Now that Week 9 of high school football season is in the books, most of the area’s playoff seeds are settled.
Key word: Most.
Yes, region play is complete, but the standings in Class 5A, Region 8 remain jumbled.
Russellville created havoc in Region 8 Friday night with a 6-3 upset of eighth-ranked Hartselle, causing a three-way tie between Hartselle, Cullman and Russellville for second place.
The tie means we get more high-stakes games this week.
Because the tie can’t be settled by head-to-head matchups, according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s 2012 Fall Sports Book, it appears tiebreakers M or L will determine the final three seeds.
It’s a complicated process, one where several scenarios could play out — too many to list in this column.
According to tiebreaker L, the AHSAA uses the number of wins by defeated non-region opponents in the same class or above. With this scenario, Hartselle has to beat Austin on Thursday to have a chance at the No. 2 seed, but even that might not be enough. This week’s games involving Cullman, Walker and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa will be factors.
Confused yet? Well, it gets trickier.
If both Cullman and Hartselle win this week, or both Cullman and Hartselle lose, there are scenarios that would render tiebreaker L useless, sending the AHSAA to tiebreaker M, which uses the number of wins by all non-region defeated opponents. If this tiebreaker comes into play, Russellville could claim the No. 2 seed with a win against Fayette County.
With so many factors in play, there is only one thing that’s certain:
The top two teams in Region 7 aren’t getting a favorable first-round playoff draw at home, because the third and fourth seeds in Region 8 are pretty good.
They’re also not strangers to big games. In Region 8, there has been at least one playoff-like game almost every week.
But this is what we expected coming into the season. All of the coaches said that earning a playoff spot in this region wouldn’t be easy, and those who did would be primed for successful runs in the postseason.
So, even though region play is complete, don’t think for a second that anything has been decided — even after the playoff seeds have been determined after this week’s game.
Another round of Region 8 football could be on the horizon, beginning in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs.
It happened in 2006. All four playoff teams from Region 8 advanced past the first two rounds, and Athens went on to win the state title as the third seed — one week after beating fourth-seeded J.O. Johnson in the semifinals.
Don’t be surprised if something similar plays out this postseason.
Austin at Pell City
Decatur at Clay-Chalkville
Sand Rock at Tanner
R.A. Hubbard at Collinsville
Falkville at Pickens County
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