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ASWA’s preseason rankings released

Sports Editor

Football is in the air and football is on paper as well with the release this weekend of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s preseason high school football rankings.

It comes as little surprise to find no local teams ranked in the top ten of their respective classifications, when you consider the subpar seasons that each had last year.

But there is evidence to suggest that once the season gets rolling, a few area teams could make a jump into the top ten.

Right now Coach Wayne Grant’s Pike County Bulldogs seem to be the best bet.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 6-4 1999 campaign in Grant’s first year back at the helm. PCH has dropped in classification to 3-A this season and several people have taken notice of this fact. Although Pike County didn’t make the top ten in 3-A, they did receive 20 votes, behind only Ashville and West Morgan. Colbert County was No.10 with 34 votes.

Out of the 3-A teams the Bulldogs will face this year, only one appears in the preseason rankings. That being regional opponent Montgomery Academy,which received 39 votes to come in at No. 8.

But the Bulldogs will face a stiff test in the opening game of the season on Sep. 1. The Eufaula Tigers, ranked No. 4 in Class 5-A will visit Bulldog Stadium.

Like Pike County High School, Goshen also dropped a level into the 2-A class.

Goshen received two votes and only one team on the Eagles’ 2000 schedule is ranked in the preseason. Highland Home comes in at No. 3 in the Class 2-A rankings. The Flying Squadron defeated the Eagles 21-7 last year in Crenshaw County and will play Goshen again this season, but as a regional opponent.

And due to the way regional home games have to be divided, GHS will have to play Highland Home once again on their turf.

This year, however, Goshen will be bringing the Flying Squadron’s starting quarterback from last season, with them. Senior Michael Hatten returned to Goshen during the summer and things should be pretty interesting when the two teams meet on Oct. 27.

Charles Henderson High School will face Opp in their first game of the year on Sept. 8. The Bobcats are no slouch, coming in at No. 7 in the Class 4-A top ten.

But after that things seem to be pretty much even with the Trojans. No other team they will face, besides Opp, are ranked in any of the six ASWA polls. Regional play will be a big factor in determining CHHS’s postseason destiny.

Pike Liberal Arts School head coach Dewight Ward said this year would "probably be the toughest schedule a Patriot team had ever faced." Which is not good considering PLAS went 2-8 last season.

Patriots regional opponent Glenwood is ranked No.8 in the preseason. PLAS’s first opponent of the year, Fort Dale Academy also received six votes.