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File / The Outlook 

Horseshoe Bend will be looking to get some revenge versus Vincent this season.

Horseshoe Bend is eager to get the second season under coach Jeremy Phillips started and put last year behind it. The first season under Phillips wasn’t an easy one, but turning a program around that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since 2016 is no easy task. 

The Generals competed from game to game much better than the 2-8 record would otherwise show last season. Far too often the Generals found themselves giving up big plays on third and long to opposing offenses, which became an emphasis for Phillips this offseason.

Stopping the big play is going to be more important than ever with a shakeup in region play for Horseshoe Bend, with nearly every opponent having made the playoffs last year including Lanett which won the Class 1A Region 4 state championship last season. 

The key for the Generals this season will be to buy into the motto of iron sharpens iron. With a tough schedule like this, the Generals could catapult themselves into relevance around the region for years to come. Getting to the playoffs this year will be no easy feat and will be much deserved to whomever makes it.

 

Week 1 vs. Wadley 

The first week of the season the Generals open up with old rival Wadley. The Generals and Bulldogs haven’t played the last two seasons but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still bad blood between these two schools. The last time the two programs saw each other in 2017, Wadley gave Horseshoe Bend a 62-6 pounding the Generals are impatiently waiting to avenge. The team that wins is sometimes which one was hydrated and conditioned enough to not have key players missing for chunks at a time with cramps.

 

Week 4 vs. Vincent

Last season when Horseshoe Bend traveled to Vincent to take on the Yellow Jackets, the Generals had their second best offensive output for the season in a 43-24 loss. This year the Generals openly invite Vincent to New Site so they can exact revenge for last year’s game. Home field advantage is a real thing for players who have a routine and like to show out on the field with family and friends as witnesses. This region game is slowly becoming a rivalry with Vincent getting the victory three of the last four meetings by a narrow margin. Seniors are sure to show out this week.

 

Week 5 at Pell City

Randolph County is a program riding high after going 9-1 last season. Normally this wouldn’t be a game to watch with two teams having almost opposite win-loss columns, but Randolph County starts off its season with a gauntlet of good teams including Ranburne, which was the only team to beat Reeltown in the regular season last year. Ranburne versus Randolph County in Week 4 gives the Generals the perfect opportunity to strike the Tigers while they are weak. Getting a victory here would pay huge dividends before the bye week and give the Generals momentum going into the back half of the season for a potential playoff run.

Ryne Gallacher is a regular columnist and correspondent for The Outlook.