Thompson No. 1, four others found in state’s preseason high school football rankings

Published 9:45 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Excitement for the return of high school football in Alabama officially reached its peak on Sunday morning, Aug. 7 with the release of the state’s 2022 high school football rankings.

Now less than two weeks away, there is plenty of reason for anticipation locally with five teams found in this year’s preseason standings, including two ranked inside their respective classification’s top 10 and three others nominated for a spot

The two ranked teams both found themselves inside the top five with three-time defending Class 7A State Champion Thompson ranked No. 1 and the Class 6A Briarwood Lions ranked No. 4

Both teams have high aspirations for success as the season approaches with the Warriors looking for their fourth title in a row and the Lions hopeful to capitalize on 5-star quarterback Christopher Vizzina’s final season.

Thompson is coming off a 13-1 season last year, and while the Warriors lose plenty of skill players offensively, they’ll also return some of the country’s top defenders, while others are ready to step up and fill important roles offensively.

The last two seasons, the Warriors have gone a combined 27-1, while they are 39-2 over the last three seasons. They have gone a combined 62-5 since back-to-back 5-5 seasons in 2015 and 2016, which followed a 0-10 2014 season.

Now, Thompson once again ranked No. 1 to start the season, and the unanimous top-ranked team at that. The Warriors are just ahead of Central-Phenix City, who they beat 38-22 a season ago in the championship game.

Auburn came in at No. 3 in the standings, while region foes Hewitt-Trussville and Hoover were No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, showcasing just how difficult Class 7A, Region 3 will be once again in 2022. James Clemens, Fairhope, Enterprise, Baker and Opelika closed out the top 10 in Class 7A.

As for the Lions, they will enter a new region this season with new challenges. That doesn’t mean an easier schedule by any means, even though No. 2 Mountain Brook is no longer in the region.

Briarwood is coming off a 10-2 2021 season, which marked a historic season at the 6A level. The Lions had never won more than eight games in their previous three years of playing in the 6A classification, but now, they enter the new year as contenders for the title.

The combination of Vizzina as one of the country’s top quarterbacks, as well as a defense that is always one of the most fundamentally sound, makes this year’s team one to look out for.

Defending state champion Clay-Chalkville, who Briarwood will play on the road to open the season Aug. 19, came in at No. 1 in the standings, while the Spartans, Saraland and Hueytown were the other teams inside the top five. Pike Road, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Spanish Fort, Gardendale and Pinson Valley closed out the top 10.

The Oak Mountain Eagles, Helena Huskies and Calera Eagles all received votes for a spot in the top 10 of their respective classification as well.

The Eagles, who have had two of their best seasons in school history the previous two years, received four points in the voting following their 7-5 season last year. Competing in Class 7A, they’ll be in that daunting region alongside the three top-five teams.

Calera and Helena both earned recognition in Class 6A, as the Huskies received 14 points, which puts them at No. 14 in the standings, while Calera received three points to find the 19th spot.

The Huskies have won the region title two of the last three years, and while the region is more challenging this season with the additions of Briarwood and Homewood, they have the run game and offensive line to wear down opponents.

The Eagles will be a team to keep an eye on throughout the season. With the return of a starting quarterback, an experienced running back, the second-leading receiver and a strong line offensively, there is already great confidence, but the defense could be one of the best in the area, which is what will set the tone this season.

The 2022 season will officially get underway on Thursday, Aug. 18 with Chelsea and Helena battling at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, while the following night will feature a full slate of games.

See the full 2022 preseason football rankings for each classification below: 

CLASS 7A

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

  1. Thompson (21); 13-1; 252
  2. Central-Phenix City; 13-1; 177
  3. Auburn; 10-3; 152
  4. Hewitt-Trussville; 9-3; 148
  5. Hoover; 12-1; 140
  6. James Clemens; 10-1; 99
  7. Fairhope; 9-2; 84
  8. Enterprise; 8-4; 52
  9. Baker; 7-4; 32
  10. Opelika*; 9-4; 22

Others receiving votes: Prattville (7-4) 20, Bob Jones (5-6) 9, Florence (5-6) 4, Oak Mountain (7-5) 4, Daphne (5-5) 2.

CLASS 6A

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

  1. Clay-Chalkville (21); 15-0; 252
  2. Mountain Brook; 12-2; 172
  3. Saraland; 10-3; 143
  4. Briarwood; 10-2; 121
  5. Hueytown; 13-2; 98
  6. Pike Road*; 14-0; 93
  7. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa; 11-3; 92
  8. Spanish Fort; 10-2; 60
  9. Gardendale; 10-3; 26
  10. Pinson Valley; 9-4; 25

Others receiving votes: Theodore* (10-2) 23, Hartselle (10-1) 21, Gadsden City* (5-5) 20, Helena (9-2) 14, Carver-Montgomery (5-6) 13, Fort Payne (6-5) 7, Parker* (11-2) 5, Baldwin Co. (8-4) 4, Calera (7-4) 3, Muscle Shoals (9-2) 2, Oxford (7-5) 2, Homewood (6-6) 1.

