When Scott Basden took over as head coach at Muscle Shoals in 2008, the Trojans had won just 14 games in the previous four seasons.
The Trojans’ fortunes have turned around considerably since then, landing at No. 1 in this week’s Alabama Sports Writers Association prep football poll for the first time since a two-week stint in September of 1989.
Muscle Shoals, which improved to 5-0 after a 38-6 win against Dora, stepped over Hartselle for the top spot in Class 5A after the Tigers dropped a 21-14 decision to Decatur.
The top ranking might be shortlived — or the Trojans, who have the state’s stingiest defense at 1.8 points per game allowed, could prove they’re right where they belong on Friday as they host now-No. 4 Hartselle in a Class 5A, Region 8 game.
While the top spot in the six other classes remained the same with 6A Hoover, 4A Oneonta, 3A Piedmont, 2A Tanner, 1A Marion County and the AISA’s Edgewood Academy, other positions tightened up near the top.
Auburn pulled to within three points of Clay-Chalkville for the No. 2 spot in Class 6A after an easy 49-24 win over Gadsden City coupled with the Cougars 31-28 overtime win against Pinson Valley. And Central of Clay County’s 42-14 win over Munford helped it catch Dadeville for a second-place tie in Class 4A, helped by Dadeville’s 42-34 win over Tallassee.
Cullman (4-1, 2-1 in Region 8) retained its spot at No. 10 in Class 5A following its 42-21 defeat of Class 3A No. 8 Madison Academy last Friday.
Fairview was the only other team in The Times’ coverage area to receive any votes. The Aggies (4-1, 2-1 in Region 6) are back up to 15th in 4A with eight points after a 28-7 win last week versus Holly Pond.
In games involving ranked teams this week, Class 6A No. 7 Carver-Montgomery is at No. 3 Auburn, Class 5A No. 4 Spanish Fort hosts No. 6 St. Paul’s, Class 3A No. 7 is at No. 5 Lauderdale County, Class 2A No. 6 Woodland travels to No. 7 Walter Wellborn, Class 1A No. 6 Cedar Bluff hosts No. 8 Collinsville, and AISA No. 4 Clarke Prep at No. 2 Monroe Academy.
Cullman still at No. 10, Hartselle drops to No. 4
- Top Sports
SWIMMING: Catfish in 3rd place after Day 1 of state meet
The Cullman Swim Team performed admirably during Day 1 of the state meet on Friday, coming away in third place entering Saturday’s final day of activities.
FOOTBALL: Dallas Cowboys LB McClain convicted in Alabama
A judge on Friday convicted Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in his Alabama hometown and imposed an 18-day jail term that could interrupt the player's bid to restart his career.
PREP GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Addison’s Taylor posts highest attacking % at All-Star showcase
Jessy Taylor is proud of her power at the net — as she should be.
LOCAL SPORTS: Catfish earn 4th straight state diving title
The Cullman diving team headed into Thursday’s state meet determined to continue its short period of domination against those standing in the way.
NFL: Stark contrasts for RG3 as Redskins open camp
Instead of engaging in another round of contradictory, back-and-forth podium sessions with Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III stood at the microphone and said he has coaches who believe in him. He implied he wasn't even allowed to do "the bare minimum" as a quarterback a year ago.
PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: All-Star experience 'awesome' for Holly Pond's Gambrill
Meg Gambrill rose from the bench, strode to the scorer's table and hunkered down in front of it, slapping the floor, shouting encouragement and eagerly waiting to make Holly Pond history.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oregon is Pac-12 favorite after Mariota's return
Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role.
National survey finds sharp increase in teen use of HGH
Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale national survey.
PREP SPORTS: Five local schools crack list of fine-, ejection-free institutions for 2013-14
St. Bernard's student-athletes and coaches showed their saintliness for the entirety of yet another academic year, joining four other local schools on the Alabama High School Athletic Association's list of 100 fine- and ejection-free institutions in 2013-14.
LOCAL GOLF: Hectic summers winding down for local courses
Although summer may be slowly coming to an end, local golf is still very much in full swing.
Just ask Cary Craig.
- More Top Sports Headlines
- SWIMMING: Catfish in 3rd place after Day 1 of state meet