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File / The Herald Edgewood won three games last season against teams from a higher classification.

Last season, the Edgewood football team surpassed every expectation and ended a 20-game losing streak in the opening week of the year. The Wildcats finished the season with eight wins and a trip to the AISA-AA semifinals but there is still some room for improvement.

The Wildcats played five teams from the higher classification in AISA last season, earning wins in three of them. The schedule is not getting any easier this season but getting results in those games may be the next step toward becoming a state contender in 2019.

Week 2 vs. Lee-Scott Warriors

Prior to Edgewood’s run in area play last season, the Wildcats traveled to Auburn and got their first road win in three years by downing Lee-Scott, 34-3. This year’s meeting will be at Edgewood and will mark the third straight game against an AISA-AAA opponent to start the season.

While last year’s result helped spring the Wildcats into a successful season, things may not come as easy this season. The Warriors have hired coach Robert Johnson to take over the program, a coach who has spent the last eight seasons building Tuscaloosa Academy into a consistent state contender in AISA.

This game has no impact on Edgewood’s playoff hopes but the Wildcats should once again look to this game as a propeller for the rest of the season. A victory in this one may be needed to bounce back after a tough matchup with Morgan or it could set Edgewood on a three-game winning streak before region play begins. 

Week 5 at Macon-East Knights

Another matchup against a team from a higher classification will provide the Wildcats with a chance to find improvements in the middle of the season plus an added bonus of finding a bit of revenge. The Knights knocked off Edgewood 32-14 at home last season but this year’s matchup is currently sandwiched between two bye weeks for the Wildcats so all the focus will be on Macon-East.

While the result may not be the most important part of this non-region game, it will be a good time for the Wildcats to fix some things before the final stretch of the season. The Knights provide a strong challenge that can show Edgewood whatever weaknesses need to be touched up prior to back-to-back region games on the road where a playoff spot will likely be on the line.

Grabbing a win in this game is still something the Wildcats will want but it is not the reason the matchup falls on this list. Edgewood’s performance in Week 5 will show a lot about how it is improved throughout the year and if it is ready to compete for a spot in the state championship game this season.

Week 9 vs. Autauga Generals

This game does not fall under the category of teams in a higher classification but it can certainly feel like that when you watch Autauga play. Last season, the Generals clinched a region title by winning this matchup 61-3 after Edgewood pulled its starters from the game to avoid injuries.

While both squads have seen plenty of changes to their personnel, Autauga will enter the season as the favorites in the region and in the state once again. It may not take long to tell how well Edgewood can compete against the Generals but when you have a national champion on your schedule, it will always be a circled date.

And while the story has lost some of its luster after the first meeting between the teams last season, this will mark Bobby Carr’s first return to Edgewood as an opposing coach since he led the Wildcats to a state title in 2016.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.