By David Knox, Sports Editor
PINSON – Pinson Valley was one football play away from locking up the No. 2 spot in Class 6A, Region 6 last Friday.
One play. Stop Gardendale on the final snap of the game, and you’re golden.
Instead, Gardendale made that one play and sent the Indians to a crushing 34-31 defeat, and the Indians lost a chance to capture the runner-up spot in Region 6 and the first-round home playoff game that goes with it.
Even worse: The loss dropped Pinson Valley to 3-2 in the region, putting them currently in fourth place for the final playoff spot. Even worse than that: The Indians face Carver on Friday in the final region game for each school, and Carver enters with a 2-3 region record. If you’re doing the math on this, you can see that a Carver win over Pinson Valley would tie the two schools at 3-3. If Gardendale handles winless Center Point in its game Friday to move to 4-2 and finishes third in Region 6, the Rams would nab the fourth spot by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Indians, who would then be sitting at home during the playoffs despite a very solid season.
On the positive side, an Indians win would move them to 4-2, tied with Clay-Chalkville and (very likely) with Gardendale. All three of those would make the playoffs, but the AHSAA would have to go through all the tiebreakers down to tiebreaker “l” – the number of wins by defeated non-region opponents. Therefore, the final week of the season would be crucial in calculating who finishes where.
The Indians will go into the game Friday at Willie Adams Stadium without Torrey Hendrix, who tore an ACL and an MCL against Gardendale. The slot receiver/running back was scheduled for surgery Tuesday.
Carver is entering the game with as much momentum as it has had since starting 3-0 against subpar teams. They dropped a 44-41 decision to Clay-Chalkville that boosted their ego, then they beat Walker 22-7 last week at Jasper.
Carver has athletes, and Pinson Valley cannot underestimate the Rams or they’ll be on the outside looking in.
That’d be a shame for a squad that has accomplished so much this season, including first-ever wins over Clay-Chalkville and Walker.
If Pinson Valley does end up in fourth place, it will have a rematch with Ramsay in round one at Lawson Field. Ramsay beat Pinson 31-15 in the second game of the season. The Rams won Class 6A, Region 5.