High School Sports

Central Red Devils ranked among nation’s top high school football programs

Following an unbeaten season and a blowout victory in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A state championship, the Central High School football team will start 2019 nationally ranked.

The Red Devils were ranked No. 38 in High School Football America’s Preseason 100. They are one of two teams from Alabama featured in the rankings (Hoover, at No. 26)

Last season, the No. 1-seeded Red Devils beat No. 2-seed Thomson 52-7 to cap an unbeaten season and the Class 7A title. They had previously lost three consecutive times in the state semifinals, all three to McGill-Toolen.

“We just left empty every year,” Central coach Jamey DuBose said after winning the state championship at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. “It hurt. We wanted to finish something … We wanted to teach them as adults growing up and everything else, if you start something, finish it.”

The two programs will face off again in the Kickoff Classic, previously known as the Champions Challenge, on August 23, according to al.com. 

The Red Devils’ final 2018 ranking was No. 10. Senior quarterback Peter Parrish won Player of the Year in the Ledger-Enquirer’s 2018 All-Bi-City Honors, and senior linebacker Xavier Billingsley was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Despite those two names departing at the end of last year, the Red Devils return most of their starters. Another season of high expectations, and potentially another state championship appearance, is not out of the question.

“It’s a revolving door, a reload thing around here now,” DuBose previously told the L-E. “That’s what we’ve gotten it to, the same expectations..”

Joshua Mixon is a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. He covers sports (Auburn and preps) and local news, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He previously covered Georgia athletics for the Telegraph. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.