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Playoff prospects not as bad as they seem

Wednesday marks the first time that 2009 high school football region standings have been included in the newspaper (see far right of this page), and those standings don’t look good for local teams.

In fact, if the season ended today, only two local teams—Maplesville and Jemison—out of seven would make the playoffs.

After somewhat of a down year in 2008 (and only at elite programs is a campaign that includes a 6-3 regular season and playoff appearance considered sub-par), the Red Devils have regained their form from the 2007 and 2006 seasons, when they reached the semifinals twice and lost to eventual state champion Sweet Water both times. Coach Brent Hubbert has done a remarkable job at the school, and if that elusive state championship isn’t in the offing this year, it definitely could be next year because the team includes only one senior.

Jemison, meanwhile, also has a slim senior class and could have considered 2009 a rebuilding year. Instead, the Panthers are poised to make the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year under coach Brad Abbott (his entire tenure at the school) and the seventh straight year overall.

Other teams aren’t in as good of shape, but there are several teams that shouldn’t be counted out yet.

The top four teams from each region earn a playoff berth, and Billingsley is tied for that fourth spot. The problem is the Bears lost to Autaugaville, who thus owns the tiebreaker. Verbena is only one game behind Wadley and Talladega County Central for the final playoff spot in that region.

Finally, don’t forget about Chilton County High even though it is winless in its region. The Tigers started 0-2 in region play last year, too, before finding a way to make the playoffs with only three wins.

CCHS is close to matching its win total from a year ago, and a gutsy win over Tallassee last week should give the team some momentum heading into four consecutive region games.