Piedmont paces area teams in preseason football poll


Jamie Major and the Piedmont Bulldogs begin the 2012 season ranked third in the ASWA Class 3A state preseason high school football poll. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times | File)


By J.J. Hicks

Times Sports Writer

Piedmont is one of three teams in The Gadsden Times’ coverage area ranked in the Alabama Sports Writer’s Association preseason high school football poll, released Tuesday afternoon.

The Bulldogs, who came in at No. 3 in Class 3A, are coming off a 12-1 season and a quarterfinal berth in the state football playoffs.

The 2012 Bulldogs are ranked one spot below where the team began last season. Steve Smith’s squad has proven to be up to their lofty preseason expectations in the past, having reached at least the third round of the postseason in five consecutive seasons. Led by star linebacker and tailback Jamie Major, Piedmont looks again to be a tough out for opponents. It finds itself trailing only top-ranked Leeds and Deshler.

Annual power Fyffe again appeared in the top 10 in 2A, landing at No. 7 following an 11-1 season a year ago. The Red Devils, under coach Paul Benefield’s watch, always produce stingy defenses and stout rushing attacks, and little-to-nothing is expected to be different this season.

Cedar Bluff, after opening at No. 5 in 1A last year, will kick off this season at No. 8. The Tigers (6-6 in 2011) have high expectations once again, in large part due to the return of offensive weapons including quarterback Levi Mintz and receiver DeAngelo Hardy. Coach Jonathan McWhorter and the Tigers are poised for another strong season led by the two talented seniors.

A trio of Etowah County teams also received votes but were not able to garner enough points to crack the top 10 in their respective classifications. 

In 6A, Gadsden City found itself only a few spots out of the rankings. Ditto for Etowah in 5A. Sardis, which moves up from 3A to 4A, was in the mix of those getting votes but was denied a spot in the preseason rankings.

Other teams in the coverage area that received votes but fell short in accumulating enough points to make the rankings included Collinsville in 1A, Sand Rock in 2A, Geraldine in 3A and Fort Payne in 5A.

 

 

The 2012 Alabama Sports Writers Association preseason high school football poll, with first-place votes and record in parentheses and total points:

 

CLASS 6A 

1. Hoover (31) (13-2) 372

2. Clay-Chalkville (1-9) 247

3. Auburn (8-2) 189

4. McGill-Toolen (11-2) 181

5. Spain Park (5-6) 155

6. Daphne (10-2) 102

7. Oxford (12-2) 82

8. Carver-Montgomery (7-4) 80

9t. Vestavia Hills (7-5) 77

9t. Northridge (10-2) 77

Others receiving votes: Prattville (12-2) 47, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (12-1) 41, Gadsden City (6-5) 33, Hueytown-* (13-1) 24, Mountain Brook (12-1) 21, Austin (7-4) 15, Fairhope (10-3) 8, Bob Jones (10-2) 7, Davidson (7-4) 4, Central-Phenix City (11-3) 2, Huntsville (8-4) 2, Florence (7-3) 1. 

*-Class 5A in 2011; &-Forfeited nine games in 2011 due to an ineligible player. 

 

CLASS 5A 

1. Hartselle (19) (15-0) 316

2. Muscle Shoals (5) (11-2) 262

3. Pinson Valley (3) (9-3) 245

4. St. Paul’s (2) (11-2) 217

5. Homewood-* (1) (5-5) 194

6. Jackson-** (15-0) 188

7. Vigor (1) (12-3) 70

8. Eufaula (10-2) 60

9. Briarwood Chr. (12-2) 46

10. Center Point (11-2) 44  

Others receiving votes: Cullman (8-4) 34, Spanish Fort (9-4) 24, Fort Payne (10-2) 24, Demopolis (6-5) 16, Etowah (10-2) 9, Valley (9-3) 7, Athens (4-7) 6, Walker (6-5) 3, Greenville (11-1) 1, Russellville (5-6) 1. 

*-Class 6A in 2011; **-Class 4A in 2011

 

CLASS 4A

1. Oneonta (20) (12-3) 327

2. Handley-** (5) (15-0) 250

3. Dadeville (2) (12-1) 234

4. UMS-Wright (1) (9-5) 184

5. N. Jackson (1) (11-1) 174

6. Thomasville (2) (10-2) 173

7. Bibb Co. (12-1) 84

8. Central-Clay Co.-*** 74

9. Anniston (9-5) 73

10. Beauregard (10-2) 42   

Others receiving votes: Andalusia (10-1) 33, Sardis-** (9-2) 24, Brooks (8-3) 20, Rogers-** (11-3) 16, Fairview (7-4) 10, Madison Co.-* (4-6) 10, Charles Henderson-* (6-6) 9, Calera (4-6) 8, Tallassee-* (4-7) 6, Guntersville (8-3) 5, J.O. Johnson-&* (0-10) 5, Hillcrest-Evergreen (5-5) 4, St. James (8-3) 2. 

*-Class 5A in 2011; **-Class 3A in 2011; ***-New school; &-Forfeited five games in 2011 due to ineligible player. 

