County has 4 teams now ranked for first time this season

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

There are four teams still undefeated this season in Shelby County, and now all four are inside their respective top 10 of the state’s football rankings following the release of the latest poll on Wednesday morning, Sept. 8.

It sets a new season high for the county after three were ranked inside the top 10 the previous two weeks and two were ranked entering the season.

Thompson and Briarwood remained firmly in the top five of their classifications, but it was Oak Mountain and Helena who made this week’s moves.

For the first time this season, the Helena Huskies made the leap into the top 10 of the 6A classification.

The previous two weeks, the Huskies were the first team outside the top 10 at No. 11, but a strong defense has become too much to ignore.

Despite battling COVID-19 in the program the last two weeks, the Huskies have still found ways to win and improve to 3-0. That was enough to earn them the No. 10 spot in the 6A standings.

Helena has done the majority of its damage the last two weeks on the defensive side of the football.

Following a 55-0 shutout against Dallas County to open the season, the Huskies picked up wins of 27-14 and 20-10 against Chelsea and Wetumpka, respectively.

That means the defense has given up 14 or less in every game so far and has given up an average of eight points per game.

The schedule, however, is about to take a difficult turn with matchups against Pelham and McAdory looming following the Benjamin Russell game. That stretch will be key in determining just how far this team can go.

Oak Mountain is in similar shape through three games.

The Eagles also sit at 3-0 thanks to impressive play from the defense, remarkable second-half adjustments and senior quarterback Evan Smith.

Like the Huskies, they’ll also face a key stretch coming up with their most difficult matchups ahead.

For the time being, however, Oak Mountain has improved by one spot up to No. 9 in Class 7A.

The Eagles have given up 19 or less in every game this season, while they’ve given up seven combined the last two weeks with a shutout against Pelham and just seven allowed against Gadsden City.

The key alongside the defense has been the improvement in the second half. Oak Mountain has outscored opponents 64-6 in the second half of games this season, taking tie games at the break each week and pulling away for wins.

Three of the next five games following the matchup with Vestavia Hills will come against top five teams Hoover, Thompson and Hewitt-Trussville.

Thompson and Briarwood both remained firmly in the top 10 this week with the Warriors still the unanimous No. 1 team in Class 7A and the Lions holding onto the No. 4 spot in Class 6A following a comeback against Chelsea.

The Warriors, as expected, are off to a historic start this season with one of the best teams in the country.

So far, they have scored 55, 55 and 58 in their first three games and have started with three consecutive shutouts. They have outscored opponents by a combined score of 168-0 thanks to three shutouts in a row for the third time in school history and the first time to start a season.

Similarly, Briarwood’s offense has been rolling so far this season, scoring 41, 42 and 42 through the first three games, but the Lions did get a scare against Chelsea on Sept. 3.

After the defense had given up 17 and eight in the first two weeks, Chelsea found a way to test the Lions in week three. The Hornets took a 35-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter and looked ready to upset the No. 4 team in the state.

Briarwood, however, scored 14 unanswered to tie the game in the final seconds, then made it 21 unanswered with the only touchdown in overtime to pull off the comeback victory.

With aspirations of a state championship and talented teams piling up around them, the Lions hope that is a spark that helps them moving forward.

The Pelham Panthers also regained some notoriety after the third week of the season thanks to a comeback victory against Calera.

Trailing 20-7 at the half against the Eagles, Pelham outscored Calera 27-10 in the second half to pick up a 34-30 win and improve to 2-1 on the season.

The Panthers were the final team to receive votes in the 6A classification with their lone loss coming to 7A No. 9 Oak Mountain in a game they were tied 0-0 at the half.

See the entire rankings below:

CLASS 7A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Thompson (22); 3-0; 264
  2. Hoover; 3-0; 195
  3. Auburn; 3-0; 172
  4. Hewitt-Trussville; 3-0; 156
  5. Central-Phenix City; 3-0; 136
  6. Theodore; 3-0; 111
  7. James Clemens; 3-0; 77
  8. Enterprise; 3-0; 66
  9. Oak Mountain; 3-0; 50
  10. Daphne; 1-1; 13

Others receiving votes: Fairhope (2-1) 12, Baker (2-1) 1, Prattville (2-1) 1.

CLASS 6A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Spanish Fort (19); 3-0; 255
  2. Clay-Chalkville (1); 3-0; 198
  3. Pinson Valley (2); 2-1; 183
  4. Briarwood; 3-0; 150
  5. Mountain Brook; 3-0; 132
  6. Hartselle; 3-0; 103
  7. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa; 2-1; 70
  8. Opelika; 1-2; 56
  9. McAdory; 3-0; 50
  10. Helena; 3-0; 28

Others receiving votes: Homewood (2-1) 16, Hueytown (2-1) 3, Buckhorn (3-0) 2, Eufaula (1-2) 2, Jackson-Olin (2-0) 2, Lee-Montgomery (2-0) 2, Oxford (1-2) 1, Pelham (2-1) 1.

