No. 1 North Augusta (70)

The Yellow Jackets (4-0) remain the pollsters’ unanimous pick for the top spot after another blowout win – 56-13 over Grovetown. Firmly established as the area’s No. 1 team, they can further enhance their résumé as they try to avenge a loss from last season.

Up Next: at Sumter

No. 2 Strom Thurmond (62)

The Rebels (3-0) were pushed to the brink by Batesburg-Leesville before ultimately prevailing 35-28 with a critical stop, but questions remain about the defense as they prepare for back-to-back games against Class AAAA programs.

Up Next: at South Aiken

No. 3 Silver Bluff (57)

The Bulldogs (3-1) raced out to a significant lead against South Aiken and persevered for their third consecutive victory. Their discipline and toughness were difference makers last week and figure to be critical this Friday as they face another talented but mistake-prone squad.

Up Next: vs. Midland Valley

No. 4 Ridge Spring-Monetta (40)

The Trojans (3-1) have earned their place in the upper echelon of this poll because of their consistency. They’ve shown the ability to move the ball through the air, on the ground and on special teams. The defense has also handled most opponents and have the Trojans poised for their best season in a decade.

Up Next: vs. Hunter-Kinard-Tyler

No. 5 Wagener-Salley (38)

The War Eagles (3-1) got well in a big way last Friday, bouncing back from their first loss of the season. Quarterback Malcolm Stroman was on top of his game, amassing 272 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in a 60-6 thrashing of Whitmire and will need to be sharp again this week as the War Eagles are looking for a statement victory.

Up Next: vs. Blackville-Hilda

No. 5 Midland Valley (38)

The Mustangs (2-1) got their first win over Aiken – 42-35 – since 1998, snapping a 10-game losing skid in the series. They did it by getting a great effort from a young group of players that moved the team’s record above .500 for the first time since 2010.

Up Next: at Silver Bluff

No. 7 Fox Creek (31)

The Predators (2-1) had the misfortune of having their bye week when several other area teams had some of their best performances of the season, causing Fox Creek to slip a few spots in the poll. A win this week over a very good opponent would guarantee the Predators climbing again – and they’d have a paddle to help their ascension.

Up Next: vs. Augusta Christian

No. 8 Williston-Elko (29)

The Blue Devils (2-2) won their second in a row, thrashing Denmark-Olar 55-14. They showed off their depth, with 10 different ball carriers fueling an offense that’s showing it doesn’t need to rely on standout performances from a single player to have success. They’ll test that theory as they try to maintain their place as the team to beat in Region 4-A.

Up Next: vs. North

No. 9 South Aiken (14)

The Thoroughbreds (1-3) were undone by mistakes that resulted in a third consecutive loss. They must avoid hurting themselves if they’re going to reclaim the promise the showed at the start of the season and have to be sharp from the opening whistle.

Up Next: vs. Strom Thurmond

No. 10 Aiken (7)

The Hornets (0-3) barely resembled the team that opened the season, and that’s a very good thing. They were vastly improved in a close loss to Midland Valley, refusing to throw in the towel in spite of some challenging scenarios. Aiken shouldn’t lose faith because of another loss but should be heartened by the strides it has made under first-year head coach Brian Neal and if it can avoid mistakes could be in line for a breakthrough win that can serve as the foundation of future success.

Up Next: vs. Richland Northeast

What do the rankings mean?

The Aiken Standard power rankings is a system designed by our sports staff to rank the strength of the 10 area high school football teams. Seven voters – Noah Feit (sports editor), Jeremy Timmerman (sports writer), Eric Russell (sports writer), Kyle Dawson (sports intern), Scott Rodgers (North Augusta Star editor), Ed Girardeau (ASTV play-by-play voice) and Ken Brace (ASTV analyst) – ranked each team 1-10, based on the teams’ strength within their class. Ranking Wagener-Salley ahead of Aiken, for example, isn’t a prediction that the War Eagles would win the head-to-head battle between those two clubs, but instead an indication of the voters’ belief that Wagener-Salley is a bigger force within Class A than Aiken is within Class AAAA. A team received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for a second-place vote, eight for a third place vote, etc. The votes were then tallied, and the teams were put in order based on their point totals. A new poll will be released every Monday throughout the season.