FNN POWER FIVE - Week Ending 10/29/21


For the final week of the regular season, FNN’s POWER FIVE had an earthquake-like shake-up that resulted in two teams exiting the poll and two new entries following Week 10 play.


Be reminded the POWER FIVE is not a head-to-head comparison of these teams. For us, the POWER FIVE is about “Championship Potential” first and foremost. To come to each week’s POWER FIVE ranking, we review each team’s “potential” as it is viewed by us at that point in the season and compare it to “wins-losses”, ASWA rankings throughout the season, performance in big games, and ultimately post-season playoff performance.


1 – ALEXANDRIA VALLEY CUBS


The Valley Cubs went to “Never Never Land” last Friday and left the Field of Champions in Piedmont with a hard-fought 25-20 win. Javais McGhee threw two touchdown passes, ran for another, and caught a touchdown pass as the Valley Cubs avenged last season’s loss to Piedmont. The 10-0 Valley completed their first unbeaten regular season since 2006. McGhee delivered most of the damage Friday, throwing touchdown passes of 54 yards to Jake Upton and 47 yards to Antonio Ross. McGhee also rushed for a 59-yard touchdown and caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Austin West. McGhee finished with 213 yards rushing, 95 passing, and 48 receiving - 356 total yards! Alexandria will host in the first round of the AHSAA playoffs this Friday when they welcome 7-3 Ardmore to Death Valley.


2 – SAKS WILDCATS


Jonathan Miller’s Wildcats had Week 10 off, but we’re sure they’re working on the game plan for this Friday’s opening game at Jack Stewart when 7-3 Plainview arrives. The two programs have never met on the football field before. With a week’s rest and some time to heal up, look for Saks to pour it on offensively. The Wildcats have averaged 40.1 ppg while only allowing 14.4 defensively.


3 – SPRING GARDEN PANTHERS


In one of the state’s best matchups this past Friday, Spring Garden came back to defeat previously unbeaten Wadley 21-19 to complete an unbeaten season. Wadley took a two-touchdown lead early, but the Panthers battled back behind the running of senior Andrew Floyd to take a 21-19 victory and secure its first 10-0 regular season in school history. Floyd scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown on a 3-yard run 30 seconds into the fourth quarter. Rogers knocked through the PAT that provided Spring Garden a two-point edge that they were able to hold on to and escape with the win. “The kids kept battling, kept fighting, and we were able to win the ball game,” Coach Jason Howard said following the nail-biter. “It came down to missed extra points and hit extra points. Larry Rogers was 3-for-3 on ours, and that turned into the difference in the game.” The Garden returns home to Panther Stadium this Friday for Round 1 of the AHSAA 2A Playoffs when they will host 5-5 Hatton.


4 – OHATCHEE INDIANS


The Tribe has survived a turbulent season off the field to find themselves in the position to host in the first round of the 3A playoffs this Friday when they welcome 7-3, Geraldine, to “The Creekbank”. Ohatchee sealed their #2 spot in 3A-Region 5 when Alexandria beat Piedmont 25-20 Friday night combined with the Indians dominating 47-20 win. Ohatchee’s senior Eli Ennis has been the Indians’ most lethal offensive weapon all season, and this past Friday was no different. Ennis rushed 18 times for 176 yards and four touchdowns. He also completed 7 of 13 passes for 72 yards. And when it’s your night, it’s your night. Ennis recovered a fumble by Munford in the fourth quarter and took it all the way for a 55-yard scoop and score. It was also a solid night for Kyler Vice, who collected 138 rushing yards to go along with a touchdown. Geraldine may sound familiar as they are the team that ended Fyffe’s nation-leading win streak earlier this season.


5 – PIEDMONT BULLDOGS


It’s easy to overlook the Bulldogs right now. They ended the regular season 8-2 with losses to Ohatchee and Alexandria. To turn eyes away from Piedmont would be a grave mistake. Following Friday’s loss at home to the Valley Cubs, Piedmont’s Steve Smith told the media, “We’ve played on the road in the playoffs before; it’s just we haven’t played on the road in the first round a lot. I like this team a whole lot. I feel very, very comfortable with our team, playing anybody, anywhere in Class 3A.” Sounds like a warning shot to us. Alexandria pushed their lead to 25-7 with 7:47 left in the game when Piedmont started a run. The Bulldogs put together a 10-play, 68-yard drive ending in Jack Hayes’ 6-yard touchdown run to close the gap to 25-14. After a defensive stand, a high snap resulted in a scramble for the ball. Piedmont’s Trent Young recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. Hayes’ two-point pass fell incomplete. Piedmont had it down to 5 at 25-20 with a little under three minutes to play. “The thing that you’ve always got to realize about our kids is, we ain’t never out of a game,” Smith said. The Bulldogs tried an onsides kick that failed and Alexandria ran out the clock. Piedmont will travel to Sylvania this Friday in Round 1 of the 3A Playoffs to face the 8-2 Rams.


FIRST TEAM OUT


Central-Clay County slides back into the “First Out” position this week following their impressive win over defending 4A state champion, Handley. The Volunteers’ Clayton Yates threw two touchdown passes and kicked a field goal, and Clay Central rallied from behind for a 30-16 win. The victory clinched the Class 5A, Region 4 title. The Vols will host in the 5A first-round when they play host to Geneva.


That’s it for the 2021 FNN POWER FIVE following the regular season. Remember, we create the poll for fun and conversation…so 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.