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Sorry EC, 3-6 teams don't deserve to be in the playoffs

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
The one thing most people will agree about a playoff system is no system is perfect.
Yet people in this area only need to look within Escambia County to see the flaws with the Alabama High School Athletic Association's football playoff qualification system.
Last week Escambia County (Atmore) secured a playoff berth when it beat Hillcrest 14-6. That win enabled the Blue Devils to finish in a tie with Hillcrest for fourth place in Class 4A Region 1. The head-to-head win over Hillcrest clinched a playoff spot for Escambia County. The Blue Devils will open the state playoffs next week at Elmore County. However, Escambia County is just 3-6 for the season, 3-4 in region play.
Flip the calendar back a year and you see another extreme. Flomaton had a 7-3 record in 2003, but failed to qualify for the postseason field because it came out on the short end of the tiebreaker with its fourth place finish in region play.
Let's see. A 3-6 record is good enough to make the playoffs, but 7-3 is not. Something just doesn't sound right, does it.
The Escambia County and Flomaton situations are just two examples. Last year 11 teams with winning records were excluded from the playoffs, while 34 teams with .500 or losing records made the playoffs. There will be more winning teams left out and more losing teams in the playoff field this year.
More emphasis needs to be made on non-region games and overall record. One solution might be a "wild card system.
Instead of taking the top four teams from regions as playoff teams, take the top three for 24 of the 32 playoff spots per class. Then fill out the other eight wild cards spots based on best overall record. Ties for overall record could be broken through the number of games the teams on your schedule have won or the number of games the teams a school has defeated have won.
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If the T.R. Miller Tigers go on to win the state title this season, head coach Jamie Riggs
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will reach a personal milestone.
Riggs enters the playoff field five wins shy of 200 for his career with a 195-52 record. He has a 183-33 record in 16 seasons with the Tigers. Prior to his arrival at T.R. Miller, Riggs had a 13-19 record in three seasons at Opp.
"That (200 wins) would certainly be a nice personal accomplishment. I guess that shows I've been around here a long time," Riggs said. "This year's program says I had 185 wins when this season started, but I did some refiguring and one win got left out somewhere in that total. I actually had 186 when this season began."
W.S. Neal High School will hold its Football Awards Night November 19 at the W.S. Neal Middle School cafeteria.
A meal will be served at 6 p.m. Players and cheerleaders will be allowed one guest for the meal. The awards ceremony will start at 7 p.m.
The Jefferson Davis Community College Warhawks basketball team will kick off its season next Tuesday when it hosts Pensacola Christian at 7 p.m.
Anyone interested in forming a team for adult flag football can contact Randy Salter at the Brewton Area YMCA at 867-9622 or at 363-2053.
A captains meeting will be held November 15 at the YMCA.