Two teams ranked No. 3, one other in latest football poll

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

As we storm through the 2018 regular season, the postseason is nearing and while the rankings don’t mean much throughout the year, they do give us a good feel for those ready to compete for a state championship.

In the latest ASWA football poll released on Tuesday, Oct. 9, Briarwood and Thompson continued to show why they are considered favorites in their respective classification, while the Montevallo Bulldogs also got some recognition.

Briarwood had been atop the Class 5A standings for the first half of the season before losing to 6A No. 5 and undefeated Hartselle 14-7 in overtime.

The Lions then bounced back with a 42-12 victory against John Carroll the following week to show their growth offensively with quarterback Jonah Carroll stepping in to help make the team a little more dynamic.

After the loss a couple of weeks ago, Briarwood fell to No. 3, which is where they currently sit behind the only two undefeated teams left in the 5A classification, Vigor (No. 1) and Etowah (No. 2).

The Lions have a road matchup with No. 9 Ramsay on Oct. 19 that will likely determine the region champion as Briarwood looks to win its region for the third straight year.

In the 7A classification, the Thompson Warriors also remained No. 3 in the rankings thanks to three consecutive wins since a difficult 45-26 loss to Hoover on Sept. 7.

Consistency has been the trend for the Warriors recently, having scored 35 points in each of their last three games, which has led to an average of 36 points per game this season.

It’s an offense that has the potential to score 40-plus points per game, but with big leads in the second half, we haven’t seen them put together a complete game yet.

Coming into the season, the defense was Thompson’s biggest concern aside from new receivers stepping up, but through six games, it’s a unit that is giving up just 13.3 points per game.

The Warriors gave up 45 in that loss to Hoover, which was closer than the final score, and also gave up 21 to Oak Mountain. Outside of those two games, they have shut down their four other opponents, allowing no more than seven points and posting two shutouts.

The defense should continue to play well over the next couple of weeks as Thompson will face road tests against Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook, respectively, neither of which will be the best offense the team has seen.

Thompson will, however, face their two toughest defensive tests to this point in those games.

It will all lead up to a showdown on ESPN 2 with Hewitt-Trussville on Oct. 26, a game that might end up being for the region championship. Right now, the Huskies are 6-1, scoring an average of 43.1 points per game and giving up 22.6 points per game.

The Montevallo Bulldogs aren’t currently in the top 10 of the 4A standings, but they did receive votes for a spot and are considered the 17th ranked team in the classification.

Sitting at 5-1, Montevallo’s only loss of the season came to No. 6 and undefeated American Christian by a final score of 70-54. The Bulldogs are playing unbelievably offensively this season, averaging 44.3 points per game, and face several winnable games in their final three region games.

Right now, Montevallo looks like a team that could potentially earn a two seed out of the region, which would be key for a playoff push.

There are several other teams not featured in the rankings that will have important games over the coming three weeks of region play in order to make a playoff spot.