The Gulf Shores Dolphins square off with the Clay County Volunteers Friday night on the road in the second round of the AHSAA state playoffs in what will be their toughest test since Week 4 against …
The Gulf Shores Dolphins square off with the Clay County Volunteers Friday night on the road in the second round of the AHSAA state playoffs in what will be their toughest test since Week 4 against top-ranked UMS-Wright.
Clay County won Class 5A Region 4 with an undefeated record in the group having outscored region opponents 157-43. The Volunteers will enter on a seven-game win streak after they collected their 10th first-round win in a run of 11 consecutive playoff berths.
Gulf Shores will also enter with a seven-game win streak, which ties a program record that was set in 2009. The Dolphins have also topped the 2009 team’s point production to set a new school record of 444 points on the season while their 189 points allowed is tied with the 2006 squad for the second-fewest points allowed all-time.
Before the season at the inaugural Gulf Coast Media Day, Gulf Shores head coach Mark Hudspeth was asked what his expectations were for the 2022 campaign. While he mainly said they’d take things one game at a time, Hudspeth did say he hoped the Dolphins’ opponents take away a few things from their matchup.
“I think we’re going to play awfully hard, that’s one thing that we hope other people to say when they play Gulf Shores, ‘Man, that team is relentless, they are an attacking team; they’re going to come at you and play hard,” Hudspeth said. “If we play good football and play our brand, hopefully we’ll have a good season.”
The Dolphins went on to be ranked in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s state poll all season, also for the first time in program history, while Clay County debuted in the preseason poll as the fifth-ranked team in Class 5A but fell off after the Week 1 poll.
However, the Volunteers are 20-18 all-time against ranked opponents, including a 16-12 mark against those in the same classification. That record includes this year’s upset over Beauregard, which was ranked No. 8 at the time, to claim the Region 4 title in Week 9.
Gulf Shores is searching for its first road playoff victory since the 2009 squad opened with a 17-13 win over Tallassee.
Clay County has hosted the first round of the playoffs all 11 times it has been in the tournament. The Volunteers own a 4-5 record in the second round, including a 1-1 mark on their home field.