News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Austin coach David Norwood and his Black Bears will host Florence on Friday at Ogle Stadium.
Daily illustration by Laura Taylor
Austin coach David Norwood and his Black Bears will host Florence on Friday at Ogle Stadium.

Looking for winning formula
After sustaining a loss to Huntsville, Austin aiming to even region mark

By Brooke Milam ∑ 340-2460

With the intention of moving forward each week of the season, Austin High is taking a look back for some inspiration as it hosts Florence on Friday.

Heading into the Class 6A, Region 8 contest at Ogle Stadium at 7 p.m., Austin football coach David Norwood said he's looking for a touch of the opening-game magic that propelled the Black Bears past county rival Hartselle.

"We want to get back to playing with that level of intensity we had the first week of the season," Norwood said. "Florence has a good football team, and we've got to go out and play at the same level as we did against Hartselle."

After starting the season with a 14-7 win over Hartselle, Austin fell to 6A, Region 8 foe Huntsville 31-13, and Norwood said the Black Bears' main concern this week is getting even in the region.

"That hits the nail on the head," Norwood said. "You don't want to be 0-2 in the region, and that's the big thing."

Norwood points to the fact that every team that's 0-1 in the 6A, Region 8 this week is playing a team that is 1-0 in region play.

"After Friday's games, there will be a separation, and we want to be in the upper half of that," Norwood said.

Florence remains undefeated under first-year head coach Alvin Briggs. The Falcons opened the season with a 28-21 win over Thompson, then beat Grissom 30-7 for a region win.

Directing Florence's option offense, quarterback Chad Willis has thrown for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Shawn Southward has rushed for 290 yards with four touchdowns on 40 carries, including the game-winning score in the Falcons' opening-week win. Southward also has a touchdown catch from Willis this season.

"He's a threat," Norwood said.

So, what will it take to counter Florence's offensive punch?

"We've got to play better offensively than we did last week," Norwood said. "We can't get rattled on offense."

Against Huntsville last week, Austin's offense struggled, not getting a first down on all but two drives, neither of which produced points.

It was a sharp contrast from the 19 first downs and 350 yards the Black Bears produced in the season-opening win over Harstelle, but Norwood said his team has done this week what it takes to earn back ground lost in the region.

"We've had a good week of practice," Norwood said. "We've got to get some of that intensity back."

Ogle Stadium game

Who: Florence (2-0) at Austin (1-1).

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Stakes: Itís the second week of Class 6A, Region 8 play. Florence started the region schedule with a 30-7 win over Grissom, while Austin lost to region opponent Huntsville 31-13.

Fridayís other games

Class 5A: Muscle Shoals (1-1) at Brewer (1-1), West Point (1-1) at Athens (1-1), Russellville (2-0) at Hartselle (0-2).

Class 4A: Ardmore (1-1) at North Jackson (2-0), East Limestone (2-0) at DAR (0-2), Deshler (1-1) at Lawrence County (1-1), Madison County (2-0) at East Lawrence (1-1).

Class 3A: Colbert Heights (1-1) at West Limestone (1-1), Elkmont (1-1) at Lexington (0-2), Sheffield (2-0) at Clements (0-2), Sumiton Christian (2-0) at Danville (0-2).

Class 2A: Addison (1-1) at Winston County (1-1), Tanner (2-0) at Red Bay (2-0), Hatton (0-2) at Cherokee (0-2).

Class 1A: Hackleburg (0-2) at Speake (1-1), Hazlewood (2-0) at Shoals Christian (1-1), Mount Hope (0-2) at Parkway Christian (0-1), R.A. Hubbard (1-1) at Phillips-Bear Creek (2-0).

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