By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
— It’s crunch time for football teams trying to make it into the AHSAA playoffs in two weeks, and most local teams have already clinched a berth, or are still in contention. Here’s the status of our seven schools going into Week 9, the final week of regional play in the regular season:
FULTONDALE: In, and trying to lock up a Class 2A Region 6 regular-season championship. They already have home field for the first round locked up, but this week’s clash with Ranburne, which itself lost to Walter Wellborn last week. A win for the Wildcats would put them up against the fourth-seeded team from Region 8 — either Colbert Heights or Sheffield — while a loss would make them the second seed by way of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Ranburne, and Lexington would be the first round opponent.
PINSON VALLEY: In. The winner of this week’s game with Moody will be the second seed and get home-field advantage in the first week and play Region 8’s third seed, likely Hartselle. A loss puts them on the road against the loser of Cullman and Muscle Shoals.
MORTIMER JORDAN: In. Even if Springville should pull off an upset over Walker (which is ineligible for the post-season due to restrictive probation stemming from the coaches’ post-game fight in the Cullman game), Jordan would have the head-to-head tiebreaker. They will be the fourth seed, and will get the winner of the Muscle Shoals-Cullman game.
GARDENDALE: Iffy. If form holds this week — the Rockets beating Carver, Mountain Brook losing to Vestavia Hills and Hewitt-Trussville defeating Huffman — there will be a three-way tie for third in the region, with Gardendale’s Week 10 game at Buckhorn being the probable tiebreaker. If somehow the Spartans should knock off the Rebels, the Rockets would be out no matter what. If Huffman topples the Huskies, Hewitt would be out barring a most improbable win by Carver over the Rockets. Yes, it’s complicated.
LOCUST FORK: Coin flip. There’s a four-way tie at 3-3 for spots three through six in Class 4A Region 6. Locust Fork will face one of those teams, St. Clair County, and a win by the Hornets would assure a playoff spot. Sardis plays Oneonta and is a heavy underdog, while Fairview will be favored against Crossville. If the Hornets beat the Saints and form holds elsewhere, Locust Fork would get the third seed and Fairview fourth, based on a head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Hornets should lost to the Saints, their fate depends on the other games, and it’s a bit complex.
CORNER: Not good. For the Yellow Jackets to advance, they would need to knock off Bibb County, the fourth-ranked team in Class 4A, and Dora would have to fall to winless Carbon Hill. The likelihood of both of those happening is a longshot at best.
HAYDEN: Out. It’s been a tough year for the Wildcats under new coach Keith Register. They’ll be playing for pride against Curry this Friday.