Today we conclude our look at the playoff chances for Class AAAAA teams by focusing on Regions 4 and 7, the only subdivided regions in the classification.
Both regions conduct play-in games on the final weekend of the regular season to determine their four playoff teams. Neither holds a championship game, opting instead for the 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 format.
That means the top eight teams in each region will have to compete in a win-or-go-home game for playoff berths. So in theory, a team like No. 3 Kell or No. 8 Creekside could finish 9-1 and not make the playoffs. Still, it’s safe at this point to project which teams will make the playoffs, which ones won’t, and which still have a shot.
The Seminoles are the favorites to win subregion B, but they have difficult games the next two weeks against Whitewater and McIntosh that could change their seeding. Regardless, Creekside is stronger than any team in subregion A and should have no trouble in its play-in game.
*Likely: McIntosh, Whitewater
McIntosh and Whitewater have won a total of 11 games this season, which is one more than the six teams from subregion A combined. I’m not calling them locks at this point, but it would be a major upset if either one lost in the play-in games.
*On the bubble: Union Grove, Mundy’s Mill, Northgate
Northgate appears headed for a fourth-place finish in subregion B, and the Vikings are capable of completing a B sweep of the playoff berths with a victory against the subregion A champion, which will be Union Grove or Mundy’s Mill. Northgate already beat Union Grove once this season – 17-14 on Sept. 27.
*Long shots: Starr’s Mill, Drew
Starr’s Mill could earn a spot in the play-in games as the No. 4 team from subregion B by winning at least one of its final three games, and then anything could happen. Drew probably will finish as the No. 3 team in subregion A, but it has beaten Starr’s Mill and lost a close game to McIntosh this season.
*Not this year: Ola, Mount Zion-Jonesboro, Forest Park
The three teams at the bottom of subregion A are a combined 2-16 and likely to sit out the postseason again this year. None of the three has been to the playoffs since Mount Zion made it in 2009.
The Longhorns have won 17 consecutive games against region opponents, a streak that dates to a 34-0 loss to East Paulding on Sept. 16, 2011. Kell has won every game this season by at least 10 points, including three against AAAAAA competition, and should have little trouble winning the subregion B title and completing a 10-0 regular season.
The Grizzlies probably will win the subregion A title, especially now that they’ve beaten top challengers Sequoyah and Northview. That would put Creekview in a play-in game against the No. 4 team from subregion B, a game the Grizzlies should win handily.
*On the bubble: Sequoyah, Northview, Pope, Riverwood
The region’s other playoff berths behind Kell and Creekview will go to two of these four teams. Sequoyah and Northview will take the second and third spots (in one order or the other) in subregion A, while Pope and Riverwood will do the same in subregion B. That would put them head to head in the play-in games, and any of the four are capable of winning at that point.
*Long shots: Cambridge, Sprayberry
Cambridge and Sprayberry are the likely fourth-place teams, which would put them against the subregion champions in the play-in games. It would be a major upset if either team won, but at least they would get a shot.
*Not this year: Forsyth Central, North Springs, Osborne
These three teams are unlikely to qualify for the play-in games, meaning their seasons will end on Nov. 8.