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Preview of Week #4: St. Paul’s Saints vs. Blount Leopards

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St. Paul’s Saints ( 2-1 ; 1-0 ) vs. Blount Leopards ( 2-1 ; 2-0 )

Three weeks are in the books for the 2018 season, and region play continues as Friday Night Rivals heads to Eight Mile for a 6A Region 1 matchup between the St. Paul’s Saints and the Blount Leopards.

Steve Mask is in his 7th year as the head coach for St. Paul’s and has won three 5A state championships in the last 4 years. That success has led St. Paul’s to be bumped up to class 6A due to the new competitive balance formula created by the AHSAA. The Saints are coming off their first ever 6A Region 1 victory last week after defeating the Baldwin County Tigers 17-7. The offense this year will have a new quarterback under center with junior James Green, all though he did leave last week’s game against Baldwin Co with an injury. His biggest offensive weapons will be junior running back Jordan Ingram and Senior running back A.J. Finley. Through three games, this year’s offense is averaging only 17.3 points, which well below last year’s average of 28.5 points per game. Both Finley and Ingram can be seen on the defensive side of the ball as well. This year’s defense is on pace with the 2017 defense, as they are currently only giving up an average of 8 points per game.

Blount and 4th year head coach Lev Holly are no strangers to 6A Region 1 play, but this year’s team will be rebuilding after losing 33 seniors from 2017. The Leopards are also looking to a new starting quarterback for the 2018 season, sophomore LaMarcus Brown is leading their offense that is averaging 25 points per game. Same as the Saints, his best weapon is in the back field with sophomore Jarris Williams taking the handoffs. On the defensive side of the ball, Holly the Leopards will be leaning on Senior and team leader Cortlin Martin. Martin and the rest of his defense is only giving up 10.7 points per game.

These two teams last met in 2005 which St. Paul’s won 36-15 and both teams were in Class 5A. St. Paul’s as the overall advantage with a 4-2 record against the Leopards. Both teams look to stay undefeated in an already rigorous region, who will come out on top? We will find out this Friday night as kick off will be at 7PM on UTV44 Friday Night Rivals.