Who’s in, who’s out, and who still has a chance: Playoff edition

With their big win over Chilton County last Friday, the Chelsea Hornets took a huge step towards claiming a playoff spot. Check out whichcounty teams are in the 2016 playoffs, which teams are out, and which still have a fighting chance. (File)

With their big win over Chilton County last Friday, the Chelsea Hornets took a huge step towards claiming a playoff spot. Check out whichcounty teams are in the 2016 playoffs, which teams are out, and which still have a fighting chance. (File)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

With the last week of football region action looming this Friday, this is as good of a time as any to take a minute and look at which teams are in the 2016 playoffs, which teams are out, and which teams need this Friday night to break just the right way in order to sneak in. We’ve taken a look at every single county team’s situation, and looked at a wide range of possible options for what could happen this week. Let’s take a look at where all the county teams stand heading into Week 10.

Teams that are in for sure

  1. Briarwood (7-1, 6-0). The Lions haven’t lost since August, and are currently undefeated in 5A Region 5. With their 43-21 win over Shelby County this past Friday, the Lions secured their first region championship since 2011. When the regular season concludes, Briarwood will host the No. 4 seed out of 5A Region 6 on Nov. 4, which at this point looks to be Corner High School out of Jasper.
  1. Cornerstone Christian (6-2, 4-0). For the first time in the history of the school, the Cornerstone Christian Chargers are region champs. After beating Macon-East 22-19 on Oct. 14, Tim Smith’s team locked up the AISA AA Region 1 crown and will host the opening round of the AISA AA tournament against either Wilcox Academy or Sumter Academy.
  1. Montevallo (7-1, 4-1). After losing this past Friday to Gordo, the Bulldogs locked up the No. 2 seed in 3A Region 4 and are going back to the playoffs for the second year in a row as the second seed out of their region. As the No. 2 seed in Region 4, the Bulldogs will host the No. 3 seed out of Region 3 in the first round. Depending on what happens this week that could be either Montgomery Academy, Southside Selma or Prattville Christian.
  1. Calera (6-2, 4-1). The Eagles, for the fifth year in a row, are playoff bound. Whatever Calera does this Friday against Marbury does not matter, as the Eagles will still receive the No. 2 seed out of 5A Region 3. With the second seed, Calera will host the first round of the 5A state championship, and will play either Lincoln, Sylacauga, Cleburne County or possibly Beauregard. 5A Region 4 is all jumbled up. But regardless, Calera is not only in the playoffs, but hosting a game as well.
  1. Spain Park (6-2, 4-2). Spain Park is going back to the playoffs. 7A Region 3 is a headache right now, but the Jags will either be the No. 2, 3 or 4 seed out of the region when the dust settles. Spain Park and Mountain Brook are currently 4-2 in region play, while Thompson and Oak Mountain are 3-3 with one game left to play for each. Those four are the frontrunners to, in some order, claim the final three playoff spots behind Hoover in that region. Spain Park plays Oak Mountain this week while Thompson has a date with Hoover and Mountain Brook will take on Huffman. Here is a breakdown of what can happen to Spain Park this Friday night, depending on who beats who.

IF

  • Spain Park wins (moves to 5-2) and Mountain Brook loses (moves to 4-3). The Jags get the No. 2 seed. Simple enough.
  • Both Spain Park and Mountain Brook win (both move to 5-2). Mountain Brook gets the No. 2 seed and Spain Park falls to No. 3 due to Mountain Brook’s head-to-head win over Spain Park on Sept. 16. Again, still simple. As the No. 3 seed, the Jags will travel to take on the second seed out of Region 4, which will most likely be either Gadsden City, Bob Jones or James Clemens.
  • Spain Park loses to Oak Mountain (both fall to 4-3). Okay. Here’s the deal. If Spain Park loses to Oak Mountain, nothing else matters, the Jags are getting the No. 4 slot out of the region. Whether or not Mountain Brook beats or loses to Huffman, whether or not Thompson beats or loses to Hoover. Doesn’t matter. If the Jags lose, they get the No. 4 spot. This can be a really, REALLY complicated scenario to walk through depending on what happens in the Thompson and Mountain Brook games, but at the end of the day none of that matters for Spain Park. If the Jags lose this Friday, they are in as the No. 4 team. In this situation, Spain Park will likely travel to play Hewitt-Trussville.

