Thompson remains No. 1, Pelham moves up in latest rankings
Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2020
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
In the second to last football rankings of the 2020 season, the Thompson Warriors and Pelham Panthers remained ranked inside their respective top 10, while the Briarwood Lions continue to get closer to a top-10 spot nearing the postseason.
Thompson remained the unanimous No. 1 team in the Class 7A standings, and has now beaten the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the 7A standings, as well as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Class 6A standings.
That impressive stretch also has the Warriors ranked nationally as the No. 4 team in the High School Football America Poll and No. 10 in the MaxPreps standings.
Sitting at 10-0 this season, the Warriors have repeated as region champions and will enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed out of the most difficult region looking to repeat as Class 7A state champions.
So far this season, the Warriors have scored 31 or more points in every game and are averaging 43.2 points per game. As one of the best offenses in the state, against one of the most difficult schedules in the state, Thompson has scored 48 or more points in six of its 10 games.
And in addition to that, the Warriors have played great defense, giving up an average of 15.7 points per game. They’ve given up 23 or less in six straight games, including two shutouts in that span, and 23 or less in all but two games this season.
That balance on both sides of the ball has helped the Warriors run through the regular season as the No. 1 team.
Just behind the Warriors in Class 7A were region foes Hoover and Hewitt-Trussville at two and three, while Theodore and Daphne closed out the top five. Auburn, Central-Phenix City, Austin, Fairhope and James Clemens were the final five teams in the standings
One classification lower, the Pelham Panthers moved up a spot in the latest standings after sliding into the No. 8 position. The last two weeks the Panthers have been ranked ninth in the poll, but a 41-7 victory against Chilton County earned a bump up as they finished region play undefeated.
Pelham has won six head to head games in a row and has one forfeit win in the last seven as well. The Panthers’ only loss of the season came 28-21 in the second game of the year to Class 7A Oak Mountain.
Offensively, Pelham has been led by Dylan Peterson at running back, as well as Darius Copeland, Will Lankford and Gabe Gamble, among others. It’s a unit that has scored 34 or more in its last six games and is averaging close to 40 points per game.
Defensively, the Panthers have given up 28 or less in all but one game, and have really flourished in the last three games, giving up 18, 12 and seven in that span.
Pelham ends the regular season with Homewood and will take on Lee-Montgomery at home in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 6.
Briarwood didn’t quite join Pelham in the standings but is the 12th ranked team as far as voting points go.
The Lions are 7-2 this season and earned the two seed out of their region after taking down Homewood 28-6. That will give Briarwood home field advantage against Hartselle in the opening round of the playoffs.
Briarwood’s defense has been the key this season, giving up 21 or less in every game, including six or less in four games and two shutouts. That side of the ball is giving up just 11.7 points per game.
The 6A standings featured Oxford at No. 1 and Mountain Brook at No. 2, while Pinson Valley, Opelika and Saraland closed out the top five. Spanish Fort, Clay-Chalkville, Athens and McGill-Toolen were the other ranked teams.
See the entire rankings below: