Beckville made history in the area round of the state playoffs, knocking off Alto for the first time in school history. The 49-20 victory allowed the Bearcats to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2000.

“We played with a tremendous amount of effort and physicality," Beckville head coach Lance Gamble said. "We did all the small things right and we really did a great job with the fundamentals we’ve worked on since the first day of practice. We played a really clean game and our kids found a way to get the job done. Our confidence grew throughout the game and our defense did a great job getting to the football, even when we weren’t lined up correctly.”

Alto entered the game as the No. 5-ranked team in the state, but Gamble saw something in his team before the game started that gave him confidence.

“I knew before the game we were going to give max-effort for 48 minutes," he said. "I didn’t know if that would be enough to get the job done, but I knew we were ready. I’ve been here long enough and we’ve played enough games now to know when the team is up and ready and when we’re flat. We were ready. We caught a few breaks during the game, but it came down to a few plays and we were able to make the plays and move the chains when we needed to the most.”

It was an especially important victory for Gamble, a man who played at Alto under his dad.

“I really didn’t put a lot of thought into it before the game, believe it or not. My focus was on beating the fifth-best team in the state,” said Gamble of playing against a town that means so much to him. “I saw this game as a measuring stick for our program. We got to see where we are and how far we’ve come. It hit me after the game because it was great to show my friends that I’m doing well here in Beckville and really helping this program turn around. I was part of the Alto teams that never lost to Beckville, so I’ve been on the other side. I have great memories from Alto and it’ll always be a special place to me and my family.”

The state playoffs allow no time to enjoy success. Beckville must put a historical win behind it to ready for an undefeated Lovelady team.

“Lovelady is a very talented team. I’ve seen them at the regional track meet for the last few years and knew they’d be good once their young guys became seniors and those guys are seniors now. They can fly and the skill-position players can really make big plays and score. The quarterback knows where to go with the football,” Gamble said. “They’re really good on defense, especially in the front-eight. They have so much speed and really get to the football. Lovelady is 12-0 for a reason. We’re in for another huge test.”

Gamble hopes his team doesn’t experience a hangover from last week’s win.

“That is something we’ve definitely addressed. We don’t want that win to define our season. We feel like we can play with anyone in the state, but it’ll take the same effort we put forth against Alto to reach our goals,” Gamble said. “We only have 48 minutes of guaranteed football left in front of us. How much more time we get, if we get any at all, will depend on how we play this Friday.”