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T.R. Miller ranked in state poll

By By Lori Dann
The T.R. Miller Tigers, who finished last season with an 11-4 record and the runner-up spot in the Class 4A championship game, are once again being picked as a contender for the state crown. The Tigers enter the 1999 season ranked second in the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A preseason poll.
Deshler, who defeated the Tigers in last year's championship game and had a 14-1 record, will enter the season as the No. 1 team. Saint Paul's (12-2) is ranked third.
In addition to St. Paul's, T.R. Miller will face three other preseason top 10 teams this season, in addition to local teams such as Escambia County High School. Ranked teams on the schedule include Bryant (12-1), fifth in 6A; Clarke County (10-3), seventh in 4A; and UMS-Wright (5-7), 10th in 3A.
A couple of other county teams also face a difficult slate. Six of W.S. Neal's opponents are ranked. The Blue Eagles face the fifth-place Stanhope Elmore Mustangs (11-3), the seventh-ranked Wilcox-Central Wildcats (8-5) and the ninth-ranked Opp Bobcats (10-2), all in 5A. The Blue Eagles also face T.R.Miller, Saint Paul's and Clarke County in 4A.
The Flomaton Hurricanes will face the 10th-ranked 3A UMS-Wright Bulldogs,which is also an area game, and the 10th ranked 1A Frisco City Whippets (8-5).
In the AISA ranks, Escambia Academy will face just two top 10 teams, seventh-ranked Autauga Academy and ninth-ranked Grove Hill, but the two games will come in the opening two weeks of the season.
Class 6A is led by Opelika (11-1). Vestavia (15-0), Vigor (11-4), Shades Valley (12-2), Bryant, Mountain Brook (10-3), Central-Tuscaloosa (9-3), Daphne (10-2), Jess Lanier (9-2) and Pelham (9-3) follow.
Blount (13-0) is atop the 5A poll, followed by Etowah (11-4), Athens (11-2), Sylacauga (12-1), Stanhope Elmore, Gadsden (12-2), Wilcox-Central, Eufaula (9-3), Opp (10-2), Russell Co. (10-1) and Walker Co. (8-3.
Following Deshler, T.R. Miller and Saint Paul's in the 4A poll are Midfield (12-2), Alexandria (11-1), Holt (9-4), Clarke Co., Lawrence Co. (10-1), Montevallo (9-3) and Thomasville (10-3).
Briarwood (15-0), the only team to defeat 4A champ Deshler, is favored to repeat as 3A champs. Aliceville (12-2), Randolph Co. (13-2), Springville (12-2), Montgomery Academy (11-2), Luverne (10-3), Colbert Co. (8-2), Ashville (10-1), Lincoln (10-3) and UMS-Wright round out the 3A poll.
Southern Choctaw (15-0) is No. 1 in 2A, followed by Lineville (14-1), Clay Co. (12-2), Maplesville (11-3), Hazlewood (8-2), Wicks-burg (11-2), Sand Rock (9-3), Geneva Co. (10-1), W. Morgan (9-2) and So. Lamar (9-4).
Brantley (13-2) is No. 1 in 1A. Parrish (14-1), Notasulga (13-1), West-brook Christian (10-2), Sweet Water(8-2), American Christian (10-2), Courtland (7-6), Lynn (10-2), Florala(11-1) and Frisco City follow.