ASWA football poll: Jackson-Thomasville rivalry could have more at stake than most
By PAUL BEAUDRY
Montgomery, AL - With 80 meetings on tap since 1916, it's fair to say that Jackson and Thomasville is one of the state's stoutest rivalries.
Both teams are successful, both are usually ranked and both have had their share of postseason success with 53 playoff appearances and four state titles between them in the 35 seasons since 1976 -- the last year they failed to meet.
In the last three seasons, however, the meeting has taken on a little more importance as the winner has gone onto play for a state championship. With Jackson ranked No. 2 in Class 5A in this week's Alabama Sports Writers Association poll and Thomasville ranked No. 6 in Class 4A, there's a good chance it could happen again.
The three previous winners have happened with both teams in Class 4A, Region 1; Jackson beat Thomasville, 39-20, then advanced to the 2009 championship game before losing to Cherokee County. Thomasville won a 35-7 battle with the Aggies, then beat Deshler in the title game 59-34. Last year, a 28-9 win over Thomasville was part of Jackson's 15-0 season that ended with a 42-28 win over Oneonta.
Oneonta is still the team to beat in Class 4A, at least as far as this week's ASWA poll is concerned, holding down the top spot and 19 of this week's 28 first-place votes among the state's prep writers. The rest of the top teams also remained the same with Class 5A Muscle Shoals, 3A Piedmont, 2A Tanner, 1A Marion County and AISA's Edgewood Academy. As it has for the previous six polls, Class 6A Hoover remains the only unanimous No. 1.
In other games involving ranked teams in the final week of the regular season, Class 5A No. 4 Homewood hosts No. 6 Benjamin Russell, Class 5A No. 8 St. Paul's hosts Class 4A No. 3 UMS-Wright, Class 4A No. 2 Central of Clay County is at Class 3A No. 6 Madison Academy and Class 3A No. 7 T.R. Miller hosts Class 2A No. 3 Sweet Water. In the first round of the AISA playoffs, No. 9 Patrician is at No. 5 Autauga Academy in a Class AA playoff game.
ASWA High School Football Poll
Others receiving votes: Pell City (6-3)
15, Pelham (7-2) 14, Spain Park (7-2) 10, Daphne (6-3) 7,
Bob Jones (7-2) 6, Austin (7-2) 3, Huntsville (6-3) 2,
Oxford (6-3) 1.
Others receiving votes: Vigor (7-2) 22,
Wenonah (8-1) 14, Cullman (7-2) 10, Hartselle (6-3) 6,
Chilton Co. (8-1) 5, Russellville (7-2) 2, Walker (7-2) 1.
Others receiving votes: Calera (8-1) 13,
Tallassee (7-2) 10, Handley (6-3) 4, Alexandria (6-3) 2,
Munford (6-3) 1.
Others receiving votes: Deshler (6-3)
20, Trinity (7-2) 11, Plainview (8-1) 8, Saks (7-2) 3,
Hanceville (6-3) 2, Gordo (7-2) 1, Sylvania (7-2) 1,
Vinemont (7-2) 1.
Others receiving votes: Walter Wellborn
(7-2) 16, Fultondale (7-2) 15, Luverne (7-2) 11, Mobile Chr.
(7-2) 2, Elba (6-3) 1.
Others receiving votes: Notasulga (7-2)
12, Addison (6-2) 5, Geneva Co. (7-2) 1, St. Luke’s (7-2) 1.
Others receiving votes: Glenwood (7-3)
26, Ashford Acad. (8-3) 7, Macon-East (6-4) 3, Crenshaw Chr.
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.