Play­off pic­ture still murky in Floyd Co.

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - By TOMMY RO­MANACH RN-T Sports Writer

With a week left in the reg­u­lar sea­son, high school foot­ball teams around Floyd County still aren’t clear on where they stand in the re­gion or in the up­com­ing state play­offs. Coaches all around Rome are us­ing their own meth­ods to pre­pare for the huge fi­nal week.

The team with the most to play for Fri­day is the Rome Wolves, who locked up the No. 3 seed in Re­gion 7-AAAAA’s “A” subre­gion and will play the No. 2 team from the “B” subre­gion. The win­ner will ad­vance to the post­sea­son. Rome has made it here with two of its big­gest wins of the sea­son the last two weeks, a 38-24 vic­tory against Se­quoyah and a 42-0 thump­ing against Cass Fri­day night. The suc­cess is a sub­stan­tial re­ver­sal of the Wolves’ dis­mal three-win sea­son last year.

Coach John Reid said af­ter the Cass win that there’s still work to be done to re­pair losses ear­lier in the sea­son, and the team will bring every­thing they have into next Fri­day’s matchup.

Mean­while, Dar­ling­ton stands un­de­feated in the reg­u­lar sea­son and re­gion play, but still is not clear on if it has clinched Re­gion 7-AA. A loss on the fi­nal week at home to Chat­tooga will force a three­way tie for first, and coach Tommy Atha is un­fa­mil­iar with the tiebreaker.

But re­gion champs or not, Atha wants his team to con­tinue to ex­e­cute like it has all sea­son against a phys­i­cal In­di­ans team. Dar­ling­ton still has a chance to go 10-0, some­thing that has not been ac­com­plished in some time.

“I can’t ex­actly re­mem­ber the last time we went un­de­feated, but it cer­tainly would be huge,” Atha said. “We have had a cou­ple of 9-1 years, but to be hon­est I think I’ve been here so long the sea­sons be­gin to run to­gether.”

No mat­ter where they fin­ish, the Tigers will face a test in the first round of the play­offs against one of the pow­er­ful Re­gion 6-AA teams. Lovett or Pace Academy look like Dar­ling­ton’s prob­a­ble matchups right now, but things could cer­tainly change in the fi­nal week.

Atha is stead­fast on keep­ing his team from score­board watch­ing. It still has a reg­u­lar sea­son to fin­ish, and the coach­ing staff wants them as fo­cused as ever.

“The last thing we want to do is look past next week,” Atha said. “It’s se­nior night and an op­por­tu­nity to have an un­de­feated sea­son. There’s still go­ing to be a big crowd, so it’s still go­ing to be a big game all around.”

There’s no con­fu­sion where the Pep­perell Dragons stand, as a 39-34 win against Cedar­town on Fri­day night locked them in at the No. 3 seed in Re­gion 5-AAA. No mat­ter the re­sult against strug­gling Har­al­son County next week, the Dragons will play the No. 2 team from Re­gion 5-AA.

Coach Rick Hurst said he has been look­ing at the Re­gion 5 stand­ings for a few weeks, but with four teams cur­rently tied for first there is still a lot to be de­cided. Fur­ther­more, Hurst said he still wants his team play­ing hard next week and to carry a win­streak into the post­sea­son.

No mat­ter the team, the rank­ing or any­thing that hap­pens this week, Hurst knows some­thing al­most all coaches do — any­thing can hap­pen in the post­sea­son.

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