Slightly more than a dozen TSSAA Division I football teams are entering the first round of tonight's state playoffs with 4-6 records.
Some, like Boyd-Buchanan, made it by winning their district championships. Others like Tyner scrambled in with runner-up district finishes.
Playoff games begin at 7 p.m. local time and admission is $8.
"It's hard to believe we snuck in," Grundy County coach Nick Bryant said. "Our strength of schedule is what got us in."
The Yellow Jackets finished fourth in District 7-AA, and the three teams above them also are in the playoffs: Signal Mountain in Class 4A and Notre Dame and Sequatchie in Class 3A.
"We played some teams with pretty good records and had some tough losses to some pretty good opponents," Bryant said.
Grundy made it for the fifth consecutive year, something it hasn't done since the early 1990s.
Tyner, a Class 3A participant, has won six straight games but had to forfeit two of those wins because of an ineligible player. Still, the Rams have a four-game win streak and have gained the postseason two straight decades.
Boyd-Buchanan won its district and earned a first-round bye in Class 2A by knocking off previously unbeaten Silverdale Baptist in overtime last Friday, the last week of the regular season.
"That was good. Defensively it was probably our best effort of the year, and we did what we had to on offense," Buccaneers coach Grant Reynolds said. "There's no better time to play a great game than when you win a district championship."
There really was no backing into the postseason for Boyd-Buchanan.
"We have concentrated every week on getting better and not thinking about the past or the future, and we won our district games," he said. "We graduated a lot of seniors last year. Defensively at times this year, we started seven sophomores and two freshmen and we had all new starters on the offensive line. We took care of business when we had to, so I don't think we backed in. I think we are moving in the right direction at the right time."
There are several 5-5 teams that are through for the season. Bradley is one of the 5-5 teams moving on.
The Bears are playing at top-ranked Maryville.
"I'm happy we're in and that we have the opportunity. That's all I can ask for," coach Damon Floyd said.
Floyd has no problem with 4-6 or 5-5 teams getting in the playoffs. Just don't whine if you're 4-6 or 5-5 and don't reach the postseason, he said.
"I hear people complain if they're 5-5 and don't get in. If you win enough you're going to get in," he said. "I don't have a problem with a 5-5 team getting in, but don't gripe if you don't. There's no room to complain. If we hadn't gotten in at 5-5 I couldn't complain. Every team from the beginning of the season controls its own destiny."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
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 ...