rogers 3-0 in the opening game of the season. Lexington was outscored 24-10 on average last year by opponents.
HOST RED BAY
Tharptown has never beat the Red Bay Tigers. The Wildcats lost last year 50-0. Red Bay went 12-1 last year, with the Tigers’ only loss coming in the third round of the playoffs to Fyffe.
Tharptown is 0-2 against the Sheffield Bulldogs. The Wildcats and Bulldogs have been in the same region for two years, and Sheffield has outscored Tharptown 105-24.
Sheffield won last year’s matchup 56-24. Sheffield went 6-5 last year with a blistering first–round loss to Fyffe 48-0.
Tharptown is 0-6 against the Hatton Hornets. Hatton won this game last year 51-7.
Hatton went 5-5 last year in Class 2A region play. Because of the close proximity of the two schools, this has the makings of a natural rivalry game.
AT MARS HILL
Mars Hill and Tharptown are 1-1 against each other. They last played in 2015, when the Panthers won 13-6.
The Panthers are coming off a 14-1 season, losing in the Class 1A finals to Lanett.
Tharptown closes out the season against the Vina Red Devils. The Wildcats are 5-8 overall against the Red Devils but have won the past two meetings. Tharptown shut out Vina last year 13-0.