NICK JOHNSTON: Gaston-Westbrook Christian highlight Week 6 games

Gaston's Shai Ogles catches a pass against Wadley on Friday. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times)



The race for the high school football playoffs begins in earnest Friday night as the second half of the season kicks off with a full slate of region games across the area.

The Gadsden Times’ Game of the Week features Westbrook Christian at Gaston in Class 2A, Region 7 play. A quick look at the region standings showed Westbrook is in a three-way tie for second at 2-1, with Gaston just behind at 1-2. The game will feature a pair of up-and-coming signal callers in Westbrook’s Wil Appleton and Gaston’s Jordan Douglas. Appleton is just a freshman and will be making his third start Friday, while Douglas took over the quarterbacking duties last year and has developed nicely. Gaston relies a little more on the run, but Appleton has been able to take advantage of a solid receiving corps to lead the Warriors to a pair of wins.

Here’s what it comes down to in this game: Can Westbrook handle Gaston’s speed? The Bulldogs are quick at every skill position and their receivers have the ability to get behind the defense on any given play. Can Appleton, who was thrust into the starting quarterback spot when Jake Kilgo went down with a season-ending knee injury, continue to develop and keep the offense rolling?

It’s two great coaches — Westbrook’s Tony Osborne and Gaston’s Swane Morris — matching wits, too, so this game has a little bit of everything. This one really is a toss up, but I’m giving the nod to Westbrook in a close, hard-fought game. Warriors 35, Bulldogs 34.

Other Etowah County teams also will be looking for big region wins Friday night. I think Gadsden City will defend its home turf and knock off 6A, Region 7 foe Pell City 21-14. Southside should keep rolling in 5A, Region 7 and beat Arab 35-13. Also in 5A, Region 7, I look for Etowah to go on the road and beat Scottsboro 28-21.

Hokes Bluff falls in 4A, Region 5 to Cleburne County 30-20; Sardis stays undefeated with a 30-28 win over 4A, Region 6 rival Guntersville; Glencoe can’t slow down Saks in a 30-21 loss in 3A, Region 5; West End falls to North Sand Mountain 45-13 in 2A, Region 7; and Valley Head proves too much for Coosa Christian 50-12 in 1A, Region 7.

In other games Friday night: Huntsville 40, Albertville 14; Susan Moore 35, Ashville 12; Fort Payne 36, Boaz 14; Collinsville 35, Cedar Bluff 32; Cherokee County 24, Lincoln 7; Locust Fork 50, Crossville 12; Oneonta 56, Douglas 6; Fyffe 42, Sand Rock 21; Gaylesville 55, Jacksonville Christian 13; Geraldine 40, Sylvania 21; Piedmont 56, White Plains 14; Plainview 42, Brindlee Mountain 6; Spring Garden 56, Woodville 0.


Times Sports Writer Nick Johnston can be reached at