Brooke’s High Five
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 (6-1): The Red Raiders have won six straight games and don’t expect them to slow down this week against Muscle Shoals. Sixth-ranked Decatur is the 5A, Region 8 leader and should be in for another big win, hosting the Trojans in the friendly confines of Ogle Stadium.
2. East Limestone (6-1): The Indians are undoubtedly among the top teams in the state, but there is company near the top of Class 4A, Region 7, which also includes undefeated teams No. 1 North Jackson and No. 10 Madison County. Seventh-ranked East Limestone needs a win over visiting Madison County this week to put itself in good position for hosting in the first round of the state playoffs.
3. Austin (3-4): Currently in a tangle for a playoff berth in the talent-deep Class 6A, Region 8, the Black Bears need a win against Grissom this week to keep those hopes alive. Playing to potential, Austin is a playoff-worthy team that could make some noise in the postseason.
4. Hartselle (3-4): The Tigers are on a roll after a slow start to the season and Thursday night’s game at J.O. Johnson could officially mark the turnaround. Hartselle can put itself in position to extend its season with a win over the Class 5A, No. 10 Jaguars.
5. Athens (2-5): The Golden Eagles’ record is not on par with last season’s state championship run, but Athens has not played itself out of the postseason just yet. Familiar with playing catch-up late in the season, Athens will be favored in its Class 5A, Region 8 matchup with Brewer on Friday, and next week’s game with J.O. Johnson will be crucial.
Class 1A-3A Top Five
1. Hazlewood (7-0): The Golden Bears have been just as strong this season as predicted and are on pace to remain undefeated in Class 1A, Region 8. Fourth-ranked Hazlewood’s final two opponents, Hackleburg and R.A. Hubbard, each have just one win in the region, but the Golden Bears cannot afford to let up as the postseason approaches.
2. Addison (6-1): The Class 2A No. 7 Bulldogs are piecing together another solid season, but this week’s game against No. 8 Red Bay could be their toughest test yet. Addison’s lone loss has come to R.A. Hubbard in the season opener.
3. Speake (6-1): Solid Speake is riding a five-game winning streak that should continue this week against Phillips-Bear Creek. On the minds of the Bobcats now is hosting a first-round playoff game and two more wins would do it.
4. West Morgan (4-3): West Morgan has steadily improved as the season has gone on and should have a postseason berth to show for it. The Rebels need to continue the upward climb against Cherokee this week — a must-win if West Morgan wants to control its own destiny.
5. Tanner (4-3): Tanner broke a two-game losing streak with a Class 2A, Region 8 win over Hatton last week.
The Rattlers, still one of the most solid teams in the area, need to capture some of the momentum they had early in the season to cap a late-season stretch that should have Tanner in the playoffs as usual.
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