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Numbers say Morgan faces toughest schedule; Selma easiest

Selma head coach Leroy Miles talks to his team after its spring game earlier this year. The Saints play only two teams this season that won more than five games last year. --File Photo

Selma head coach Leroy Miles talks to his team after its spring game earlier this year. The Saints play only two teams this season that won more than five games last year. –File Photo

If Morgan Academy hopes to get back to the football playoffs this year, the Senators will have to overcome an extremely challenging schedule.

For the second consecutive year, the Senators face the toughest schedule in Dallas County. This season Morgan Academy opens its season with the Alabama Independent School Association’s reigning Class AAA defending champions, Monroe Academy, who finished last season 13-0. In week four, Morgan faces Edgewood Academy, who has won the last four AISA Class AA state championships and has won 45 consecutive games.

“Our schedule — we aren’t going to dwell on it,” said Morgan Academy head coach Jake Wingo. “It’s another circumstance that you have to overcome and deal with adversity and that’s what football is all about, learning how to deal with adversity and deal with the hand that you are dealt and making the best out of it.”

Based on last season’s win totals, Morgan Academy’s strength of schedule is .672, which is by far the highest number in the county. The tough schedule is nothing new for the Senators, who also faced the toughest schedule in the county last year with a total of .594.

“We are going to have a great attitude and attack our situation,” Wingo said. “I think it is a great opportunity so I am looking forward to it.”

All in all, Morgan Academy faces eight teams that had winning records last season. Nine of the Senators 10 opponents in 2014 reached the playoffs last year.

The Senators aren’t the only county team that will face a tough schedule in 2014.

Keith and Ellwood Christian were the only two Alabama High School Athletic Association teams in Dallas County that did not move up a classification under the realignment for the 2014-2016 season, but both the Bears and Eagles will statistically face tough schedules this year compared to last year. According to last season’s win totals, the Class 1A rivals will face the toughest AHSAA schedules in the county.

Keith plays at Linden in week two — a team that has won 80 games under head coach Andro Williams since he took over in 2007 — and then takes on Maplesville, which lost in the Class 1A state championship game last year. The Eagles also face the two Class 1A juggernauts back-to-back in weeks seven and eight. Both teams face a strength of schedule right at .544 this year.

Dallas County, which makes the move to 5A, faces five teams that won seven games last season and also faces a question mark in Helena, a brand new school. The Hornets face two teams that won 10 games apiece last season, Bibb County and Calera. The Hornets face a schedule that had a winning percentage of .525 last year.

Southside and Selma appear to have more manageable schedules. Southside faces a schedule that won just 42 percent of its games last year. The Panthers only face two schools that had winning records last year — county rival Selma and UMS Wright, who went 11-3.

“It is wide open,” Southside head coach Daniel Flowers said of his team’s new region in 4A. “Pretty much the last two playoff spots are wide open. If we manage ourselves throughout the season and do the small things right, we can make the playoffs.”

Oddly enough, it’s Southside’s biggest rival, Selma, that statistically faces the easiest schedule in the county. The Saints face only two teams that won more than five games last year, McAdory and Bessemer City.

Selma’s opponents had a winning percentage of .392 last year, but the Saints are moving up to Class 6A, which figures to bring its own challenges. Leroy Miles, head coach for the Saints, is expecting every game to be tough, especially with Selma taking on four local rivals.

“It’s going to be tough and then playing Southside, Dallas County and Keith right here locally, we have a tough schedule,” Selma head coach Leroy Miles said. “We are up for the challenge.”