By Bobby Mathews, Sports Editor
CENTER POINT — The Center Point Eagles appeared exactly once in the AHSAA state rankings during the 2021 season, listed among “others receiving votes” category. Now they’re one of a handful of teams still standing after Round 2 of the playoffs.
Instead of worrying about rankings, the Eagles proved their mettle on the field. Center Point is 9-3, and they’re one of the top 8 Class 5A programs in the state. That’s not rankings. That’s not what sportswriters or voters “think.” When it’s come down to proving it on the field, the Eagles are getting it done.
That’s why Center Point is The Tribune’s Team of the Week.
In the first round of the playoffs, they whipped up on an overmatched East Limestone squad, whipping them 66-36 in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score seems. In the second round, Center Point hosted a hard-nosed Ramsay squad. In that one, the defense rose up and shut out the Rams during a 9-0 victory.
“It was almost like an old school football game,” Center Point head coach George Bates said after the game. “Both teams threw punches, both teams took punches. We just stayed locked in for 48 minutes, and we came out with victory.”
In the fourth quarter, Center Point finally broke through the Ramsay defense. Troy Bruce scored with a 44-yard rushing TD. With six minutes to go in the game, Jabari Collier completed a long pass to Deon Moore, perhaps the longest pass of the game. The Eagles then brought in Antonio Lopez Sebastian, whose field goal put the Eagles up 9-0.
Now the Eagles are one win away from the semifinals. They host Pleasant Grove on Friday, November 19, a team that dispatched Leeds (10-2) 35-0 in the second round.
Center Point is 9-3 right now, and every team that’s beaten them this season is no longer playing. Alexandria was eliminated last week in the second round in a 41-34 loss against Parker. Fairfield was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs with a 30-28 loss to Fairview.
The Eagles, on the other hand, are still playing football. Things looked bleak for the Eagles earlier this season when they slipped to 1-2 to start the season with their only win a forfeit by Wenonah. Center Point went on a tear after that, winning 6 of their next 7 and currently riding a five-game win streak.
The Tribune’s Team of the Week is sponsored by Courtesy GMC. Other teams considered this week included Pinson Valley (20-0 victory over Oxford) and Clay-Chalkville (56-21 win against Briarwood Christian).