Playoff picture less cloudy

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 By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

Believe it or not, it’s already Week 9 of the high school football season. And most playoff races will be determined this week, excluding any three-way ties that will require next week’s results to decide. Here’s a look at the regions involving the Etowah County teams.

Class 6A, Region 7

Clay-Chalkville and Oxford are tied for the region lead, with Huntsville, Pell City and Gadsden City a game behind. There are so many three-way possibilities here that figuring out who is in and who is out is virtually impossible. But the main thing is that Gadsden City needs to beat Huntsville to have a berth.           

Pell City and Oxford play each other, so any ties with the Titans go to the Panthers and Yellow Jackets because both beat Gadsden City.

It’s also a possibility for the Titans to be in a three-way tie for first place, but odds are that Lee-Huntsville won’t beat Clay.

If Clay-Chalkville takes care of business, the winner of Gadsden City-Huntsville and the winner of Oxford-Pell City will be tied for second and the losers tied for fourth. If Gadsden City is one of those losers, they’re out because of head-to-head matchups.

“We’ve got to win to get in,” Gadsden City coach Matt Scott said. “It’s that simple. There’s no room for error – but that goes for Huntsville, too. If they lose, they’re out.”

Class 5A, Region 7

With its win over Etowah, Southside clinched the region championship. Even a loss to Brewer this week won’t spoil that fact, as Scottsboro trails by a game and the Panthers won that matchup in Week 3.

Etowah and Fort Payne currently are tied for third place, and no other team is within shouting distance.

For the Blue Devils to have a chance at home-field advantage Fort Payne must defeat Scottsboro and Etowah must take care of business at home against Boaz, which would create a three-way tie for second place between Etowah, Fort Payne and Scottsboro.

“There are a lot of scenarios for the playoffs,” Etowah coach Drew Noles said. “We’ve got them written out on the board, but right now, we’re trying to keep our focus on Boaz.”

Class 4A, Region 5

Hokes Bluff has no chance at making the postseason.

Class 4A, Region 6

Oneonta is king of the hill with an undefeated 5-0 region mark. Right behind, with one loss, is Guntersville.

Sardis, St. Clair County, Locust Fork and Fairview are all tied for third place.

St. Clair and Locust Fork go head to head, so the winner of that game is in. Fairview plays Crossville and Sardis meets Oneonta. Since St. Clair beat Sardis and Sardis beat Locust Fork, the Lions can get in with a loss to Oneonta if Fairview loses to Crossville. But if Fairview wins, Sardis most likely is out.

Class 3A, Region 5

Saks and Piedmont have wrapped up the first two playoff slots.

Weaver is in third place with Cleveland and Glencoe both one game behind. Cleveland has the rougher draw in having to face Saks, which is coming off a win over Piedmont. Glencoe plays Ashville, while  Weaver faces Piedmont.

If things go as they should, Glencoe will be in the playoffs with the fourth seed.

“The best we can do is a No. 4 seed,” Glencoe coach Lee Ozmint said. “But that’s better than sitting at home.”

Class 2A, Region 7

Fyffe is region champion and Westbrook Christian currently is tied with North Sand Mountain in second place. Tied for third are Gaston, Sand Rock and Section.

Westbrook and NSM go head to head this week. Westbrook has to win to make the playoffs.

“At least, having something to play for this late in the season is a good thing,” Westbrook coach Tony Osborne said. “It’s a lot easier to get the players motivated to play.”

Gaston plays West End and Sand Rock takes on Ider. For Gaston to get in the postseason, Westbrook must lose and Gaston must win. That creates a three-way tie that favors the Bulldogs.

“To play an 11th game, we’ve got to win, pure and simple,” Gaston coach Swane Morris said. “And we can’t be worried about the other teams. If we’re caught scoreboard watching, we’ll get beat. There’s only one thing we can control, and that’s the way we play against West End.”

West End is out of playoff contention.

Class 1A, Region 7

Coosa Christian is out of contention.

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