After high expectations last year ended in disappointment, Reeltown’s football team is desperate to get the bitter taste out of its mouth.
The Rebels ended the regular season on a sour note last year, falling to Ranburne, 19-7, but they still felt like they could shake that off and make a deep run in the postseason. As the No. 1 seed out of Class 2A Region 4, Reeltown hosted its first-round playoff game but its goals of making it far were quickly thwarted by Daleville.
An upset in the opening round last year means this season will be focused on avenging what could’ve been and proving despite losing quite a bit to graduation, the Rebels are still a team to be feared.
Week 0 vs. Bullock County Hornets
A long road trip started the 2018 season but this year will be the opposite as Reeltown immediately hits the field at Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium on a Thursday night game in Week 0 to start off the season.
Although the Rebels dominated Bullock County a year ago, this will be their first chance to give their home crowd something to savor after last year’s distaste. Bullock County also seems to be on the rise as it went .500 a year ago after going just 2-8 in 2017. And the Hornets have never been a walk in the park for Reeltown; they actually own the series record, 5-3.
After playing for five years in a row from 1965-69, Reeltown and Bullock County just renewed their rivalry a year ago when the Rebels won, 35-8. But in four of the teams’ eight meetings, the Hornet defense has shut out Reeltown.
But with a returner like Cameron Faison, who lit up the Hornets for five touchdowns a year ago, it’s going to be hard for anyone to shut out the Rebels. Faison had four rushing touchdowns and one kickoff returned 75 yards for a score.
Week 6 at Thorsby Rebels
All season long last year, it seemed like Reeltown and Thorsby were on a crash course toward each other. After Reeltown and Thorsby both narrowly knocked off LaFayette, everyone knew barring any big-time upsets, it would come down to one of the two for the Class 2A Region 4 title.
As expected, the only loss Thorsby had in region play was to the Rebels, who defeated Thorsby in last year’s game, 34-26. The teams went back and forth in a seesaw affair before Reeltown took the lead for good with just over five minutes to go. Keke Hughley, who missed nearly the entire season in 2017, played hero by scoring a 94-yard touchdown to help the Rebels win the region championship.
Although LaFayette will once again be a strong contender, these two teams should be in the hunt for the region title once more. Thorsby is going to be a tough challenge on the road, and this will be one it wants back after falling just short in 2018.
Not only will this game have important region implications for Reeltown, it’ll also be at the tail end of the toughest stretch of its schedule. Just prior to facing Thorsby, the Rebels take on LaFayette and Maplesville, both on the road.
Week 9 at Ranburne Bulldogs
Make no qualms about it — this is one Reeltown wants back. It was the better of the two teams a year ago, but Ranburne’s defense came in hungry and stifling and defeated Reeltown to the tune of 19-7.
It was a big upset at the time, as the Rebels were sitting at No. 3 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association rankings while the Bulldogs weren’t in the top 10 at all.
“Everything that could’ve went wrong did go wrong because it was 100 percent our fault,” Reeltown coach Matt Johnson said after the game. “We dictated that.”
This game could’ve made a big difference in Reeltown’s postseason run as well. Instead of entering the playoffs on a four-game win streak, the Rebels went into the first round with a disappointing loss under their belts.