published Friday, October 26th, 2012

Playoff situation still very iffy

'What if?'

District 5-A

If Boyd-Buchanan wins, Boyd-Buchanan is first.

If Boyd-Buchanan and Silverdale win, Boyd-Buchanan is first and Silverdale is second.

If Copper Basin and Silverdale win, Silverdale is first and Copper Basin is second.

If Grace and Copper Basin win, Copper Basin is first and Boyd Buchanan is second.

If Grace and Boyd-Buchanan win, Boyd-Buchanan is first and Silverdale is second.

District 6-A

South Pittsburg is first and Marion County second.

District 5-AA

Polk County is first and Sweetwater/Sequoyah winner is second.

District 6-AA

East Hamilton is first and Hixson is second.

District 7-AA

Signal Mountain is first and Grundy County/Notre Dame winner is second.

District 5-AAA

If McMinn County wins, McMinn County is first.

If Bradley Central wins, Bradley is first and McMinn is second.

If McMinn, Ooltewah and Cleveland win, McMinn is first and Ooltewah is second.

If McMinn, Walker Valley and Cleveland win, McMinn is first and Bradley is second.

The way the season panned out, Grundy County and Notre Dame have known for at least two weeks that their game tonight would be a must-win to get a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.

Grundy County has the added pressure of needing a win to assure itself of at least a look when the TSSAA's playoff computers begin whirring tonight before spitting out the playoff brackets, which will be announced Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. EDT.

"We were sitting pretty till we messed up against Grace [Academy, a 34-22 loss] last week," Grundy coach Nick Bryant said after his team slipped to 5-4. "Now, 5-5 [with a loss at Notre Dame] and it's no better than a coin toss whether we get in or not."

That's the only debatable point in District 7-AA, and the guaranteed spots have been settled in District 6-AA (East Hamilton, Hixson) and District 6-A (South Pittsburg, Marion County). In 5-AA, Polk County has the top spot and will be joined by tonight's Sequoyah-Sweetwater winner.

Districts 5-AAA and 5-A remain unsettled.

Boyd-Buchanan can settle the 5-A squabble easily by beating Copper Basin to finish first. Such an outcome will make Silverdale Baptist No. 2 and Copper Basin third. However, with a Copper Basin victory and a Silverdale win over Grace Academy, Silverdale finishes first, Copper Basin second and Boyd-Buchanan third.

"We're a week away [from the first postseason games] and nobody in the state can tell you how it's going to go," said Ooltewah coach Shannon Williams, whose team is in the thick of 5-AAA's unsettled soup. "There's no reason for that. It's wasted effort to even try to figure it out. I guess I'll get my popcorn and watch the TV Saturday and then try to make arrangements for a film swap at some point."

His Owls are playing at Walker Valley, which also has a playoff shot.

"If we win, I think we'll be OK. If we lose, who knows?" Williams said.

He also knows his team can finish as high as second and grab the district's second guaranteed slot, but "I banned playoff talk from the office. I told one of the coaches if he mentioned it I was going to fire him," Williams added.

McMinn County and Bradley Central are the only ones who control their destinies in 5-AAA. Whichever team wins gets the district championship. The confusing scenarios have shaped up around second place if McMinn wins. Pairing that win with Ooltewah and Cleveland victories would give the Owls second place. Either way, Cleveland and Walker Valley are going to have to depend on the computer's good graces.

"I really don't have a clue," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said of Tennessee's playoff formula. "I'm so confused. I'm coming back from Georgia where it was so simple, and I miss those days of region playoffs when I was at Boyd-Buchanan. It was fun then. We knew which region we'd be paired with and it was fun to keep up with the other region. But today's scenarios? I'm not a dot-com guy. I have no clue."

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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