High school football weekly wrap: Kendrick has chance at 1st playoffs since '99

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerOctober 22, 2012 

I mentioned this possibility briefly in a column last week, but I think it’s worth revisiting.

With just three games left to play, Kendrick is currently in fourth place in its region standings. If that were to hold up, the Cherokees would make their first trip to the state playoffs since 1999.

Kendrick has won three of its last four games, the only loss coming to undefeated Heard County, and has an opportunity to win at least two of its final three down the stretch. If it does, a trip to the playoffs appears likely.

In order to make that a reality, however, the Cherokees must improve on offense. In their last three games, they are averaging less than 13 points per contest, but have come away with two wins thanks to some steady defense. In its three wins this season, Kendrick has allowed a total of just 14 points.

Its three wins this season are already the best since the 2006 season. It hasn’t won five since 2001, and the last winnings season was in 1995.

The team certainly has a long way to go, but its pre-season goal of making the playoffs is looking like more of a possibility each week.

The Cherokees travel to Manchester (5-2, 4-1) on Thursday.

Central avoids upset against Lanier

Playoff races are heating up in high school football, and that only makes each win that much more important.

Teams can’t afford to slip up in games against much-lesser opponents. That is undoubtedly what went through the heads of the Central High players as they came out of the locker room for the second half against Lanier, trailing 32-20.

Helped by running back Deon Hall’s 273 rushing yards and two second-half touchdown runs, as well as a stifling defense, the Red Devils were able to make it out alive with a 48-32 win.

When considering the region standings, the game actually wasn’t crucial for Central. A loss would have dropped it to 3-3 in the region, tied with Smiths Station. Instead it is 4-2, and will face Smiths Station in its final region game this week.

A win did not change what will be on the line in this game:

The winner of the Central-Smiths Station contest will make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

Still, though, a team does not want to stumble into a one-game play-in game on a two-game losing streak. Central’s impressive second half could be what it needs to get back on track down the stretch.

Quick hits

Brookstone is playing good football as it heads into the final stretch of its region slate. Currently on a three-game win streak following a 35-27 win over Schley County, the Cougars are preparing for a showdown with the region leaders, Marion County, on Friday. A win would give Brookstone control over its own destiny in the region….Columbus’ losing streak nearly came to an end last Friday, when it tied Troup at 20 with less than eight minutes to play. The Blue Devils were unable to finish it off, however, and remain winless in 2012….Calvary Christian has rebounded admirably since having to forfeit two early-season wins. It has won three straight to give it a 3-5 record on the season….Carver is doing what it needs to do week after week. This week was a 53-0 win over Southwest Macon. In three region games, all wins, Carver has outscored opponents 138-3. The Tigers get a home game against Central-Macon on Thursday before traveling to No. 1-ranked Peach County for a crucial showdown. Also of note, the win over Southwest Macon gave Carver an all-time record of 268-268-8.

Making the grade

Some notable performances from teams and individuals this week.

-- Jacob Ammons, Calvary Christian: Intercepted a pass in the waning moments of the game to preserve a 20-14 win over Community Christian.

--Deon Hall, Central Rushed for 273 yards and two-second half touchdowns to propel Central past Lanier 48-32.

--Dylan Denny, Glenwood Rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown and recovered a fumble in the final two minutes to seal a 21-20 victory for the Gators.

Think someone else belongs on this exclusive list? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports.

Power rankings

Here's a look at the area's power rankings. I'll list my top 5 each week. Spirited, but civil, debate is encouraged in the comments.

1. Carver

Carver is quietly hitting its stride. On the state level, it has been overlooked, settling in around Nos. 5-7 in the Associated Press rankings. Each week, it appears to be improving, however.

2. Central

We can’t pretend that first half didn’t happen, but we can attribute it to a slow start following a rough loss the week before. The second half should be an indication that the Red Devils are prepared to finish strong.

3. Brookstone

The Cougars are on a good pace right now. That’s important, as they have a crucial region contest against Marion County on Friday. Win that game, and they have control of their own destiny in the region. Lose, and a chance at the region title goes away.

4. Glenwood

It was a close win, but it was a win nonetheless. Glenwood needs to continue to improve down the stretch, but it appears to be a very solid football team.

5. Smiths Station

Smiths Station lost handsomely to Carver-Montgomery, but we can’t really say too much about that. Carver is a dangerous team, and the Panthers have one final shot at a state playoff berth when they face Central on Friday.

Follow me for scores, news and opinions on Twitter @leprepsports

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