Quality wins over teams with winning records can help us find the most impressive starts by teams in the 2021 football season. Some teams have had light first half schedules and have tougher region games down the road. Here are the teams per classification that have had the most impressive starts to the first half of the season.
Sweet Water - The undefeated 5-0 Tigers have big victories over 3A Thomasville (13-7) and gave always tough 2A Leroy their first loss of the year last week (41-26). Their game with #8 Millry (4-1) looms large October 15th. Look for Pat Thompson's team to be a deep playoff participant.
Ariton - The 6-0 Purple Cats have some good wins. They started the season with a 38-27 win over 4A Dale County who is 3-3. They beat a Covid limited Geneva County 42-0 and stopped their great runner Emmanuel Henderson. Ariton nipped a very good 4-1 G.W. Long team 27-21 and last week beat a Slocomb team that has two very good running backs by a score of 38-28. They have some big region games coming up with Abbeville and Elba, but have been tough so far.
Montgomery Catholic - All you can say is Wow! The #3 Knights have scored 286 points (47.7) and have given up 13 (2.2). They opened the season with a 35-0 win over a good 2A B.B. Comer team and a 50-0 victory over 5A Charles Henderson. The following week they gave Dadeville their only loss of the season 65-7 on the road. After region wins over Reeltown and Beulah, they beat a very solid Montgomery Academy team 42-0. The Knights play an undefeated Trinity team (5-0) October 15th probably for the region championship.
Handley - They are ranked #1 for a reason. Their quality wins started with 5A #5 Guntersville (55-21) who are 5-1 on the season. Cleburne County (4-2) was a 26-7 victim and last week they beat Lanett (#2 ranked in 2A) 19-18. They are only 4-0 because they have a hard time getting games. The second half of the season includes tough region foes Cherokee County, Jacksonville, and Anniston. The Tigers finish up the season with Clay Central, but look to make another deep playoff run.
Pike Road - The #1 ranked Patriots (5-0) have played and beaten two good teams in their incredible victory over 6A McGill Toolen (76-51) and their come from behind win over a very good Andalusia team (28-14). Since giving up 51 points in the first game, the Patriot defense has surrendered only 21 points in the last four contests. They are 1st in the state in 5A scoring averaging 51.4 points per game. Their toughest opponent in the second half looks to be region foe Greenville who is 4-1. Don't look for them to make an early playoff exit as they did last year losing to UMS Wright.
Spanish Fort - A lot of the top teams in 6A have played light schedules in the first half of the year. The top ranked Toros opened the season with a victory over a tough 7A Fairhope squad 21-10 and the following week beat a ranked St. Paul's team 42-7. They also had solid victories over improved Gulf Shores, Robertsdale and Baldwin County teams. In the second half of the year, they should be challenged by McGill Toolen, Saraland and Daphne.
Thompson - In most years, you could make a case for Hoover, Central Phenix City and maybe even Theodore as having the best first half start to the season. But Thompson has been one of the most dominant teams ever so far, and there is talk about the Warriors being the greatest AHSAA team of all time. They have outscored their opponents 310-12 on route to a 6-0 record. They beat previously undefeated and nationally ranked Hewitt Trussville 42-9 on September 17th and last week whipped undefeated and ranked Mountain Brook 51-0. The October 22nd clash when the Warriors travel to nationally ranked Hoover looks to be the game of the year in the state.