One week after seemingly damaging their playoff hopes with a bitter loss at Brewer, the Arab Knights this week find themselves right in the thick of the Class 5A, Region 8 race.

Conventional wisdom before the season was that Madison Academy was a clear-cut favorite and East Lawrence was the most likely second-place choice.

It then figured that the third and fourth playoff spots would go to one of these teams: Scottsboro, Brewer, Guntersville or Arab. That’s what made Arab’s loss to Brewer so damaging. It appeared after last week, Arab would have to beat Scottsboro and Guntersville (not to mention Madison County and Ardmore) to make the playoffs, most likely at the fourth berth.

It was certainly not impossible but the Knights play at both Guntersville and Scottsboro, which seemed early this season the weakest of the four middle contenders after a season-opening blowout loss to Fort Payne.

A lot has changed in one week. Guntersville, which looked good in beating Madison County in its first region game, went to Scottsboro last Friday and got destroyed (see scores and standings on page 4B).

That made Scottsboro 2-0 in region play, the only team besides Madison Academy to sport such a record.

Everybody else is 1-1 except Ardmore and East Lawrence, both of which are 0-2.

That’s right. The preseason No. 2 pick is 0-2. After understandably losing to Madison Academy two weeks ago, the Indians (9-3 last season) went to Madison County last Friday and lost 35-20.

Guntersville and East Limestone losing has opened up everything again for the Knights and every other team, except probably Ardmore, which looked awful in its loss to Arab on Friday.

Arab visits Guntersville this Friday night in what has to be one of the most anticipated Knights-Wildcats football games in years, especially from Arab’s perspective. On the flip side, the Scottsboro road game looks a lot tougher than it did two weeks ago, and Madison County suddenly looks like a contender as well.

• Here’s the SEC television schedule for next Saturday (Sept. 28):

• Northern Illinois at Vanderbilt, 11 a.m. (SEC Network)

• Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (at Arlington, Texas), 11 a.m. (ESPN)

• Ole Miss at Alabama, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)

• Towson at Florida, 3 p.m. (SEC Network)

• Mississippi State at Auburn, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

• Kentucky at South Carolina, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)

• When Cleveland defeated the New York Jets 23-3 on Monday, it gave head coach Freddie Kitchens his first career win. The last former Alabama football player to win a game as an NFL head coach was Mike Riley with the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 28, 2001.

San Diego defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-24.

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