Top storylines to watch for this fall

Omar Napier looks for room to run 

Fourth of July is now over and I hope that everyone had a great holiday weekend. 

But the end of Fourth of July means that we are now officially on the road to football season. 

There will be a lot of interesting storylines to follow throughout the season in the county. 

Here are a few to follow: 

Will East Lawrence end the county’s longest playoff drought? 

The Eagles are currently in the position of having the longest playoff drought of the four county schools. In fact, the last time they made the playoffs was 2008, which was the last year Hazlewood and Speake were still around. 

They are the only team without a playoff appearance this decade and this is their last year to change that. 

Fortunately for them, they were just one game away from the playoffs last year despite only winning two games. Expectations are that the Eagles will  improve in season two under James Moore. 

Four is the magic number, as the third and fourth place teams in the region last year won four games to advance to the playoffs (East Lawrence finished fifth).

Still, while the playoffs are the goal, East Lawrence will probably be aiming to end other streaks as well. The Eagles haven’t had a winning season, finished .500 or won more than four games since 1997. 

Can the Hornets stay healthy this year? 

Hatton went through a serious injury bug in the early portion of last year and it arguably costed them a playoff berth. 

The Hornets finished 6-4 but missed out on the playoffs after failing to get a win in their first three game region stretch against Red Bay, Sheffield and Colbert County, all of which were playoff teams. 

Injuries played a big part. Star player Peyton Logston gutted it out on a torn acl, several other players were lost for the season and by the end of the Red Bay game, Hatton was forced out of their wing t formations because they didn’t have enough backs for it. 

Depth is even more crucial this year. Not only did they lose departing seniors, but they also lost three returning starters, Juan Lopez, Slade Berryman and Canon Berryman. 

One big injury could be all it takes to dramatically shift the season for Hatton in 2019. 

Will R.A. Hubbard find some success through the air in 2019? 

In his second season last year Mac Hampton took R.A. Hubbard from 2-8 to 8-3. They finished second in the region, narrowly missing out on a region title in a close loss to Falkville. 

The Chiefs were very solid. They had a stout defense, talented skill players, monsters in the trenches and had a bruising run game. The one thing that was missing was a passing attack. 

Hubbard struggled to consistently make big plays in the passing game, and it was the one thing that held them back. 

Despite losing a good senior class, they’re poised to have another big season. They will be good in all those aspects, stout defense, strong in the trenches, powerful run game, again. Finding that passing attack is the key in taking the team to the next level.

How will Lawrence County respond to last year’s dismal end? 

2018 was a season filled with promise that really went off the rails. 

It started in preseason when the Devils lost running back Zaye Boyd to transfer who went on to have an All State season at Russellville. 

Things seemed okay when they started 2-1, including a beatdown of West Point, but seven turnovers combined costed them close losses to Dora and Russellville. 

By the Corner game they had lost three of their top four receivers and by the end of the season, nine players that had started in the spring game at Jacksonville State were gone. 

The wheels fell off the wagon and the Devils limped to a 2-8 finish. 

Here’s the good news. Lawrence County had very few seniors and by returning all the young players that were forced into action late, they return an experienced team. 

How will they respond to the way the season ended? Only time will tell, but after three straight playoff appearances, it’s sure to have a sour taste. 

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