The Hartselle Tigers will take the field Friday nights under new head coach Bryan Moore.
Moore was hired in January after leading the Jasper Vikings to two regional titles in his two seasons at the Walker County school.
The Tigers will be a young team, with eight seniors and 14 juniors. The team comprises more than 70 sophomores and freshmen.
A couple of new players will lead the way on offense in quarterbacks Parker Sawyer and J.T. Blackwood. Sawyer, a senior, transferred to Hartselle after playing for Moore at Jasper. Blackwood, a junior, transferred from Cullman.
Sawyer passed for 1,530 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing for 225 yards and three touchdowns this past season.
Offensively, the Tigers return three players from last year’s team, with starting experience in wide receiver Izayah FIetcher and offensive linemen Ryan Garrison and Mac Hardin.
Defensively, four starters return from last season: defensive lineman Seth Lockett, linebacker Issac Osteen and defensive backs Tevin Shields and Devron Turney.
The schedule will be a difficult one for the Tigers. “Every week will be a battle for us,” said Moore. “We will face seven teams who made the playoffs last season.”
Aug. 21, vs. Austin
The Tigers will host rival Austin to open the 2020 season. The Black Bears defeated Hartselle 45-14 this past season. Austin is led by quarterback Quincey Crittenden and all-state receiver Tre Shackelford.
The Black Bears finished 7-4 last year, averaging 33.9 points per game on offense while giving up 21.7.
Hartselle leads the all-time series 30-22-1.
Aug. 28, vs. Mae Jemison
Hartselle welcomes Mae Jemison to JP Cain Stadium in game two. The teams last met in 2009, when the school was known as J.O. Johnson. The Tigers have won three of the previous four meetings.
The Jaguars are moving down to Class 5A this season following a play–off appearance in 6A, Region 8. Mae Jemison finished 5-6 last year while averaging 23.9 points per game and allowing 21.9.
The all-time series is tied 3-3.
Sept. 4, vs. Cullman
Hartselle opens region play with Cullman coming to town in game three. The Bearcats scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes to defeat the Tigers 15-10 this past season. The loss broke a five-game win streak in the series for Hartselle.
The Bearcats will be led by senior running back Jaylen Hughey, who recently committed to the University of South Alabama. He was a 2019 second-team 6A all-state selection.
Cullman advanced to the second round of the playoffs and finished 6-6 last season. The Bearcats averaged 22.2 points per game while giving up 20.2.
Hartselle leads the all-time series 48-46-4.
Sept. 11, at Decatur
Hartselle hits the road for the first time to travel to Decatur for a region game. The Tigers defeated the Red Raiders 49-7 last season.
The Red Raiders finished fifth in region play in 2019 with a 2-8 record. They averaged 21.7 points per game while giving up 32.7.
Decatur leads the all-time series 59-27.
Sept. 18, vs. Columbia
The Tigers host region foe Columbia for homecoming in game five. Hartselle defeated the Eagles 76-0 this past season.
The Eagles finished 0-10 this past season and currently hasve a 42-game losing streak entering the 2020 season. They averaged two points per game last season while allowing 55.9.
Hartselle leads the all-time series 4-0.
Sept. 25, at Russellville
Hartselle starts the second half of the season on the road at Russellville for a non-region game. The teams last met in 2017, with the Tigers winning 51-0.
Russellville is led by a trio of all-state performers from the 2019 season in defensive lineman Angel Moreno, linebacker Brooks Scott and offensive lineman Edgar Amaya, who committed to Kansas earlier this year.
The Golden Tigers advanced to the 5A playoffs and finished 8-3. They averaged 25.5 points per game, while allowing 13.4.
Russellville leads the all-time series 24-9-1.
Oct. 2, at Athens
The Tigers travel to Athens for a region matchup in game seven. The Golden Eagles defeated Hartselle 28-19 last season, a win that broke a 14-game Hartselle winning streak going back to 2006.
The Golden Eagles are led by linebacker Rush Boyett, a second-team 6A all-state selection.
Athens finished second in region play and advanced to the second round of the 6A playoffs, finishing 8-4. The Golden Eagles averaged 33.7 points per game while allowing 19.7.
Hartselle leads the all-time series 39-31-2.
Oct. 9, vs. Muscle Shoals
Hartselle hosts region foe Muscle Shoals for the final home game of the season. The Trojans defeated the Tigers 35-14 in 2019.
Muscle Shoals finished first in region play and advanced to the third round of the 6A playoffs with a 12-1 record. The Trojans averaged 40.7 points per game while allowing 12.7.
Hartselle leads the all-time series 14-11-1.
Oct. 16, at Hazel Green
The Tigers travel to Hazel Green for a region game in mid-October. Hartselle defeated the Trojans 37-6 this past season.
Hazel Green finished fifth in 6A, Region 8 this past season with a 1-9 record, averaging 18.8 points per game while allowing 39.1.
The Tigers lead the all-time series 10-0.
Oct. 23, at Buckhorn
Hartselle closes out the regular season on the road at Buckhorn for a region game. The two teams last met in 1979.
The Bucks finished third in 6A, Region 8, last season and advanced to the first round of the playoffs with a 4-7 record. They averaged 24.5 points per game while giving up 33.7.
The Tigers lead the all-time series 2-0.