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Three Marengo County teams in preseason polls

The first round of ASWA polls released Sunday, ranking three Marengo County teams in the Top 10 in their respective divisions.

“I think the polls are good for the fans and the community,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said. “I think (Demopolis players) realize exactly what it takes to get themselves past where the were last year.”

In Class 1A, defending state champion Sweet Water topped the list again, pulling 432 points all 36 first place votes.

“They know that polls don’t mean a whole lot this time of year,” Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said of his players. “They know that you can’t rest on what you did last year. Nobody cares anymore. And they know you can’t consider yourself No. 1 unless you are sitting there holding that trophy in December.”

The Bulldogs went 14-1 in 2008, recording its only loss against Class 2A state champion Leroy in the final game of the regular season.

Linden pulled in at No. 8 in Class 1A in the preseason poll.

“It’s sort of a respect factor,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said. “Those guys that pick the polls are the guys who are supposed to know what is going on with Alabama High School football. At the same time, I don’t know if they’ve ever picked a one through 10 poll in the state of Alabama that was accurate.”

The Patriots went 13-1 a season ago, falling to Sweet Water in the semi-final round of the playoffs. The Pats begin the season one spot behind region foe Maplesville, a team it defeated in the regular season in 2008. Linden also sits a full four positions behind Loachapoka, a team it bounced from the 2008 playoffs.

Other notables in Class 1A are No. 2 Gaston, No. 3 Brantley and No. 5 R.A. Hubbard.

“Brantley’s go such a great tradition. Gaston has one of the best running backs in the state coming back,” Luker said. “Andro (Williams) will always have Linden in contention. I believe that. I told him when he took that job that he was going to the Hazelwood of the south. They’ve got great athletes and he is giving them direction. Loachapoka is the same way, great coaching. I look for Maplesvill to make some noise this year. Brent (Hubbard) had that one year with a young team.”

In Class 5A, Demopolis begins the year at No. 5, one spot behind region rival Carver-Montgomery.

“A No. 5 ranking means you got beat in the quarterfinals last year because there are four teams ahead of you,” Causey said. “There isn’t but one of those teams in front of us that we know for sure we’re going to play and that’s Carver. We don’t worry about those other teams a whole lot. The only one we have control over right now is us.”

The remainder of the Top 5 features defending state champion Vigor at No. 1 spot.

“Until somebody knocks (Vigor) off in the playoffs, they are No. 1 in the state and they should be because they are defending state champions,” Causey said.

Russellville, 5A state runner-up, starts the year off at No. 2 while Briarwood Christian, who lost to Carver in the second round of the playoffs last season, begins the campaign as the No. 3 team.