With one week remaining in the regular season, there are still some seeding questions lingering for area football teams. That said, things are much clearer than they were just one week ago.
For some schools, the news isn’t good.
A 37-7 drubbing for Bulloch Academy at the hands of Southland Academy last week ensured that the Gators won’t be heading to the playoffs this season. It’s also the latest setback in a five-game losing streak that — after Bulloch’s finale against rival Pinewood this week — will result in the Gators’ worst finish since 2001.
Just up the road, the Portal Panthers will also miss out on the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season. With the GHSA using its power poll to select playoff teams and seedings, the Panthers still had a (very slim) chance of reaching the postseason. But Calvary Day took care of Portal last week to ensure that the Panthers’ winter will come early yet again.
Of course, there are still plenty of teams with much to look forward to.
Southeast Bulloch clinched a playoff berth two weeks ago, but improved its position with an 8-0 win over Tattnall County last Friday. With the victory, the Yellow Jackets are assured of at least a No. 3 seed in the Class AAA playoffs. A win over Appling County this week would put the Jackets in a tie for the region championship, but — if Pierce County makes it a three-way tie atop the standings — a coin flip could determine whether or not SEB gets to host a playoff game.
Screven County and Metter are also into the postseason, but will have to see how things shake out this week to know where their first postseason stop will be.
Then, there is Statesboro. For the Blue Devils, the do-or-die portion of the season begins a week early.
For the second consecutive year, a dominant SHS squad in the Class AAAA top-10 will be forced to win its final game of the season just to make the field for the state playoffs.
The Devils’ loss to Wayne County last week will prevent the 8-1 Devils from playing for the Region 3-AAAA championship this week. Instead, region rules dictate that 8-1 Statesboro will have to travel to Glenn Hills (5-4) and win just to claim a spot in the state tournament.
If the Devils are able to advance to the postseason, they’ll once again hit the road to travel to a team with an inferior record. Cairo (6-3) is the No. 2 seed out of Region 1-AAAA, meaning that the Devils will face a cross-state, 250-mile trip to kick off the postseason.
Some teams might be racking up the frequent flyer miles in November, but that shouldn’t cloud the fact that 2013 has been – and still is – a very successful season for area teams. From the continued solid play of Statesboro to the sudden revival up in Metter to the culmination of a four-year turnaround project at Southeast Bulloch, the one common theme this season is that there will be plenty of postseason drama.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.