I’ve been making comments about it for a couple of weeks now, but it’s time to really put it on the table:
Watch out for Smiths Station.
It may be an overreaction to start to expect a team to contend with every team in a region widely regarded as the most difficult in the state of Alabama simply because it won a scrimmage and a season-opener.
Both of those wins came against teams that made the playoffs in 2012, however, and neither were the fluky sort you can see at the beginning of a football season. The Panthers have a good group of guys, experienced and talented, and really are ready to take the next step.
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Things won’t be easy. Smiths Station may find itself on the outside looking in once again. It’s certainly a possible scenario that it loses four games to Central, Carver-Montgomery, Opelika and Auburn (again).
Then again, improving from a 31-6 loss against Enterprise last year to a 34-28 win this year would indicate the team is better equipped to face that gauntlet.
We’ll see. Smiths Station will get the first of those titans, Auburn, at home on Sept. 13.
Week 2 Power rankings
The Red Devils hang on to the top spot despite a so-so showing against an improved Russell County team. Central gets region foe Carver-Montgomery on Thursday, and we’ll learn a lot about the team then.
The Tigers defense played well against a talented Spencer offensive attack last week, and the offense looked at times every bit as good as we expect it to be. Sometimes, it left a little to be desired with penalties and missed opportunities, but the expectation is that this team will continue to improve.
3. Smiths Station
The Panthers move up this week after a 34-28 win over Enterprise, a team that defeated Smiths Station 31-6 and earned a playoff berth last season. Smiths Station continues to look like a team on the cusp of really contending this season.
The Cougars didn’t play their best game, but did manage to pull out a 17-14 win over Columbus last Saturday. With games against Wesleyan and Dooly County in a couple of weeks, they’ll need to continue to improve to hold on to this spot.
Hardaway exhibited a number of traits in a season-opening win over Jordan that make us believe it has a chance to really improve on its recent history this season. With that said, games against Shaw, Lowndes and Newnan still loom before region play begins. We’ll really find out what it is made of during that stretch.
The defense was stifling in a 20-2 win over Northside last week. Expect that to be a common thread throughout the season.
One loss doesn’t undermine how I feel about this team. It is still very solid. What the loss proves, though, is that there is still work to be done to maintain the success it had last season.
Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports or sports on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports