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. Decatur (5-1): A solid defense, sound kicking game and nearly turnover-free offense has carried the Red Raiders a long way. Decatur is on a quest to dethrone reigning Class 5A, Region 8 king Russellville this week, and the red-hot Red Raiders, now ranked No. 9 in 5A, may not be much of an underdog anymore.

2. East Limestone (5-1): The Indians came up short against North Jackson in the season’s biggest game last week, but bigger games may be ahead for Class 4A eighth-ranked East Limestone, which still should count itself among the state’s best. The Indians look to get back on track this week against a struggling Ardmore team, trying to remain in the hunt for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

3. Athens (2-4): Off their mark from last season’s state championship run, the Golden Eagles keep improving. A huge game this week against Hartselle will make the postseason picture clearer and both teams are hungry for another Class 5A, Region 8 region win.

4. Austin (2-4): Winless Hazel Green visits Austin at Ogle Stadium this week for a game in which the Black Bears have the upper hand. Austin needs the Class 6A, Region 8 win to stay alive in the postseason race and has proven it has the talent to be in the playoffs when performing up to Black Bear standards.

5. Hartselle (2-4): The Tigers have struggled through one of the state’s toughest schedules but still have a chance at the postseason. This week’s game against Athens is a toss-up, but Hartselle is due for a win against a top team.

Class 1A-3A Top Five

1. Hazlewood (6-0): Hazlewood continues to take care of business this season. No one has touched the Class 1A fourth-ranked Golden Bears, and playing Vina this week, which is winless in 1A, Region 8, should be no exception. Expect Hazlewood to continue to roll.

2. Addison (5-1): Addison has rebounded from a one-touchdown season-opening loss to R.A. Hubbard with five straight wins. It is what the state has come to expect from the Class 2A No. 6 Bulldogs, who continue to build a reputation of an already solid program.

3. Speake (5-1): The Bobcats have left a loss to Hazlewood in the second week of the season far behind. Class 1A Speake has not lost since and is vying to host in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year after nearly a 30-year drought of hosting in the postseason.

4. West Morgan (3-3): The Rebels need to play their best football now, and they seem to be. Still in the running for a playoff berth in 2A, Region 8 and with an outside shot to host in the first round, the stakes are high for West Morgan, which is on its first winning streak
of the year with two straight wins.

5. Tanner (3-3): The Rattlers need to gain ground in Class 2A, Region 8 against winless Hatton. For Tanner, having to play catch-up for the first time in years, this week could end a two-game losing skid.

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