A Central team that went 7-4 and was maybe somewhat of a disappointment by its standards last year lost a handful of key players heading into this season.
Yes, somehow, this edition of the Red Devils may be better.
It’s showing in the annual scrimmage against Carver last Thursday wasn’t perfect by any means. It did, however, answer a handful of questions, not least of which was how the team would stand at the quarterback position.
Not a lot was known about new starter Ethan Baber outside of some mop-up time and a spot start in a playoff game against Spain Park. On Thursday, however, he showed a very good command of the offense, which, complimented by superior running efforts from Ryan Humphrey and Traveon Samuel, showed the explosive potential of the unit.
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Things won’t be easy for Central in the region as they contend against the likes of Opelika, Auburn, Carver-Montgomery and improving Smiths Station, but it at least looks the part as we enter the week’s first season.
For that reason, it gets the distinction of holding the top spot in the first week of our weekly Bi-City power rankings, where I will rank the top 5 teams plus a couple that may make a move in the coming week.
To explain the rankings, it isn’t always a comparison of which team would beat another. For example, Team A in Class 6A might be able to beat Team B in Class A, but Team B may have a better record and standing in comparison to the teams it plays against. In that case, Team B may be ranked ahead of Team A. This isn’t an absolute formula as, when it comes down to it, this is a simple opinion.
Many readers will likely disagree and are encouraged to voice their opinions when they do.
Week 1 Power rankings
The Red Devils offense could be a prolific one this year. Consider its success on Thursday, and that was done mostly without any highlight-reel play from Samuel, who can drive opposing defenses (and their coaches) crazy.
The Tigers didn’t look their best against Central, but there were some bright spots, including sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass. There was nothing earth shattering about the performance, but he was consistent and showed no signs of pressure under the bright lights. His best moment was coming in to throw a touchdown pass moments after leaving with cramps, then limping off to the sidelines for good.
3. Harris County
Coming off its first region championship in program history, Harris County will face pressure it has never had to face before. There will be targets on the Tigers’ backs, and that’s a tough thing for any team to deal with. It has key guys back, however, including 2,000-yard rusher Esaias Chapman, and should be able to contend in the region once again.
4. Smiths Station
I had Smiths Station penciled in as a team on the fringe of the top 5 prior to its scrimmage against Stanhope Elmore last Friday. The Panthers beat a team that went 8-3 last season, including a win against Central in the final game of the season and a mere three-point loss to Carver-Montgomery. It was just a scrimmage, yes, but I don’t think it’s too bold to say Smiths Station has announced its presence in the Class 6A, Region 3 race.
There are at least three teams that could go here, but I chose the Cougars for the simple fact the they’re consistent. One thing we know about Brookstone this year is that it will win seven games and it will be playing meaningful games late in the regular season. Other teams look good on paper and I fully expect them to make some leaps this season, but we just don’t know about them like we know about Brookstone.
The Hawks look like a team on the verge of success, but we have to see it first. They defeated Brookstone by a point in a scrimmage, but we expect more from a Class AAAAA team that is hoping to contend for a playoff spot.
A very solid team that made great strides last year. We wonder what the loss of Chandler Whittlesey will do to the offense, but the team still looks like a winner.
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