Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of stories analyzing the 2020 football seasons for the six Elmore County teams.
There were some changes made to Class 6A Region 3 after the new classification was handed down by the AHSAA but Stanhope Elmore was not affected much by it. The Mustangs still have three of the same region opponents and there are three non-region games against teams they faced last season.
“We were happy with it,” Stanhope coach Brian Bradford said. “It didn’t change too much but it’s good to pick up some new teams too. We didn’t want to face a lot of teams we didn’t know anything about.”
Stanhope Elmore will open the season at Selma, an opponent the Mustangs have shared a region with in the last two seasons. The game will mark the fifth straight season the two teams have met with Stanhope winning the previous four and holding a 12-2 advantage in the all-time series.
The Mustangs keep Prattville in Week 1 as they are set to host the Lions for the annual rivalry game in 2020. Stanhope has lost three straight to Prattville as Bradford continues to search for his first win over the top rival.
Stanhope will once again open region play with Benjamin Russell before hitting the road to face Pelham. In Week 4, Bradford is reunited with his old team as Chilton County returns to the region and will travel to Millbrook.
One of the new teams on the 2020 schedule is Eufaula, a team that went 9-3 last season. The Mustangs will make the trip south in Week 5 as the programs play for the first time since 2003.
“We really think Eufaula is going to be a good challenge for us,” Bradford said. “They’ve got a good program and they’re going to be loaded next year. That’s going to be a good midseason test for us.”
The Mustangs return to region play with a trip to Calera before taking a bye week in Week 7 then hitting the road again to face Helena for the first time in program history. Stanhope will finish up region play with a home game against Wetumpka.
“That one could be for all the marbles,” Bradford said. “No matter what though, that will be a huge game. So for it to possible get bigger is definitely intriguing. We know that last game has made a difference against Opelika the last two years so to do that against Wetumpka would be crazy. It will be a whole new environment.”
Opelika has handed the Mustangs their lone two region losses the last two seasons but Stanhope will avoid the Bulldogs this time around as they were moved out of Region 3.
“The competitor in you still wants to play them,” Bradford said. “We want that rematch to prove we can play with them so that bothers us a little bit. But on the flip side of that, we know it doesn’t hurt our chances.”
Stanhope Elmore will finish the regular season by hosting Smiths Station. The two teams split their last two meetings with the Mustangs winning 20-17 in 2019.