CLASS 5A

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

  1. UMS-Wright (12); 11-2; 222
  2. Vigor* (7); 14-1; 202
  3. Ramsay; 6-5; 126
  4. Pleasant Grove (1); 12-2; 102
  5. Alexandria (1); 11-1; 76
  6. Leeds; 10-2; 75
  7. Guntersville; 9-2; 72
  8. Gulf Shores*; 6-4; 69
  9. Russellville; 9-3; 63
  10. Central-Clay Co.; 9-3; 45

Others receiving votes: Fairview (12-2) 30, Arab* (8-3) 29, Eufaula* (5-6) 26, Greenville (8-4) 14, Moody (6-4) 13, Faith-Mobile (7-5) 12, Demopolis (7-5) 7, Southside-Gadsden* (5-6) 7, Williamson* (5-6) 6, Citronelle* (3-7) 1.

CLASS 4A

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

  1. Catholic-Montgomery* (8); 13-1; 167
  2. Handley (4); 9-3; 161
  3. Andalusia* (2); 9-5; 145
  4. Jacksonville (1); 7-4; 122
  5. Northside (3); 10-2; 112
  6. Montgomery Aca.* (1); 11-4; 103
  7. Jackson; 11-3; 95
  8. Oneonta (2); 13-2; 77
  9. Etowah; 6-5; 47
  10. Anniston; 5-5; 44

Others receiving votes: Randolph (10-2) 26, T.R. Miller* (10-3) 21, Cherokee Co. (7-4) 18, American Chr. (11-2) 13, Priceville (10-2) 12, Bayside Aca.* (9-3) 11, Brooks (12-1) 11, Good Hope (9-4) 7, Orange Beach* (9-2) 5. 

CLASS 3A

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

  1. Piedmont (21); 13-2; 252
  2. Gordo*; 9-3; 112
  3. Mars Hill Bible*; 10-4; 106
  4. Opp; 9-3; 100
  5. Alabama Chr.*; 7-4; 87
  6. St. James*; 10-2; 86
  7. Mobile Chr.*; 5-6; 85
  8. Hillcrest-Evergreen; 7-6; 83
  9. Winfield; 12-1; 69
  10. Madison Aca.*; 12-2; 68

Others receiving votes: Saks (12-2) 44, Flomaton (6-4) 23, Ohatchee (9-3) 21, Straughn* (7-4) 20, Houston Aca. (6-5) 12, Walter Wellborn (5-5) 9, Excel (6-4) 6, Lauderdale Co. (10-2) 6, Sylvania (8-3) 6, Geraldine (7-4) 2.

CLASS 2A

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

  1. Fyffe* (14); 10-2; 230
  2. Clarke Co. (6); 13-2; 202
  3. Lanett; 10-3; 143
  4. Ariton; 10-2; 142
  5. Highland Home (1); 8-6; 115
  6. B.B. Comer; 10-3; 75
  7. Aliceville; 8-4; 69
  8. G.W. Long; 8-2; 53
  9. Pisgah; 7-4; 52
  10. Cleveland; 12-3; 44

Others receiving votes: Wicksburg* (7-4) 31, Tanner (8-4) 26, J.U. Blacksher (4-7) 13, Sand Rock (7-4) 2.

CLASS 1A

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

  1. Brantley (7); 12-1; 170
  2. Spring Garden* (3); 12-1; 167
  3. Sweet Water (6); 14-0; 153
  4. Leroy* (3); 2-8; 151
  5. Wadley (1); 13-2; 129
  6. Elba*; 10-2; 108
  7. Pickens Co.; 11-3; 107
  8. Decatur Heritage; 10-3; 63
  9. Linden (1); 5-5; 56
  10. Cedar Bluff; 6-5; 27

Others receiving votes: Valley Head (5-6) 23, Kinston (8-4) 18, Millry (8-4) 12, Maplesville (11-2) 8, Hackleburg (6-5) 3, Keith (10-2) 2.

AISA

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

  1. Glenwood (20); 6-5; 249
  2. Autauga Aca.; 13-0; 172
  3. Patrician; 8-3; 152
  4. Chambers Aca. (1); 10-2; 142
  5. Macon-East; 7-5; 113
  6. Edgewood; 5-6; 85
  7. Jackson Aca.; 10-2; 84
  8. Lowndes Aca.; 11-3; 83
  9. Escambia Aca.; 11-2; 57
  10. Bessemer Aca.; 3-7; 24

Others receiving votes: Abbeville Chr. (2-8) 14, Monroe Aca. (3-7) 13, Crenshaw Chr. (7-4) 6, Clarke Prep (2-9) 1, Lee-Scott (8-3) 1, Sparta (9-2) 1.