High school football: Playoff scenarios for the contenders in the Bi-City area

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerOctober 29, 2013 

To adopt an overused cliché: My, how time does fly.

It seems just weeks ago that we were previewing teams around the area, preparing for the start of the football season. In the two months since then, we’ve had a lot of highs and a few lows, some surprises, both positive and negative.

Now, we’re down to the final two weeks of the regular season in Georgia and the final week in Alabama. Still, not every playoff position has been sewn up. There are plenty up for grabs and a number of area teams still fighting.

Here’s a rundown of playoff scenarios for Bi-City area teams.

Brookstone (4-4, 2-3 Region 4-A)

Despite a 4-4 record, the Cougars are still right in the thick of the playoff race thanks in large part to the power ratings system in Class A.

Despite losing handily to Marion County last week, the improved strength of schedule that came with playing an undefeated team ranked No. 1 in the Class A-public power ratings helped Brookstone move up a spot in the rankings.

Yes, it confuses me a little, too. After all, a team that beat Brookstone head-to-head (Pacelli) is ranked two spots lower despite a better record.

The good news for both is that they are currently among the coveted top 16 teams in Class A private. Brookstone is No. 11 currently and should be in line for a playoff spot if it takes care of business against Central-Talbotton and Greenville.

Calvary Christian (5-4, 2-1 ICSGA South)

With its win over Creekside Christian last Friday, Calvary Christian clinched the No. 2 seed in its division and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Knights host Unity Christian on Friday in the playoff opener.

Carver (7-1, 4-0 Region 2-AAA)

Carver has clinched the playoffs as well as home-field advantage in the first round. It can clinch its eighth straight region title with a victory over visiting Peach County on Friday.

Peach County is also undefeated in the region and has earned home-field in the playoffs. The winner gets the top seed and would face the 4-seed out of Region 4-AAA (Chapel Hill, B.E.S.T. Academy, Maynard Jackson or Rockmart).

Harris County (6-2, 2-1 Region 1-AAAAA)

Harris County can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Hardaway on Friday. A win would also ensure that the Tigers are one of the top three seeds in the region. Bainbridge already has two region losses and the most it could do if Harris County won was tie the Tigers. The Tigers have the head-to-head tiebreaker, however, which would elevate them to at least No. 3.

They can still win the region if they win out and Lee County drops a game. If they all finish 4-1 in the region, it would come down to a three-way tiebreaker. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Kendrick (4-4, 3-3 Region 5-AA)

The Cherokees are on the fringe of the playoffs, but have a few ways to get in.

They can clinch this week if they win and both Manchester and Bremen lose. Kendrick holds the head-to-head with Manchester, and a Cherokees win would ensure they are at least tied with the Blue Devils. Bremen has one more region loss than Kendrick, four, and a fifth would be enough to keep the Cherokees ahead with a win.

Winning out would also suffice for Kendrick, as a win over Spencer in the finale would mean at least a tie between the two teams.

Manchester (5-3, 3-3 Region 5-AA)

There isn’t a scenario where Manchester could clinch the playoffs this week, but it still stands in decent position for a berth.

A win would ensure at least a fifth-place finish in the region, but its loss to Kendrick last Friday means the Cherokees hold the tiebreaker.

If they win out, however, they will clinch a playoff spot since Kendrick and Spencer face each other in the finale. Either Kendrick will end up with a minimum of four region losses or Spencer will end up with a minimum of three. Manchester defeated Spencer head-to-head and would earn the tiebreaker.

Marion County (8-0, 5-0 Region 4-A)

Marion County has a perfect season working and is essentially assured of a playoff spot. It can clinch a region title and make it official with a win over Hawkinsville on Friday.

Pacelli (6-2, 3-2 Region 4-A)

As mentioned before, it is without logic that Pacelli is ranked two spots below Brookstone, a team it beat, in the Class A private power ratings. With that said, the Vikings are in alright shape for a playoff berth if they can win their next to games.

They are No. 13 in the ratings, nowhere near safe yet, but a win over Hawkinsville (ranked No. 13 in the public ratings) in the finale would likely be enough to remain among the top 16 teams.

Russell County (5-4, 4-3 Class 5A Region 2)

The Warriors have clinched the playoffs and are locked into the 4-seed out of their region. They will face Homewood (8-1, 7-0) in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 8.

Smiths Station (7-2, 5-2 Class 6A Region 3)

Despite two losses to finish its region slate, Smiths Station will host a first-round playoff game as the 2-seed out of the region.

Here’s why:

Behind region champion Auburn, there are three teams — Carver-Montgomery, Opelika and Smiths Station — tied at 5-2. Carver defeated Smiths Station, which defeated Opelika, which defeated Carver. See the problem?

Alabama High School Athletics Association tiebreaker rules state that in such a situation, where a tiebreaker can’t be decided by head-to-head record, the next step is to see which team has the highest winning percentage against the region champion.

Smiths Station defeated Auburn. Carver and Opelika did not. So, the Panthers get No. 2, and then head-to-head record, Opelika over Carver, decides the rest of the division.

Spencer (5-3, 4-2 Region 5-AA)

Spencer can clinch its first playoff berth since 1993 with a win and a Manchester or Kendrick loss.

A loss for either Kendrick or Manchester would give the team four region losses, while a win for Spencer would ensure it can’t lose more than three. Bremen, the other contender for the 4-seed, already has four losses.

Spencer is playing for the 3-seed right now, but could get the No. 2 if it beat Heard County and Kendrick, and Heard County lost its finale to Bowdon. Bowdon is 7-0 in the region and can finish no worse than 7-1, meaning a region championship is not attainable for the Greenwave.

Have any questions? Did I leave anything out? Did I mess something up? Let me know in the comments, via email at dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.com or on Twitter @leprepsports.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service