ELBA TIGERS (2018 record: 8-3, lost in second round of Class 1A State Playoffs)
The Elba Tigers are coming off of a disappointing finish to the 2018 season and in year two under head coach Pate Harrison will look to finish off as one of the top teams in Class 1A.
While the Tigers must find a way to replace all-state running back Richmon Singletary (2,083 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in 2018) on the offensive side, the defense returns linebacker Dezmion Robinson who had 148 tackles and 17 tackles-for-loss as a junior in 2018.
The Tigers will start the season off hot and heavy with a road matchup against Class 2A’s Daleville on Aug. 23 before hosting Class 3A rival Opp on Aug. 30 and Pleasant Home on Sept. 6.
Elba will then hit the road in back-to-back weeks against Kinston on Sept. 13 and Florala on Sept. 20. G.W. Long travels to Elba on Sept. 27 before the Tigers are right back on the road on Oct. 4 for a big showdown with Brantley.
Elba will close the regular season off against Georgia at home on Oct. 11, Red Level at home on Oct. 18 and McKenzie on the road on Oct. 25.
ZION CHAPEL REBELS (2018 record: 5-5, missed the playoffs)
While the 2018 Zion Chapel Rebels missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season, the Rebels won five games for the first time since winning eight in 2011.
In head coach Randy Bryant’s second year at the helm, the Rebels improved from 2-8 to 5-5 and will look to improve that and break the school’s playoff drought in 2019.
Zion Chapel will return a total of 10 starters - five on offense and five on defense - including inside linebacker Brockston Bragg. Bragg led the Rebels last season with 71 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks and one interception. Bragg also scored two touchdowns on the defensive side.
The Rebels will kick the season off on Aug. 30 against Red Level at home before traveling to Goshen on Sept. 6 and Luverne on Sept. 13 in back-to-back weeks.
Zion Chapel then hosts Calhoun on Sept. 20 before traveling to rival Kinston on Sept. 27. On Oct. 4, the Rebels will host Highland Home and then Central-Hayneville comes to town on Oct. 11.
Zion Chapel will face Samson on the road on Oct. 18 and then close out the regular season against New Brockton at home on Oct. 25 and Pleasant Home on the road on Nov. 1.
KINSTON BULLDOGS (2018 record: 2-8, missed the playoffs)
The Kinston Bulldogs haven’t made a trip to the playoffs since 2015 but the Bulldogs will look to break that drought with the hiring of longtime Coffee County native Rudy Free as the school’s new head coach.
Free comes to Kinston after spending the last four years as Luverne’s defensive coordinator under former Elba coach Scott Rials. Free’s 2018 defense gave up less than 12 points per game last season as Luverne made it all the way to the state championship in Class 2A.
The Bulldogs will need that sort of help on the defensive side after giving up an average of 37 points per game in the last three years, including 404 total points allowed in 2016.
Kinston will start the season off on the road against Samson on Aug. 30 before hosting Brantley on Aug. 30.
Cross-county foe Elba will then travel to Kinston on Sept. 13 before the Bulldogs host Red Level on Sept. 20 and Zion Chapel on Sept. 27.
Kinston travels to McKenzie on Oct. 4 and then hosts Pleasant Home on Oct. 11.
The Bulldogs will travel to Georgiana on Oct. 18 and Florala on Oct. 25 in back-to-back weeks before finishing off the regular season at home against Cottonwood on Nov. 1.
DOTHAN WOLVES (2018 record: 3-7 (Dothan), 5-5 (Northview), both missed playoffs)
A new era of high school football begins in 2019 as Dothan High School and Northview High School have merged to become the Dothan Wolves under new head coach Smitty Grider.
Grider is a 15-year head coaching veteran in the State of Alabama with nine playoff wins and a semifinal berth with Park Crossing in 2016.
Both Dothan and Northview were coming off of subpar seasons in 2018, but by combining both schools Dothan could be poised for a huge season in what very well could be the school’s last year in Class 6A.
Dothan won’t start the season off easy, however, as Clay-Chalkville (Aug. 24), Wetumpka (Aug. 30) and Eufaula (Sept. 6) come to town for three consecutive home games to open the season.
The Wolves then hit the road for three weeks against Park Crossing on Sept. 12, Russell County on Sept. 20 and rival Enterprise on Sept. 27.
Carver-Montgomery travels to Dothan on Oct. 4 before Dothan hosts Florida’s Godby High School on Oct. 18 and Sidney Lanier on Oct. 25. The Wolves travel to Montgomery to face off against Jeff Davis on Nov. 1 to close out the regular season.
WICKSBURG PANTHERS (2018 record: 7-4, first round of Class 3A Playoffs)
The Panthers are coming off of their fourth consecutive playoff appearance under head coach Josh Cox.
Cox and his Panthers will look to make it five years in a row but will have to do so with a schedule that features six road games.
Wicksburg opens up on the road against Daleville on Aug. 30 before hosting Slocomb on Sept. 6.
On Sept. 13, Providence Christian will host Wicksburg before the Panthers head home to face off against the always-tough Pike County on Sept. 20.
Wicksburg will then hit the road for back-to-back road games against Rehobeth on Sept. 27 and Opp on Oct. 4.
On Oct. 11, Straughn travels to Wicksburg before the Panthers have to hit the road again to face Houston Academy on Oct. 18.
Wicksburg then hosts Geneva on Oct. 25 and travels to Ashford on Oct. 31 to close out the regular season.
CARROLL EAGLES (2018 record: 4-5, missed playoffs)
For the first time in three years, the Carroll Eagles missed the playoffs in 2018, and will also have to replace all-state running back Jonathan Fells along the way.
Carroll will look to start a rebound year on Aug. 23 at home against Booker T. Washington before hosting Russell County on Aug. 31.
The Eagles travel to Tallassee on Sept. 13 and then host Valley on Sept. 20 before traveling to Rehobeth on Oct. 4.
Charles Henderson will head to Ozark to face off with Carroll on Oct. 11 and then Carroll travels to Beauregard on Oct. 18.
Carroll will host Greenville on Oct. 25 and then close out the regular season on Nov. 1 against Ashford on the road.