By Johnny Sanders, Sports Editor
TRUSSVILLE – Playoff season is almost upon us and the chaos is heating up as we head into November and get ready for the quest for the blue map. Each season, every team starts with that goal in mind and each team believes they can attain that goal. After just a few weeks, the likelihood of that dream begins to come into focus a little bit more and the picture becomes clearer and clearer as the season progresses.
This year, it is clearer in some regions than others, but there is still some chaos and “muddy water” that will get cleared up in the coming weeks. As it sits right now, on Monday, October 23, 2023, seven of our eight teams will get a chance to begin that “second season” with a 0-0 record. As one coach has said, “The playoffs are a series of one-game seasons.”
Hewitt Trussville Huskies:
The Huskies have had a bit of an up and down season; however, they have pretty much locked in the second spot in 7A Region 3, behind the Thompson Warriors. Hewitt is tied at the moment with Vestavia Hills and Hoover but they hold the head to head tie breaker over both. If the Huskies get the win over Chelsea Friday night, they will officially lock up the second spot and likely host Bob Jones in the first round.
Clay Chalkville Cougars:
The Cougars’ 28-14 win over Oxford Friday night solidified the 6A Region 6 championship. The Cougars, who have played great football all year, are on a collision course to meet Saraland in the 6A state championship game, but they have to weave their way through the playoff bracket. Round one looks to be a matchup at Clay Chalkville against Cullman with the winner likely playing Mountain Brook in what would be a fantastic game.
Center Point Eagles:
Somewhat flying under the radar this year, the Eagles have only lost one game and that was to the Cougars of Clay Chalkville. If they can knock off Oxford on Friday night, they would lock in that second spot in 6A Region 6 and get to host Athens in round one. If they drop the game at Oxford, they would slip to the third seed in the region and travel to Hartselle.
There was a time this year when you would have thought Pinson had no shot at the playoffs. They have played themselves into the discussion, however. The Indians need to beat Pell City Friday night and, if they can do that, they will steal the spot from Shades Valley, who they beat this past week 28-25. For Pinson, it’s “win and you are in” and if they do, they will likely travel to Muscle Shoals in the first round.
The Mounties would have sealed the deal Friday night had they not lost to Pinson. As it is, they will need Rush Propst and his Pell City Panthers to beat Pinson in order to stay alive. They, or Pinson, will be the only team in our area to be left out of the playoffs. The same scenario awaits the Mounties if they get in, as does Pinson. A trip to Muscle Shoals in round one.
Moody Blue Devils:
5A Region 6 is where this thing gets really interesting. Moody had the chance to make this week’s game against Southside Gadsden a region championship but fell to Leeds 24-21 to make things interesting. If Moody beats Southside, it creates a three-way tie between Moody, Southside and Leeds. If that happens, Moody could sneak into the second spot but they would need Leeds to lose their remaining games against Lincoln and Center Point. Southside looks to have the inside track in this region regardless of what happens at The Bill on Friday night. But Leeds could have something to say about that. If Moody is able to beat Southside and grab that second spot, they will host Scottsboro. If they are third, they will travel to Guntersville in round one.
Leeds Green Wave:
A few weeks ago, you might have thought Leeds was a solid number three in the region. But Jerry Hood showed why he is one of the best coaches in the state on Friday night by overcoming being “one of the biggest underdogs in the state” and beating the red-hot Moody Blue Devils. Now, the conversation is a bit different. As said above, if Moody beats Southside, it creates a three-way tie. Leeds’ path to the region championship would include them beating Lincoln and Center Point and Southside losing to Moody. At that point, Leeds would have wins over teams with more wins than would Southside. At the moment, opponents that Southside has beaten have a total of 24 wins. If they lose Friday, that number stands. If Leeds can beat Lincoln and Center Point, their number would be 26 and they would snatch the championship from Southside’s hands. If Leeds loses either game, Southside will be region champs. Round one for Leeds, if they get the top spot, would be against Boaz. If they are second, they would host Scottsboro. Confused yet?
Jon Clements completely changed his offense in the offseason and opened the season by matching 2022’s win total which was one. His Tigers have since won two more games and find themselves in a position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009, even if they finish the regular season with a losing record. If Springville is able to beat St Clair County on Friday night, they will punch their ticket to the playoffs. They also have a game next week against Pell City that would give them a 5-5 record to go with the playoff berth. Round one would mean a trip to Arab.
As we have said before, the Trussville Tribune coverage area is ripe with athletic talent and, in addition to all of the all-stars we have in various games in December, all but one of our teams will be playing in the postseason this year. We encourage you to go out and support these young men as they begin their quest for the blue map.