 

Teams that are out for sure

  1. Pelham
  2. Vincent
  3. Shelby County

 

Bubble teams

  1. Thompson (5-3, 3-3). Thompson needs some help, but the Warriors still have a chance to break their 10-year playoff drought. Of all the complicated scenarios that exist in 7A Region 3, Thompson’s situation is maddeningly simple. This Warriors team just needs to do something no team from Thompson has ever done before to have a chance, beat Hoover. Even if Thompson is able to knock off the Bucs, however, the scenario still exists that would keep the Warriors out of the playoffs, which would be a tough pill to swallow. Here’s how Thompson’s situation breaks down.

IF

  • Thompson loses to Hoover. The Warriors are done.
  • Oak Mountain beats Spain Park. If Oak Mountain wins, it doesn’t matter what Thompson does, the Warriors are still out. If both Oak Mountain and Thompson win, this would give Thompson, Oak Mountain and Spain Park all 4-3 region records, and the potential still looms for Mountain Brook to also be 4-3 if the Spartans lose to Huffman, creating a four-team pile up at 4-3. Mountain Brook, with head-to-head wins over all three of the other teams, would still get the nod as the No. 2 seed if that happens, so whether or not the Spartans are 4-3 or 5-2 is irrelevant, they get the No. 2 seed in this situation. Oak Mountain would get the nod as the three seed over Spain Park and Thompson because the Eagles would have beaten both of those teams in the regular season, and Spain Park would get in over Thompson because the Jags beat the Warriors in their head-to-head matchup on Oct. 6.
  • Thompson beats Hoover and Oak Mountain loses to Spain Park. This is Thompson’s only chance. With a win over Hoover, the Warriors move to 4-3, and if Oak Mountain loses to Spain Park, the Eagles fall to 3-4. In this scenario, Thompson takes the No. 4 seed behind Hoover, Mountain Brook and Spain Park. For all the Warrior fans out there, this is the scenario you’re rooting for.

WHAT GETS THOMPSON IN

  • A win over Hoover and an Oak Mountain loss to Spain Park.

WHAT KEEPS THOMPSON OUT

  • A loss to Hoover

OR

  • An Oak Mountain win over Spain Park.

 

  1. Oak Mountain (3-5, 3-3). With a win this week against Spain Park, Oak Mountain is back in the playoffs. With a loss, however, the chance still remains for the Eagles to sneak in, but it gets a little more complicated. Let’s take a look.

IF

  • Oak Mountain beats Spain Park. The Eagles are in as the No. 3 seed in the region.
  • Oak Mountain loses (falls to 3-4) and Thompson wins (moves to 4-3). In this scenario, Oak Mountain is out and Thompson is in with the better region record.
  • Oak Mountain and Thompson both lose (move to 3-4) and Huffman loses to Mountain Brook (falls to 2-5). Here, it doesn’t matter whether or not Vestavia beats Tuscaloosa County and moves to 3-4 or not. If there is a three-team tie or a two-team tie for fourth place, Oak Mountain gets the nod either way because the Eagles have wins over both the Rebels and the Warriors.
  • Oak Mountain and Thompson both lose (move to 3-4) and Huffman beats Mountain Brook (moves to 3-4). Again, Oak Mountain isn’t concerned with what happens in the Vestavia Hills game, as whether or not the Rebels get to 3-4 with a win over Tuscaloosa County will not affect the Eagles’ playoff chances. If both Oak Mountain and Thompson lose, all Oak Mountain is concerned with is what happens to Huffman. If Huffman wins and Vestavia loses, Huffman gets in. If both Oak Mountain and Thompson lose while Huffman and Vestavia both win, then Vestavia gets in. The reasoning behind this is long and complex, but suffice it to say that if Oak Mountain and Thompson both lose and Huffman wins, Oak Mountain is out and someone else takes that No. 4 spot.

WHAT GETS OAK MOUNTAIN IN

  • A win over Spain Park.

OR

  • A loss to Spain Park, a Thompson loss to Hoover and a Huffman loss to Mountain Brook. (In this case, whether Vestavia wins or loses is irrelevant, Oak Mountain still gets in).

WHAT KEEPS OAK MOUNTAIN OUT

  • A loss to Spain Park and a Thompson win over Hoover.

