News from the Tennessee Valley Sports


Daily Sports Writer Brooke Milam ranks the area’s top five teams in both Class 4A-6A and 1A-3A:

Class 4A-6A Top Five

1. East Limestone (5-0): Class 4A third-ranked East Limestone faces off with the top team in 4A this week, traveling to North Jackson. The high-stakes contest will be a defining game in the region championship race and will be a true test for the undefeated Indians in what has been hyped as a history-making year for the boys from Capshaw.

2. Decatur (4-1): It has been four straight impressive wins for the Class 5A No. 9 Red Raiders after a season-opening loss to 6A Huntsville. Decatur’s consistent offense and its defense improving have equaled a winning combination for the Red Raiders.

3. Austin (2-3): The Black Bears barely missed a chance to beat Class 5A No. 2 Russellville last week. Austin needs to beat Bob Jones this week and avoid untimely turnovers to put itself squarely in the mix of the postseason race.

4. Athens (2-3): Lost the lead and the game in the fourth quarter last week against Class 5A No. 5 Jess Lanier. The Golden Eagles showed shades of the confidence from their success-packed tradition, but they will need a complete four-quarter effort to hang with second-ranked Russellville this week.

5. Hartselle (1-4): The Tigers are much better than their record shows, with three of four losses coming to ranked teams, and still have the potential to sneak up on top competition. Hartselle will be favored against an improved Brewer team that is working on its best season since 2000.

Class 1A-3A Top Five

1. Hazlewood (5-0): Last week, Hazlewood joined the club of the teams that have scored at least 50 points on Muscle Shoals this year, but it was just another stellar game for an offense that has averaged 30.4 points per contest. Add to that a show-stopping defense that has three shutouts this season and you have the Class 1A fourth-ranked Golden Bears, who do not appear to be slowing down any time soon.

2. Addison (4-1): The Class 2A No. 7 Bulldogs roll into this week’s game against Tanner on a four-game winning streak. The contest with the Rattlers could decide the second-place finisher in the Class 2A, Region 8, in a battle of two teams that have strong postseason traditions.

3. Speake (4-1): The Bobcats have proven that last season’s Class 1A, Region 8 title and trip to the second round of the state playoffs were no fluke. Now Speake is trying to build on that finish and should be favored hosting Vina this week.

4. Tanner (3-2): Expect the Rattlers to brush off a convincing loss to 4A No. 3 East Limestone and come out full force against region foe Addison. Tanner is still one of the class acts of 2A, Region 8 and is on pace to host a first-round playoff game with only a 1-point loss to Red Bay in the region.

5. West Morgan (2-3): West Morgan has not put together back-to-back wins this season, but has a chance to move in Class 2A, Region 8 with games against Hatton and Winston County. The Rebels are a team with plenty of potential to sneak up on opponents and will be working off the momentum of beating local rival 4A East Lawrence a week ago.

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