Geraldine breaks into preseason top 10

Geraldine’s Kyle Thackerson takes off around right end during the Bulldogs’ triumph over Plainview in the 2018 season. Thackerson, a senior, is a key returning playmaker for the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 9 in the Class 3A preseason poll.

It’s no surprise that defending Class 2A state champion Fyffe sits at No. 1 in Class 2A in the Alabama Sports Writers Association preseason high school football rankings.

A committee of 26 prep sports writers from across the state voted in the poll.

Head coach Paul Benefield’s Red Devils finished 15-0 last season, beating Luverne 21-19 in the Super 7 at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Fyffe has reached the state finals four of the last five years. Besides last season, the Red Devils posted 15-0 records and claimed 2A crowns in 2014 and 2016. They lost in the finals in 2015 and in the quarterfinals in 2017.

Benefield is 237-42 in 22 seasons at Fyffe. Fifteen of his teams have won 10 or more games. He’s guided the Red Devils to 14 area or region championships.

In Class 3A, Geraldine is ranked No. 9. It’s the Bulldogs’ first preseason ranking since 2013.

Geraldine went 9-3 a year ago, winning the 3A, Region 7 championship and reaching the second round of the state playoffs.

“One thing you can’t do is dwell in the past, and last year is last year,” Geraldine head coach Brad Waldrop said.

“We made a pretty good push toward the end of the year and wound up winning the region, but we can’t be riding around on last year’s coattails. This is a new year, a new day.

“We won nine games last year, but who cares about that? Nobody. It’s one thing to have a pretty good season. It’s another thing to have another one. We’ve really tried to maintain focus and understand what we need to do.”

Central-Clay County is the only defending state champion not ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll.

The complete Alabama Sports Writers Association preseason high school football rankings with first-place votes, last year’s record and total poll points are:

CLASS 7A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Central-Phenix City (26), 14-0, 312

2. Hoover, 9-4, 227

3. McGill-Toolen, 9-3, 201

4. Thompson, 11-2, 183

5. Hewitt-Trussville, 8-4, 165

6. Auburn, 10-2, 98

7. Mountain Brook, 9-3, 88

8. Theodore, 8-3, 83

9. Lee-Montgomery, 8-5, 66

10. Fairhope, 7-4, 23

Others receiving votes: James Clemens (7-4) 13, Bob Jones (6-5) 9, Austin (7-4) 8, Prattville (7-4) 6.

CLASS 6A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Pinson Valley (17), 13-1, 282

2. Saraland (9), 13-2, 251

3. Muscle Shoals, 9-3, 172

4. Clay-Chalkville, 12-2, 158

5. Hueytown, 9-3, 150

6. Wetumpka, 11-3, 148

7. Oxford, 10-3, 95

8. Spanish Fort, 11-2, 67

9. Blount, 5-5, 57

10. Jackson-Olin, 10-1, 44

Others receiving votes: McAdory (10-2) 20, Opelika (7-5) 9, Eufaula (5-6) 8, St. Paul’s (7-4) 7, Homewood (10-3) 6, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (6-6) 3, Helena (4-6) 2, Stanhope Elmore (6-5) 2, Russell County (2-8) 1.

CLASS 5A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Briarwood (4), 9-3, 233

2. Ramsay (12), 11-2, 221

3. Jasper (2), 11-2, 206

4. Madison Academy (1), 10-2, 143

5. Central-Clay County (7), 12-3, 139

6. Demopolis, 10-3, 134

7. Mortimer Jordan, 12-2, 127

8. Vigor, 13-2, 110

9. Etowah, 12-1, 61

10. Russellville, 9-2, 44

Others receiving votes: Center Point (6-6) 36, Alexandria (6-5) 15, Hamilton (4-6) 6, Sardis (3-7) 3, East Limestone (9-3) 2, Scottsboro (4-6) 1, Sylacauga (7-4) 1.

CLASS 4A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. UMS-Wright (25), 14-0, 309

2. Hillcrest-Evergreen (1), 8-5, 215

3. Andalusia, 9-5, 185

4. Hokes Bluff, 11-2, 177

5. American Christian, 12-1, 151

6. Catholic-Montgomery, 8-4, 96

7. Jacksonville, 11-1, 91

8. Montevallo, 9-2, 87

9. Deshler, 9-6, 86

10. Headland, 10-2, 36

Others receiving votes: North Jackson (11-1) 30, Holtville (7-4) 9, Leeds (3-7) 6, Brooks (8-3) 4.

CLASS 3A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Flomaton (24), 12-3, 306

2. Piedmont (1), 12-3, 193

3. Gordo (1), 10-3, 179

4. Randolph County, 12-2, 168

5. Pike County, 10-3, 136

6. Providence Christian, 12-2, 121

7. Mobile Christian, 9-2, 118

8. Saks, 10-2, 104

9. Geraldine, 9-3, 56

10. Midfield, 9-2, 28

Others receiving votes: Fultondale (9-2) 19, St. James (10-2) 18, Winfield (11-1) 11, Pisgah (4-7) 8, Prattville Christian (4-6) 5, Thomasville (9-3) 5, Oakman (5-6) 2, T.R. Miller (6-5) 2, Excel (4-6) 1, Walter Wellborn (5-5) 1, Westminster-Huntsville (11-1) 1.

CLASS 2A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Fyffe (26), 15-0, 312

2. Leroy, 9-4, 206

3. Addison, 10-3, 183

4. Luverne, 13-2, 174

5. Ohatchee, 11-1, 98

6. Abbeville, 10-2, 85

7. Aliceville, 11-3, 77

8. Collinsville, 10-2, 66

9. Reeltown, 8-3, 55

10. Colbert County, 8-4, 51

Others receiving votes: Cottage Hill (10-2) 45, Thorsby (9-2) 41, North Sand Mountain (8-3) 24, Daleville (6-5) 23, LaFayette (7-4) 17, Red Bay (9-3) 9, Highland Home (12-2) 8, Westbrook Christian (7-4) 3, Cedar Bluff (7-4) 2, New Brockton (6-5) 2, J.U. Blacksher (4-6) 1.

CLASS 1A

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Mars Hill Bible (20), 14-1, 287

2. Maplesville (4), 12-2, 203

3. Sweet Water (1), 6-5, 176

4. Brantley, 7-4, 168

5. Lanett (1), 10-2, 149

6. Spring Garden, 11-2, 108

7. Elba, 8-3, 80

8. Linden, 13-1, 68

9. Pickens Co., 9-5, 50

10. South Lamar, 12-1, 47

Others receiving votes: Marengo (10-2) 43, Georgiana (10-2) 36, Millry (5-6) 21, Falkville (11-1) 19, Marion County (7-4) 9, R.A. Hubbard (8-3) 7, Notasulga (4-7) 4, Decatur Heritage (7-4) 3, St. Luke’s (11-2) 2, Donoho (9-3) 1, Winterboro (7-4) 1.

AISA

Team (first-place), 2018 W-L, Pts

1. Autauga Academy (23), 13-1, 303

2. Monroe Academy (2), 13-0, 237

3. Escambia Academy, 10-3, 195

4. Glenwood, 5-7, 179

5. Wilcox Academy, 8-4, 151

6. Chambers Academy (1), 13-0, 138

7. Morgan Academy, 9-3, 98

8. Macon-East, 9-3, 76

9. Bessemer Academy, 9-4, 48

10. Lee-Scott, 0-11, 23

Others receiving votes: Edgewood (8-4) 19, Tuscaloosa Academy (6-4) 10, Clarke Prep (4-8) 2, Jackson Academy (6-5) 2, Lakeside (5-5) 1.

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