When the Alabama High School Athletic Association state football playoffs begin next week, 192 schools will be in the field. That’s 32 qualifiers in each of six classifications with all moving toward the Super 6 State Championships to be played for the first time at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium on Dec. 2-3.
With one week left in the regular season, however, seven regions still have some unsettled qualifiers. Five of the regions involved are trying to fill the final No. 4 qualifier this week. And two, Class 6A, Region 6 and Class 6A, Region 7, have qualifying spots No. 2, 3 and 4 still up for grabs.
That means the berths will be decided by applying the AHSAA football playoff tie breakers in all seven cases — where three teams are deadlocked for the remaining playoff qualifying positions.
In Class 6A, Region 6, nationally ranked Hoover
(9-0) clinched the region title outright with a 24-3 win over Mountain Brook last week. It was Coach Josh Niblett’s defending 6A state champs’ 16th straight win. That left Mountain Brook (Birmingham)
, Vestavia Hills
and Spain Park (Hoover)
tied for second place with 5-2 region records. Since the Rebels beat the Spartans, the Spartans beat the Jags and the Jags beat the Rebels, the final outcome will rest on results in this week’s non-region games. All three teams are in the playoffs, however, either at 2, 3 or 4. The deadlock will be settled by the AHSAA’s Tie-breaker (L), which states: The team whose defeated non-region opponents in class and above have the most victories – if all teams involved in the tie play an equal number of games.
Once the second-place qualifier is determined, the two remaining teams will decide places three and four by tie breaker (A) – settled by which team won the head-to-head region contest played during the regular season. What that all means is that fans should keep an eye on Mountain Brook’s game at Buckhorn, Vestavia’s game with Shades Valley and Spain Park’s game with Clay-Chalkville. If Mountain Brook wins, it will be No. 2. Since Spain Park downed Vestavia Hills 19-16 in region play, the Jags would then be third and the Rebels, fourth. It the Spartans lose, however, it could open the door for either Vestavia or Spain Park to emerge as No. 2.
In Class 6A, Region 7, Gadsden City
captured the region title last week with its win over Hewitt-Trussville. The Huskies are now deadlocked with Clay-Chalkville (Pinson)
for the 2, 3 and 4 qualifying spots. Like Region 6, all three teams are in. Tie-breaker (L) will decide their fates as well.
Oxford has the advantage if it can beat powerful Central-Phenix City this week. If the Yellow Jackets lose, then Hewitt could take No. 2 with a win over Pelham. Clay can’t clinch second but could finish as high as third.
The other five regions still in question have three teams tied for fourth place in each region race with that one playoff berth on the line. * Class 1A, Region 4: Keith (Orrville)
, Holy Spirit Catholic (Tuscaloosa)
and Essex (Demopolis)
will use tie-breaker (L) to settle which team advances to the state playoffs. The Titans could clinch with a win over American Christian this week. Should the Titans lose, Keith appears to be at a slight advantage but still needs either Calhoun or Southside-Selma to win their contests this week.* Class 2A, Region 4: Marion
, Isabella (Maplesville)
are deadlocked for fourth place and will also use tie-breaker (L). Marion could seal the deal with a win over Class 5A Wilcox-Central this week.* Class 2A, Region 5: Ranburne
, Randolph County (Wedowee)
and Horseshoe Bend (New Site)
must use tie-breaker (L) to break the deadlock for fourth place as well. Horseshoe Bend could clinch with a win over Thorsby, but should the Generals lose, Ranburne would be the fourth playoff qualifier.* Class 2A, Region 5: Sand Rock (Leesburg)
, Pleasant Valley (Jacksonville)
and North Sand Mountain (Higdon)
face the same situation in Region 5 and will use tie-breaker (L) to break the tie. North Sand Mountain will capture the spot with a win over Pisgah. If the Thundering Herd loses, however, Pleasant Valley would emerge. * Class 3A, Region 5: Hanceville
, Winston County (Double Springs)
are tied for fourth place with identical 4-4 region records. Vinemont, however, only plays nine games this season which sends this deadlock all the way to AHSAA tie- breaker (N). Tie breaker (N) states: The team whose defeated opponents have the most wins.
All three teams are still in the running, but Vinemont could clinch with a win over West Morgan.
BIG GAMES BRING OUT BEST
Last week’s final week of region play also provided some special athletes with a chance to shine in clutch efforts – especially in the small-school ranks. Here is a sampling of such stars:* Frank Senn, Pleasant Home (Andalusia):
Two weeks ago, Senn, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior, ran for 329 yards as the Eagles moved to within one win of the state playoffs. Last week, he helped Pleasant Home (5-4) clinch the fourth playoff berth in Class 1A, Region 2 with a school-record 374 yards on 31 carries to lead the Eagles to a 28-14 win over Geneva County. The victory clinched a Class 1A, Region 2 playoff berth for Pleasant Home. He did it with some tough inside running as well as some big gainers. He had long runs of 59, 53, 31 and 30 yards. He has now rushed for 703 yards in the last two games with one regular-season game remaining this week and a trip to the first round to face powerhouse Sweet Water in two weeks.* Jonathan Redd, Mobile Christian:
The 5-11, 195-pound senior completed 14 of 24 passes for 405 yards with touchdown passes of 35 and 48 yards in a 42-10 win over Cottage Hill Christian. He also added two running touchdowns as the Leopards clinched the third seed in Class 2A, Region 1. Redd’s 400-yard plus passing performance was the first of the season in the AHSAA this year.* Ardarius Stewart, Fultondale (Birmingham):
The 5-10, 165-pound sophomore quarterback posted 456 yards of total offense in a 46-12 win over Victory Christian in Class 2A. The Wildcats dropped several close games early in the season and will not make the playoffs in Region 7. Stewart, however, will write his name in the AHSAA record book with his 12 of 16 passing performance that netted 265 yards and his 21 rush attempts that netted for 241 yards. He rushed for five touchdowns and passed for one. He now has 21 rushing touchdowns and nine touchdowns passing on the year and has gone over 1,000 yards rushing and passing – another first in Fultondale school history.* Zachary King, Sylvania:
The 6-1, 170-pound sophomore quarterback accounted for 404 yards total offense as Sylvania defeated New Hope in a wild 76-48 Class 3A thriller. The 124 combined points was the sixth most in AHSAA history. King ran 12 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns (5, 17 and 44 yards). He also completed 8 of 12 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns. His touchdown passes covered 42, 9 and 28 yards. Five of the touchdowns King had a hand in were scored in the first half. * Anthony Herbert, T.R. Miller (Brewton):
The 5-foot-10, 153-pound senior piled up 340 yards rushing on 17 carries with touchdown runs covering 79, 86, 14 and 3 yards as the Tigers beat Montgomery-Catholic 48-35 and clinched the fourth seed in Class 3A, Region 1.* Denzel Williams, Shelby County (Columbiana):
The 5-9, 190-pound junior running back set a school record with 45 carries en route to 271 rushing yards and two scores in a 34-27 loss to Pinson Valley. TRINITY'S RAGSDALE WINS 200TH
Randy Ragsdale of Trinity Presbyterian (Montgomery)
(8-1) captured the 200th victory of his prep head coaching career last week when the Wildcats beat arch-rival Montgomery Academy 41-7 to clinch the second seed in Class 3A, Region 1. For Ragsdale, it took him just 22 seasons to reach the 200th-win mark. He is now 200-57 for his career, all at Trinity. Daphne
football coach Glenn Vickery won his 200th career game two weeks ago when the unbeaten Trojans (9-0) clinched the Class 6A, Region 2 championship with their win over Fairhope.