Despite some newfound success during the 2018 football season, Holtville could not put an end to one of the worst road losing streaks in the state. The Bulldogs finished the year with a 7-4 record but all four losses were on the road, extending their road losing streak in region play to 17 consecutive games.
Holtville still made it into the postseason for the first time since 2013 but one road win was the difference between hosting its first-round game and going to Montgomery Catholic. The Bulldogs hope to take that next step in 2019 but they have to find a way to win important games away from Boykin Field.
Week 3 at Childersburg Tigers
This game put Holtville back on the map as a region contender in football last season. Childersburg struggled to score last year while Holtville will bring back key players on offense so this game should help the Bulldogs jumpstart their season.
Childersburg was one of the few susceptible home teams in Class 4A Region 4 last season so this would be a perfect time for Holtville to break its road streak. Lincoln and Handley were the only two teams to win road games last season in region play and they finished first and second, respectively.
Holtville starts region play with a much tougher opponent in Handley so this could turn into a must-win situation for the Bulldogs if they want to return to the postseason.
Week 4 vs. Elmore County Panthers
The first two weeks of region play certainly hold significance in Holtville’s chase for a playoff race and that does not really change in Week 4. However, the effect on the region standings takes a back seat in this rivalry series.
Holtville got the final laugh last season when it grabbed a playoff spot over in a three-way tiebreaker with Elmore County and Talladega. However, this series is still controlled by the Panthers who have won eight in a row and 17 of the last 19 meetings.
The Bulldogs erased a 28-point deficit last year only to fall in overtime on the road. Holtville ended a lot of negative streaks last season but this one may be one at the forefront of its team goals.
Week 8 at Talladega Tigers
In last season’s meeting with Talladega, Holtville finished off region play with a victory and took its final step to a playoff spot for the first time in eight years.
The game is flipped to a road game this season for the Bulldogs but there’s a good chance it will be just as crucial to their playoff hopes in 2019.
The Tigers have lost seven games at home over the last three seasons and Holtville hopes to add to that total. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a three-game winning streak last season, outscoring their opponents by a total of 114 points in those three victories.
The Bulldogs will finish region play before any other region opponent but a victory here could still secure a postseason berth. If Holtville can continue its success at home and steal at least two region wins on the road, this game could secure the program’s first region title since 1986.