Sylacauga High School’s football team cracked the Alabama Sports Writers Association rankings Tuesday.
This is the third time since 1998 the Aggies have appeared in the second regular-season poll. Sylacauga (2-0) defeated Chilton County 20-13 on Friday night.
“I am excited,” Sylacauga head coach Matt Griffith said. “I think this is the earliest in a season that we have been ranked. We have broken through the Top 10 maybe three, four or five times since we have been here, and it has always come around Week 5 or Week 6, then you run into a team that wins the region or a strong team, then pop right back out. For us to be ranked this early is a privilege.”
The veteran coach knows, however, this will not help the Aggies accomplish their goals or help them prepare for Friday night’s Class 5A, Region 5 opener against Springville.
“The main thing is that you have to keep playing well and you have to keep getting better week to week, because we are still making a lot of mistakes,” Griffith said. “Those are things that we are most concerned with.
“The rankings are really great for your community, school and student body, but it doesn’t mean anything when it comes to getting into the playoffs. We play Springville on Friday in our first region game, and that’s the most important thing right now, winning your region games.”
Sylacauga’s game at Chilton County was delayed for more than two hours as inclement weather passed through Clanton.
“I have been doing this for a long time,” Griffith said. “I think this is my 27th year coaching and I have never been a part of something like that where you kick it off, you run some plays and you have a 2 ½-hour rain delay.
“I think we started playing again at 9:30, and we got through around 11:30. It was a tale of two halves. We came out like gangbusters. We played really well in the first half offensively. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times when we were trying to put the game away. It was 20-6 at halftime.
“We came back in the second half, and Chilton decided they wanted to play and play hard. We did not do well offensively. Thank goodness our defense played real well, and we hung on real late.”
Sylacauga still has many questions to answer. Griffith has several new players on offense, which has made it difficult in the first two weeks to figure what works the best for this team
“We have to get smoother offensively,” Griffith said. “We have yet to find our identity and what we hang our hat on. We have gone back to the basics this week in what we do offensively.
“Somebody has to find an identity at running back. We have to get more productive play from other offensive players. We have to get better upfront.
“Defensively, we are playing well right now, and they will be tested Friday night (against Springville) with a big, strong quarterback. They will test our secondary. The big thing is to keep getting better week to week, then you see how good you can be.”
Childersburg also picked up five votes in 4A. Childersburg will host Talladega on Friday.