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   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

2023 Football Preseason Preview

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2023   Class 7A  Top Ten 

1. Thompson (11-3) 6. Austin (7-4)
2. Central Phenix City (10-3) 7. Vestavia Hills (7-5)
3. Hewitt-Trussville (8-4) 8. Mary Montgomery (6-5)
4. Auburn (12-2) 9. Dothan High (8-4)
5. Hoover (11-2) 10. Florence (8-3)

 2023 Predictions 
      What is the outlook for 7A in 2023? Well, if you are a fan of a team in the northeast or southwest corner of the state it may not be great after November 10th. Over the past two seasons regions one and four are a dismal 1-15 in the playoffs. Will there be a shift in power this fall? It does not seem likely.

      The best 7A football teams will still be the usual four suspects in Thompson, Hoover, Central Phenix City and Auburn. Since the 2017 football season only two teams, Lee Montgomery (2018) and McGill-Toolen (2017) have reached the semi-finals that were not one of those four teams. Think about that. Of the 24 teams that reached the semi-finals only two were not one of the top four programs in 7A.

      Our crystal ball does not foresee any deviation from the previous history of 7A in 2023 with one exception. Hewitt-Trussville will make some noise this fall in region three. The Huskies return QB Peyton Floyd who accounted for over 3,100 yards of total offense last season. They will need to replace some players on defense but the offense will be loaded with talent. Could they jump Hoover to join the other Big 3? It is very possible if not likely. The game to watch will be opening weekend when Central Phenix City visits the Huskies at Hewitt-Trussville Stadium.

      Thompson is still Thompson and will be until someone dethrones them and that could be a while. Ninth grade QB Trent Seaborn will be back to lead the offense along with AJ Green and Deuce Oliver. The defense lost a lot of talent to the college ranks but Coach Freeman always manages to find replacement players.

      Central Phenix City will have the talent to win it all in 2023. Their defense is full of D1 players including CB Jayden Coleman, DL Isaia Faga, CB Jiquan Sanks and safety Rydarrius Morgan who are all considered top prospects. The Auburn Tigers lost a lot of talent on defense but make no mistake they will have something to say about who wins it all this season.     

     Region three will no doubt be competitive as Vestavia Hills, Tuscaloosa County and Spain Park are fighting for that last playoff slot. Those three teams would be competing for a region crown if they were in regions one or four no doubt about it. Sadly two of them will be watching from home come November.

      Region one will be balanced as it was last season. Foley and Baker will be talented on offense but the team to watch in 2023 will be Mary Montgomery. The Vikings came from nowhere last season to compete for a region crown. They came within one play against Foley of winning only their second region title. They will certainly be in the hunt behind QB Jared Hollins and WR James Bolton this year.

      Huntsville will make some noise in region four with QB Jacks McClung and WR Huck Hensley. Look for the Panthers to give Florence and Austin a run for the region championship.
      So basically it will be more of the same in 7A. Regions one and four have just one team that has even won a state title since the playoffs began. That team is Daphne.

Playoff Teams
Region 1Region 2
Mary Montgomery Central Phenix City
Foley Auburn
Baker Dothan High
Fairhope Opelika

Region 3 Region 4
Thompson Austin
Hewitt-Trussville Florence
Hoover  Huntsville
Vestavia Hills Sparkman

 Most Difficult Schedules 2023
   The Panthers of Smiths Station picked up Pleasant Grove to replace LaGrange GA this season and that new opponent gives them the most difficult schedule in 7A. They will face off against six opponents who made the playoffs last season. Five of their first six opponents were playoff teams in 2022.

   Opelika and Auburn have the most difficult non-region schedules. The Bulldogs open their season against Thompson in Montgomery and play Theodore in a midseason contest. Auburn will open with Hoover and play state champions Ramsay in late September.

Toughest Overall
Smiths Station 72-43  
Baker 71-44  
Opelika 73-46  
Hoover 73-47  
Vestavia Hills 71-46  
Percy Julian 66-45  
James Clemens 67-48  
Jeff Davis 67-48  
Auburn 66-49  
Bob Jones 62-47  
Toughest Non-Region
Opelika 24-4  
Auburn 24-4  
Hoover 34-8  
Smiths Station 19-5  
Austin 30-8  
James Clemens 32-9  
Bob Jones 28-8  
Baker 40-12  
Vestavia Hills 28-10  
Thompson 21-8  

 Most Victories 2010-2022
   Thompson may have won the past four championships in the state's highest classification but make no mistake about who the most dominant program has been the past thirteen seasons. Hoover with 155 victories and five championships has proven to be the top football program in 7A.

  Hoover     155-25     86.1%   4
  Central Phenix City     130-33     79.8%   1
  Auburn     122-38     76.3%    
  Opelika     113-45     71.5%    
  Daphne     100-45     67.6%   1
  Fairhope     99-48     67.3%    
  Hewitt-Trussville     99-49     66.9%    
  Bob Jones     92-53     63.4%    
  Prattville     90-52     63.4%   1
  Thompson     93-58     61.6%   4
  Austin     90-57     61.2%    

 Last 25 Seasons (1998-2022)
     Once again the Hoover Bucs sit atop this list of the teams with the most victories over the past 25 seasons. No surprise there. The 296 victories are the most of any team in any classification. I think the surprise comes with Opelika at number two. The Bulldogs have not won a state championship during this time but did make a couple of title game appearances.

     The 231 wins by Opelika trails only American Christian and Russellville
for the most wins among teams that have not won a state championship the past twenty five seasons. Also Opelika is one of only four teams that have not had a losing season since 1997.

  Hoover 296-50 86% 11
  Opelika 231-72 76%
  Prattville 226-73 76% 4
  Central Phenix City 222-75 75% 1
  Daphne 223-82 73% 2
  Auburn 207-92 69%
  Vestavia Hills 196-96 67% 1
  Hewitt-Trussville 179-101 64%
  Fairhope 174-106 62%
  Davidson 163-113 59%
  James Clemens 68-52 57%
  Spain Park 135-100 57%
  Tuscaloosa County 159-122 57%  
  Enterprise 150-120 56%
  Bob Jones 150-124 55%
  Florence 115-94 55%
  Thompson 151-124 55% 4

David Parker

Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

The first night game played between high school teams in the state occurred on September 23, 1927 when Pike Road and Cloverdale met in the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.