 

CLASS 3A 

1. Leeds &-(11) (0-13) 297

2. Deshler-* (13) (11-2) 293

3. Piedmont (1) (12-1) 242 

4. Madison Acad. (6) (12-3) 233

5. Bayside Acad. (11-1) 129

6. Abbeville (9-2) 121

7. Midfield-* (6-5) 112

8. Lauderdale Co. (11-2) 105

9. T.R. Miller (9-3) 78

10. Hamilton (8-3) 37

Others receiving votes: Fayette Co.-* (9-4) 25, Gordo (9-3) 25, Hanceville (10-1) 23, American Chr.-** (12-2) 16, Elkmont (7-5) 8, Straughn-* (6-5) 7, Trinity (6-5) 5, Excel (3-7) 3, Greene Co.-* (7-4) 3, Geraldine (5-6) 2, Montevallo (4-6) 2, Opp (6-5) 1. 

*-Class 4A in 2011; **-Class 2A in 2011; &-Forfeited 10 wins after the 2011 season due to ineligible player. 

 

CLASS 2A 

1. Elba (22) (15-0) 339  

2. Fultondale (4) (10-3) 272

3. Tanner (1) (14-1) 252

4. Sweet Water-** (2) (10-4) 196          

5. Washington Co.-* (2) (9-3) 188

6. Reeltown (8-4) 123

7. Fyffe (11-1) 105

8. Vincent (9-3) 56 

9. Sheffield-* (9-3) 55         

10. G.W. Long (9-2) 48 

Others receiving votes: Oakman (8-4) 39, N. Sand Mountain (9-2) 32, Flomaton (11-2) 18, Woodland (8-5) 13, Walter Wellborn-* (9-3) 9, LaFayette (7-4) 6, Sand Rock (6-5) 6, Leroy (8-5) 4, Montgomery Acad.-* (3-7) 3, Southern Choctaw (8-3) 2, Luverne-* (7-4) 1. 

*-Class 3A in 2011; **-Class 1A in 2011.

 

CLASS 1A 

1. Marion Co. (19) (14-1) 297

2. Linden (6) (13-2) 285

3. Maplesville (2) (12-1) 219

4. Ragland (1) (13-1) 213

5. Brantley (1) (10-2) 192   

6. Pickens Co. (11-2) 179          

7. R.A. Hubbard (2) (7-4) 121

8. Cedar Bluff (6-6) 106   

9. Lynn (9-3) 38

10. Berry (10-2) 28 

Others receiving votes: Addison (9-2) 27, Collinsville (11-2) 17, Geneva Co. (6-6) 15, St. Jude (9-2) 7, Pleasant Home (8-4) 6, Winterboro (10-2) 6, Parrish (4-6) 5, Hackleburg (7-4) 3, McKenzie (6-4) 3. 

 

AISA 

1. Edgewood Acad. (24) (13-0) 351

2. Bessemer Acad. (6) (12-1) 249

3. Glenwood Acad. (8-6) 194

4. Autauga Acad. (12-2) 165

5. Jackson Acad. (12-1) 142

6. Fort Dale Acad. (4-7) 127

7. Pike Liberal (6-4) 105

8. Monroe Acad. (1) (11-2) 102

9. Lee-Scott (7-4) 98

10. Sumter Acad. (9-4) 73 

Others receiving votes: Tuscaloosa Acad. (9-2) 59, Springwood (9-2) 29, Clarke Prep (7-4) 19, Restoration (3-7) 16, Crenshaw Chr. (11-1) 15, Coosa Valley (3-7) 8, Patrician Acad. (10-3) 7, Sparta Acad. (4-7) 5, Escambia Acad. (8-5) 2, Morgan Acad. (8-4) 1. 

 

The Alabama Sports Writers Association prep committee members are: Paul Beaudry, Chairman, Alabama Media Group; Andrew Garner, Andalusia Star-News; Johnathan Deal, Athens News Courier; Nick Birdsong, Anniston Star; Jeff Sentell, Birmingham News; Adam Robinson, Brewton Standard; Rob Rice, Blount Countian; Shannon Fagan, Cherokee Herald; Ross Wood, Clarke Co. Democrat; Rob Ketcham, Cullman Times; Jonathon Bentley, Daily Mountain Eagle; Jason Bowen, Daily Sentinel; Justin Graves, Decatur Daily; David Mundee, Dothan Eagle; Lee Peacock, Evergreen Courant; Newton Peters, Florala News; Gregg Dewalt, Florence TimesDaily; Lew Gilliland, Fort Payne Times-Journal; Dennis Victory, Freelance (Birmingham); Chris McCarthy, Gadsden Messenger; Kim Craft, Gadsden Times; Davis Potter, Hamilton Record; Mike Easterling, Huntsville Times; Josh Bean, Mobile Press-Register; Stacy Long, Montgomery Advertiser; Robert Carter, North Jefferson News; Jason Galloway, Opelika-Auburn News; Shannon Allen, Sand Mountain Reporter; Lavonte Young, Talladega Daily Home; Andrew Carroll, Tuscaloosa News; Griffin Pritchard, Wetumpka Herald.