For the first time in several years, the annual Tiger/Trojan contest features more on the line than just county bragging rights. Cedar Bluffs win over Gaston and Gaylesvilles come-from-behind victory over region frontrunner and then-No. 8 Valley Head threw the Class 1A, Region 7 seeding for a loop, to put it mildly. A Trojan wins means Gaylesville wins the region championship, while a Cedar Bluff win drops the Trojans to fourth place because of a loss to Gaston in Week 2. A Cedar Bluff triumph put the Tigers at at 5-2, locking up a playoff spot and clinching the region's second seed due to a Week 8 win over Gaston. If Cedar Bluff loses and Spring Garden defeats Skyline, the
Panthers and the Tigers would be tied at 4-3, but Spring Garden would get the fourth and final playoff spot by vitue of a Week 7 win over Cedar Bluff. In other words, it's all or nothing for the Tigers on Friday.
If Cedar Bluff loses, Gaylesville wins, Valley Head beats Collinsville and Gaston defeats Woodville, Valley Head earns a share of the region title and the Bulldogs have the No. 2 seed. This is Gaylesvilles best opportunity in years to end an 11-game skid Cedar Bluff, but the Tigers seem to be peaking at the right time. The last thing Cedar Bluff wants is to be bounced out of the playoff picture via a loss to its longtime county adversary. The Tiger defense has allowed 12.2 points per game and the Trojan offense has averaged 34.4.It will be interesting to see which unit gives way on Friday.
Boaz (6-2) at Cherokee County (4-4)
Cherokee County remains in control of its own destiny for a Class 4A, Region 6 playoff spot. With their win over Jacksonville last week, the Warriors, Boaz, Alexandria and Guntersville are tied for second in the region at 4-2 behing Saks (5-1). A victory over the Pirates would clinch a playoff berth. Assuming that Saks beats winless Douglas, Saks wins the region outright. If CCHS wins and Alexandria and Guntersville lose, the Warriors finish at the No. 2 seed. If CCHS wins, Alexandria loses and Guntersville wins, the Warriors also finish at No. 2. If CCHS, Alexandria and Guntersville all win and finish at 5-2, the Warriors get the No. 3 spot since they lost to the Valley Cubs in Week 7 and beat the the Wildcats in Week 3. If CCHS wins, Alexandria, wins and Guntersville loses, the Warrriors also finish with the third seed. The only scenario for Cherokee County to lose on Friday and still make the playoffs is if Guntersville loses to Ashville.
Piedmont (6-2) at Sand Rock (7-1)
Little is riding on the outcome of this game except the Class 2A, Region 7 runner-up spot. The Wildcats are on a six-game winning streak, and a seventh consecutive victory would secure their first home playoff game since 2001. Much of the Rockers recent success can be traced to a single statistic - a scoring defense that has allowed only 6.7 points per game, tops in Class 2A. The Cat defense has posted three shutouts and permitted more than seven points only to No. 1 ranked Fyffe. On the flip side, Piedmont has won six of its last seven games and its only region loss also was at the hands of the Red Devils. Sand Rock hasnt faced a team with the caliber of offensive playmakers that the Dogs boast of, Fyffe, included, so the Wildcat defense has its work cut out. Piedmont edged out the Wildcats, 26-21 last season, and coach Jacoway likely hasnt let his squad forget said loss.
Skyline (1-7) at Spring Garden (4-4)
The Panthers dined on winless Woodville by a 63-21 score last week, and the regional feast should continue on Friday against the Vikings. Its apparent that the Oct. 12 win over Cedar Bluff turned around Spring Gardens season. With a victory on Friday combined with a Gaylesville win over the Tigers, the Panthers close out Class 1A, Region 7 play at 4-3 and clinch their first playoff berth since 2002. Such an outcome looked doubtful at best only three weeks ago when the Garden was sitting at 2-4 with three region losses. Look for the Maroon & Yellow squad to extend its winning streak to three games by late Friday night.
Valley Head (7-1 at Collinsville (2-6)
If Collinsville was ever fit for a major spoiler role, its on Friday night. Valley Heads loss to Gaylesville last week threw the Class 1A, Region 7 seedings into a quandary, while Collinsvilles win over Skyline gave the Panthers two straight victories. This contest went from a tune-up for the Tigers to a crucial playoff positioning in a hurry, so dont bet on three in a row for Collinsville