Thompson ranked No. 1 in final poll, Pelham and Briarwood just outside
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
The 2020 high school football regular season has come and gone in the blink of an eye, and while we gear up for the postseason, it’s worth reflecting on what was accomplished during the first 11 weeks of the season.
A season many didn’t expect to happen, teams just hoped to compete and not only did they get to do that, it has become a season better than most for local teams with seven of the county’s 11 AHSAA teams advancing to the postseason.
The Thompson Warriors won their second region title in school history, the Pelham Panthers won their third region title in school history, the Shelby County Wildcats advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2009, the Oak Mountain Eagles got off to their first 4-0 start in school history, the Briarwood Lions earned a two seed in their first season back in Class 6A, the Helena Huskies earned a two seed despite losing close to 30 seniors, and the Montevallo Bulldogs made the playoffs under a first year head coach after losing all of their offensive production.
And when the final ASWA football rankings were released for the 2020 season on Tuesday, Nov. 3, the Thompson Warriors, Oak Mountain Eagles, Pelham Panthers and Briarwood Lions were all recognized.
The defending state champion Warriors remained the No. 1 team in Class 7A to conclude the regular season ahead of beginning their postseason run with hopes of repeating as champs.
Thompson was the only team to finish the regular season undefeated in Class 7A and in Shelby County this year after beating opponents by a combined score of 432-157, despite facing one of the most difficult schedules in the state.
The Warriors gave up 23 or less points in eight of 10 games this season, including nine or less five times with two shutouts. They also cored 48 or more points in five games this season and 31 or more in every game.
Remarkably, Thompson beat the final No. 2 and No. 3 teams in both Class 7A and Class 6A, taking down Hoover, Hewitt-Trussville, Oxford and Mountain Brook to earn the unanimous No. 1 spot in the state’s highest classification.
The Oak Mountain Eagles, who also competed in Class 7A, Region 3, ended the season with a vote for a spot in the top 10, becoming one of just three teams outside of the 7A top 10 to receive votes.
Oak Mountain finished the regular season 6-4 with all of the Eagles’ losses coming to top 10 teams, three of which were in the top three of the 7A standings. Outside of losing to Thompson, Hoover and Hewitt-Trussville, the team’s only other loss came in the regular season finale to Class 6A No. 6 Clay-Chalkville by seven points. The Cougars finished the regular season 9-1.
The trip to the playoffs for the Eagles marks their first since the 2016 season.
In the 6A classification, the 2020 season marked a special one for both Pelham and Briarwood, and both finished just outside of the final 6A top 10.
The Panthers finished 11th in the voting just behind No. 10 Eufala, while Briarwood was one point behind Pelham as the 12th team.
Pelham finished the regular season 8-2 with losses to Oak Mountain by seven points and Homewood by two points.
The Panthers faced a difficult loss against Homewood to end the regular season but hope to make a special postseason run this year after winning their first region title since 2006 and third in school history.
Briarwood’s remarkable run was also special this year because of the team’s leap back into the 6A classification. The last time the Lions were in the classification, they went a combined 9-14 with losing records in both 2014 and 2015.
Now, coming off a 7-2 regular season, Briarwood finished the regular season giving up 11 points per game defensively, while the offense scored close to 30 points per game, putting them just two wins shy of their combined two-year record between 2014 and 2015.
The entire final rankings for each classification are below:
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor Voting lines topped two hours in some places across Shelby County on Tuesday, Nov.... read more