Muscle Shoals takes over Class 5A's top spot in Alabama high school football poll
By PAUL BEAUDRY
When Scott Basden took over as head coach at Muscle Shoals in 2008, the Trojans had won just 14 games in the previous four seasons.
The Trojans' fortunes have turned around considerably since then, breaking unfamiliar ground this week with what is believed to be the third Alabama Sports Writers Association No. 1 ranking in school history.
Muscle Shoals, which improved to 5-0 after a 38-6 win against Dora, stepped over Hartselle for the top spot in Class 5A after the Tigers dropped a 21-14 decision to Decatur. The Trojans' only other appearance at the top came in a two-week stretch of the 1989 season when they started 3-0, but lost five of their last seven.
The top ranking might be shortlived - or the Trojans, who have the state's stingiest defense at 1.8 points per game allowed, could prove they're right where they belong on Friday as they host now-No. 4 Hartselle in a Class 5A, Region 8 game.
While the top spot in the six other classes remained the same with 6A Hoover, 4A Oneonta, 3A Piedmont, 2A Tanner, 1A Marion County and the AISA's Edgewood Academy, other positions tightened up near the top.
Auburn pulled to within three points of Clay-Chalkville for the No. 2 spot in Class 6A after an easy 49-24 win over Gadsden City coupled with the Cougars 31-28 overtime win against Pinson Valley. And Central of Clay County's 42-14 win over Munford helped it catch Dadeville for a second-place tie in Class 4A, helped by Dadeville's 42-34 win over Tallassee.
In games involving ranked teams this week, Class 6A No. 7 Carver-Montgomery is at No. 3 Auburn, Class 5A No. 4 Spanish Fort hosts No. 6 St. Paul's, Class 3A No. 7 is at No. 5 Lauderdale County, Class 2A No. 6 Woodland travels to No. 7 Walter Wellborn, Class 1A No. 6 Cedar Bluff hosts No. 8 Collinsville, and AISA No. 4 Clarke Prep at No. 2 Monroe Academy.
ASWA Prep Football Poll
Others receiving votes: Central-Phenix City (4-1) 16, Fairhope (4-1) 16, Spain Park (4-1) 15, Davidson (4-1) 12, Tuscaloosa Co. (4-1) 8, Pelham (4-1) 5, Hazel Green (4-1) 1, Oak Mountain (4-1) 1, Stanhope Elmore (4-1) 1.
Others receiving votes: Benjamin Russell (5-0) 23, McAdory (5-0) 10, Sylacauga (5-0) 10, Wenonah (5-0) 9, Vigor (4-1) 7, Boaz (5-0) 3, Russellville (4-1) 1.
Others receiving votes: Dora (4-1) 24, Sardis (4-1) 20, Jemison (4-1) 11, Brooks (4-1) 10, Fairview (4-1) 8, Calera (4-1) 6, J.O. Johnson (4-1) 6, St. James (4-1) 5, Ardmore (4-1) 4, Jacksonville (4-1) 3, Monroe Co. (3-2) 2.
Others receiving votes: Straughn (4-1) 23, Bayside (2-3) 20, B.B. Comer (4-1) 3, Barbour Co. (4-1) 3, Dale Co. (3-2) 3, Saks (4-1) 3, W.S. Neal (4-1) 3, Deshler (2-3) 2.
Others receiving votes: Vincent (4-1) 38, N. Sand Mountain (4-1) 19, Oakman (4-1) 10, Lanett (4-1) 5, Fultondale (3-2) 3, Samson (4-1) 3, Ider (4-1) 2, Horseshoe Bend (4-1) 1, Millry (4-1) 1, Montgomery Acad. (2-3) 1, Sheffield (3-2) 1.
Others receiving votes: Hackleburg (4-1) 18, Lynn (4-1) 9, Falkville (5-0) 5, Geneva Co. (4-1) 4, Shoals Chr. (3-2) 1.
Others receiving votes: Patrician (4-2) 12, Glenwood (4-2) 7, Escambia Acad. (3-3) 1, Jackson Acad. (3-3) 1.
The Alabama Sports Writers Association prep committee members are: Paul Beaudry, Chairman, Alabama Media Group; Andrew Garner, Andalusia Star-News; Jonathan Deal, Athens News Courier; Erich Hilkert, Atmore Advance; Bran Strickland, 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; 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 Journal 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; Jason Bowen, Scottsboro Daily Sentinel; Lavonte Young, Talladega Daily Home; Andrew Carroll, Tuscaloosa News; Griffin Pritchard, Wetumpka Herald.
Morris Higginbotham coached three different teams to divisional state championships in the 1950s. He won titles at Walnut Grove in 1952, West Blocton in 1955 and Enterprise in 1960.