The high school football season is upon us this week as teams across the state begin their journey towards Tuscaloosa for the Super 7. With that, many of the top recruits are in action in this weekend, such as overall #1 recruit Justyn Ross for Central-Phenix City and reigning Mr. Football RB LaDamian Webb from Beauregard. Plus, here are a few other things that you will need to remember for kickoff this weekend.

Some games don’t count this week

The AHSAA moved to an 11-week schedule a few years ago and with that, many teams were given an option of when to have an open week. This allowed teams to have mid-season byes, something that wasn’t possible in the past when a team played a 10-game schedule. Now teams in 8-team regions can take bye weeks during weeks 0, 1, 5, and 10 and if a team is in a region with an odd number teams, perhaps even a bye week during region play.

For teams that want to stick to the old model of playing 10 weeks straight, they can choose to start next week and either take off or play a jamboree game this week. The vast majority of teams will see action on the field this week in one way or another. Almost every team will have scores pouring in this Friday, but it’s important to understand what games are “real” and which are essentially “preseason” games.

For instance, the Champion’s Challenge down in Montgomery this season will consist of “preseason” games instead of real games. Reigning 1A champion Maplesville will face reigning 2A champion Fyffe while 7A Hewitt-Trussville will take on 6A Pell City. Although these are two playoff caliber teams, the game won’t count against the loser.

We will do our best here at JoxPreps to help you differentiate between “real” and “jamboree” games.

Some games count, but aren’t quite as important for the playoffs

With the new system, we now have two weeks of non-region play for many teams. However, assuming there are no tiebreakers, these games won’t totally affect the playoff standings at the end of the season. If there are tiebreakers, then the non-region games will start to factor in. Winning these games are still very important, but a loss won’t definitely affect a team’s playoff standing one way or another.

For full tie-breaking procedures and to know when these non-region games come into play, you can view the football rule book here.

You might see some unfamiliar team names over the next week or two

With this scheduling system, many teams are taking the opportunity to play out-of-state games. If you want to catch a game on ESPN featuring Saraland, they take on Heard County out of Georgia this weekend.

Some other out-of-state match-ups this week include:

Hoover at Grayson (GA)
Thompson vs. Hapeville Charter (GA)
Fort Payne vs. Chatooga (GA)
Eufaula at Early County (GA)
Madison Academy vs. McCallie (TN)
Rogers vs. Loretto (TN)
Piedmont at Rockmart (GA)
Flomaton vs. Jay (FL)
Mobile Christian vs. Lighthouse Christian (FL)
North Sand Mountain vs. Dade County (GA)
Abbeville vs. Randolph-Clay (GA)
Ranburne at Mount Zion (GA)
Gaston at Darlington (GA)

Next week, there will be a few more out-of-state match-ups, such as Hoover hosting Meridian (MS) and Hewitt-Trussville hosting Callaway (MS).

What preseason #1 teams could lose that spot this week?

Plenty of teams in the ASWA Top 10 will be in action this weekend, but all of the reigning state champions are either playing out of state or off this week.

Hoover is traveling to Grayson (GA). Grayson is the defending 7A champion in Georgia and defeated Hoover last year at the Hoover Met. However, Grayson lost a ton of talent and will have to rebuild this season. Even still, it’s no walk in the park for Hoover.

Piedmont is traveling to Rockmart (GA). Rockmart lost in the second round of the GHSA AA playoffs last season, finishing 10-3. However, they are already 0-1 this season after losing last week. However, Piedmont will have to replace two-time 3A Back of the Year Taylor Hayes at quarterback and 3A Lineman of the Year Mason Langley.

Ramsay (6A), Beauregard (5A) and Handley (4A) are all off this week, and we will have to wait until next week to see how they do.

Ramsay opens next week at Pinson Valley (who starts against McAdory this week). Beauregard hosts Greenville in their first game, and Handley is off for two weeks until they face Tallassee in their first region game in week two.

Fyffe will travel to Geraldine in week 1 and Maplesville travels out of state to Resurrection (MS).

Top recruits to watch in week 0

Even though there are plenty of teams that aren’t playing this weekend, many of the teams that are in action feature some of the top recruits in the state. Here is the 247Sports Composite Top 25 going into the season and who they are facing this weekend:

1. WR Justyn Ross, Central-Phenix City (Undecided) – vs. Bob Jones
2. CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, St. Paul’s (Alabama) – at Fairhope
3. RB Harold Joiner, Mountain Brook (Undecided) – vs. Gulf Shores
4. WR Seth Williams, Paul Bryant (Undecided) – at Tuscaloosa County
5. DT Coynis Miller, Jackson-Olin (Undecided) – at Woodlawn
6. PRO QB Jack West, Saraland (Stanford) – vs. Heard County (GA)
7. RB Asa Martin, Austin (Auburn) – vs. Jasper
8. OG Tank Jenkins, Park Crossing (Undecided) – OFF
9. DT Alfred Thomas, Sidney Lanier (Undecided) – vs. Lee-Montgomery
10. S Myles Mason, Hewitt-Trussville (Undecided) – vs. Pell City (Montgomery, Jamboree)
11. DE Andres Fox, Mobile Christian (Undecided) – vs. Lighthouse Christian (FL)
12. DUAL QB James Foster, Sidney Lanier (Missouri) – vs. Lee-Montgomery
13. OT Kameron Stutts, Brooks (Auburn) – OFF
14. DT Jalen Cunningham, St. Clair County (Undecided) – OFF
15. OLB Kevontae Ruggs, Lee-Montgomery (Undecided) – at Sidney Lanier
16. WR Shedrick Jackson, Hoover (Auburn) – at Grayson (GA)
17. ATH Kolbi Fuqua, Cordova (Auburn) – at Mortimer Jordan
18. ATH Nathaniel Watson, Maplesville (Mississippi State) – vs. Fyffe (Montgomery)
19. ATH Qua Tucker, Dadeville (Undecided) – vs. LaFayette
20. OLB Matthew Flint, Madison County (Tennessee) – OFF
21. ATH Cam Taylor, Park Crossing (Missouri) – OFF
22. ATH Tae Provens, Madison County (LSU) – OFF
23. DT Timaje Porter, Theodore (Undecided) – vs. Northridge
24. ATH Maurice Robinson, Murphy (Undecided) – vs. Baker
25. RB LaDamian Webb, Beauregard (Mississippi State) – Off

Bonus Fact – Walker High School is no longer called Walker, they are now known as Jasper High School! Jasper plays in 6A Region 6 and starts their season at Austin.