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Central reaches historic heights in state poll

Central reaches historic heights in state poll
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
No matter what happens the rest of the way, Obion Central has already made history in this, the 51st season of football at the school.
The Rebels — unbeaten at the halfway point in the 10-game regular season — were ranked No. 5 in the state (Class 4A) in Monday’s latest Associated Press poll, their highest standing ever in the listing.
OC, which matched the program’s second-best start to a season with a 48-0 thumping of winless Gibson County last week, rose two spots from seventh in this week’s statewide balloting of AP member writers and broadcasters.
The Rebels received 133 total points to move into the Top 5, benefiting from losses by then-No. 4 Giles County and previously sixth-ranked Liberty — the latter of whom fell to No. 1 Lexington in a 49-42 shootout.
Obion Central’s previous best position in a state poll was No. 6 in 2002. During that campaign, the Rebs were listed among the Top 10 in five consecutive weeks, highlighted by No. 6 standings in consecutive polls in October.
The county locals have been ranked in the Top 10 three straight weeks as part of their current run.
His team’s present recognition will not be a distraction to OC head coach Shawn Jackson as they prepare for a two-plus hour road trip to Cunningham to play Montgomery Central on Friday.
“We’ve always been focused; we’ve just not always been very good,” the Rebel skipper said. “We’ve started better and performed better this year, obviously.
“We’re not good enough to overlook anybody, though. History and the past tells you that you can’t look past anybody at Obion Central.”
The Rebel schedule does project to be somewhat tougher in the second half of the season with four of the five remaining opponents currently sporting a .500 or better record, led by District 13AA foes South Gibson and Covington — both of whom are 4-1.
Of Central’s first five opponents, only Westview (3-2) is presently above the break-even mark.
Lexington, Greeneville and Signal Mountain retained their respective Top 3 spots in this week’s Class 4A poll, each receiving first-place nods.
Chester County advanced three spots to No. 6, ahead of Liberty, which is now eighth.
Covington was on the fringe of the Top 10 and among the other teams receiving votes.
In Class 3A, Milan retained its No. 1 standing, garnering 18 of 20 first-place votes after rallying to beat upstart South Gibson 38-19.
The West Tennessee contingent of Humboldt, McKenzie and Dresden is 5-6-7 in Class 2A, with Adamsville now at No. 9.
Class 1A remained entirely intact, meaning 5-0 Huntingdon is still No. 4.
Dyer County (4-1) joined the elite in Class 5A at No. 10. Unbeaten Henry County, after a 49-13 blitzing of Springfield, remains at No. 3.
A complete poll listing can be found on page nine.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 9.20.11

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