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September 5, 2012

Week 1: Lessons learned

A new year
A few of the defending state champions went down with Week 1 losses. Prattville (6A) was dismantled by Carver (6A), Elba (2A) lost by one point to Opp (3A), Handley who won 3A moved up a classification and lost to Beauregard (4A). Hartselle (5A), Jackson (4A) and Marion County (1A) took care of business with victories.

A few teams played in the state finals a year ago and successful this past weekend. Oneonta (4A) got a big win against Pinson Valley (5A), Vigor (5A) was defeated by Davidson (6A). Tanner (2A) defeated state finalist Madison Academy (3A). Linden (1A) blew out Leroy.


Hoover still Hoover
It seems every year the Bucs have plenty to replace on both sides of the ball, but they continue to reload each season. Hoover loves playing in marquee games during the regular season. They have taken on several of the nation's top programs and have been successful. They defeated South Panola a year ago at home. This time the Alabama high school powerhouse traveled to Batesville. It was an easy victory for the Bucs with a 35-10 win in a hostile environment.

A few teams have the ability to contend with Hoover this fall for the Class 6A crown. Clay-Chalkville looks to make a deep run after ruled ineligible for the playoffs last fall. Auburn High School brought in the nation's top linebacker, Reuben Foster. The Tigers also have Texas A&M commitment Cameron Echols-Luper at quarterback, but he suffered a shoulder injury this past week. McGill-Toolen is stacked on both sides of the ball. Carver in Montgomery has one of the most talented teams in the state. Daphne may have lost to a very good Spanish Fort team, but they still have enough talent and coaching to get back to the Super Six.

Frustration released
No one knows if Clay-Chalkville would have won Class 6A last year especially with notable powers, Hoover and Prattville, playing in the state championship game. They were ranked the No. 1 team in the state and undefeated, but a player was ruled ineligible and ruling was upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court. Nine of their 10 wins were erased. The Cougars opened the regular season last Friday with a 51-10 victory against Hewitt-Trussville. They will have a good test Friday night on the road at Oxford High School led by junior running back Racean Thomas.


Frontrunners shine
A lot of people in the state see a possible two man race for Alabama's Mr. Football between Carver High School's Jeremy Johnson and Fultondale High School athlete ArDarius Stewart. Other early contenders include the state's top player, Reuben Foster from Auburn High School, and top junior, Bo Scarbrough from Northridge High School.

Johnson got his team off to a tremendous start with a 49-24 win against defending 6A champions, Prattville. Johnson completed 21-of-29 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 94 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Stewart played less than one half of football on Thursday night. He had amassed 281 yards of total offense and five touchdowns. Stewart recorded 51 touchdowns a season ago. He is off to a great start to eclipse that number this fall.

Chip on shoulder
Johnathan Ford, running back from New Hope High School, gave an early commitment to Vanderbilt with other SEC offers including Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Ford wants to prove he is the best back in the state. He only had 14 carries in Friday night's 45-26 win against Locust Fort, but ripped off 292 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Ford had a night to remember and should get a lot of extra attention this fall.

Stacked backfield
Davidson was not ranked among the top 10 schools in Class 6A to start the season. That may change soon. Davidson had a big win Friday night against Vigor with a 31-14 victory against the Class 5A state runner-up. Three players went past the century mark for the Warriors. Jaquell Craig had 13 carries for 142 yards, Anthony Douglas rushed 15 times for 135 yards and Cam Jackson had 16 carries for 109 yards--A tough rushing attack to stop this fall.

Powerhouse is born
When Clay County (3A) and Lineville (2A) merged into one school, Central of Clay County, a lot of people were talking about the the next possible powerhouse program in the state. They opened the season ranked the No. 8 team in the state without ever playing a regular season game. They did defeat Beauregard (No. 10) in a jamboree game two weeks ago. Central blew out Trinity Presbyterian Friday night 41-6.

Wake up call
Teams from Alabama had a lot of success this past week playing out-of-state opponents. Hoover defeated South Panola High School in Miss. Oxford High School came from behind to beat Carrollton High School in Ga. It was not the same for the pre-season No. 9 team in Class 5A. Briarwood was blown out at home Friday night by Eagles Landing Christian Academy, 32-9. Briarwood graduated 40 seniors with only two starters returning on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Returns with a vengeance
Bo Scarbrough, junior running back from Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, tore his ACL last fall. The state's top 2014 prospect went off Friday night with 37 carries for 214 yards and three touchdowns. Scarbrough is the workhorse in the offense. He is tough for anyone to bring down at 6-foot-2, 223-pounds.

Great exposure
Spanish Fort has been playing football since the 2006 season and won the Class 5A state title in 2010. The measuring stick for Spanish Fort, who split from Daphne High School, arrived again on Monday in defeating the Trojans 20-14 on ESPN. Surprisingly this was the first-ever game between the two programs. Spanish Fort took out a top 10 team in Class 6A and will certainly have a team competing this fall for a state title in Class 5A.

Twitter: AndrewJBone


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