Bruce's bits: Postseason
Published 1:57 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2006
As the Alabama High School Athletic Association football season hits the halfway point this week, some of the pieces of the postseason puzzle are starting to become clear.
While nobody in Class 4A Region 1 has been eliminated, Hillcrest-Evergreen and Southside-Selma have pretty much taken themselves out of the picture with identical 0-3 region starts. Both would have to run the table in region play the rest of the way to have a chance. That does not seem likely considering both stand 0-4 overall.
When the state's top two teams, Thomasville and T.R. Miller, square off next week, the winner will all but secure a postseason berth. The loser will have three more chances to get another win or two to guarantee its reservation. That figures to happen since each has one game left against one of the region cellar-dwellers. T.R. Miller still has to play Hillcrest, while Thomasville has a date left with Southside.
While Thomasville and T.R. Miller figure to be in, that leaves W.S. Neal, Jackson, Escambia County and Monroe County left to battle for the other two spots.
Jackson and Escambia County have the upper hand for those two spots at this point for two reasons. Both stand 2-1 in region play, while W.S. Neal and Monroe County are both 1-2.
On top of that, Jackson and Escambia County both own a tiebreaker against one of their pursuers. Jackson already owns a head-to-head tiebreaker against Monroe County, while Escambia County owns a head-to-head tiebreaker against W.S. Neal.
When region play resumes next week, W.S. Neal has a trip to Monroe County that could be an elimination game.
If the Blue Eagles can get back on track against Monroe County and Hillcrest the next two region weeks, it will face a critical test Oct. 20 at Jackson. W.S. Neal can ill afford to be on the short end of another head-to-head tiebreaker with a school it is competing with for a playoff spot.
Region 1 is paired against Region 4 (Central-Tuscaloosa, Fayette County, Green County, Holt, Jemison, Livingston, Northside and Oak Grove) in the opening round of the playoffs.
Fayette County has the early upper hand in that region, as it is the only unbeaten team at 3-0 in region play. Fayette County is 4-0 overall. Central-Tuscaloosa (3-1 overall), Jemison (2-2 overall) and Livingston (2-2 overall) are all tied for second place with 2-1 region marks.
Greene County (1-3 overall), Oak Grove (1-3 overall) and Holt (1-3 overall) are currently on the outside looking in as part of a three-way tie for fifth place at 1-2 in region play.