OR

  • A loss to Spain Park, a Thompson loss to Hoover and a Huffman win over Mountain Brook. (If Huffman beats Mountain Brook and Vestavia loses, Huffman gets in. If both Huffman and Vestavia win while Oak Mountain and Thompson lose, Vestavia gets in. Either way, Oak Mountain is out).

 

  1. Chelsea (6-2, 3-2). While Chelsea has spent time in the 6A top 10 this season and has generally been impressive throughout the year, the Hornets have not yet clinched a playoff berth. The Hornets, along with Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell, currently sport a 3-2 6A Region 3 record, while Helena is at 2-3. Chelsea plays Helena this Friday, while Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell play each other as well, meaning there could be one 4-2 team and three 3-3 teams among that bunch once the dust settles if Chelsea loses to Helena. Chelsea’s situation is simple. Let’s take a look.

IF

  • Chelsea beats Helena. The Hornets are in as either the two or the three seed, depending on who wins the Wetumpka-Benjamin Russell game.
  • Chelsea loses to Helena (both move to 3-3) and Benjamin Russell beats Wetumpka. The Hornets fall to 3-3 in region play alongside Helena and Wetumpka. Since these three all beat each other, Helena takes the No. 3 spot if this plays out thanks to the fact the Huskies would be the only team with a win over Benjamin Russell. Chelsea would grab the No. 4 spot over Wetumpka thanks to their head-to-head win.
  • Chelsea loses Helena (both move to 3-3) and Wetumpka beats Benjamin Russell. In this situation, Helena still gets the No. 3 seed because the Huskies would have region wins over both Chelsea and Benjamin Russell, and Chelsea would be the odd team out due to the fact the Hornets lost their head-to-head matchup with the Wildcats on Sept. 9. A Chelsea loss and a Benjamin Russell loss is the only way the Hornets can still miss the playoffs.

WHAT GETS CHELSEA IN

  • A win over Helena.

OR

  • A Wetumpka loss to Benjamin Russell. (In this case, whether or not Chelsea wins is irrelevant, they are still in).

WHAT KEEPS CHELSEA OUT

  • A loss to Helena and a Benjamin Russell loss to Wetumpka.

 

  1. Helena (3-5, 2-3). Helena kept their playoff hopes alive with a crucial win over Benjamin Russell last week, and now the Huskies are in a surprisingly simple spot heading into their final region game against Chelsea. If the Huskies beat Chelsea, they are in as the No. 3 seed in the region. If they lose, they are out. Simple as that.

WHAT GETS HELENA IN

  • A win over Chelsea.

WHAT KEEPS HELENA OUT.

  • A loss to Chelsea.

 

  1. Kingwood Christian (2-6, 1-3). If the Lions can beat a 1-6 (0-4) Macon-East team this Friday, then they are in with just three wins on the year as the fourth seed out of AISA AA Region 1. If Kingwood loses and Coosa Valley wins, then the Lions are out. If Kingwood loses and Coosa Valley loses as well, then all three will have 1-4 region records. In that situation, it is unclear what will happen.

WHAT GETS KINGWOOD IN

  • A win over Macon-East

OR

  • Potentially a loss to Macon-East and a Coosa Valley loss to Cornerstone Christian.

WHAT KEEPS KINGWOOD OUT

  • A loss to Macon-East and a Coosa Valley win over Cornerstone Christian.

OR

  • Potentially a loss to Macon-East and a Coosa Valley loss to Cornerstone Christian.

 

  1. Coosa Valley (1-7, 1-3). The Rebels have a shot to get into the AISA playoffs as well, but it will involve them beating Cornerstone this week. If Coosa Valley can give the Chargers their first region loss, moving to 2-3 in the process, and Kingwood loses to Macon-East, then the Rebels are in with just two wins on the year. A Coosa Valley loss or a Kingwood win means the Rebels are done, however.

WHAT GETS COOSA VALLEY IN

  • A win over Cornerstone Christian and a Kingwood loss to Macon-East.

OR

  • Potentially a loss to Cornerstone Christian and a Kingwood loss to Macon-East.

WHAT KEEPS COOSA VALLEY OUT

  • A loss to Cornerstone Christian and a Kingwood win over Macon-East

OR

  • Potentially a loss to Cornerstone Christian and a Kingwood loss to Macon-East.