FORT PAYNE — Behind their region-opening win at Arab, the Fort Payne Wildcats return home for their second region contest, hosting the Springville Tigers at 7 p.m. Friday.
The AHSAA advanced Springville (2-1) from Class 5A to 6A this offseason. Friday’s game will be the third meeting between the Tigers and the Wildcats (2-1) and the first since August 2011, when Fort Payne won 43-12. The Wildcats are 2-0 in the series, all according to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society’s website.
The Tigers are coming off a 56-41 loss at Cherokee County.
Springville quarterback Pearson Baldwin, at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, is a dual-threat for its offense, having made a variety of throws and showing elusiveness as a runner.
“(Baldwin) makes them very difficult to defend on offense,” Wildcats coach Chris Elmore said.
Elmore said Springville’s offensive line has the size and skill that allows the creation of running lanes.
Tight end Ben Bianchi and running back Daniel Smith are additional offensive weapons for the Tigers.
Springville’s defense operates with four down linemen and three linebackers. Elmore said the big defensive line and sizable, athletic linebackers can cause issues in the run game for opposing offenses.
Connor Land at inside linebacker and Rece Gleason at outside linebacker are a couple of Springville’s defensive standouts.
Fort Payne (2-1) defeated Arab 28-7 last week in its first region contest under the AHSAA’s latest reclassification.
Hunter Love ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns, Cam Thomas and J.D. Blalock added a rushing score apiece and Fort Payne’s defense held Arab scoreless in the first half.