Thursday and Friday brought important region games for the local high school football teams, many of whom were vying for improved playoff positioning. As a result, there are a few changes in this week’s Prep Power Poll.
Local teams went 10-8 last week, with splits occurring between Central/Auburn High, Tallassee/Beauregard and Glenwood/Lee-Scott. The top 10 teams this week are the same as the previous week, with Lanett, Opelika and LaFayette moving up after big wins and Chambers Academy, Reeltown and Notasulga dropping down due to losses.
This week’s rankings are as follows:
1. Central-Phenix City (9-1)
The Red Devils walked into Auburn on a rainy Friday night and walked out with a 34-7 victory against the Tigers to clinch the Region 2-7A championship, marking the sixth straight season in which Central has won its region. Central junior running back Joseph McKay simply could not be stopped in the victory, taking 18 carries for 221 yards and all five of the team’s touchdowns. The Red Devils do not play this week and will return to action on Nov. 8 to start the Class 7A state playoffs.
2. Lanett (9-0)
The Panthers wasted little time in securing their third straight region title on Thursday, thumping Billingsley in a 56-0 victory. Senior quarterback Kristian Story was once again masterful for the Panthers, taking six carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns and completing 11 passes for 171 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Lanett’s regular season is over, and the team will be back No. 8 when the Class 1A playoffs begin.
3. Chambers Academy (9-1)
Chambers Academy knew it had a tough task in hosting Class AAA’s Bessemer Academy, and the home Rebels couldn’t keep up in a 42-20 loss. The turning point in the game came late in the second quarter, when Bessemer began what was a 28-0 run on an 85-yard kickoff return to thwart the work of Chambers running back Braxton Allen and Co. The Rebels are off this week before hosting the first round of the AISA Class A playoffs.
4. Opelika (8-1)
Opelika was in no mood for another overtime thriller against Vigor this season, instead taking it to the Wolves in a 44-6 victory. The Bulldogs got production from a number of players, including defensive lineman Miles Magee, who recorded a safety and also had a fumble recovery in the non-region victory. The Bulldogs will not play again until hosting their first-round game of the Class 6A state playoffs.
5. Reeltown (9-1)
The Rebels hit the road to face Ranburne on Friday, and despite a late comeback they came up just short in a 27-26 loss. Reeltown wide receiver Eric Shaw had the go-ahead touchdown in the final two minutes of the game, but ultimately Ranburne came back to keep the Rebels from finishing the regular season undefeated. Reeltown will try and get back in the win column when the Class 2A state playoffs begin on Nov. 8.
6. Auburn High (6-3)
The Tigers fought with Central-Phenix City in a tough Region 2-7A battle Friday, but the home squad ultimately could not keep up in a 34-7 loss. Auburn quarterback Matthew Caldwell seemed to get the Tigers within striking distance after a touchdown pass to Bryson Clague, but Caldwell left with an injury in the second quarter and the offense struggled to respond. Auburn returns to play Thursday when it travels to Montgomery to play Park Crossing in the regular season finale for both teams.
7. Glenwood (7-2)
The Gators battled rival Lee-Scott on Friday and found just enough big plays to take a 29-20 victory back to Smiths Station. Glenwood quarterback Jackson Griner came through when the Gators needed plays against the Warriors, delivering a 15-yard touchdown run and a 21-yard touchdown pass to Marco Dominquez to help the team add another victory. Glenwood hosts Autauga Academy on Friday in a non-region battle.
8. Valley (6-3)
The Rams took care of business Friday night against Charles Henderson, handing the Trojans a 41-20 loss to give Valley its first region championship since 2011. Valley running back BJ Baker simply could not be stopped in the win, rushing for 303 yards and six touchdowns to seal the Rams’ No. 1 playoff seed. Valley ends its regular season Friday when it plays at Benjamin Russell.
9. LaFayette (5-4)
The Bulldogs enter the postseason having won three of their last four games, including Friday’s 32-13 regular season finale against Horseshoe Bend. LaFayette running back Keandrae Peterson put together another strong outing, taking 17 carries for 253 yards and two touchdowns to help the Bulldogs top the Generals. The Bulldogs are off until Nov. 8, when they’ll host their first-round playoff game as Region 4-2A’s No. 2 seed.
10. Notasulga (6-4)
The Blue Devils came out on the wrong end of a thriller Friday night, losing to Wadley 24-21 on a last-second field goal. Notasulga running back Daryl Brown Jr. and the rest of the team are in a bit of a holding pattern now prior to the playoffs, as there is a three-way tie for the region’s No. 2 seed between Notasulga, Billingsley and Wadley. Per the Blue Devils head coach Anthony Jones, Wadley’s non-region game against Randolph County will likely determine Notasulga’s playoff position.