The playoff picture isn't quite clear for the teams in The Times’ coverage area just yet, but it's getting there with only two region games left on almost everyone's schedule.
Here’s what we do know — Addison, Cullman, Hanceville and Good Hope have already punched postseason tickets. Vinemont, Fairview and Cold Springs still have the chance to do so, while Holly Pond and West Point mathematically do not.
Let's take a region-by-region glance at our seven potential playoff teams and see what each squad must do to either get in or guarantee its highest possible seeding.
Class 1A, Region 6
% Local team: Addison
% Already in: No. 4 Addison (7-0, 6-0), No. 6 Falkville (6-0, 5-0), Ragland (5-1, 4-1)
% Still fighting: Appalachian (3-3, 3-3), Sumiton Christian (2-4, 2-3)
% The skinny: With an open date waiting for Addison in Week 9, this Friday’s showdown at Falkville is for all the marbles.
A win by the Bulldogs would clinch the region title, while a loss could drop them to as low as third depending on the outcome of Falkville’s and Ragland’s region finale Oct. 25.
Class 2A, Region 4
% Local team: Cold Springs
% Already in: Aliceville (5-2, 5-0), Lamar County (6-1, 4-1)
% Still fighting: No. 8 Oakman (6-1, 4-1), Hale County (4-3, 3-2), Cold Springs (4-3, 2-3), Francis Marion (3-4, 2-3)
% The skinny: Cold Springs’ playoff lives are out of its hands this week.
If Oakman beats Aliceville and Hale County keeps Sulligent winless this Friday night, the Eagles will be eliminated from contention, even if they do defeat R.C. Hatch (0-7, 0-5) and Oakman over the next two weeks.
If Oakman falls to Aliceville, however, Cold Springs can get into the postseason for the first time since 2004 by winning out.
Class 3A, Region 7
% Local teams: Hanceville, Good Hope and Vinemont
% Already in: Hanceville (6-1, 4-1), Good Hope (5-2, 4-1)
% Still fighting: Hamilton (6-1, 4-1), Winfield (4-3, 3-2), Vinemont (3-4, 2-3), Winston County (3-4, 2-3)
% The skinny: It’s just Week 8, but Vinemont’s home meeting with Winfield sure has all the makings of a playoff matchup.
The Eagles must make the Pirates walk the plank to have any shot of playing an 11th game. If they don’t, Vinemont’s bid for a second straight postseason berth will officially come to a close.
Like Winfield versus Vinemont, Hamilton can clinch a spot with a win over Winston County.
Though they’re both already in the playoffs, Hanceville and Good Hope would like to sweeten the deal by earning hosting rights for the first round.
The Bulldogs close out region play against winless Danville and Cordova (2-5, 1-4), while the Raiders will wrap up against Cordova and Winfield.
There’s a very good chance Hanceville, Good Hope and Hamilton could all end up tied for the region title, which would bring the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s oft-confusing tiebreakers into play. Because the trio beat up on each other, head-to-head wouldn’t matter, instead coming down to “the team whose defeated non-region opponents in class and above have the most victories.”
In that case, Hamilton would have the step up for the region title. The runner-up spot would then be determined by head-to-head, which would give Good Hope hosting rights because of its 28-20 overtime victory against Hanceville in Week 2.
Class 4A, Region 6
% Local team: Fairview
% Already in: No. 5 Oneonta (6-1, 5-0), Guntersville (6-1, 4-1)
% Still fighting: Locust Fork (5-2, 3-2), Sardis (5-2, 3-2), Fairview (3-4, 2-3), St. Clair County (2-5, 2-3)
% The skinny: There are a few different ways Fairview can make the playoffs, but the easiest would be for the Aggies to take care of business this week at home against Sardis and Week 9 at Crossville (1-6, 0-5).
If Fairview loses Friday, it could still get in — but only with a lot of help. Let’s see how the Aggies do this week before we break down the Purple and Gold’s final fate.
Class 5A, Region 8
% Local team: Cullman
% Already in: Muscle Shoals (7-0, 5-0), Cullman (6-1, 5-0)
% Still fighting: Hartselle (5-2, 3-2), Athens (5-2, 3-2), Russellville (3-4, 2-3)
% The skinny: Cullman can clinch a first-round playoff game at Oliver Woodard Stadium with a win this week at home against Athens.
The Bearcats would then face off with Muscle Shoals on the road in Week 9 for the region title, though the loser would still be assured hosting rights.
If the Black and Gold fall to Athens, however, there are scenarios where they could still win the region title — by defeating Muscle Shoals — or drop to as low as fourth — by losing to Muscle Shoals and possibly ending up in a three-way tie with Athens and Hartselle.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.