E.A. Sports Today

Playoff picture

Here is a look at the way the playoff spots shape up for the regions involving teams in and around Calhoun County

By Kurt Duryea
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

Class 6A Region 7 (first round region cross with 6A, Region 8)

Oxford Yellow Jackets (7-1, 5-0) – The Yellow Jackets are currently tied for first with the Fort Payne Wildcats (6-2, 5-0) and they square off Friday night at Wildcat Stadium with the winner claiming the region championship. Fort Payne won back-to-back 6A, Region 8 championships in 2018 and 2019.The first-round region cross with Region 7 is Region 6, meaning the champion will face No. 4 seed from Region 6, which will be decided by the winner of this week’s Minor at Jackson-Olin game. The 6A Region 6 No. 3 seed is Gardendale.

Class 5A Region 6 (first round region cross with 5A, Region 7)

Alexandria Valley Cubs (8-0, 6-0) – Alexandria wants a deep playoff run in this historic season that saw the Valley Cubs earned their 600th victory in school history earlier this year.  Just two games – Leeds Friday and Piedmont Oct. 30 – separate Alexandria from its first undefeated regular season since 2006. That was also the final season Larry Ginn prowled the Valley Cubs sideline.

First things first, though. A victory over the Leeds Green Wave (8-1, 6-0) would give Alexandria its first region championship since 2015. The No. 1 seed in 5A Region 6 will play the No. 4 seed from Region 7 in the first round, the West Point Warriors.  Should Alexandria end up as the No. 2 seed, the Valley Cubs will host the Boaz Pirates.

Oh, about the trip to Leeds … Four years ago, Homer Smiles Field completed a $1.1 million renovation.  One thing that didn’t change was the seating arrangements. Everyone sits on the home side. There are no visitors side bleachers. 

Class 4A, Region 4 (first round region cross with 4A, Region 1)

Jacksonville Golden Eagles (5-3, 4-1) – The Golden Eagles will travel to Cherokee County’s Bobby Joe Johnson Field to determine which team will be the region runner-up and secure a home game in round one of the playoffs and which team will share a beach vacation with another traveling team 4A Region 4 team TBD (Anniston/Cleburne County/Munford). The order of finish in 4A Region 1 has not been determined. However, it’s likely to be No. 1 Mobile Christian with the 2-3-4 seeds going to a deep tiebreaker among Williamson, Jackson and Vigor.

Anniston Bulldogs (2-6, 2-3) –Anniston, coming off a week of forfeit for “precautionary” health reasons, can clinch the No. 4 seed in 4A Region 4 with a victory over the Cleburne County Tigers this week.  A loss to the Tigers would create a three-way split among Anniston, Munford and Cleburne County, but the outcome would not be determined until after the final game.

In a three-way tie-breaker situation using tie-breaker n) The team whose defeated opponents have the most victories Anniston would come up short as the Bulldogs have no victories over non-region opponents. (Cleburne County has 1 non-region point through a forfeit win over Beulah and it wraps with Randolph County; Munford has 2 points and a head-to-head win over Cleburne County). Reward for the 4A Region 4 team is a trip to the beach, kind of. The 4A Region 1 champion will be determined this week as well when Mobile Christian travels to face Williamson.  The winner captures the region crown. 

Class 3A, Region 5 (first round region cross with 5A, Region 8)

Wellborn (8-0, 6-0)– Wellborn will close out its regular season Friday night at home against Piedmont. The Panthers can claim their first region title since 1995 with a victory; they defeated the Bulldogs in the regular season last year only to lose to Piedmont in the state semi-finals. A loss will likely lead to a three-way tie among Ohatchee, Piedmont and Wellborn.

In that case, because the teams involved did not play the same number of games, applicable tie-breaker is: n) The team whose defeated opponents have the most victories.  The final count will not be determined until all season games have been played.  However, the tie-breaker appears to favor Piedmont which would make Wellborn the No. 2 team and Ohatchee the 3.   

Ohatchee Indians (7-1, 5-1) – The Indians close out region play against winless Weaver and then the regular season hosting Munford. Ohatchee’s only setback was a 20-14 OT loss to unbeaten Wellborn. If Wellborn beats Piedmont then Ohatchee (barring a loss to Weaver) will be the No. 2 seed, setting up a potential second-round match at Fyffe, a rematch of the 2018 third round.

Piedmont Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1) – Piedmont is seeking a sixth consecutive region championship. In order to accomplish that feat, the Bulldogs must beat Wellborn Friday night. The Bulldogs would then be included in three-way tie for the third consecutive season. In each of those seasons, Piedmont’s non-region victories have proven to be the difference in determining the region No. 1. A Piedmont loss to Walter Wellborn would drop the Bulldogs to the 3 seed, which would result in a road trip to Rogersville and a re-match with Lauderdale County. In 2019, Bulldogs defeated the Tigers in round two at the Field of Champions.

Saks Wildcats (6-3, 3-3) – The Wildcats will host Hokes Bluff this week with the winner securing the fourth seed in 3A Region 5 and meeting the East Lawrence Eagles (7-1, 5-0). The Eagles claimed their first region title since 1997 and only their second in school history. East Lawrence has never won a first-round playoff game. It’s worth noting that the Eagles are under the guidance of first year head coach Bo Culver. Culver’s stops have included Phil Campbell, Haleyville, Deshler, and Hartselle.  He guided Deshler to a Class 4A state runner-up finish in 2018.  Saks and East Lawrence have never met.

THE REAL QUESTION IN THE CLASS 3A NORTH BRACKET:  When would the county teams face Fyffe?

The Red Devils will be the No. 1 seed in 3A Region 7 and play the No. 4 team in Region 6 to start the postseason. The following assumes that Fyffe and Ohatchee/Piedmont/Wellborn/Saks win. In Round 2, Fyffe would draw the No. 2 seed from Region 5. The quarterfinal game would be between Fyffe and the 3A Region 5 No. 3 seed. In the North semifinal it would be either the 3A No. 1 or the 3A No. 4 seed.  So, providing the local Class 3A area teams advance, Fyffe would have to face one of them in rounds 2, 3 and 4.   

Calhoun County teams that will not play in the 2020 postseason: 1A Donoho Falcons, 3A Pleasant Valley Raiders, 3A Weaver Bearcats, 4A White Plains Wildcats.

Kurt Duryea is a high school sports broadcaster for WCKA radio (810 AM, 94.3 and 96.1 FM) and a regular contributor to East Alabama Sports Today.

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