The mid-point of the high school football season provided us with some exciting games.  The net result is some minor movement in the FNN POWER FIVE.

Central-Clay County’s loss to Pleasant Grove finds the Vols now on the outside looking for a way back in.  That’s going to be tough with Piedmont, Oxford, Fyffe, Alexandria, and newcomer Walter Wellborn very solid locks going into the second half of the regular season. 

Here we go with your FNN POWER FIVE for September 27th, 2020.

1 – PIEDMONT BULLDOGS

For the second week in a row, the Bulldogs were looking for anybody to play them following a Jacksonville forfeit due to Covid-19.  Fortunately for Piedmont, 7A Grissom found themselves in the same boat and the two got together for a non-counting barn burner of a contest.  Piedmont rallied from a third-quarter deficit to win 26-17.  According to AHSAA COVID 19 guidelines, this game does not count on either school’s record but statistics do.  And Piedmont had plenty of stats - Elijah Johnson rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, while Jack Hayes scored twice and had 50 yards rushing on the night.  Hayes also completed 14 of 23 passes for 116 yards.  Four went to Jadon Calhoun for 55 yards, and seven to Austin Estes for 41 yards.  The Bulldogs had two kick returns for touchdowns called back.  Piedmont returns to 3A-Region 5 play this Friday when they host #7 Ohatchee.

2 – OXFORD YELLOW JACKETS

Trequon Fegans is a human highlight every time he touches the football.  It happened again Friday night in front of the home faithful at Lamar Field.  #5 got Oxford’s scoring started with a 30-yard run on his first carry of the game. He also scored on an 8-yard run and 65-yard punt return, which put the Jackets up 35-0 over the Titans at the half.  Senior QB Trey Higgins had yet another stellar night completing 12 of 14 passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns. The 2019 FNN Player of the Year Nominee tossed touchdown passes of 53, 58, and 14 yards to Roc Taylor and one for 20 yards to Warren Britt.  Oxford’s offense is unquestionably one of the best in the state in any classification.  The defense is starting to come around also.  The Yellow Jackets resume region play Friday when they host Arab and former Oxford assistant, now Arab Head Coach Lee Ozmint.

3 – FYFFE RED DEVILS

Fyffe didn’t do anything to slide from #2 to #3.  They’re just overtaken by Oxford’s play and the likelihood that the Yellow Jackets will be a solid contender for a 6A repeat come December.  The #2 ranked Red Devils in class 3A ran its win streak to 35 games, shutting out Clarke County 21-0 on Friday night at home.  Ike Rowell accounted for all three of the Red Devil scores.  He capped an 83-yard drive with a 6-yard run and a 71-yard drive with a 9-yard run. He also threw a 32-yard TD pass to Brody Dalton.  Fyffe may find the road rougher the next two weeks as the Red Devils travel to Plainview Friday to face the 5-0 Bears, then the following week, they host unbeaten North Sand Mountain.  But this is a team that’s going to be a very tough out.  The Red Devil Offense is averaging 45.2 ppg while the stingy Fyffe Defense is only allowing 5.2 ppg.  A collision with #1 Piedmont seems inevitable and while neither Piedmont’s Steve Smith nor Fyffe’s Paul Benefield wants to talk about it, the fans of both teams and the media that will cover it are clamoring about what an epic clash of two powerhouse programs it will be – if it happens.  

4 – ALEXANDRIA VALLEY CUBS

The #6 ranked Valley Cubs have quietly rolled up their unbeaten record to 5-0 with a 49-7 win in Heflin this past Friday against their rivals from Cleburne County.  The Alexandria offense scored touchdowns four of their first five possessions. Ronnie Royal led Alexandria with 68 yards on 10 carries. He scored two touchdowns. It was another solid night for Wesley Wright as he completed 5 of 7 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.  Javais McGhee had two catches for 59 yards. Antonio Ross caught two passes for 24 yards and Royal two for 27 yards.  Ross also returned an interception for a touchdown.  Alexandria resumes region play this Friday when they host Hayden for homecoming.  We see little in their way to running the regular-season table until Week 9 when they travel to face Leeds and the Week 10 showdown with Piedmont at Death Valley.

5 – WALTER WELLBORN PANTHERS

Since the season-opening win over Anniston, this team has always belonged in our POWER FIVE.  There were just others that belonged there just a sliver more.  Clay-Central’s loss has made way for the Panthers to join the party, but they may not be stuck at #5 for very long.  The Panthers easily dispatched Hamilton on the road this past Friday, 55-7.  The Wellborn defense hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in any of their five games this season.  Backup running back Jesse Lewis rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in Friday’s win and Coach Jeff Smith played mostly backups the second half of the game.  Tailback Calvin Spinks added 66 yards rushing, including a 37-yard run for the Panthers’ first score.  Fullback Logan Brooks added 56-yards rushing and a touchdown.  2019 FNN Player of the Year Nominee Quarterback Jett Smith rushed four times for 82 yards and a touchdown.  Wellborn controls their own destiny in 3A-Region 5.  They return to region play Friday when they host Glencoe.  The trip to Hokes Bluff could be a trap game as the Eagles are improving, but in all likelihood, it’s going to come down to the Week 9 showdown with #1 Piedmont on “The Hill”.

FIRST TEAM OUT

RANDOLPH COUNTY TIGERS

The reclassification down to 2A starting with the 2020 season has been kind to Pat Prestridge’s Tigers.  They started with a pre-season Top 5 ranking, and now find themselves unbeaten at 5-0 and ranked 1st in 2A.  The Tigers have wins over Woodland, Lafayette, Ranburne, Horseshoe Bend, and most recently 26-6 road victory over Wadley.  Their greatest challenge is still ahead when they face Lanett at home in Week 8, a game slated for FNN’s Game of the Week, and then their Week 9 trip to face a talented and fast B B Comer Tigers team.  Randolph County travels to Fayetteville this Thursday.

TEAMS WE’RE WATCHING

Handley, Cherokee County, Munford

That’s it for the post rivals week FNN POWER FIVE.  Look for the weekly poll to come out on most Sundays following each week’s action.  Remember, we create the poll for fun and conversations…please don’t take it too seriously.  You’re welcome to disagree with us in the comments, but please keep them kind and give legitimate reasons why you see things differently.  Again, the poll is about season POTENTIAL, not team vs team!