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FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: Teams jockeying for playoff positioning

Through seven weeks of the high school football season, perhaps the most interesting region race for local fans can be found in Class 1A, Region 3.

Three local teams — Billingsley, Isabella and Verbena — compete in the region, and all are fighting for a berth in the state playoffs.

The top four teams in each region advance to the playoffs, with the top two earning homefield advantage and seeds 3 and 4 in each region traveling in the first round of the postseason.

With four games remaining for most teams, Billingsley is the local team with the best position in Region 3 (see Page 2 for full region standings).

The Bears are 2-1 in region play, the most important factor since overall record only matters in determining playoff seeding in certain cases when teams are tied in the region standings.

BHS is third in the region behind Loachapoka and Notasulga, which is this week’s opponent, meaning the Bears have an opportunity to move into second place in the region and be in line for homefield advantage in the first round.

Even with a loss on Friday, though, Billingsley wouldn’t drop below third place.

The Bears own a tiebreaker by virtue of a head-to-head win over fourth-place Verbena.

Billingsley visits Autaugaville, which is tied with Verbena, on Oct. 23, so that game will become the next critical contest after this week’s game.

Because Verbena defeated Autaugville earlier in the season, the Red Devils are also in a good position to make the playoffs, especially if they can defeat Isabella on Friday, which would give the Devils tiebreakers over both of the teams that would be trying to catch them in the standings.

A loss Friday for Isabella, meanwhile, could eliminate the Mustangs from playoff contention, depending on the results of other games and whether a rare tiebreaker situation at the end of the year would favor IHS.

The playoff outlook for the other county teams is a story of extremes.

Top-ranked Maplesville is sitting pretty in Class 1A, Region 4 with a win over Linden, which is third in the region, and a trip to second place A.L. Johnson coming up next week.

Chilton County High School’s and Jemison’s playoff hopes are on life support as both teams are winless in region play. Another loss for the Tigers and Panthers would eliminate them from contention.

In Class 2A, Region 4, Thorsby will play an important game for region standings Friday when Fayetteville visits.

The Wolves are tied with Pickens County atop the region standings, while Thorsby is third.

A win for the Rebels Friday would give them a tiebreaker advantage over Fayetteville and move them into position to claim second place in the region.

THS still has a game remaining against fourth-place Francis Marion, so the Rebels could end up as far back as No. 4 in the region standings.

THIS WEEK’S GAMES

•Verbena at Isabella*

•Ellwood Christian at Maplesville*^

•Billingsley at Notasulga*

•Jemison at Sumter-Central*

•Fayetteville at Thorsby*

*-Region game

^-Homecoming

All games begin at 7 p.m.

 

FRIDAY NIGHT WEATHER

High school football fans this week could be in for the most pleasant game-time weather of the season so far. The high temperature on Friday is forecasted to reach the low- to mid-80s but should fall into the low- to mid-70s by the time the games start. Winds should be relatively calm, possibly reaching 5 miles per hour. There is a 20-percent chance of rain overnight Friday, but the rain should not arrive until after the conclusion of the games.

 

REGION STANDINGS

Class 6A, Region 3

Opelika (4-0 region, 7-0 overall)

Benjamin Russell (2-1, 6-1)

Chelsea (2-1, 5-1)

Valley (2-1, 3-3)

Pell City (1-2, 3-3)

Oxford (1-3, 2-5)

Chilton Co. (0-4, 3-4)

Class 5A, Region 4

Demopolis (4-0, 5-1)

Calera (3-1, 5-1)

Dallas Co. (3-1, 4-2)

Helena (3-1, 4-2)

Central Tuscaloosa (1-3, 3-3)

Sumter Central (1-3, 1-5)

Jemison (0-4, 0-6)

Wilcox Central (0-4, 0-6)

 Class 2A, Region 4

Fayetteville (3-0, 5-1)

Pickens Co. (3-0, 5-1)

Thorsby (3-1, 4-3)

Francis Marion (2-1, 2-4)

Holy Spirit (1-3, 1-6)

Vincent (0-3, 0-6)

R.C. Hatch (0-4, 1-6)

 Class 1A, Region 3

Notasulga (2-0, 4-2)

Loachapoka (3-1, 4-2)

Billingsley (2-1, 3-3)

Verbena (1-2, 4-2)

Autaugaville (1-2, 4-3)

Isabella (0-3, 1-5)

Class 1A, Region 4

Maplesville (2-0, 5-1)

A.L. Johnson (1-0, 1-4)

Linden (2-1, 3-2)

Keith (1-3, 1-5)

Ellwood Christian (0-2, 3-3)

