Another season in the books, how the best in the state finished the season

It ended with an epic battle between two of the best teams in the state for any classification. A back and forth in the 4th quarter between Clay-Chalkville and Saraland that ended with Ty Pigrome’s go ahead touchdown for Clay-Chalkville to give the Cougars the 36-31 win.

Clay, one of the top teams all season, and a favorite of many to win the 6A title out of the north region, would indeed walk away with the blue map, but not without their share of tragedy and injuries. After the sudden loss of Mekail Evans for Clay-Chalkville, the Cougars bounced back to have one of the best and most dominant seasons in AHSAA history. Even without their star running back, Terelle West, the Cougars were able to finish the season strong and win a title.

So where does this Clay-Chalkville team rank among everyone else?

No doubt in my mind they are #1. I said it when the season started, and I stand by it now. They proved that they belong at the top of the mountain by themselves. When other teams stepped out of state and lost, Clay-Chalkville went out and won big. When Clay-Chalkville faced adversity and tragedy, they bounced back and took it to the max and won a state title.

But what about after Clay-Chalkville? Who makes the cut after them? Here is my top 10 after the season.

1. Clay-Chalkville
2. Hoover
3. Saraland
4. Spanish Fort
5. St. Paul’s
6. Leeds
7. Prattville
8. Central-Phenix City
9. Madison Academy
10. McAdory

Teams that deserve an honorable mention:

Fairhope
Opelika
Florence
Benjamin Russell
Baker

In the new era of the college football playoff, I imagine what it would be like if there was a true “Champion’s Challenge” after the season was done for the overall state title. I often wondered what something like that would be like after winning my state titles at Homewood in the early 2000’s, but we were always in Hoover’s shadow. So imagine this:

Hoover (7A) vs. Leeds (4A)
Clay-Chalkville (6A) vs. St. Paul’s (5A)

I think that would be a better tournament than we’d think. I wish there would be some better non-region match-ups so teams like Spanish Fort, Clay-Chalkville, Hoover, and more could have the chance to play.

But until then, it will all be speculation on who was the best team this year. I say Clay-Chalkville, most would still probably say Hoover. Either way, it was a great year of high school football, and I’m already counting the days until next season kicks off.

Thanks to everyone who visited my site over the course of the season, and welcome to all my new followers on Twitter thanks to my constant high school sports spam. This year was a strange one for me in what I did with high school football, but there are many things in the works and next year will be much better. I hope you’ll stick around.

Now it’s time for basketball season. Also, don’t forget that the AHSAA swimming and diving championships are coming up next week down in Auburn. Jerry Young and I will be down on the Plains bringing you all the action on the NFHS Network, with diving on Friday and swimming on Saturday.

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Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.