By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Region play officially came to a close Friday night, and even though there's one final Friday left in the prep football regular season, all five playoff contenders from The Times' coverage area are already able to put a face to their first-round foes.
As the Class 3A, Region 7 champions, Hanceville will host Glencoe on Nov. 8. A 54-13 rout of Cordova, paired with a 45-22 Winfield victory over Good Hope, allowed the Bulldogs to clinch their second title in the last three years. They technically tied for the top spot with Hamilton, but, by downing the Aggies' 26-12 in Week 3, earned the head-to-head advantage.
The Raiders' loss dropped them from a three-way tie for first all the way to fourth. They'll hit the road for a showdown with No. 3 Saks.
Ninth-ranked Cullman and No. 3 Muscle Shoals squared off for the 5A, Region 8 championship, but the Trojans won handily 47-7 to take the No. 1 seed for a third straight year. With just one region loss, however, the Bearcats are still sitting pretty as the runner-up. They'll welcome Moody to Oliver Woodard Stadium.
Despite a less-than ideal 1-2 start to its 4A, Region 6 schedule, Fairview never stopped fighting and went on to win three of its last four in thrilling fashion. Friday's 32-28 road victory over Crossville, coupled with St. Clair County's 31-24 triumph against Locust Fork, settled the region's final two seeds. Because the Purple and Gold outlasted the Saints 36-34 in Week 6, they'll enter the playoffs in the No. 3 position, which comes with a bus ride to Haleyville.
A Week 8 loss to No. 4 Falkville left No. 8 Addison needing help to host — and the Bulldogs got it, from one of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s more obscure tiebreakers, no less. As the region runner-up, they’ll stay put and let Phillips-Bear Creek do all the traveling on Nov. 8.
Ragland’s 21-0 rout of Falkville last Friday forced a three-way tie at the top of the standings that included Addison. Head-to-head didn’t solve anything, so the trio turned to AHSAA Tiebreaker ‘L’ — “the team whose defeated non-region opponents in class and above have the most victories” — to decide the title.
Under that criteria, Falkville had seven wins (all from Donoho), Ragland potentially had seven (six from Gaylesville and one from Victory Christian) and Addison potentially had six (two from Ider and four from Winston County).
But that was before Tiebreaker 7, which states “contests against teams that are not eligible for the championship program are not used in figuring any tiebreakers,” came into play.
That alone took Ragland out of the running because its one win from Victory Christian came against the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind, a non-eligible team.
So, in the end, Falkville claimed the region title, while Addison snuck away with the No. 2 spot because of its 28-20 Week 2 win over Ragland.
Here’s a region-by-region breakdown of the first-round playoff pairings for all five local squads:
Class 5A, Region 8
% Pairs with Region 6
% Mortimer Jordan (4-5, 3-4) at No. 3 Muscle Shoals (9-0, 7-0)
% Moody (6-3, 4-3) at No. 9 Cullman (7-2, 6-1)
% Hartselle (7-2, 5-2) at Pinson Valley (6-3, 5-2)
% Athens (6-3, 4-3) at No. 8 Center Point (8-1, 6-1)
Class 4A, Region 6
% Pairs with Region 8
% West Limestone (6-3, 4-3) at No. 5 Oneonta (8-1, 7-0)
% Brooks (6-3, 5-2) at Guntersville (8-1, 6-1)
% Fairview (5-4, 4-3) at Haleyville (8-1, 6-1)
% St. Clair County (4-5, 4-3) at Central-Florence (7-2, 6-1)
Class 3A, Region 7
% Pairs with Region 5
% Glencoe (6-3, 4-3) at Hanceville (8-1, 6-1)
% Weaver (4-5, 4-3) at Hamilton (8-1, 6-1)
% Winfield (6-3, 5-2) at No. 7 Piedmont (8-1, 6-1)
% Good Hope (6-3, 5-2) at No. 3 Saks (9-0, 7-0)
Class 1A, Region 6
% Pairs with Region 8
% Shoals Christian (4-5, 4-3) at No. 4 Falkville (7-1, 6-1)
% Phillips-Bear Creek (5-4, 4-3) at No. 8 Addison (7-1, 6-1)
% Ragland (7-1, 6-1) at Hackleburg (6-3, 6-1)
% Appalachian (4-3, 4-3) at R.A. Hubbard (7-2, 7-0)
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.