High school football “Week One” is in two weeks, and five Tuscaloosa-area programs are represented in the Alabama Sports Writers’ Associations Poll. From the Green Wave of Gordo High School to the AISA Tuscaloosa Academy Knights, there is a lot to be excited about if you are a fan of preps football in west Alabama.

In 6A, the high-powered Hillcrest Patriots enter the season ranked No. 6. Last year, the Pats made an early playoff exit after a 28-0 loss in Opelika to the Bulldogs. Still, with junior quarterback Ethan Crawford at the helm of the offense, Hillcrest is expected to score fast and score often in their matchups. The Patriots saw the departure of coach Sam Adams, but first-year head coach Jamie Mitchell from Shades Valley will attempt to make it to the third round for the first time since 2017. Hillcrest will open their season with a homestand against the Homewood Patriots on Friday, Sept. 20.

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Moving to 4A, the Gordo Green Wave has taken over as No. 1 in the classification. Right behind Gordo is Handley, the team that beat the Green Wave in the 4A state title game in 2020. Gordo may have come up short to the Tigers, but 2021 could be the year that Gordo walks away as champions. Led by senior quarterback and Oregon-football-commit Tanner Bailey in the newly remodeled Green Wave Stadium, Gordo has a chance to capture their first stage title since 2001.

Three spots down at No. 4, the American Christian Academy Patriots are looking to take the crown as “Best 4A School in Tuscaloosa County.” In 2020, coach Chris Smelley’s squad put up a whopping 35.4 points a game. That team wasn’t one-sided, either. Their defense only allowed around two touchdowns a game. Unfortunately for ACA, the Patriots are losing several key players, including freshman Georgia Bulldog Kamari Lassiter. Expect this team to put up just as many points, though.

All the way down in class 1A sits the Pickens County Tornadoes. PC made it all the way to the state championship for the first time in 2017, and the team should be just as good this year. Besides their two non-region games - a season opener against Linden and the season finale rivalry game against Gordo - their only meaningful blemish was to a good Berry Fayette team. All signs point to this year’s Berry game on Oct. 8. Expect another deep run by Pickens County.

Finally, Tuscaloosa Academy made an unexpected appearance in the AISA top ten. After finishing 3-7, the Knights approach the season ranked seventh. Sure, two of their wins came from COVID-19 forfeitures, but first-year coach Josh Wright will look to bring a new culture to TA. The Knights will open their season with a home game against Autauga Academy on Thursday, Aug. 19. Last year’s record isn’t normal for the Knights, and this year, they will make a return to the playoffs.

As high school football season approaches, TIDE 100.9 will have you covered for all your west Alabama preps football needs.

Below, you can find the full ASWA Top 10 rankings for each classification.

High school football “Week One” is in two weeks, and five Tuscaloosa-area programs are represented in the Alabama Sports Writers’ Associations Poll. From the Green Wave of Gordo High School to the AISA Tuscaloosa Academy Knights, there is a lot to be excited about if you are a fan of preps football in west Alabama.

In 6A, the high-powered Hillcrest Patriots enter the season ranked No. 6. Last year, the Pats made an early playoff exit after a 28-0 loss in Opelika to the Bulldogs. Still, with junior quarterback Ethan Crawford at the helm of the offense, Hillcrest is expected to score fast and score often in their matchups. The Patriots saw the departure of coach Sam Adams, but first-year head coach Jamie Mitchell from Shades Valley will attempt to make it to the third round for the first time since 2017. Hillcrest will open their season with a homestand against the Homewood Patriots on Friday, Sept. 20.

Moving to 4A, the Gordo Green Wave has taken over as No. 1 in the classification. Right behind Gordo is Handley, the team that beat the Green Wave in the 4A state title game in 2020. Gordo may have come up short to the Tigers, but 2021 could be the year that Gordo walks away as champions. Led by senior quarterback and Oregon-football-commit Tanner Bailey in the newly remodeled Green Wave Stadium, Gordo has a chance to capture their first stage title since 2001.

Three spots down at No. 4, the American Christian Academy Patriots are looking to take the crown as “Best 4A School in Tuscaloosa County.” In 2020, coach Chris Smelley’s squad put up a whopping 35.4 points a game. That team wasn’t one-sided, either. Their defense only allowed around two touchdowns a game. Unfortunately for ACA, the Patriots are losing several key players, including freshman Georgia Bulldog Kamari Lassiter. Expect this team to put up just as many points, though.

All the way down in class 1A sits the Pickens County Tornadoes. PC made it all the way to the state championship for the first time in 2017, and the team should be just as good this year. Besides their two non-region games - a season opener against Linden and the season finale rivalry game against Gordo - their only meaningful blemish was to a good Berry Fayette team. All signs point to this year’s Berry game on Oct. 8. Expect another deep run by Pickens County.

Finally, Tuscaloosa Academy made an unexpected appearance in the AISA top ten. After finishing 3-7, the Knights approach the season ranked seventh. Sure, two of their wins came from COVID-19 forfeitures, but first-year coach Josh Wright will look to bring a new culture to TA. The Knights will open their season with a home game against Autauga Academy on Thursday, Aug. 19. Last year’s record isn’t normal for the Knights, and this year, they will make a return to the playoffs.

As high school football season approaches, TIDE 100.9 will have you covered for all your west Alabama preps football needs.

You can find the full ASWA Top 10 rankings for each classification here.

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