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Last week Results (October 20th)
- Clay Ctrl. 49, B’gard 7
- Handley 38, Cle. Co. 14
- RCHS 50, Beulah 29
- Thorsby 22, Ranburne 12
- Woodland 35, F’ville 27
- Wadley 42, Winterboro 8
- Jaquez Wilkes, Wadley: 18 car., 302 yards, 4 TD
- LaDamion Boyd, Central: 21 car., 172 yards, 5 TD
- Mo Winston, RCHS: 19 car., 123 yards, 3 TD 4 rec., 55 yards 2 Int return TDs
- Bradley Brasher, Woodland: 2 rec., 123 yards, 2 TD
- Cannon Kyles, Handley: 1 car., 75 yards, TD 3-4, 82 yards, 2 TD
- David Noles, Woodland: 14 car., 100 yards, 2 TD
- Malakai Drummond, Woodland: 22 car., 124 yards, TD
Playoff positioning is set for five of the six local teams. Handley, Wadley and Clay Central will all enter the postseason as champions of their respective regions. Ranburne and Woodland have been eliminated and will play their final games of the season on November 3.
So we’ll start this week’s analysis with the RCHS Tigers, who will have their playoff seeding determined by the result of Friday’s home game against Dadeville.
If RCHS wins Friday they will be the two seed and will play at home in the first round. If they lose they will be the three seed and travel in round one.
Looking at the way the bracket potentially sets up there could be perceived advantages to either result.
RCHS is almost better off as the three seed in terms of the way the the first two rounds set up. As the three, RCHS would go to Thomasville and then host Straughn (or whoever the Region 2 champion ends up being) rather than hosting W.S. Neal and going to defending state champion St. James in round two, which would be their path if they finish second.
As the three seed then there would be a chance to get St. James at home in round three rather than going there in round two.
But the fact is, if you stay in the playoffs long enough you have to play the good teams eventually. And unpredictable things happen, so looking at it on paper two and a half weeks before the games even begin can often be a futile pursuit.
I’m quite certain that RCHS’s – and any team’s – goal is to get the highest possible seed let the chips fall where they may.
The Tigers of Roanoke secured their region title with last week’s win over Cleburne County and should close out a 9-1 regular season with another one-sided win against Munford Friday. Handley will have a week off before they start the 4A playoffs, but as we have written here for the past few weeks, a first-round matchup with Region 1’s St. Michael’s and head coach Phillip Rivers continues to look like the most likely start to Handley’s postseason journey on November 10.
Central will also host a Region 1 opponent in the 5A first round, but there is not much more clarity about who that opponent will be than there was a week ago. A logjam in the middle of that region has four teams (BC Rain, Faith Christian, UMS-Wright and Vigor) with two region losses behind unbeaten Gulf Shores. And Citronelle remains in the mix as well. More will be known after this Friday’s games, but this will also probably extend into the final week of the regular season because Region 1 has nine teams and there are region games in that final week.
Wadley locked up the region title with its win over Winterboro Friday and has a good chance to finish 9-1 with games against Talladega County Central this week and Woodland next week. It’s looking like Wadley will host Appalachian in the first round of the playoffs after Appalachain lost to Coosa Christian last week. As we mentioned, speculating about how the bracket will play out after that is nothing more than educated guesswork, but there is a scenario where Wadley’s path would be Appalachian in round one, South Lamar in round two, Pickens County in round three and Coosa Christian in the state semifinals.
But no matter what that path becomes Wadley will enter the playoffs on the short list of teams in the North that could make it all the way to Tuscaloosa for the state finals.
The playoff fates of these two rivals were both attached to the outcome of Friday’s Vincent-Isabella contest. Both Woodland and Ranburne needed Isabella to lose that game to keep their playoff hopes alive. But Isabella spoiled that by knocking off Vincent and eliminating both the Bobcats and Bulldogs in one fell swoop.
For Ranburne it will be the first time under head coach Stephen Bailey that the Bulldogs have gone back to back seasons missing the playoffs. Woodland will also miss the postseason for the second year in a row after they made the playoffs the previous two years.
Games this week (7 p.m. Friday)
- Russell Co. at Clay Ctrl.
- Handley at Munford
- Dadeville at RCHS
- Isabella at Woodland
- Ranburne at Ctrl Coosa
- Wadley at TCC