Central-Phenix City vs. Thompson 7A State Championship

Central football players react to Jamey Dubose, Central head football coach, holding up the championship trophy on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2018, after defeating Thompson at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.

After winning the AHSAA Class 7A state championship last season, Central-Phenix City is again being looked at as one of the top teams in the nation.

High School Football America ranked Central as the No. 38 team in the nation in its Top 100 preseason rankings. The Red Devils are the second-highest ranked Alabama team in the rankings behind fellow 7A school Hoover, which was ranked No. 26.

Central’s inclusion in the 2019 preseason rankings comes after a historic season for the Red Devils.

After going 10-0 in the regular season for the first time since 1988, the Red Devils shut out their first two playoff opponents before pulling off a come-from-behind victory against Lee-Montgomery. The win over the Generals propelled the Red Devils to the state championship game, where they pummeled Thompson 52-7 to give the team its first state championship since 1993.

When it was all said and done, Central set several school records, including points in a season and wins in a season. The Red Devils finished High School Football America’s final ranking at No. 10.

“For three years, this team got to the semifinals and we just left empty every year, hurting,” DuBose said after the championship victory. “We wanted to finish something. One thing in life we found out as we studied is that so many things we start as people we never finish. What we wanted to teach them as adults growing up and everything else is if you start something, finish it.

“These guys finished it tonight.”​

Central graduated 42 seniors from its championship team, including LSU quarterback signee Peter Parrish, Arkansas running back signee A’Montae Spivey and Clemson safety signee Ray Thornton. The Red Devils do return several key contributors from last year such as four-star wide receiver E.J. Williams and four-star offensive tackle Javion Cohen, three-star quarterback Tucker Melton and three-star safety Mike Harris.

Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California, comes in at No. 1 after finishing last season ranked first following their second straight state championship. St. John Bosco (California), St. John’s College High School (Washington D.C.), St. Joseph’s Prep (Pennsylvania) and Duncanville (Texas) round out the top five.

Hoover and Central can decide the rankings argument on Aug. 23, when they face off in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl as part of the AHSAA Kickoff Classic.

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