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Fort Dale opens season atop AISA in ASWA poll

The Alabama Sportswriters Association released its preseason football poll on Monday, and Fort Dale Academy topped the list in the AISA.

Even though the Eagles are perched at No. 1, head coach Speed Sampley isn’t exactly thrilled.

“Being number one doesn’t mean anything right now,” he said. “Actually, it means that we’re the number one target on the schedule. I’m more interested in the ranking when we get to November.”

“I think they disrespected Pike,” Sampley continued. “When you vote the defending champ No. 9, I don’t know if they know what they’re doing.”

Looking at the other polls, Sampley appears to have a valid point.

Prattville, Vigor, UMS-Wright, Leeds, Leroy and Sweet Water all won the state championship last year, and all start this season at the top of the poll.

“My other big concern is that when you look at the college polls, whoever starts the season at number one rarely finishes number one,” Sampley said. “We lost 14 seniors, including Kendall Gibson, who’s now playing at Troy, Jeffrey Stead, our number-one back, Aaron Callen, who was a great center for us, and Matt Causey, who had three years of experience at linebacker. We’ve got holes to fill.”

“I told the team that we may be ranked No. 1, but we’re practicing like we’re No. 30,” he added.

Greenville received three votes in the Class 5A poll, while McKenzie also received three votes in the Class 1A poll.

AISA

1. Fort Dale (24) (10-3) 379

2. Edgewood Acad. (7) (13-0) 315

3. Bessemer Acad. (2) (9-3) 272

4. Southern Acad. (8-3) 202

5. Tuscaloosa Acad. (11-2) 194

6. Patrician Acad. (1) (12-0) 159

7. Monroe Acad. (1) (11-1) 141

8. South Choctaw Acad. (10-3) 107

9. Pike Liberal (1) (12-1) 91

10. Glenwood Acad. (8-3) 74

Others receiving votes: Lowndes Acad. (10-4) 48, Morgan Acad. (5-6) 22, Crenshaw Chr. (10-2) 17, Cornerstone Chr. (6-5) 8, Escambia Acad, (0-11) 8, Hooper Acad. (4-7) 7, Restoration Acad. (4-4) 3, Sparta Acad. (5-5) 3, Macon-East (5-5) 1, Lakeside Acad. (2-8) 1.

Class 5A

1. Vigor (29) (15-0) 401

2. Russellville (4) (13-2) 306

3. Briarwood Chr. (1) (9-3) 265

4. Carver-Montgomery (1) (13-1) 233

5. Demopolis (1) (8-5) 210

6. Spanish Fort (11-2) 149

7. Cullman (11-3) 128

8. Walker (11-2) 110

9. Shelby Co. (11-1) 55

10. Springville (8-3) 54

Others receiving votes: Boaz (8-4) 31, Athens (6-5) 25, Eufaula (6-5) 24, Valley (10-2) 23, Hartselle (12-1) 20, Wenonah (6-4) 20, Sylacauga (7-4) 5, Greenville (7-4) 3, Fairfield (9-3) 2, Fort Payne (7-4) 2, Tallassee (7-4) 2, Selma (5-5) 1.

Class 1A

1. Sweet Water (36) (14-1) 432

2. Gaston (11-3) 272

3. Brantley (12-1) 251

4. Loachapoka (9-3) 210

5. R.A. Hubbard (7-3) 167

6. Cedar Bluff (9-3) 154

7. Maplesville (6-4) 118

8. Linden (13-1) 88

9. Ariton (8-3) 79

10. Talladega Co. Cent. (10-2) 68

Others receiving votes: McIntosh (8-3) 43, Appalachian (10-3) 40, J.U. Blacksher (8-4) 39, Spring Garden (9-3) 26, Wadley (9-2) 11, South Lamar (9-4) 10, Ragland (7-4) 5, Victory Chr. (8-3) 5, McKenzie (9-2) 3, Billingsley (9-3) 2, Winterboro (5-6) 2, Lynn (6-5) 1.