Breaking down the final week of region play, plus playoff scenarios

Published 10:49 am Monday, October 22, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Overall record: 6-4 

Week 9 record: 51-19

The final week of region play is finally upon us, and as you would expect, a lot is on the line in each matchup this week. Some teams will be fighting for playoff spots, others will be battling for seeding and home field advantage in the first round, one will be playing for a region championship and some will be playing for pride.

Below, we’ll take a look at all of the region matchups for each of our teams and what to expect in each contest, as well as what the outcome will mean should they win or lose.  (Thompson vs. Hewitt-Trussville is our Game of the Week and has its own story) 

Spain Park vs. Tuscaloosa County

Spain Park finally got the monkey off its back last week thanks to a 21-0 shutout victory against rival Oak Mountain to end a six-game losing skid. The Jags got redemption for a tough 29-3 loss the season before and now get a chance to end region play with two consecutive wins with a matchup against 2-6 Tuscaloosa County this Friday. Both offenses are scoring 15.1 points per game or less, while Spain Park’s defense is giving up 24.1 points per game compared to Tuscaloosa County’s 28.4 points per game. The Jaguars have the better offense and defense, as well as home-field advantage. Spain Park 24, Tuscaloosa County 13 

Oak Mountain vs. Vestavia Hills 

The Eagles will have one final chance at a region win this Friday, and they’ll be taking on a Vestavia Hills team coming off the same gauntlet Oak Mountain had earlier this season taking on Hewitt, Thompson and Hoover in its last three games. That stretch seemed to derail Oak Mountain’s season thanks to its physically exhausting nature, which may benefit the Eagles in this game. The Rebels are slightly better on both sides of the ball and Oak Mountain is struggling in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. Oak Mountain 14, Vestavia Hills 21

Pelham vs. Helena

There isn’t much more you can ask for on the final week of region play than a rivalry matchup for a playoff spot. The two schools, that used to be one, will now compete against one another for the fourth and final playoff spot in Class 6A, Region 5. Should one win and Minor lose, they will get the three seed, but if Minor wins, they’ll get the four seed. And there is no way for both to get in due to Minor holding a tiebreaker over the two. The Huskies will enter the matchup winners of three of their last four after a three-game losing streak was snapped against undefeated Jackson-Olin in overtime last week. Pelham, a team that has been streaky all season, will enter the game with a 45-28 win against Northridge last week. On paper, Pelham is the better team and should win this game, but Helena’s defense is playing so well right now that nothing would surprise me. With Pelham’s inconsistency on offense at times, that could be a difference maker. I picked the Panthers to win this region, so I have to stick with them to at least make the playoffs. Pelham 28, Helena 17

Calera vs. Chelsea

One of the toughest games to predict this week, Calera and Chelsea will both come into this non-region matchup with an overall record of 1-7. Chelsea was able to pull off that lone win a week ago after being on the verge of a breakthrough all season, which means they’ll be caring the confidence of a victory. Calera, on the other hand, is coming into the matchup off a disappointing 40-7 loss to Benjamin Russell in a game that determined a playoff spot. Neither team is scoring many points per game this season, and both defenses 30 points per game. I do think Chelsea’s defense is slightly better, but Calera’s offense has more natural talent that can make plays. It truly is a toss-up, but I like the fight with which the Hornets are playing with right now. Calera 24, Chelsea 28

Briarwood vs. Fairfield (Thursday)

This game will take place at Briarwood on Thursday night, and the Lions desperately need a bounce back victory. Coming off possibly their worst offensive performance in a couple of years in a 21-7 loss to Ramsay, the Lions will now get a 3-5 Fairfield team. While the game won’t impact Briarwood’s seeding in the playoffs, already having guaranteed themselves the two seed, it is a chance for them to gain confidence going into the final week of the regular season and the playoffs. Briarwood’s defense, giving up 8.3 points per game, is just so much better that it’s hard to see them losing this one. Plus, they’ll shore up the offensive side of the ball at practice. Briarwood 28, Fairfield 13 

Shelby County at Jemison

With Shelby County’s tough 50-44 loss to Central-Tuscaloosa last Friday, the Wildcats were officially eliminated from playoff contention and now have a matchup with Jemison that’s all about pride. Last season, this game ended in a brawl on the field, and now the two teams will meet again looking to mend that broken fence. Both teams sit at 1-4 in region play, while Shelby County is 2-6 overall and Jemison is 1-7 overall. The Wildcats were struggling offensively to start the season, but have gotten on a role of late and now get a Panthers’ defense that is giving up 41.3 points per game. Both teams are scoring right at 20 points per game, but at least Shelby County plays defense, which should give the Wildcats a slight edge. Shelby County 31, Jemison 24 

Montevallo vs. Greensboro

With last week’s 28-21 victory against Sipsey Valley, the Montevallo Bulldogs not only locked up a playoff spot, but also locked up the No. 2 seed out of the region, meaning home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Now, the Bulldogs will put their 7-1 record to the test against 3-5 Greensboro to close out region play. Greensboro is coming off a 30-6 loss to American Christian and has lost four of five games. Their defense is decent at 20.6 points per game, but their offense is struggling scoring just 15.8 points per game. Last week, the Bulldogs’ defense was what stood out despite the offense being the focus most of the year. With both sides clicking, it’s hard to see the Bulldogs dropping this one solely based off of Greensboro’s offensive struggles. Montevallo 28, Greensboro 14

Vincent vs. Fayetteville

While Vincent is coming off a 48-13 loss to Reeltown, it was a Reeltown team that is 7-1 and leading the region. Now, the Yellow Jackets get a 1-7 Fayetteville team with a playoff spot on the line. Should Vincent pull off the victory, they would improve to 3-3 in region play and lock up a playoff spot. If they lose, then they’ll miss out on the postseason. There really aren’t any excuses for losing either. The Wolves are scoring just 6.3 points per game, while giving up 33.1 points per game. I fully expect a better Vincent team to pull off the win and advance to the postseason for the first time since 2014. Vincent 28, Fayetteville 10