Playoff picture still murky in Floyd Co.
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.