COVINGTON — The playoff picture is still rather foggy for several local teams as crunch time approaches with only two weeks remaining in the high school football regular season.
The only two teams that have their future wrapped up are Salem and Heritage in Region 8-AAAAA.
For Salem, with a region record of 2-4, 3-5 overall, their season will end at home on Nov. 8 against Loganville even if they were to win their final two games.
If the Seminoles were to beat Cedar Shoals and Loganville, they would finish with a region record of 4-4 and in a tie with Heritage and Clarke Central. But with losses to both teams they would again be in the stands for the start of the playoffs. Salem lost to Heritage 17-14 and lost Clarke Central 33-15.
The last time Salem made it to the playoffs was in 2007 under former head coach Chad Estes when the 9-1 Seminoles lost to St. Pius 24-0.
Heritage (5-4, 4-3) on the other hand is headed to the playoffs for the fourth straight year regardless of the outcome of their final game. The only question left to answer is what seed they will finish.
For the Patriots to head to the Class AAAAA playoffs as the No. 3 seed, Clarke Central (5-3, 4-3) will have to lose to Winder-Barrow (1-7, 0-6) and Cedar Shoals (2-6, 2-4) while beating Apalachee (0-8, 0-6) in their final game on Friday.
A win in either of the Clarke Central games and the Patriots head to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from region 8-AAAAA since they hold the tiebreaker as a result of Heritage’s 23-3 loss to Clarke Central. If the Patriots were lose their game and Loganville were to win both teams would end up 4-4 records. But Heritage would get the tiebreaker since they beat the Devils 21-7.
In Region 8-AAAA, Friday’s game against Stephens County could determine Eastside’s postseason play. The Eagles (5-3, 3-2) and the Stephens County (4-4, 2-3) are playing for the No. 4 seed since they all have losses to teams sitting higher in the region standings.
If Eastside were to lose to the Indians on Friday, the only chance the Eagles would have of making the playoffs would be if they beat Monroe Area, who at 8-0 overall and 6-0 in region play are currently the No. 4 team in Class AAAA according to AP and Stephens County loses to 1-7, 1-4 Lumpkin County.
There is a possibility for Eastside to improve their seeding but they would need help. Lanier, who beat Eastside 40-10, would have to lose to Lumpkin County or Walnut Grove (1-7, 0-5) while the Eagles won their final games.
There are four teams playing for three playoff spots in Region 2-AAAAAA as AP Class AAAAAA No. 3 ranked has all but clinched the fourth straight region championship.
Friday’s game between Alcovy-Rockdale and Newton-Luella will have a huge impact on the playoff outcomes with one game left for Alcovy, Rockdale and Newton.
Newton (3-5, 2-2) can help themselves as well as Alcovy (6-2, 3-1) with a win over Luella (5-4, 3-2) on Friday. A win by the Rams would give them the tiebreaker advantage over Luella and Alcovy. A loss by Newton and an Alcovy win would give both Rockdale, who beat them 28-21 in overtime, Luella the tiebreaker edge keeping Newton out of postseason play. The win would also give the Tigers an edge since they would only have one region loss with Lovejoy still on the schedule.
A Luella win would probably put the Lions in the No. 3 spot, depending on Alcovy splitting their final two games, since Alcovy has the tiebreaker over Luella.
A Rockdale win could seal Alcovy’s fate knocking them out of playoff contention.