This is usually the time of year where I would put out all my picks for the high school football season. I would tell you all about why there is no reason to watch Class 7A this season as one team will take away any chance of climactic postseason football. Or you would be reading up on my predictions for who will be the next Mr. Football.

However – shameless plug incoming – now that we have the Inside the Lines Podcast, you will have to go there for my full predictions of the upcoming season. So, instead of listing those picks that will end up being wrong, let’s dive into some of the things we have seen in the offseason that has influenced my local predictions.

I will begin with a simple statement: Wetumpka’s games are going to have fireworks.

Lots of them.

This is an offense capable of putting up the same numbers the state runner-up squad did in 2017. However, it’s likely going to go both ways, especially at the start of the season.

Wetumpka’s defense does not have a lot of experience, especially when Tyqaun Rawls and Malik Davis are forced to take a breather after playing on offense. Opponents are going to take advantage of those opportunities and you will likely see plenty of explosive plays from the other sideline until Wetumpka can get all the kinks out of the new players.

Speaking of explosive plays, Holtville fans could see more this year than they have in the last decade. With two quarterbacks who can impact the game in different ways and a boatload of capable running backs, the Bulldogs will be making plays all over the field and opposing defenses may not have a lot of fun facing them.

Oh hey, good news Holtville fans: I’m not finished talking about you yet. The explosiveness continues on to the defensive side of the ball where you find Hunter Martin taking offensive tackles’ lunch money seemingly any play he wants.

The good defensive line play does not stop there as Stanhope Elmore brings in two finalists for the Guy I Don’t Want Running At Me award. William Whitlow Jr. and TJ Jackson are each good enough on their own but together, they are going to be must-watch players for anyone within 100 miles of a Stanhope game.

I want to continue to use the term “must-watch” but I feel like it will lose its luster after more than one use so I’ll use “enticing” to describe Tallassee’s new offense. I really have not seen a lot from freshman quarterback Tyler Ellis but you have to trust that experienced coaching staff with the decision. Plus, I am very high on all three of the sophomore running backs so I can’t wait to see this offense work at full speed all the way through 2022.

And if that isn’t a fresh enough look for an offense, you can take a drive over to Eclectic where the Panthers have to find a way to replace the biggest production percentage from one player I saw last season. I have to admit I have no idea what Elmore County is going to do this season but the offensive line still looks strong and coach Jordan Cantrell continues to praise the team’s hard work so it certainly should be difficult for anyone to root against it this year.

We can’t wrap this up without talking about the Wildcats (but I hope I gave a good scare to some of our Edgewood readers). I do not believe last year was a fluke by any means but I do think it’s going to be tough to build on the success from last season. Either way, I’m very excited to see all the returning players in the trenches plus I hope to see Alex Johnson and Kaleb Varner put up some big numbers together this season.

There is so much good football to watch in Elmore County so get out and support your local teams. And if you have already listened to my official preseason predictions, I’d be happy to hear you tell me how wrong they are going to be and I will probably agree with you.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.