Playoff races have heated up around the state, including Calhoun County and the surrounding area. And yet, some teams have already celebrated playoff berths and are now playing for a chance to win a region or clinch home-field advantage for the first round.
High school football doesn’t get any more exciting.
Only four teams from each region advance to the postseason, and only the top two get to host a first-round game. Following extensive research, here’s a rundown of teams’ playoff outlooks:
Class 6A, Region 7
The nightmares of the 2012 season are long gone from Oxford’s mind. The Yellow Jackets (6-2, 5-1) have already clinched a playoff spot and have an outside shot of winning the region.
A win against rival Pell City (5-3, 4-2) on Friday night will lock down the second seed in the region, and if Clay-Chalkville (7-1, 5-1) falls to Lee-Huntsville (2-6, 1-5) — which might take a fall miracle — Oxford will win the region.
A loss Friday night would put Oxford in third with Gadsden City (4-4, 4-2) taking fourth.
Class 4A, Region 3
For the second straight season, the region championship will go to the winner between Clay Central (8-0, 6-0) and Dadeville (7-1, 6-0), who play Friday night at Dadeville.
Regardless of who wins, both teams will host the first round — one as the champion and the other as the second seed. Childersburg (6-2, 4-2) has clinched its spot as the third seed and Handley (3-5, 3-3) needs to beat Beulah on Friday to take the fourth seed.
If Beulah (2-6, 2-4) defeats Handley and Elmore County (4-4, 2-4) loses, then Beulah is in. Wins by Beulah and Elmore County could create a three-way tie.
Tracing far back through tiebreakers, Elmore County would have the edge, but if Handley beats Dora in Week 10 then it’s got a shot.
Class 4A, Region 5
As complicated as the playoff picture is in this region, there's no puzzle to solve in figuring out the winner. Munford (7-1, 6-0) has clinched the championship, but the rest of the race is uncertain.
Anniston (5-3, 3-3) needs to win Friday at Munford to make the playoffs.
A win also could put Anniston as high as the second seed, if Alexandria (3-5, 3-3) wins at Jacksonville (6-2, 4-2) on Friday and Cleburne County (5-3, 3-3) wins at Lincoln (4-4, 4-2).
If Anniston loses, it will miss the postseason.
Past that, it's even more complicated.
If Anniston loses, Lincoln will earn the second seed with a win, and Jacksonville will earn the third seed with a victory. All Alexandria needs to make the postseason is for Cleburne County and Anniston to lose.
Looking deeper, Cleburne County can climb to the second seed if it beats Lincoln and Alexandria defeats Jacksonville, creating a four-way tie. Because of tiebreakers, that scenario has Lincoln third, Alexandria fourth and Jacksonville staying home.
But if Alexandria wins and Cleburne County loses, then Lincoln takes the second seed, while Alexandria is third and Jacksonville fourth. If Cleburne County gets the win and Alexandria loses, then Jacksonville is second, Lincoln third and Cleburne County are fourth.
But if Anniston pulls off the huge upset over Munford, then the fourth seed in the above scenarios is sitting at home for the postseason.
Class 3A, Region 5
Although Saks upsetting Piedmont last week was the talk of Calhoun County, it wasn’t the biggest game in mapping out the region race, despite the Wildcats clinching the region championship with the victory.
Cleveland’s 36-32 win over White Plains combined with Weaver’s win over Ashville and Glencoe’s win against Susan Moore nearly completed the playoff picture.
Saks (8-0, 6-0) takes the first seed, while Piedmont (7-1, 5-1) and Weaver (4-4, 4-2) will play Friday, with the winner finishing second and the loser dropping to third. If Cleveland (5-3, 3-3) wins and Glencoe (5-3, 3-3) loses Friday, that would put Cleveland in the playoffs. If Glencoe wins Friday, it takes the fourth seed.
Class 2A, Region 6
Despite the deep tiebreakers that could decide the region champion, this one is pretty much wrapped up.
Woodland (4-4, 3-3) and Vincent (5-3, 3-3) play Friday night for the fourth seed, and Fultondale and Ranburne play for the championship. If Fultondale (8-0, 6-0) wins, it is champion. If Ranburne (7-1, 5-1) wins and Wellborn (5-3, 5-1) defeats Pleasant Valley, there’s a three-way tie for first place. That would be broken by tiebreakers after Week 10.
Pleasant Valley (3-5, 2-4) and Ohatchee (0-8, 0-6) are out of the playoff picture.
Class 2A, Region 5
This one is mostly wrapped up, and Randolph County won’t be making a trip to the postseason.
The Tigers (2-6, 2-4) sit on the outside looking in as Lanett (8-0, 6-0) has clinched the championship and Montgomery Academy (7-1, 5-1) has the second seed. Reeltown (5-3, 4-2) controls its own destiny and is a win from placing third, while Isabella (6-2, 4-2) will finish comfortably fourth unless it wins and Reeltown loses Friday.
Class 1A, Region 7
Donoho (6-2, 6-1) has a huge matchup when it travels to Gaylesville (5-3, 5-2) this week, but the Falcons clinched a playoff spot two weeks ago. A win would give the second seed to Donoho and a loss would push the Falcons into third place, which means they would travel in the first round.
Valley Head (8-0, 7-0) has clinched the region championship and Gaylesville has earned the fourth seed.
There's the possibility of Donoho, Collinsville (7-1, 6-1) and Valley Head could land in a three-way tie for first place, but according to tiebreakers, Donoho couldn't get the top seed for playoff purposes.
For Jacksonville Christian (2-6, 2-6), which has completed its region schedule, there will be no playoff bid. Spring Garden (3-5, 3-4) will not make the postseason, either.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.