The Playoff Puzzle: a closer looks at each region

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 8, 2004

By: Mike Grayson/For The Demopolis Times

The calendar clearly shows its October, and yes, the venerable old coach always said “we’re gonna play ’em’ one at a time”. But, the playoffs are like Christmas, it’s never too early to start wishing and talking about it.

Each week we edge closer to separating the pretenders from the contenders. The top four in each region begin ‘the second season’ (a.k.a. the playoffs) on November 12. Virtually every team in August has as their goal to be in that elite group that continues to play football in November. There are some teams out there that merely use football as a conditioning drill for basketball.

Other than the pride of winning your region, the practical aspect is that #1 will typically play at home in rounds one&two. #1 will play #4 from another region in round one, then the winner of #2 versus #3 in round two. Upsets are rare in round one, but they can and do happen which is why the games are played on the field and not in the newspaper or electronic media.

4A Region 4

In 4A Region 4 it appears the Demopolis – Jemison (October 15) will take on great significance. Barring a colossal upset by Greensboro this Friday or Bibb County exposing Jemison this Friday as a pretender, DHS&JHS should enter that game undefeated in conference play.

Jemison has the harder road to travel in order to seal the deal for playoff position as they must play every team that to date has a legitimate shot at the playoffs. The Panthers must take on Bibb County, Demopolis, Dallas County and Southside.

Dallas County and Southside tie up in Plantersville this week. Both teams plus Bibb County have suffered the agony of defeat at the hand (or paw) of the DHS Tigers. The Jemison game will loom large for each respective school. It is interesting to note that the Bibb County Choctaws could slip in if they could somehow beat any two of the following: Jemison, Southside or Dallas County and not lose to Greene County.

Could Greensboro, Greene County or Livingston fight their way and grab a #3 or #4 slot or better? Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? Well remember, that’s why they actually play the games.

1A Region 4

1A Region 4 will produce much smoke and much smoke will be cleared away over the next couple of weeks. American Christian Academy&Linden, two of three unbeaten in regional play square off this Friday in Tuscaloosa. Sweet Water the other undefeated travels to play ACA next week (October 15) after hosting Carrolton this Friday. The SWHS Bulldogs tangle with John Essex&Linden back to back after ACA.

AISA Class A West

West Alabama Prep currently holds down the #4 spot in this region and will attempt to throttle the Southern Cougar offensive juggernaut Friday. The following week is a must win game in Selma versus Central Christian. The Titans close out against really tough Shelby Academy and next door neighbor Sumter Academy Eagles in another win or stay home situation.

Injuries are always a factor as the season progresses simply due to the fact most high school teams do not have an experienced playmaker to call on if a star should fall. In AISA this definitely is true and especially definitely true in Class A as the rosters are fairly thin at the beginning of the year when everyone is healthy and there are no nagging aches or pains. An injury here or there means a team may have to replace an experienced senior with a wide-eyed 9th grader, or even an 8th grader.

4A Region 4 Standings as of October 1

Demopolis3-0

Jemison3-0

Southside2-1

Dallas Co.2-1

Bibb Co.2-1

Livingston0-3

Greensboro0-3

Greene Co.0-3

1A Region 4 Standings as of October 1

ACA3-0

Linden3-0

Sweet Water3-0

AL Johnson1-2

John Essex1-2

Carrolton1-2

Sunshine0-3

Akron0-3

AISA Class A West as of October 1

Southern 4-0

Shelby3-0

Cornerstone2-0

WAP2-1

Central Chr.2-2

Sumter 1-3

MI0-4

*EMCA0-4

*Ineligible for playoffs