Smiths Station passed its first test as the area’s top team, defeating Jeff Davis 44-14 a week after its surprise 34-18 upset of Auburn.
That was a game it was expected to win and one we, frankly, would have been surprised to see it any closer than it was.
Now, it gets its first non-6A opponent in Beauregard, which will be more than a handful when it comes to Panther Stadium. Beauregard is 3-1 this season, scoring 40 or more in three games and 50 or more in two. Its only loss came 35-14 on the road against undefeated Charles Henderson.
The visiting Hornets are more than capable of ending Smiths Stations undefeated start. After that, the Panthers get a winnable game against 1-3 Lee-Montgomery before facing the gauntlet in its final three region games: at Opelika, versus Carver-Montgomery and at Central.
Those three games will determine whether the clock strikes at midnight for this season’s Cinderella, or whether the Panthers get their fairy tale end: A playoff berth, and maybe more.
Week 2 Power rankings
1. Smiths Station (4-0, 3-0)
Running back DeVante Marshall has been key for the Panthers so far this season, and he was at his best again last Friday: 143 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Not bad.
2. Carver (3-1, 0-0)
The Tigers haven’t played particularly well since their win over Shaw in their second game of the season. Region play starts this week, though, so expect them to be at their best going forward.
3. Manchester (3-0, 1-0)
The Blue Devils had a week off last Friday, but they’ll get back to work this Friday against region foe Bowdon. They have been better than advertised already.
4. Harris County (3-1, 0-0)
The Tigers didn’t sweep the teams that forced them into an 0-4 start last year, but they came close. They made it three wins in a row with a victory over Callaway on Friday. They get one more, Douglas County, before facing Bainbridge, one of its biggest contenders for playoff seeding in the region.
5. Central (2-2, 1-2)
It wasn’t easy, but Central got back on the horse last Friday with a win over Lee-Montgomery, 41-39. Maybe not the exact score they were hoping for, but a win could be the jolt the Red Devils needed to get back on the right track.
Brookstone, Marion County, Pacelli, Shaw
Marion County probably deserves to be mentioned among the top teams in the area, but I’m not ready to drop Central out just yet. I know the Red Devils are better than what we’ve seen. Shaw continues to improve and will begin its region play on Friday against LaGrange. Pacelli is 3-0 for the second consecutive year. It should make it 4-0 before a showdown with rival Brookstone. Brookstone rebounded nicely from a heartbreaking loss to Mt. Paran Christian, defeating Wesleyan 24-17 last Friday. No rest for the weary, though, as the Cougars get Dooly County next.
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