Russellville ranked No. 4 in pre-season poll
Kim West, Franklin County Times
Like most of his peers, Russellville football coach Doug Goodwin doesn't rely on polls to evaluate teams.
"You could probably take the top 10 or 12 teams (in each classification) and shake them up in the basket and have the same luck as the polls," said Goodwin, who guided a team to a 4A state championship by mowing down several top-ranked teams in the playoffs. "There's not a lot of difference between all the top teams – it's just according to how the team gels, and how lucky they are with injuries."
In the ASWA pre-season poll released Wednesday, Russellville (11-2) was ranked No. 4 in Class 5A behind St. Paul's, J.O. Johnson and Eufala. Defending state champion Athens sustained heavy losses on both offense and defense and was ranked just eighth in the poll.
Athens (12-3) and J.O. Johnson (10-4) loom large on the Golden Tigers' 2007 schedule, although their toughest matchups appear to be the Jaguars, who knocked Russellville out of the playoffs last season, and region archrival Hartselle (11-2), who received poll votes but didn't crack the top 10.
"J.O. Johnson's rank is probably deserved, because they have so many players coming back," said Goodwin, who was surprised Athens was ranked so low. "But games are won on the field, and polls are just a group of people's opinion – at this point in the season, that's all you can do is go on paper and look at how a team did last year and how many players a team has returning."
Russellville won its seventh consecutive region championship last season and has a current 47-game winning streak in region play.
The Golden Tigers start practice Monday, and they will play in a fall jamboree in Tuscaloosa against 6A powerhouse Tuscaloosa County and 4A Central on Friday, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. before opening the season Aug. 31 at Deshler.
The Russellville High School Booster Club will host a free Golden Tiger Meet and Greet event tonight from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
Students, family members, school faculty, former players, and all Golden Tiger fans are encouraged to attend and meet Goodwin and his newly- appointed coaching staff.