Column: October means playoff time across levels of sports

Published 1:57 pm Friday, October 7, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

As the sweet chilly air of fall rolls in, playoff pushes at all level of sports begin, including football and volleyball in Chilton County. The Major League Baseball playoff push has also been in progress the past few months. The Baltimore Orioles, my favorite MLB team, were in the playoff hunt up until the last week of the season, and it was a great time getting able to see the level of play they were able to develop.

The Orioles became just the third team (1890 Louisville Colonels and the 1899 St. Louis Perfectos) in MLB history to finish a season with a .500 record or better (83-79) after losing 110 games the season before (52-110). They came up three games short of the final American League playoff spot, but this season was the most fun I have ever had watching the birds play.

Playoff pushes are a magical time. Seeing a team come together for a common goal, and knowing they need to play their best to make the dream become a reality is special. While I watched the Orioles do that on the professional baseball diamond, high school teams here in Chilton County are in the midst of doing the same on the football fields and volleyball courts.

For example, Maplesville High School began the season 0-2 and was giving up 33 points per game. In high school football with only 10 games on the schedule, if team that starts 0-2 then their playoff push begins in week three, and the Red Devils have done just that. Maplesville has now rattled off four-straight wins including a 36-0 thumping of previously 4-1 Autaugaville High School on Sept. 30.

Maplesville coach Brad Abbott said the defensive coaches worked extremely hard to fix the mistakes from the first two weeks, and now the defense is humming at a tune of surrendering 14 points across the four-game winning streak. Playoff pushes do not happen overnight, and neither does fixing a whole side of the ball. The Red Devils have and are poised for a classic Maplesville playoff run down the stretch.

Verbena High School also drew comparisons to the Orioles in my eyes going 5-1 to start the season so far. Verbena, like the Orioles, had five-straight losing seasons from 2016-2021. Now in 2022, both teams have broken out and guaranteed themselves winning seasons, and the Red Devils of Verbena are on the brink of their first taste of state playoff football in six years.

Football teams in Chilton County like Thorsby and Isabella high schools who have been to the state playoffs the last five seasons are the model of consistency that I hope the Orioles can achieve moving forward. Both of those schools are also making pushes to stretch their consecutive playoff streak another season, and make it a memorable one.

At the 2022 Chilton County Volleyball Tournament on Oct. 1, a few schools stood out that are looking like they are rounding into form at the right time as well with area tournaments on the horizon. Jemison High School took home the title, and look like a force to be reckon with in Class 5A action. Isabella and Chilton County high schools each picked up wins as well at the tournament that will help boost their confidence going into their biggest games of the season.