CLASS 5A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Pike Road (20); 3-0; 256
  2. Pleasant Grove (2); 2-0; 200
  3. Central-Clay Co.; 3-0; 177
  4. Leeds; 3-0; 143
  5. Faith-Mobile; 2-1; 120
  6. Alexandria; 2-0; 108
  7. Russellville; 3-0; 91
  8. Guntersville; 2-1; 53
  9. St. Paul’s; 1-2; 46
  10. UMS-Wright; 2-1; 40

Others receiving votes: Andalusia (2-1) 9, Greenville (3-0) 6, Parker (3-0) 3, Tallassee (1-1) 2.

CLASS 4A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Gordo (19); 3-0; 255
  2. Handley (3); 2-0; 203
  3. Madison Aca.; 2-1; 161
  4. West Limestone; 2-0; 137
  5. Vigor; 3-0; 135
  6. American Chr.; 2-1; 121
  7. Anniston; 3-0; 94
  8. Bibb Co.; 3-0; 46
  9. Williamson; 1-2; 27
  10. St. Michael; 2-0; 23

Others receiving votes: Etowah (1-1) 16, Jackson (2-1) 11, Jacksonville (1-2) 7, Mobile Chr. (1-1) 3, Priceville (2-0) 3, Straughn (3-0) 3, West Blocton (3-0) 3, Brooks (3-0) 2, Cleburne Co. (3-0) 2, Hamilton (3-0) 1, St. James (2-1) 1.

CLASS 3A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Fyffe (20); 2-0; 258
  2. Piedmont (2); 2-0; 200
  3. Catholic-Montgomery; 3-0; 180
  4. Plainview; 2-0; 145
  5. Flomaton; 2-0; 133
  6. Bayside Aca.; 3-0; 108
  7. Montgomery Aca.; 2-1; 71
  8. Trinity; 3-0; 66
  9. Slocomb; 1-1; 42
  10. Opp; 2-1; 9

Others receiving votes: Hillcrest-Evergreen (1-2) 7, T.R. Miller (2-1) 7, Danville (3-0) 6, Winfield (3-0) 6, Saks (2-1) 4, Thomasville (1-1) 4, Ohatchee (1-2) 3, Southside-Selma (2-0) 3, Dadeville (1-1) 1, Excel (2-1) 1.

CLASS 2A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Mars Hill Bible (17); 2-1; 246
  2. Lanett (3); 2-1; 200
  3. Geneva Co.; 2-0; 166
  4. Spring Garden (2); 2-0; 165
  5. Abbeville; 1-1; 134
  6. Clarke Co.; 1-1; 107
  7. Addison; 3-0; 72
  8. Elba; 2-1; 36
  9. Falkville; 2-1; 24
  10. Sand Rock; 2-0; 21

Others receiving votes: G.W. Long (1-0) 19, Leroy (2-0) 19, Thorsby (2-0) 17, Ariton (3-0) 10, Westbrook Chr. (1-1) 7, Ider (2-1) 6, Central-Coosa (0-2) 5, B.B. Comer (1-2) 1, Colbert Co. (2-1) 1, Luverne (2-0) 1, North Sand Mountain (0-2) 1, Whitesburg Chr. (1-2) 1.

CLASS 1A

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Brantley (19); 1-0; 252
  2. Sweet Water (3); 2-0; 203
  3. Pickens Co.; 2-0; 181
  4. Maplesville; 3-0; 156
  5. Millry; 2-0; 130
  6. Loachapoka; 2-0; 102
  7. Marion Co.; 3-0; 71
  8. Decatur Heritage; 1-2; 44
  9. Keith; 3-0; 42
  10. Notasulga; 3-0; 29

Others receiving votes: McKenzie (1-1) 10, Wadley (3-0) 10, Cedar Bluff (1-1) 9, Linden (0-2) 4, Hackleburg (2-0) 3, Samson (2-1) 3, Sumiton Chr. (2-0) 2, Winterboro (2-1) 2, Red Level (1-1) 1.

AISA

Team (first-place); W-L; Pts

  1. Escambia Aca. (22); 3-0; 264
  2. Autauga Aca.; 2-0; 195
  3. Pike Liberal Arts; 2-1; 171
  4. Chambers Aca.; 3-0; 154
  5. Morgan Aca.; 2-0; 119
  6. Bessemer Aca.; 1-1; 88
  7. Tuscaloosa Aca.; 1-1; 70
  8. Glenwood; 1-2; 66
  9. Patrician; 1-1; 47
  10. Sparta; 2-0; 25

Others receiving votes: Lee-Scott (1-1) 13, Edgewood (3-0) 12, Macon-East (1-2) 10, Jackson Aca. (3-0) 8, Crenshaw Chr. (1-1) 7, Valiant Cross (1-0) 3, Banks Aca. (2-1) 1, South Choctaw Aca. (2-1) 1.