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 (7-1): The Red Raiders are Class 5A, Region 8 champions and rolling toward the playoffs with a balanced offense that opponents have had a hard time stopping. Decatur averages 31.3 points per game heading into its final region contest of the season Friday at Brewer.
2. East Limestone (6-2): Two recent losses mean that East Limestone will travel in the first round of the playoffs, but the Indians can still accomplish all of their goals set at the beginning of the season. East Limestone is still as statistically sound as any team in the area, scoring 36.3 points per game and allowing 18 points per game. It's now a matter of producing in the high-stakes contests.
3. Austin (4-4): A homecoming win this week for Class 6A Austin against a tough Buckhorn team at Ogle Stadium could cement a playoff berth for the Black Bears for the first time since 2003.
4. Hartselle (3-5): The Tigers should win this week over West Point, which is winless in the region. Class 5A Hartselle proved itself a postseason-worthy team by winning three of its last five contests.
5. Athens (3-5): The reigning Class 5A state champions might not be looking at defending their title at this point, but still have a chance to make it into the postseason. It will be a tough task against 5A 10th-ranked J.O. Johnson on Friday, but a win could give the Golden Eagles a fresh start in the playoffs.
Class 1A-3A Top Five
1. Hazlewood (8-0): The Golden Bears defense continues to be stout, while the offense is putting up massive totals. Class 1A fourth-ranked Hazlewood is one of five undefeated 1A teams in the state.
2. Speake (7-1): The Bobcats lone loss early in the season to still-undefeated Hazlewood doesn't look so bad now. In fact, Class 1A Speake is on track to surpass last season's 8-2 regular season record with Brilliant and winless Danville left to play.
3. West Morgan (5-3): The Class 2A Rebels secured a playoff berth with a win over Cherokee last week. A win against Addison on Friday could get them a home playoff game. Bulldogs fans are accustomed to seeing their team win at home, but visiting West Morgan is on a four-game winning streak.
4. Tanner (5-3): With the Rattlers running game back at full speed, Class 2A Tanner will be favored this week against Cherokee. The Rattlers know they are in the playoffs, but need to get their momentum going down the stretch.
5. Addison (6-2): Class 2A Addison needs a win over West Morgan on Friday to host a first-round playoff game for the fifth straight year. A loss and there could be a three-way tie for second place in Class 2A, Region 8 between West Morgan, Tanner and the Bulldogs.
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