 

RANKINGS

Class 7A

1. Bob Jones (23) (6-0) 312

2. Spain Park (4) (5-1) 224

3. James Clemens (5-1) 216

4. Prattville (5-1) 185

5. Hoover (5-1) 177

6. Central-Phenix City (5-2) 137

7. Theodore (6-1) 102

8. Murphy (4-2) 61

9. Buckhorn (4-2) 39

10. McGill-Toolen (5-1) 37

Others receiving votes: Vestavia Hills (5-1) 21, Foley (5-2) 11, Hewitt-Trussville (4-2) 7, Gadsden City (4-3) 4, Jeff Davis (5-2) 3, Lee-Montgomery (5-2) 2, Baker (3-4) 1.

Class 6A

1. Clay-Chalkville (23) (6-0) 310

2. Spanish Fort (3) (6-0) 243

3. Opelika (1) (7-0) 226

4. Muscle Shoals (7-0) 190

5. Saraland (5-1) 146

6. Benjamin Russell (6-1) 123

7. McAdory (5-1) 85

8. Blount (6-0) 69

9. Homewood (5-1) 60

10. Park Crossing (6-1) 58

Others receiving votes: Gardendale (5-1) 13, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa (5-2) 9, Austin (4-3) 3, Chelsea (5-1) 2, Cullman (5-1) 1, Fort Payne (5-1) 1.

Class 5A

1. Jackson (27) (6-0) 324

2. St. Paul‚ (6-1) 236

3. Guntersville (6-0) 216

4. Greenville (6-0)169

5. Pleasant Grove (5-1) 131

6. Beauregard (5-0) 125

7. Alexandria (5-0) 114

8. Russellville (5-1) 89

9. Demopolis (5-1) 56

10. Mortimer Jordan (5-1) 48

Others receiving votes: Wenonah (6-0) 21, Tallassee (4-2) 5, Vigor (3-2) 2, Calera (5-1) 1, Central-Clay Co. (4-2) 1, Madison Co. (3-2) 1.

Class 4A

1. UMS-Wright (27) (6-0) 324

2. Cordova (6-0) 231

3. Leeds (5-2) 210

4. Saks (5-1) 173

5. Andalusia (6-1) 155

6. Priceville (6-0) 140

7. Brooks (6-0) 93

8. Fayette Co. (5-2) 78

9. Montevallo (7-0) 35

10. W.S. Neal (5-1) 30

Others receiving votes: Northside (6-0) 21, Cleburne Co. (5-1) 19, Handley (5-1) 19, Dadeville (3-3) 2, Elmore Co. (4-2) 2, Munford (4-3) 2, North Jackson (3-3) 2, Oneonta (4-2) 2, Deshler (3-3) 1.

Class 3A

1. Madison Acad. (20) (5-1) 303

2. Gordo (6) (6-0) 260

3. Pike Co. (1) (5-0) 215

4. T.R. Miller (6-1) 188

5. Piedmont (5-1) 159

6. Oakman (5-1) 109

7. Lauderdale Co. (5-1) 88

8. Opp (4-2) 70

9. Glencoe (5-1) 68

10. American Chr. (5-1) 32

Others receiving votes: Daleville (5-1) 18, Winfield (6-1) 16, Montgomery Acad. (5-1) 6, Walter wellborn (4-2) 4, Slocomb (4-2) 3.

Class 2A

1. Elba (18) (6-0) 296

2. Tanner (8) (7-0) 264

3. Cleveland (1) (6-0) 215

4. G.W. Long (6-0) 189

5. Fyffe (5-1) 158

6. Red Bay (7-0) 135

7. Randolph Co. (6-0) 107

8. Washington Co. (5-1)74

9. Flomaton (5-1) 54

10. Mobile Chr. (5-1) 17

Others receiving votes: LaFayette (5-1) 8, Falkville (6-0) 7, Pickens Co. (5-1) 7, Ranburne (5-1) 7, Providence Chr. (5-1) 1.

Class 1A

1. Maplesville (22) (4-1) 309

2. Cedar Bluff (5) (6-0) 249

3. Hackleburg (6-0) 194

4. Linden (3-2) 178

5. Berry (5-1) 142

6. Georgiana (6-1) 138

7. Hubbertville (4-1) 117

8. Brantley (4-2) 85

9. Wadley (4-1) 55

10. Notasulga (4-2) 32

Others receiving votes: Victory Chr. (5-0) 26, McKenzie (4-2) 7, J.U. Blacksher (5-1) 4, Loachapoka (4-2) 3.

Compiled by the Alabama Sports Writers Association