Etowah begins stretch run with visit to region foe Arab

 Etowah (5-1, 3-1) at Arab (5-1, 3-1)
Series record: Etowah 11, Arab 8
Last meeting: 2011 Etowah 21, Arab 7
Last week: Etowah 40, Scottsboro 14; Arab 20, Southside 19

    By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent

    The race for second place in Class 5A, Region 7 is getting exciting.

    Right now, Etowah, Arab and Boaz all have 3-1 region records and all have been defeated by Fort Payne. And if Southside beats Boaz tonight, the playoff chase gets even more interesting.

    With Fort Payne having a berth in hand, those four teams are vying for three postseason slots.

    “I think this is the most important game of the season,” Blue Devils coach Sam McCorkle said. “Because it’s the game right now and because so many teams have the same records. We play Arab and Boaz in the next three weeks, both on the road, with Southside in there, too. Everybody is jockeying for playoff spots. This is by far the most exciting time of the season.”

    A loss wouldn’t put Etowah out of the playoff mix, by any stretch. But it would put a damper on home-field hopes.

    Ditto for Arab, which hasn’t hosted a playoff game since 2003. Incidentally, the Knights lost that game to Gadsden High.

    “They’re always tough,” McCorkle said. “They have a lot of good players and they seem to play above their heads, especially against us.”

    Knights coach Watt Parker played for McCorkle at Livingston College.

    Last week against Scottsboro, senior cornerback Jay Duckett intercepted three passes, including two that set up touchdowns.

    Paul Ruiz led the way on the ground with 148 yards and a touchdown on six carries.

    Dominick Pinson ran for 117 yards and three TDs on 12 carries, while Devin Horton added 91 yards and two scored on 15 attempts.

    Tyler Bishop completed 9-of-13 passes for 205 yards.

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