There is hope at Curry High School going into the 2014 football season.
After 17 straight losing seasons, the Yellow Jackets went through an offseason of positive change.
First, Curry added proven winner, and multiple state championship coach Russell Funk to the sideline as the school's new head coach. Then the Yellow Jackets got a boost from the AHSAA, moving down a classification to Class 4A following a 10-year run in Class 5A.
Rather than playing the Walkers and Pinson Valleys in region games, the Yellow Jackets get teams of their own caliber in the upcoming season. Curry matches up against five teams that won 2 or fewer games in 2013. The other half of the schedule is made up of five playoff teams, including three teams that won 10 games last year.
Curry has three teams remaining from last year's schedule — Hayden, Cordova and Carbon Hill.
County rivals Carbon Hill and Cordova were non-region games last year. This year all three compete in 4A, Region 5 along with Fayette County, Hamilton, Haleyville and Danville. Playing in a seven-team region, Curry gets four non-region games, Oak Grove, Good Hope, Oakman and Hayden.
Curry's 2014 schedule includes two winless teams from last season as well as three teams that won 10 games.
The season opens at Oak Grove on Aug. 29. The teams haven't played since 1997. The Tigers are coming off a 2-8 season that included wins over Carbon Hill and West Blocton.
Curry hosts Cordova (2-8 in 2013) in the home/region opener in Week 2. The Yellow Jackets won last year's meeting 42-41 in the season finale.
Curry faces two of the region's top teams over the next two weeks. The Jackets play at Hamilton (9-3) in Week 3 and host Haleyville (10-2) in Week 4. Both teams advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year. Curry last played Haleyville in 2005 and Hamilton in 2003.
Curry takes the short trip to Cullman County to take on Good Hope (7-4) in Week 5. The only matchup between the Jackets and Raiders came in 1977.
Curry returns to region play in Week 6 with a pair of games against winless teams Danville and Carbon Hill from 2013. The Jackets travel to Danville in Week 6 and host Carbon Hill in Week 7.
For the first time since 1991, Curry plays Carbon Hill in a region/area game.
Curry plays at Fayette County (10-2) in Week 8 in the final region game.. The teams last played in 1997.
The Yellow Jackets play at Oakman (10-2) in Week 9. The teams haven't played since a 41-2 Curry win in 1985.
Curry closes out the schedule with a familiar foe in Hayden (1-9). The Jackets and Wildcats were region opponents from 2006 to 2013 with each team winning four times. Hayden got its only win of last season in a 54-31 home win.