The Real Season Begins

John Goolsby

The Shades Valley Mounties head to Cullman tonight for their first-round playoff game against the 8-2 Cullman Bearcats. This will be the school’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2017 and only their fifth appearance since 2000.

The Mounties dropped a non-region game this past Friday night to long-time rival Vestavia. It was the final game for the Rebel’s Buddy Anderson after forty-two years as the Head Coach.

The Shades Valley offense scored 27 points and rolled up 333 yards on the ground against Vestavia. The rushing attack was once again lead by junior Jordan Pearson with 184 yards. Freshman Bralen Hart ran for 118 yards.

Jordan Pearson scores on an 80 yard run. Video credit: Shane Paschal

The defense struggled on the night against a very good Vestavia offense. “They are really good at what they do,” said Mountie Head Coach Jamie Mitchell. When asked what the takeaways were from the defensive performance Mitchell said, “the biggest thing is that it is a plus playing a run heavy team last Friday night. It will help preparation heading into the game.”

Mitchell’s team travels to Oliver Woodard Stadium at full strength as they face a Bearcat team that only lost two games all year. Cullman is undefeated at home. “This game will be won up front. They have a very good offensive line…they have some good guys up there. We both want to run the ball, but we go about it in different ways,” said Mitchell. Mitchell feels good about his running backs and the performance of his offensive line. The Mounties will have a healthy Davin Bostock, who has been limited the last two weeks, and David Ware in the mix with Pearson and Hart.

To be successful, the defense will have to play disciplined football. “They are a triple option team and with that comes responsibility. You better be looking at the dive and quarterback pitch every snap,” said Mitchell.

The Mounties will be looking for their first playoff win since Nov. 9, 2017. A victory would be only the fourth playoff win for Shades Valley since 2000. “Making the playoffs is a great thing for us. I can’t imagine what a win would mean for us,” said Mitchell.

For Mitchell, who coached his Starkville High and North Little Rock teams to the state championship game six out of the last eight years, he knows the real season begins tonight.

The game can be seen on the NFHS Network at 7 pm.

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