As the regular season continues to wind down in high school football, big games abound for area teams.
Entering Week 8, with two region games remaining, five area teams have locked up playoff spots. Nine others have a chance to do the same Friday.
Here’s a rundown of what’s on the line this week:
n Florence (4-3, 4-1 Class 6A, Region 8) might have thought it was already in, but it can officially clinch a playoff berth with a Friday win against Austin or a Sparkman loss to Decatur. A win against Austin would keep Florence in the hunt for the region title. The Falcons would then need Austin to beat Bob Jones next week.
n Muscle Shoals (7-0, 5-0 Class 5A, Region 8) has locked up a playoff berth and can finish no worse than third in the region. The Trojans would clinch the region title with a win against West Point coupled with a Cullman loss at Athens. Otherwise, Muscle Shoals would have to wait and win next week at Cullman (6-1, 4-1).
n Russellville (5-2, 3-2) can clinch a playoff berth Friday with a win at Lawrence County or an East Limestone loss at Hartselle.
n Brooks (6-1, 5-0 Class 4A, Region 8) has clinched a playoff berth and can wrap up the region title with a win against Central. Central (5-2, 4-1) would clinch a playoff berth with a win against Brooks or a Rogers loss to Haleyville.
n Wilson (4-3, 3-2) can clinch a playoff berth with a win at East Lawrence coupled with a Rogers loss to Haleyville.
n Rogers (4-3, 3-2) needs a win at home against Haleyville (5-2, 3-2) or a Wilson loss to East Lawrence to stay in the playoff hunt. If neither happens, the Pirates would be eliminated from postseason contention.
n Haleyville would clinch a playoff berth with a win at Rogers.
n Lauderdale County (6-1, 4-1 Class 3A, Region 8) would wrap up a playoff berth with a win at Westminster Christian and would be guaranteed the region’s No. 2 seed at worst. The Tigers would be out of contention for a region title, though, if Madison Academy (5-2, 5-0) beats West Morgan.
n Deshler (4-3, 3-2) and Colbert County (5-2, 3-2) would each clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Westminster Christian loss to Lauderdale County.
n Hamilton (7-0, 5-0 Class 3A, Region 7) has already clinch a playoff spot and would wrap up the region title with a win at Winston County (5-2, 4-1).
n Red Bay (4-3, 4-1) can secure a playoff berth in Class 2A, Region 8 with a win at Lexington (4-3, 3-2). Tanner has already clinched a playoff spot and can win the region title against Hatton.
The region’s final two playoff spots can’t be decided until next week.
n Finally, tonight’s Hackleburg-Shoals Christian winner will clinch the Class 1A, Region 8 title. Both teams have already secured playoff spots and are assured home-field advantage in the first round.
Area baseball players at UNA
Three former baseball standouts at area high school have come to UNA after junior college stints.
Infielder Dylan Boston, of Deshler; right-handed pitcher Morgan McCarley, of Vina; and outfielder Jake Ward, from Russellville; all are with the Lions for fall practice.
Boston transferred in after one year at Northwest Florida State Community College and will have three years of eligibility remaining at UNA.
Ward came in after two years at Shelton State, while McCarley spent two years at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Volleyball postseason begins
The high school volleyball postseason begins today with area tournaments.
Six local teams — Covenant Christian, Phillips, Colbert Heights, Lexington, Deshler and Wilson — are hosting tournaments.
The Class 1A, Area 15 tournament at Phillips is the only one being held Saturday, not today.
Each area tournament winner and runner-up advances to the North Super Regional tournament at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center on Oct. 26-27.
The top four finishers in each classification at both the North and South super regionals advance to the Elite Eight state championship tournament Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Wilson is hosting an area tournament for the third straight year and is coming winning the Lauderdale County tournament Saturday.
“It really gives the girls a lot of momentum winning the county,” said Warriors coach Sandy Bradley, whose team has advanced to the state tournament the last two years.. “It had been four years since we won it last, and they were really excited to take it. It was one of the goals they set for themselves. We marked it off on our list, but we still have some left: winning area, advancing to regionals and on to state.”
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @bappster on Twitter.