Prep picks: Make or break time for local teams this week

Oct. 26—It's the last week of region play and for a few local teams their season comes down to one game.

A couple of teams are playing this week for a chance to host a playoff game, but also fighting to avoid missing the playoffs.

So which teams will come out on top? Let's dive into the picks:

Last week: 7-7

Overall: 94-28

Austin Black Bears at Huntsville Panthers

There's a lot on the line for Austin. If the Black Bears win, they'll almost surely host a first-round playoff game. If Austin loses, coupled with a Florence win over Sparkman, then the Black Bears are almost surely out of the playoffs. If Austin loses and Sparkman defeats Florence, then there will be a four-way tie for the region's last two playoff spots.

Austin has dominated James Clemens and Bob Jones the last two weeks, so Huntsville should be just as winnable. High school football is a funny sport though and there's a lot of pressure on these two teams. Who handles it better may decide who wins.

Prediction: Austin

Decatur Red Raiders at Buckhorn Bucks

Last week certainly still stings for Decatur. The Red Raiders were just 10 seconds away from what would have been a program-defining win for first-year head coach Aairon Savage over Hartselle. There's a reason the Tigers are 36-8 under Bryan Moore though, they've been in a lot of close games and know how to win them.

Just being in the game with a chance to win late in the fourth quarter was something the Red Raiders hadn't done against Hartselle since 2017. Decatur will get there. In the meantime, the Red Raiders have a chance to finish the year .500 and that starts Friday with a win over Buckhorn.

Prediction: Decatur

Randolph Raiders at Priceville Bulldogs

A win for Priceville here would have the Bulldogs hosting a first-round playoff game for the fourth time under fifth-year head coach Chris Foster. A loss and the Bulldogs could potentially fall out of the playoffs completely. Priceville had Westminster Christian on the ropes last week, but the Wildcats put together a comeback to win and claim the Class 4A, Region 8 championship. A loss here would be just the second time the Bulldogs have lost three in a row under Foster and first since 2020.

Prediction: Priceville

Other games: West Morgan over Wilson, Brewer over West Point, Danville over Brindlee Mountain, Hatton over Red Bay, Central-Florence over East Lawrence, East Limestone over Ardmore, West Limestone over Rogers, Colbert County over Elkmont, Clements over Phil Campbell and Tanner over Booneville (Mississippi).

— or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2